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John Simkin

Best Democratic System

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I have known one democratic form and it is that of the United States. I am a big fan. We are a democracy and we hold the power over our government. We have guaranteed liberties and the tools to defend those liberties.

Our opulence has bred contentment and an abrogation of some of our democratic powers, but I see no stronger example of democracy from afar and I am loathe to trade my democracy with any other. Especially not Stalin's USSR. :blink:

Having personally observed many other forms of government, as well as variations on the "democratic" concept, it is not that difficult to recognize many of the flaws in our system.

However, the advantages, by far, exceed the flaws, and in that regard, I do not wish to reside elsewhere.

For those of us who are old enough to recall how flawed the system was during the 50's/60's, those of you who are younger have inherited a far better system.

More complex---yes! Nevertheless, the rise from the poor class to middle-class & upper middle-class has been tremendous.

And the social programs for the elderly, as well as the poor, have increased dramatically.

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Can't answer this, but wasn't it Socrates who said democracy may only mean that 51% of people are wrong?

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For those of us who are old enough to recall how flawed the system was during the 50's/60's, those of you who are younger have inherited a far better system. More complex---yes! Nevertheless, the rise from the poor class to middle-class & upper middle-class has been tremendous. And the social programs for the elderly, as well as the poor, have increased dramatically.

The facts do not support this view of the United States. Before Bush took office America had the highest percentage of people living in poverty in the developed world. As a result of the changes he has made to the tax system, 12.7% now live in poverty. In other words, an increase of over 5.4 million people.

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For those of us who are old enough to recall how flawed the system was during the 50's/60's, those of you who are younger have inherited a far better system. More complex---yes! Nevertheless, the rise from the poor class to middle-class & upper middle-class has been tremendous. And the social programs for the elderly, as well as the poor, have increased dramatically.

The facts do not support this view of the United States. Before Bush took office America had the highest percentage of people living in poverty in the developed world. As a result of the changes he has made to the tax system, 12.7% now live in poverty. In other words, an increase of over 5.4 million people.

And, I am quite certain that many will read this "statement of fact" without benefit of checking ALL of the facts for themselves.

Anyone can play numbers games with statistics. Political figures who desire to misrepresent, have done so for years.

Therefore, one should take a look at the "extenuating" circumstances of these facts.

1. Population Growth:

a. The US is rated as having the highest population growth rates of any industrialized country in the world, with a current growth rate of 3.2 million people each year.

b. From the year 2000, to the current date, the US Population has increased by slightly in excess of 16 million persons, which represents an increase of 5.7% in the population.

b. This high rate of population growth rate is attributed to two factors: (1). An average fertility rate which is by far above most other industrilized nations.

(2). A continued high immigration rate.

The fertility rate for the US is currently calculated as being 2.1335 births per woman, which is the highest rate since 1971.

By comparison, The United Kingdom rate is: 1.7 births/Canada's rate is: 1.4 births/ and Germany's rate is: 1.3 births.

Immigration adds in excess of 1 million people to the U.S. population annually. This 1 million immigrants, combined with the increase in fertility/birth rate, contributes approximately the 3.2 million persons per year to the population growth.

Current population of the US is estimated at 297, 466, 770 persons, of which, over the past five years, (2000 through 2005), 5 million persons have been immigrants from foreign countries. (of which not too many fall above the poverty line).

Without this immigration, population would be 292, 466, 770.

With this, it is simple to see that population growth by immigrants alone, over the period of the past five years, comes to 1.68%.

Now, one could assume that all of these immigrants are in fact millionaires who chose to come to the US merely to spend their capital. However, the reality of this is the simple fact that most of these persons are at the bottom of the economic ladder, and have a language barrier which severely inhibits their ability for economic/financial growth.

Therefore, were one to attempt to demonstrate all aspects of the US "poverty" level and jobless rate, then one must also take into consideration the population increase which is not even attributable to our own high reproductive rate.

Between the years 1990 to the year 2000, the total number of "foreign born" population in the US reached 31.1 million persons, which represents a 57% increase since 1990. Of which, approximately 8 million persons are here illegally, and again representing a 4.5 million person increase in population since 1990.

During the period of 1990 to 2000, 61% of the population growth in the United States was attributed to immigrants who had arrived in the US after 1990.

Overall count indicates that 3% of the population growth of the US population , for the period 2000 through 2005, is directly attributable to immigration.

Therefore, the "poverty" figures which you present, also include this 3% population increase which is directly attributable to immigration alone.

Which by the way, equates to approximately 7.29 million persons who have arrived in the US by immigration since 2000. In event that the poverty level increased by only 5.4 million persons during this same period, then it would appear that the US brought up the standard of living of not only a considerable number of it's non-immigrant population, but it would appear that approximately 1.89 million of these immigrants also managed to secure employment above the "poverty" level.

With these simple facts, one can derive that there is little difficulty in the US taking virtual complete control of it's "Poverty Level" problems.

1. Immediately deport the excess of 4.5 million immigrants (2000 estimates) who are in this country illegally and arrived during the period 1990 to 2000. To include their US born children. (who by the way are included/estimated during census taking, and bring the total estimate to approximately 7 million) Then, immediately deport the pro-rata share of their contribution to the population increase of this country.

Current figures estimate that the rate of illegal immigration into the US has reached over 300,000 persons per year.

Therefore, from 2000 to 2005, the US has had a population increase of 1.5 million in illegal immigrants alone.

And, with the new immigrant population accounting for 61 percent of the fertility/birth rate in the US population, then the growth in population as well as increase in those below the "poverty level" will decrease dramatically when all of these "non-citizens" are returned to their country of origin.

________________________________________________________________________________

_________

Elderly mortality rate & Income levels.

The United States currently has approximately 12% of it's population as being age 65 and over.

Increased medical care for the elderly continues to increase the life span of those in the US who were born in the early years of the Social Security system.

Many of those current retirees, as well as those of the WWII years who are approaching retirement, worked in jobs which had no retirement plans. Therefore, these persons are limited by their retirement income to the Social Security System, which places them well within the ranges of being below the "poverty level".

The "Poverty Level" of income, as defined, merely represents that income which the individual receives as a result of employment and/or retirement.

Nowhere within this classification is the amount of federal assistance monies added in for consideration.

Therefore, the value of foodstamps provided, are not a portion of this reportable income level.

Therefore, the value of free medical care provided is not a portion of this reportable income level.

Therefore, the value of any free "Grant" programs for self-imporvement/education, are not a portion of this reportable income level.

Therefore, the cost of partial-payment of medical care is not included in as a portion of this reportable income level.

Therefore, the cost of free-paid child care is not a portion of this reportable income level.

Therefore, the cost of either free, or subsidized housing cost are not a portion of this reportable income level.

In the year 2000, the poverty level for a single individual was rated at an income of $8,350.00 per year for a single individual.

Again, this does not take into consideration any of the above stated free or subsidized assistance provided.

For the year 2005, the poverty level of income had been increased to $9,570.00 per year.

This represents an increase of 14.61 percent for the dollar amount amount of increase during the reporting period, or an average increase of 2.922 percent increase per year, and also represents the approximately 3% per year increase in social security benefit payments made to recepients.

Therefore, one could effective state that the elderly, who are at the bottom of the scale on the poverty level, have not, and can not change their status quo.

And, as the numbers of the elderly increase due to better medical and health care, so will the amount of those who are at or below the poverty level increase.

This however does not mean that they are being "denied" those benefits necessary to maintain an adequate standard of living.

With the added increase in life span of the elderly, added to the population growth in the US which is directly attributable to legal, as well as illegal immigration, the US economy has continued to provide job opportunities to those who seek to work.

Might I recommend that anyone who doubts this, take the time to pick up any newspaper from any city in the United States, and thereafter read the "Employment" adds.

There is no shortage of "jobs" in the United States.

Personally, I am aware of many individuals who expect that they should be able to get a job/position at $25.00 per hour, with little or no education, experience, or training.

And, since they obviously are not likely to find such employment, they continue to live off of the remainder of society, as well as their parents.

Personally, I have attempted to secure high-school kids to assist me in (part-time) manual-labor/fence installation, such as digging post holes, setting posts, stringing wire, etc;,

The majority of these "American" kids are of the opinion that they should be paid $10 to $12 per hour to perform such manual labor.

This, in most cases, is far above even the "Union Scale" for full time labor force.

There is apparantly a shortage of persons in this country who are willing to work, therefore, the immigrants who come to this country and do not expect that they are supposed to immediately make enough money to live in a 5-bedroom home and have several vehicles, have little problem in finding these jobs.

There is also a shortage of those who accept the fact that in order to qualify for many of these jobs, one should expend the efforts to acquire either an acadamic or technical education.

There are FREE training programs for virtually every elligible person who falls below designated levels of income.

There is free college and educational programs for the same persons.

That a given amount of the society of this country has no motivation to take advantage of these programs for their own, as well as their children's self-betterment, is the primary reason that those from underpriviliged nations are standing in line, or else sneaking under the fence to get into this country.

They are seeking the opportunity for self-betterment for themselves and their families, and they are not afraid of "work" in order to accomplish this.

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For those of us who are old enough to recall how flawed the system was during the 50's/60's, those of you who are younger have inherited a far better system. More complex---yes! Nevertheless, the rise from the poor class to middle-class & upper middle-class has been tremendous. And the social programs for the elderly, as well as the poor, have increased dramatically.

The facts do not support this view of the United States. Before Bush took office America had the highest percentage of people living in poverty in the developed world. As a result of the changes he has made to the tax system, 12.7% now live in poverty. In other words, an increase of over 5.4 million people.

Anyone can play numbers games with statistics. Political figures who desire to misrepresent, have done so for years.

Therefore, one should take a look at the "extenuating" circumstances of these facts.

1. Population Growth:

a. The US is rated as having the highest population growth rates of any industrialized country in the world, with a current growth rate of 3.2 million people each year.

b. From the year 2000, to the current date, the US Population has increased by slightly in excess of 16 million persons, which represents an increase of 5.7% in the population.

b. This high rate of population growth rate is attributed to two factors: (1). An average fertility rate which is by far above most other industrilized nations.

(2). A continued high immigration rate.

The fertility rate for the US is currently calculated as being 2.1335 births per woman, which is the highest rate since 1971.

By comparison, The United Kingdom rate is: 1.7 births/Canada's rate is: 1.4 births/ and Germany's rate is: 1.3 births.

Immigration adds in excess of 1 million people to the U.S. population annually. This 1 million immigrants, combined with the increase in fertility/birth rate, contributes approximately the 3.2 million persons per year to the population growth.

For someone who doubts the validity of statistics you seem to use a lot of them. Studies of poverty in the United States show that it has very little to do with immigration. The real problem is one of race. Only 8% of people living under the poverty line are white. However, 25% of African Americans fall into that category. They are of course not recent immigrants. They were brought into America as slaves hundreds of years ago. Although they got their freedom after the American Civil War they had to wait until the 1960s until they got full voting rights. The system continued to discriminate against them and therefore this is the main reason why you have a higher percentage of people living below the poverty line than any other developed nation in the world. The consequences of Hurricane Katerina recently showed the world that the United States is a third world country when it comes to looking after its low-income citizens.

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For those of us who are old enough to recall how flawed the system was during the 50's/60's, those of you who are younger have inherited a far better system. More complex---yes! Nevertheless, the rise from the poor class to middle-class & upper middle-class has been tremendous. And the social programs for the elderly, as well as the poor, have increased dramatically.

The facts do not support this view of the United States. Before Bush took office America had the highest percentage of people living in poverty in the developed world. As a result of the changes he has made to the tax system, 12.7% now live in poverty. In other words, an increase of over 5.4 million people.

Anyone can play numbers games with statistics. Political figures who desire to misrepresent, have done so for years.

Therefore, one should take a look at the "extenuating" circumstances of these facts.

1. Population Growth:

a. The US is rated as having the highest population growth rates of any industrialized country in the world, with a current growth rate of 3.2 million people each year.

b. From the year 2000, to the current date, the US Population has increased by slightly in excess of 16 million persons, which represents an increase of 5.7% in the population.

b. This high rate of population growth rate is attributed to two factors: (1). An average fertility rate which is by far above most other industrilized nations.

(2). A continued high immigration rate.

The fertility rate for the US is currently calculated as being 2.1335 births per woman, which is the highest rate since 1971.

By comparison, The United Kingdom rate is: 1.7 births/Canada's rate is: 1.4 births/ and Germany's rate is: 1.3 births.

Immigration adds in excess of 1 million people to the U.S. population annually. This 1 million immigrants, combined with the increase in fertility/birth rate, contributes approximately the 3.2 million persons per year to the population growth.

For someone who doubts the validity of statistics you seem to use a lot of them. Studies of poverty in the United States show that it has very little to do with immigration. The real problem is one of race. Only 8% of people living under the poverty line are white. However, 25% of African Americans fall into that category. They are of course not recent immigrants. They were brought into America as slaves hundreds of years ago. Although they got their freedom after the American Civil War they had to wait until the 1960s until they got full voting rights. The system continued to discriminate against them and therefore this is the main reason why you have a higher percentage of people living below the poverty line than any other developed nation in the world. The consequences of Hurricane Katerina recently showed the world that the United States is a third world country when it comes to looking after its low-income citizens.

Quite to the contrary, as a resident, who has lived in over 30 of the States within this Union, it is not difficult to observe where the poverty lies.

And, as you have stated, it is not the immigrants, as they come to this country to better themselves and their families lives. Each day, these persons can be seen taking those "low income" jobs which most americans have determined are "below" their dignity to do.

The reference to discriminatory practices in the US until the 60's, certainly holds true for the Confederate South, and to a limited extent in the North.

However, much of the North/Northern States did not fall within this category, and even mustered entire units of black soldiers to fight for the Northern Cause.

Were Washington, DC; Detroit, Michigan; or Chicago, Il, to have a flood similar to that of New Orleans, then you would observe a quite similiar circumstance as was witnessed during Katrina.

And, since a great majority of the black families of these regions resided there prior to the civil war, then one must take into consideration other aspects than the "rights" issue as well as slavery.

Just as one must take into consideration the issue of the Native American Indian, of whom many reside in the same poverty conditions.

These citizens of the US, are also citizens of a recognized separate nation which has it's own Tribal Government, of which the US Government has absolutely no say.

Nevertheless, a large majority of the Native American Population of the US continues to live below the "Poverty level" of income.

The doors to opportunity for self-improvement/betterment for the black race of citizens in the United States

was, by the mid-1970's, fully opened.

Nevertheless, the "statistics" demonstrate fully, the continued failure of many of these persons to take advantage of this opportunity.

WHY?

Because, not unlike the Native American/American Indian, we are speaking of a social culture change.

And, not unlike attempting to change the discrimination and prejudice of the Deep South, which is in fact a social/cultural ideology, changing the social/cultural ideology of the Black Americans, or the Native Americans is a long drawn out process.

One can pass all of the laws they wish, and expend as much monies as can be gained. And, one will not change a social/cultural order.

It takes many, many years.

Herein lies many of the same problems of the Middle East, as well as the conflicts of the former Soviet Union Satellite States/Bosnia, etc;.

This is the primary reason why the Shah of Iran was finally overthrown. Yes, he was a dictator. However, he attempted social change far too rapidly for the Iranian population to accept it. Therefore, the "Fundamentalist" religious leader managed to unite most of the population against the regime.

By comparison, few persons appear to understand the system of Government of the United States, in which each of the 50 States is in fact it's own "Soverign" entity.

The battles over the "rights" of the individual state, as compared to the Federal Government, is, and will continue to generate employment for many lawyers.

Did the State of Louisiana, who had received and expended millions of dollars of Federal Tax Dollars for all varieties of Emergency Preparedness, completely fail?-----The answer is an obvious yes.

Therefore, when the State had completely failed to meet the requirements to it's citizenship, it thereafter became the jurisdiction of the US Government to do so.

And, even with this, it could not be done without a Federal Occupation Order, which, due to the same type order during the Civil War, would have created another "Seccessionist" movement in the State of Louisiana.

Lastly, you continue to equate "low income" with some imaginary idea that this also represents low standard of living.

The great majority of these "low income" citizens to which you refer, have a standard of living which by far, exceeds those "high income" standards of much of your other developed nations.

A "low income" person can qualify for a 3 to four bedroom home, complete with all of those luxery items. And, these homes are offered at prices which are approximately one-third of what the non-low income person can acquire the same property.

Many of these reportedly "low income" persons, in fact, make more money than do middle-class america.

They generate these funds through "cash"/unreported activities in which there is none of the funds reported as having been received.

I suspect that you have never heard of the "underground" economy which operates in this country, of which many of these "low income" persons generate unreported funds for themselves into the billions of dollars.

In fact, New Orleans and the surrounding areas are quite "famous" for persons who turn down relatively good paying jobs, as the wages/salary must be reported, and this would cease their various welfare receipts.

Many times, they will offer to work, however, only for unreported "cash".

Last time I was there, virtually every parking garage attendent in the French Quarter area worked in this manner.

Therefore, not only was his "cash/unreported" wages received, so was any "tip" monies.

New Orleans, LA and surrounding area has one of the largest "Underground" economies in the United States.

Few of those who work in the seafood industry (privately owned shrimp boats; pogey boats; crab boats; etc,) will even work unless it is on a "cash only"/ unreported income basis.

Despite what you may think, many of these "low income" persons, earn as much as $30,000.00 per year.

And, draw against the various welfare/assistance programs as well.

Perhaps, were you to come over, and spend a few years in this culture, you just may modify your stance on the terrible injustices of the American System.

Perhaps a review of some of the Katrina newsreels would help, as one should ask exactly how it was that all of these "low income" citizens managed to live in those flooded 3 to 5 bedroom homes with two to three vehicles parked in the front yard.

Tom

Edited by Thomas H. Purvis

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'Realpolitik' has always played a large role in Sweden's attitude to wars. In the 17th century, when Sweden had a technological advantage over her neighbours (better cannons and tactics about using artillery), Swedish armies often attacked the Poles and Germans - mostly in the name of killing Catholics.

Just to pick up on David's point about 'Realpolitik', I wonder how many school leavers in the UK (or elsewhere) would understand the term?

About 20 years ago, the political history of Eupope 1870-1945 was one of the main history syllabuses in the UK, and large numbers of pupils learned about Bismarck's Germany and about the concept of 'Realpolitik'. This is no longer the case and I suspect that 'Realpolitik' is no longer a concept which receives a great deal of attention. This is unfortunate as it limits young people's understanding of international relations. They listen to politicians such as Bush and Blair talking of a world of good and evil, 'goodies and baddies' as if it the political world was like an old fashioned western. This is not to suggest a position of moral relativism, but to argue that this gives people a simplistic view of why 'stuff happens'. Part of what history should teach people is that in a world of sovereign states, the powerful ones will try and get their own way and secure the biggest possible share of advantageous territory, resources etc. This has always been the case, from Rome, through the British Empire to the American Empire. Sometimes moral reasons come into it to some extent (perhaps opposition to the Nazis in WW2 was an example of this) but geopolitics and realpolitik also generally comes into decisions.

An interesting analogy round about the time of 9/11 was made by Salman Rushdie, who pointed out that 2 big movies wer on the market at the time. One was based on part of the Lord of the Rings Cycle, and was about 'goodies and baddies', the other was 'Gangs of New York' ('It's about power, stupid').

Two interesting resources in this area, Adam Curtis's recent documentaries 'The Century of the Self' and 'The power of nightmares', which show how governments learned to manipulate the masses.

Jefferson argued that democracy would only be a good thing if it went with an educated population. Giving young people a good historical education which includes elements of information and media literacy is part of this.

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This is a good point, David. I think we history teachers must, in part, bear the blame to the change. We've moved, I think, too much towards a sort of "pick-and-mix" approach to history whereby students study a series of separated and unconnected "topics" which leaves little room for the broad flow of history and for chronlogy and long-term cause and effect. I remember reading a thread on the History Teachers' Forum in which teachers told the topics they taught. It very much seemed that beyond the age of about 14 or 15, students studied only 20th Century history which, possibly, an isolated and unsupported topic on "Black People in the Americas", "Jack the Ripper", or "Plains Indians" thrown in to the mix.

Elsewhere, there was discussion of the Enlightenment recently. I reckon there won't be many students with any background knowledge about this, or about Hobbes and Locke...

I fear that the IB is currently also falling in with this trend in their new curriculum review. It would be nice to be able to say that these deficiencies could be blamed on faceless educational bureaucrats, but I'm afraid that the impulse comes, all too often, from teachers themselves.

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This is a good point, David. I think we history teachers must, in part, bear the blame to the change. We've moved, I think, too much towards a sort of "pick-and-mix" approach to history whereby students study a series of separated and unconnected "topics" which leaves little room for the broad flow of history and for chronlogy and long-term cause and effect. I remember reading a thread on the History Teachers' Forum in which teachers told the topics they taught. It very much seemed that beyond the age of about 14 or 15, students studied only 20th Century history which, possibly, an isolated and unsupported topic on "Black People in the Americas", "Jack the Ripper", or "Plains Indians" thrown in to the mix.

Elsewhere, there was discussion of the Enlightenment recently. I reckon there won't be many students with any background knowledge about this, or about Hobbes and Locke...

I fear that the IB is currently also falling in with this trend in their new curriculum review. It would be nice to be able to say that these deficiencies could be blamed on faceless educational bureaucrats, but I'm afraid that the impulse comes, all too often, from teachers themselves.

Just a thought on this. With regards to origins of education philosophy or method.

In our modern consumer society it is of interest to structures (companies, revenue dependent gov. departments etc) that money circulates.

1. One story a friend of mine told me about a stay in Japan teaching English has intigued me for some time. She told me that after three years or so as a matter of course house hold goods are put out on the kerb for rubbish removal, perfectly functioning VCR's TV's etc are thrown away in order to make room for the latest.

2. How many people can focus for longer than say the time between ads on telly, or at a stretch, with interruptions for longer than say a movie? Particularly if whatever is presented is 'boring'?

The person who is chasing the latest feel connected product (movie, shoe, news topic) and is trained to focus on shorter and sherter time grabs plus throw in a bit of dumbing down education. Presto : the perfect consumer?

Is it possible to look back and see an origin in fractured education that correlates with a rise of modern consumer society?

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This is a good point, David. I think we history teachers must, in part, bear the blame to the change. We've moved, I think, too much towards a sort of "pick-and-mix" approach to history whereby students study a series of separated and unconnected "topics" which leaves little room for the broad flow of history and for chronlogy and long-term cause and effect. I remember reading a thread on the History Teachers' Forum in which teachers told the topics they taught. It very much seemed that beyond the age of about 14 or 15, students studied only 20th Century history which, possibly, an isolated and unsupported topic on "Black People in the Americas", "Jack the Ripper", or "Plains Indians" thrown in to the mix.

Elsewhere, there was discussion of the Enlightenment recently. I reckon there won't be many students with any background knowledge about this, or about Hobbes and Locke...

I fear that the IB is currently also falling in with this trend in their new curriculum review. It would be nice to be able to say that these deficiencies could be blamed on faceless educational bureaucrats, but I'm afraid that the impulse comes, all too often, from teachers themselves.

The "shift" in consumer philosophy can be observed in the US economy as beginning after WWI, and then plunging head-on into debt after WWII.

"Old" american philosophy revolved around the old sayings of "A debtor never be"; "A penny saved is a penny earned"; etc.

This helped to foster an american culture which was against going into debt, and therefore purchased and acquired property "only" when adequate monies had been acquired and saved to do so.

In this regards, my grandfather never (on my father's side) never acquired land, nor did he actually construct and own a home until he was elderly and could therefore afford to pay for it.

Of course, "Corporate America" fully loved this concept as it had long ago learned that the only way to acquire large assets was to borrow and acquire with borrowed (someone else's money) funds.

This "avoid debt" philosophy also kept down the competetition to big business as they had little to worry about from the average american who was against going into debt.

Of course, this lack of going into debt also somewhat threw water onto the economic fire/engine which drives the economy of this country.

This in turn, required a "re-education of the masses" in that the society now had to change old ideas as regards debt.

The "new" philosophy being "buy now, pay later" concept which allows americans to continue to rack up billions of dollars in debt to keep the economic fires fueled.

When everyone had pretty well "maxed" out their debt capability with "secured loans" in which some form of property was offered as colateral (homes; cars; boats; etc; etc), and the economic fires began to dwindle, problems arose.

The banking laws, which were of course to the benefit of the wealthy, prevented the banks from making "loans" without sufficient colateral or financial stability.

What to do????, to continue the fuel the economic fires.

Invent "Credit Cards", which are in fact a form of "Bank Debt", but without the requirement of securing a loan or placing any form of collateral against the debt.

The banks get to charge extremely high interest rates on these unsecured debts, due to the amount of debt which goes "unpaid" through bankruptcy, etc.

Obviously, the economic "re-education" of american society to spend; spend; spend;, is virtually complete, as one can observe the dollar amount of credit card (unsecured debt) on which the average american household is carrying.

Just a thought on this. With regards to origins of education philosophy or method.

In our modern consumer society it is of interest to structures (companies, revenue dependent gov. departments etc) that money circulates.

1. One story a friend of mine told me about a stay in Japan teaching English has intigued me for some time. She told me that after three years or so as a matter of course house hold goods are put out on the kerb for rubbish removal, perfectly functioning VCR's TV's etc are thrown away in order to make room for the latest.

2. How many people can focus for longer than say the time between ads on telly, or at a stretch, with interruptions for longer than say a movie? Particularly if whatever is presented is 'boring'?

The person who is chasing the latest feel connected product (movie, shoe, news topic) and is trained to focus on shorter and sherter time grabs plus throw in a bit of dumbing down education. Presto : the perfect consumer?

Is it possible to look back and see an origin in fractured education that correlates with a rise of modern consumer society?

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