Showing posts from May, 2004
In "Wealth and Democracy", I am reading a chapter titled "The World is Our Oyster". I am reading about the 3 preceding international wealth powers leading up to the current dominance of the United States. They are, in reverse chronological order, Britain, The Netherlands and Spain. Phillips outlines parallels between the situations that these countries found themselves in during their rise and fall of economic power, and similar situations in the United States over the past fifty years. The most relevant example is of Britain, if only because the parallels are so striking, but also because this is the example that is least aged. Some of the parallels that Phillips elaborates upon are:

1) The growing dependence and direction of the economy on finance.
2) The growing disparity between the very rich and the middle class.
3) The increase of women in the workplace, to support the status quo lifestyle that the middle class was used to.
4) The noticeable increase in …
I am currently reading Kevin Phillips' book "Wealth and Democracy". Phillips is a former Republican strategist that has become unenchanted with the recent Republican economic ideology and policy.

I am in the part of the book that is describing the wealth dynamics of the early 21st century, and some of the forces that have shaped the current wealth distrobution. Clearly, drawing on statistics from a variety of sources, Phillips shows how the disparity between rich and poor is now larger than it has ever been in our country. Wealth concentration has congealed at the upper echelons of our society, in contrast to the relative equality in the post WWII years.

I am trying to read the book closely. It is a difficult read, given all of the economic, financial and statistical terms. Reading the book has led me to the thought that a mastery of financial knowledge could lead to richness. I'm sure that this is not what Phillips intended, and it is not something that I …
The story of abuse of Iraqi prisoners of war has been dominating the news for the past week. Everyone is expressing shock and outrage. While I am outraged that this behavior occured, I am not shocked. Abuse of captives is one of the ugly aspects of war. Young men and women thrust into stressful combat situations, having their illusions of the romanticism of war shattered, can hardly be expected to always act with moral rightousness. I am always bothered when I hear the troops, in general, referred to as heroic. Certainly, some of the troops act in a heroic fashion. Maybe the majority of them do. However, other troops are far from heroic, as exemplified by the abuse episode. War seems to bring out the best of the good, and the worst of the bad. The underlying character of each individual soldier reveals itself in heat of battle. We see those soldiers that are willing to give their lives for their comrades, and we see soldiers that shoot at innocent civilians and abuse prison…