Liberals Can’t Read Graphs, Part 3

This research is exceedingly important. Yet, despite its overall quality and its stratospheric academic origins, it suffers from the de rigueur graphical illiteracy of modern liberalism.

Here is how the authors describe their findings in their own Executive Summary:

Wealth concentration has followed a U-shaped evolution over the last 100 years: It was high in the beginning of the twentieth century, fell from 1929 to 1978, and has continuously increased since then.

Here, meanwhile, is the author’s graph showing the wealth share of the richest 0.1% (one-tenth of one percent) of U.S. households:

Wealth Shares graph
click image for larger view

“Fell from 1929 to 1978” is an extremely peculiar way of describing the movement of that line over those years. As any child can see, the line has two declines — a minor one from 1968 to 1978, and the only major one from, of course, from 1932 to 1949, years when corporate capitalism was first dying and then under public command. From 1949 to 1968, the line is entirely flat, meaning that the richest 0.1% was maintaining its customary share of (rapidly expanding) wealth.

To conclude, as the authors do, that “there was a substantial democratisation of wealth from the Great Depression to the late 1970s” is profoundly crude, if not intentionally misleading. The supposed golden years of welfare state liberalism were exactly 1949 through 1968. But, as these authors themselves show but cannot acknowledge, wealth was not democratized one iota over that stretch!

The plain fact is that, under corporate capitalism, only systemic crisis and/or public anti-capitalist intervention ever democratize wealth. That simple fact, of course, is publicly unmentionable in our market totalitarian society, organized as it is around the thesis that the rich can never be rich enough.

Toupee History

ken_burns_headshot_a_p I peeped in on the (Purportedly) Public Broadcasting System’s television offerings tonight. Here, one offering was a preview (!) of Ken Burns’ “The Roosevelts.” Not only was there no mention of either Teddy’s rank imperialism or the existence and lovely works of Kermit, but the Great Burns, he who passes his 8th Grade filmstrips off for high intellectual understanding of this somehow both teenaged and decrepit empire, professed that he’d been (pun intended) burning to make this new ditty for 30 years because the Roosevelts “are the most influential family in American history.”

There you have it. In mainstream thought, family is the largest possible sociological factor. The Civil War? A bunch of families who disagreed.

Capitalism? What’s that?

Ken’s critter-over is pretty shocking for somebody who claims to care about reality. But, then again, he knows who butters his (another pun) Burnt bread, doesn’t he?

Put a rug on it.

More on Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens seems to be in very big health trouble.  He is not a complete wipe-out, despite his crazed support for recent US wars.

But, unless it’s very late and very surprising, he isn’t going to recant his great and obvious mistake.

Dig it:

“The pattern and origin of all dictatorship is the surrender of reason to absolutism and the abandonment of critical, objective inquiry.”

That’s what CH says to atheists, whom he seems to be grooming as his legacy.  One trusts that CH also remembers a bit about levels of abstraction and logic.  Does CH still apply what he claims to be incontrovertible about God to human affairs?

If so, he still has some ‘splainin’ to do.

Does the USA Really Have Public Broadcasting?

pbs anchors
"Anchors," indeed!

One look at PBS or listen to NPR screams the answer.  There are corporate sponsors on which the “public” endeavors are made to rely.  These sponsors run ads in the “public” media they sponsor.  In a nation of immense class and race polarity, where illegal wars, the world’s highest incarceration rate, and mass unemployment never end, we get Antiques Road Show and Nightly Business Report and the stuffedest of stuffed shirts mimicking corporate TV news on the one and only “public” television network?

In any event, the obviousness doesn’t mean there aren’t reasons to analyze the beast’s behaviors.

Toward that end, take a look at this from FAIR.