The Rages of Poverty in the Provinces

Harper’s Magazine, January 2014

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Thomas Frank’s essay here is one every self-styled liberal or progressive should read. It’s a screed, not against the Red State folks, Republicans, Tea Partiers, et al; instead he’s raging against the Democrats, liberals, and progressives for not taking advantage politically of the ever-shrinking white, male, etc. conservative base. And he’s right, In my mind. Waiting for the Republicans to self-destruct won’t get it done; they just keep up a steady litany of political noise that’s much larger than their base, and they’re good at it.

But why is their a burr under the blue-collar saddle, one the Democrats can’t seem to pluck away? Jeff Madrick delineates the failed job promise of the digital revolution. Sure, there’s innovation and new products being made in this post-industrial world, but with an ever-shrinking worker base. Are we making the best use of technology? No. Are we making forward-leaning technologies, such as electric cars and wind and solar power generators.? No.

I’ll just leave those questions hanging, but they say a lot about our economic vision and will.

And just for irony’s sake, there’s a bit of reportage from Mujib Mashal in Afghanistan on the trail of a Taliban chieftain, and the Taliban’s resilience, thanks largely to our tone deafness, politically and militarily, in that region.

All the above, built around the centerpiece (the grander bit of irony) of this issue, a long-winded piece on learning how to be a modern-day servant for the nation’s rich. And so what’s a job seeker to do these days, if she can’t work for “the man,” either in his home or workplace. Now you’re beginning to see the roots of rage on both ends of the political spectrum.

 

As always, there’s more in this issue. Always more.

 

 

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