Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Forgotten Things

I was talking to a friend of mine, Frater Servitor Lucem, in IMs a few minutes ago. We got to talking about the coming Depression, the economy in general, and what to excpect. Along the way, he gave me a brief history of the things that have happened since the last Depression. These are important things to know. He lived through it, as his mother and grandmother immigrated to the US in the 1930's and he grew up knowing what had happened. I'm younger than he is, and most of my friends have the same general understanding of history I do, I suspect. Chances are you know all this, but here is the brief overview of what happened that lead us where we are today.

And this is important to you magicians that seek to become members of the Invisible College. Our role in this world is to take notice of these things. You may not feel called on to do anything about this with your spiritual resources, but I am.

His comments begin below:

See, when the Depression was underway, there were also Commies. The rich people were really afraid of the Commies, because the Commies had a nasty habit of killing the people they took over from.

So, the New Deal came about. Not because the rich people were being so nice about things, but because they were afraid they might die. Communism was seen as a really serious threat. Nazism was, in part, a reaction against the Communist threat. Democracy was in some big trouble in the '30's. People seriously wondered whether it had a future.

So, the New Deal made for some social re-engineering that helped people along, but mostly because people who have nothing to lose, and know it, are extremely dangerous.

Enter the Second World War, and things really heat up.

Democracy pretty much successfully defends itself against the Fascists, but only at the cost of allying with the dreaded Commies. Afterwards, the Cold War was the big showdown between Communism and Capitalism. Both systems are more or less bankrupt in many of the same areas, but capitalists have more wealth, and provide better incentives.

Besides, what we had in the West wasn't at all pure Capitalism, anyway. There was a strong Socialist streak left over from the New Deal. More equitable distribution of wealth led to enormous overall wealth in the West. So much so that we were able to bail Western Europe out of certain death by starvation.

However, after a few decades, the rich, once again, became tired of sharing, and started to take back what the New Deal had given the rest of us. And when Communism finally gave up the ghost, they said, "Hey, don't like what we're about? Tough shit, where are you gonna go?" And they took away all the restrictions that had been put in place to prevent another depression.

And they took back a lot of the social programs that came out of the New Deal, and bankrupted the rest (like Social Security).
And here we are.
Pretty much where we were in 1929.
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