Friday, April 18, 2014

Princeton Study: American Democracy Is Dead Already

I loved the hustle and bustle of Tokyo life. Economic opportunity for ex-pats now?

This is not surprising. A study just released shows that our democracy has died and is already being replaced by oligarchy. Who knew? Most voters don't, yet.

The most interesting -- or obvious -- fact is that it isn't a result of Citizens United or McCutcheon decisions, since the current situation has roots back to the beginning of the eighties.

I recall reading toward the end of the Reagan administration that 80% of the wealth created under his watch has gone to the wealthy, that a rising tide was not lifting all boats as had happened in previous expansions. I was angry with that, especially since I was in my thirties and felt that my opportunities were squeezed, and I had had to be quite crafty to get by. It turns out it wasn't just me. The money was even then not flowing to the middle class.

What was my reaction? I left for a few years in Japan, where they threw money at me. When I came home, I had, if not a fortune, at least enough money to have options. By the way, while I was in Japan, I met ex-pats from all over the English-speaking world (I spent most, but not all, of my time working in an English language school for Japanese), and all of them were there for very much the same reasons I had come: in search of opportunity that had eluded them at home. We were quite the crew, and some of my best memories are of my days in Japan.

That was just before the real-estate bubble popped in Japan, from which they have yet to truly emerge.

So, as I often do, I've personalized my take of what's happening in our culture. We're shaped by our experiences. So, if I had advice to the young today -- who've seen their opportunity shrink to very paltry levels -- it wouldn't be to go abroad in search of opportunity. It's quite sucky everywhere, at least in the young-adult employment area.

Sorry, kids. Stay home and fight the oligarchy. It's an uphill battle, and we'll need all the bodies -- and minds -- we can find.

Link to the Princeton study here.

I found more than economic opportunity in Tokyo... Wish I could recommend it now.

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