More Blue model Blue Growth

Saw an op-ed in the Indy Star that started out asking what Romney would say to a police group about explaining why we don’t need more police on the beat.

Juxtaposed with an article elsewhere pointing out that violent crime is at a 40 year low after a significant reduction for the last however many years and that even none violent crime is decreasing.  And this during a recession!

An argument can be made that this is because there are more police and more prison cells than ever before.  Or it could be because police patrolling practices with focus on trouble spots and keeping feet on the street are inherently more effective than the blanket patrol car and large precinct office staff model that preceded it.

However given that most police forces are unreconstructed and there are vast opportunities for more effective use of the people on hand, the need for more police is to me; at least unclear and possibly even preposterous.  As WRMead at ViaMeadia might say this is just more Blue model thinking, pressing for more Blue model growth.

Given that historically locking thugs up just opened niche for other predators to move in, it’s more likely that video games are absorbing a lot of youth time that used to be spent getting into trouble.  And its harder to make crime pay these days unless you have to be savvy, connected and have the gear to do it right or you get no payday.  And with the prevalence of violence in the criminal strata, it seems to me that the number of fools willing to take up the life has to be somewhat limited.

The biggest concern that I have is that a permanent criminal culture could develop, one that is all but self-sustaining, like the preceding and overlapping welfare culture.  This culture is so isolated from the larger american society that its members do not see themselves as having an interest in or path into the society at large because its alien and in some senses very cold and unfeeling.  In the criminal culture life may be ugly and short but it may also be very much focused on immediate gratification and the id of the young men who are its principal actors.

 

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Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt

Winston Churchill:

 Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.

Theodore Roosevelt:

The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.

Go have a look at other interesting quotes: BrainyQuote

Two men, great men many will say, and with great flaws.  But were those flaws…Bugs or just Features…in the time and society they existed in?

Looking backwards without the right perspective can distort more than it can clarify.  Just like the too common view today that Christians have been crushing the poor Muslims ever since the Crusades.  When in fact the Crusades were a rather haphazard and ultimately futile attempt to defend the Christian majority who had lived in the middle east since Roman times. Christians who were being conquered and subjugated by the (at the time) newly minted religion of Islam and the expanding empire it formed the basis of.  It was Christian Europe (with all its faults) and probably modern civilization that was under threat, not the Moslems.

Blue Model and it’s replacement…better not less

Walter Russell Mead at his usual level of clear thinking:

As good quality education and health care become more expensive, it becomes harder for society to provide these goods to those who cannot provide them out of their own earnings. The development of a good $10,000 bachelor program would do more for low and lower middle income families than doubling the size of all student loan programs. Generally speaking, anything that makes education cheaper and easier — shifting from a “time served” model to a skills learned model for awarding qualifications and degrees, breaking the guild monopolies through accreditation and other systems so that more institutions can compete in the market — will make society less blue, but make the poor better off.

Democracy is an Outcome not an Input….

In this months The American Interest is a fascinating perspective article that like any profoundly effective piece opens ones mind to a better way of thinking about a topic, in this case democracy and the ‘liberal societies.’   The Cultural Contradictions of Democracy    The main threats to democracy lie within liberal societies themselves. by Vladislav Inozemtsev

Its more of a monograph than an article, it’s talking to the reader about taking a different perspective on a whole classes of issues. In short as my title says Democracy historically emerges after life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have already emerged within a society not before.  Also he points out that liberal (in the old sense of societal and economic freedoms) societies emerged in homogenous and élite societies and then democracy was implemented to create a stable and responsive gov’t that would last.  Only later as the rule of law, freedom of speech and assembly, equality before the law, became ingrained, and the polis became generally literate and self-reliant did the right to vote become general.

But as the right to vote became general its strength became debased.  As the right to vote was given to many without a strong tie to the society it became more and more populist and a tool of those able to manipulate it.  

Some societies have developed that are quite ‘liberal’ in the old and robust meaning of the world without democracy (Singapore is one example.)

Many societies have developed democratic trappings but they are not at all liberal (Russia is one example)

Some societies have had democratic trappings dropped on them and then have started to tear themselves apart because there is no homogenous polis, (Iraq, many of the African states)

If you are at all interested in the topic read the article, its one of those pieces that opens the mind to a better perspective that might lead to insights of importance.  unfortunately its all too likely that the right people won’t get the message…

 

Historical Perspective and Narrative

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Walter Russell Mead’s blog serial Beyond Blue, currently at #5, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs (from which the pictures in this piece come) is a fascinating monograph putting the changes our society/economy is going through into perspective. Dr. Mead’s explanation goes back to the 19th century:

In the 19th century, government promoted the rise of the family farm, selling cheaply and ultimately giving away millions of acres of farmland, and promoting the rise of railroads (which could carry the produce of western farms to world markets). In the 20th century the government promoted the rise of large, stable corporate employers that offered armies of white and blue collar employees lifetime employment and a bevy of benefits.

And later this:

Currently, the American legal and regulatory system is set up to bind as many people to employers as possible. The government wants you to be a wage slave and sets up a regulatory framework that keeps as many of us as possible yoked to bosses and management. The IRS doesn’t like the self-employed, fearing they many conceal income. Banks and credit card companies view such people with suspicion, and it is notoriously difficult for start ups and part time enterprises to have access to formal finance. Many services are hard for the self-employed to get on terms like those made available to employees of large corporations: from health insurance to retirement planning, many things are harder and more expensive for the self-employed. The payroll tax system is brutal: the self-employed pay both the employer and employee halves of Social Security and Medicare taxes, almost 20 percent of income and likely to go higher. Many cities will tack on unincorporated business taxes, mass transit taxes, and other interesting feudal exactions and dues.

The gov’t used(s) the current ‘Blue Model’ in some senses as a social damping mechanism because it provides for a more hierarchical top down command system (of interest in the Cold War climate of the 50’s to80’s) while also providing a relatively efficient economy and outlets for frustration from the masses. This model has worked since the collapse of the 19th century model….the great depression…but itself is now becoming unstable/unaffordable in its turn because it requires too much command and control.

Too much how? Well now that a high percentage (all high value) workers have been amplified by basic literacy, information systems and other technology, they are capable of much more than the drudge work they used to perform at the command of a ‘supervisor’ and demand / need more autonomy. Many organizations accommodate and move on and up. Others keep the older structure or some bastardized version and sink into the muck. Companies that almost have to operate in the old mode because they deliver one sort of highly regulated good or another, get radically more expensive compared to near peers operating outside the penumbra of regulation and lose relevance and competitiveness at a steadily increasing speed. Look at the post office, once the epitome of efficiency.