« Contractors and contractees | Main | Thought experiment »

Against progress

By Michael J. Smith on Wednesday January 5, 2011 11:05 PM

I'm getting very tired of “progressives”. In fact, I'm getting tired of the word itself, and the concept – not just the people, tiresome as they mostly are.

Partly, of course, it's the hypocrisy. “Progressive” is what liberals call themselves when they want to avoid the L-word. Nobody's against “progress,” right? But even other liberals don't like liberals.

My objection goes deeper than that, though. This “progress” we're all supposed to be for – what does it mean, intensionally? And what, concretely and extensionally, does it refer to? If we follow the path of progress, where will we be in ten years or so? Closer to... Sweden? And where will Sweden be, if it continues to “progress”? Or has Sweden shifted into reverse? Is it “regressing” now?

Back when I was studying linguistics, in the days of the early Cretaceous, there was much attention being paid to the implicit presuppositions of discourse. One thing that is clearly presupposed in this discourse of “progress” is the idea that there is a directionality in human history – a gradient at whose base lie chattel slavery, and human sacrifice, and disco. In 2011 we fortunate Teeners in “the West” – another concept that needs examining – find ourselves a bit upslope from this vale of tears, but the shining heights stretch on and on above us to... what, exactly? Is there a summit? Or does Progress just go excelsior! like the positive integers?

Well, never mind. The summit, if there is a summit, is veiled in clouds of glory. We don't need to know, exactly, what's up there. All we need to know is that the moral arc of human history consists in climbing that slope. And climb it we have.

Oh, we slip back from time to time. The Cro-Magnon Clinton years gave way to the recrudescent Neanderthalism of Bush. But it was only temporary – like the marble glory that was Greece giving way to the tawdry brick-and-cement oafish grandeur that was Rome. But still. Look at the big picture – the grand sweep – the bottom line! Hey, we don't burn widows any more!

It must be admitted that old Marx and Engels, for all their dialectical sophistication, fell into this callow way of speaking from time to time. There's that notorious swipe at the “lazy” Mexicans as opposed to the “progressive” Yankees, f'rinstance -- a passage which has been cited to me as evidence of Charlie and Fred's belief in “progress”.

The whole essay is well worth reading, as is just about everything either of those two irrepressibles ever wrote. The Mexican/Yankee thing is a rhetorical flourish in an attack on Bakunin's Pan-Slavism and its essentially moralistic underpinnings. Here beginneth the Gospel:

"Justice", "humanity", "freedom", "equality", "fraternity", "independence" - so far we have found nothing in the pan-Slavist manifesto but these more or less ethical categories, which sound very fine, it is true, but prove absolutely nothing in historical and political questions.…

Just a word about "universal fraternal union of peoples" and the drawing of "boundaries established by the sovereign will of the peoples themselves on the basis of their national characteristics". The United States and Mexico are two republics, in both of which the people is sovereign.

How did it happen that over Texas a war broke out between these two republics, which, according to the moral theory, ought to have been "fraternally united" and "federated", and that, owing to "geographical, commercial and strategical necessities", the "sovereign will" of the American people, supported by the bravery of the American volunteers, shifted the boundaries drawn by nature some hundreds of miles further south?

[W]ill Bakunin accuse the Americans of a "war of conquest", which, although it deals with a severe blow to his theory based on "justice and humanity", was nevertheless waged wholly and solely in the interest of civilization? Or is it perhaps unfortunate that splendid California has been taken away from the lazy Mexicans, who could not do anything with it? That the energetic Yankees by rapid exploitation of the California gold mines will increase the means of circulation... concentrate a dense population and extensive trade at the most suitable places on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, create large cities, open up communications by steamship, construct a railway from New York to San Francisco... open the Pacific Ocean to civilization, and... give the world trade a new direction?

The "independence" of a few Spanish Californians and Texans may suffer because of it, in some places "justice" and other moral principles may be violated; but what does that matter to such facts of world-historic significance?

This is Fred, of course, not Charlie. But Fred was no slouch.

The interesting thing – to me – about Fred's idea of “progress” here is that it is quite different from a contemporary “progressive's”. Fred has entirely divorced “progress” from the continuous arc of moral improvement. He as much as admits that the Yankees stole California. He looks forward to the “rapid exploitation” of the gold mines – and he and Charlie elsewhere wrote some fairly trenchant words about what industrial exploitation might entail.

In fact his idea of progress here doesn't imply any big-picture movement from relative darkness into relative light. Rather, he sees the Yankee thieves' triumph in a very specific historical context. It's a “fact of world-historical significance,” he says. What does this vague grand phrase mean? Does it mean anything more than that it will advance his project – or rather, the project he thought Clio had up her sleeve for the next hundred years or so, and strongly approved of?

We all know what that project was, and I for one share it. A little overdue, but hey, I ride the New York subways every day. The train is often late, but sooner or later it shows up.

Old Charlie notoriously declined to provide any recipes for the cookshops of the future; and that reticence, I think, also implies an unwillingness to project the topography of mountain ranges still hidden in fog.

If we take seriously the thickness of the fog – if we have no idea, really, of the topography of history outside our immediate environs – then aren't we blessedly relieved from the necessity of being principled? Can't we be as opportunist as Fred and Charlie, who flagellated the thieves of Manchester with one hand while stroking the thieves of Yankeedom with the other? Can't we make common cause with old boys like Dean Swift, and problematic contemporary boys like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Are we not allowed to use any stick that comes to hand, to whack the people who are manifestly our actual present-day here-and-now enemies?

Comments (46)


Oops! Forgot the "Hillary."


kingdom of dreams:

"How splendid it would be if the Croats, Pandours and Cossacks formed the vanguard of European democracy, if the ambassador of a republic of Siberia were to present his credentials in Paris! Certainly, such prospects would be very delightful; but, after all, even the most enthusiastic pan-Slavist will not demand that European democracy should wait for their realization - and at present it is precisely those nations from whom the manifesto specially demands independence that are the special enemies of democracy. "

M & E thesis circa 1850 :

".. apart from the Poles, the Russians,
and at most the Turkish Slavs,
no Slav people has a future,
for the simple reason that all the other Slavs lack the primary historical, geographical, political and industrial conditions for independence and viability"


i love that republic of siberia bit eh ???
would that it existed today
as a potential scotch
on russian ambitions in far asia
like fb's canada has on yankee ambitions
at the north pole

let us hope one never loses delight in dreaming

and yet notices engels
where is its base in reality ???

yikes here it comes the un ioz uncrow like
"iron hoofed "words of
the manchester emmigre to be
these wonderful peoples of a sovereign nation yet to be born
"...lack the primary historical, geographical, political and industrial conditions for independence and viability"

its precisely here where a rocket
to a better world prepares to take vertical flight

(no doubt
its passaenger list reviewed in measured plod
tight lipped ironist
rod serling no doubt
"aboard one one happy pligram
heathcote j crow ..." )

alas even as we feel the engines red flare
...the Demon of "the impossible "
looms up like jabba the hut
to squelch the prospect of a successful launch .....

no wonder the eons filled with fury
whipped up by this nasty diamatic finger
pointing to the sign post up ahead
reason :
mechanical determinism "

and yet so does history in the end
seem always to go...
down the seeming same old set of rails
not up
and off the launching pad


thesis generalized:

" Peoples which have never had a history of their own, which from the time when they achieved the first, most elementary stage of civilization already came under foreign sway, or which were forced to attain the first stage of civilization only by means of a foreign yoke, are not viable and will never be able to achieve any kind of independence. "

hence the long road that is national liberation
a road without any certainty of arrival at the desired destination

one thinks of tibet close to first of all
here if one is a heart filled well schooled
liberal yankee humanist
or the fragmentation of sudan and somalia

what of taiwan ??

what of the zionist settler entity ??

of kasmir ??

saints preserve us...the congo ..bengladesh ??

frd's fat thumb thick rod here beats
many a sovereign claim
including many recognized like emperors new suit
by no less an authority
as the UN general assemby !!!!


the czechs

"a bill thrown from one to another by Germany, Hungary and Poland"

delightful eh ??


is there a way out of the hell of unworthy nation ??

". A single courageous attempt at a democratic revolution, even if it were crushed, extinguishes in the memory of the peoples whole centuries of infamy and cowardice, and at once rehabilitates a nation, however deeply it had been despised"

see the contradiction here

gloriously supple ' stuff '
these trained diamat minds
are self made of eh ??


Hmm... not what I was expecting. I actually agree with this, and it anticipates a lot of the points that I would have made. I'll still figure out something to take issue with...

Nice one today, Smiff.

It got me thinking of something which had been long rattling around in the back of my head, but which your article has shaken loose and caused to finally fall free, kind of like when my wife accidentally drops her pick into her guitar: am I the only one here who's seeing the term "Progressive" falling into mockery and disrepute -- like the term "Liberal" -- owing to it being co-opted as a form of protective coloration by Liberals who don't want to embarass themselves by pubicly self-identifying as "Liberals"?

Until recently, I used the term "Progressive" to differentiate between those who actually want to agitate for real change and those who just pretend to be Lefties but don't have the balls to agitate, i.e. "Liberals"; lately, though, I've found myself uttering the term "Progressive" with the same contemptuous sneer I previously reserved for "Liberal". I'm almost at the point now where I don't even use "Pwogwessive" to differentiate real Progressives from fake ones, because it's as if they're all fake now -- you know, like the Progressive Democrats Of America.


" I the only one here who's seeing the term "Progressive" falling into mockery and disrepute -- like the term "Liberal" -- owing to it being co-opted as a form of protective coloration by Liberals who don't want to embarass themselves by pubicly self-identifying as "Liberals"?"

I'm sensing the same thing, but not because they are actually Liberals. I think people are just figuring out what a progressive is, and they don't like it.

Here's my take on the terms Liberal and Progressive:

The American usage of Liberal is a big pet peeve of mine. Americans have taken a perfectly good, useful word and distorted it to the point where it's actually useless. Anywhere else in the world, Liberal actually means something. Liberals are like, you know, 19th century liberals, neo-liberals, libertarians, etc. that believe in Individual rights, free markets etc. In America it seems as though this got mangled in the postwar years, because politicians advocating leftish policies didn't want to be associated with communism, so they called themselves liberal.

Progressive, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have a real solid meaning, as has been remarked many times. To me, it means policies like affirmative action, anti-junk food laws, and the like that are interventionist and nanny state, unlike liberal policies. A

s MJS remarked, it begs the question of "What is progress?". I doubt that most progressives would even bother asking that question. What's so annoying about modern progressives is that they pretty much just go by their own narrow preferences, and never question them.

If there were a progressive creed it would be

"We take the following truths to be self-evident:
Steel cut oats are progressive. Microwave oatmeal is regressive.
Texas is horrible (except for Austin!). San Francisco is great.
People should eat healthy. Fat people are bad."

There's no real coherent policy core to modern american progressivism, it's just a set of preferences that NPR listeners regard as self-evidently good. That doesn't stop them from believing that people ought to be forced to adopt those preferences.


i think fred's use of "lazy "
and "civilization" has a certain
doc Benway dash and fencer's irony to it

the broad press of fred and carl is never far from mockery of the eternal bourgeois categories
including apropos here
progress even if only material progress
is on the order of the day
as mjs nicely distinguishes
railrods and trans oceanic trade
not the ripening
of secular humanism's oversoul


Like FB, I was expecting something else. Who cares, really, what word Democrats call themselves anymore? Not even Lakoff uses "progressive", as far as I know.

I thought this was going to be an argument about progress in the economic sense, what we used to call "growth". That is the engine and the panacea of the American dream -- the panacea that was held out to those not yet in the middle class that their turn would be next. The myth was that you could pursue this goal as a conscious public policy -- a deceptive concept that is even today being used by Republicans in Congress when they talk about "jump-starting" the economy again.

The other paradox, or dark side, of progress is that the rest of the world wants it too, and their progress is already coming at our expense, and the planets'.

My impression is that M and E mean progress in the economic sense, and approve it as historical necessity and as the pre-condition for proletarian revolution.

The issue that MJ seems to be raising is rather that of the "perfectability" of man. Not much evidence of that these days, which is too bad because the opposite claim, the fallibility of man, is the base of conservatism.


"old Marx and Engels, for all their dialectical sophistication, fell into this callow way of speaking from time to time"

for the above comment
i forgot to paste in this text

ever Clio's bards
here they leave to indirection and removed
implication the "final irony" alluded to by mjs
with this nice line
"he and Charlie elsewhere wrote some fairly trenchant words .."
indeed and precisely about what "..exploitation.."
of california et al "..might entail"

the restless faustianism
of our great corporate "mundanes "
---carlyle's captains of industry
melvilles ahabs --

what a world they make as they chase all over the planet
a world that will in time
dissolve them its authors
into a parting mist


"And where will Sweden be, if it continues to “progress”? Or has Sweden shifted into reverse? Is it “regressing” now"

yes as is all of teutonic europe
... more or less
of course the local "left" there
seem to be the last to see
clearly more of the same old
SOCIAL DEM same old
as in attenuated form
ie gestural filligreeing
gender'sextual liberation
even as the thrust of it turns into its opposite
--note the feminazi honey trap
for senior assange --
the final overstuffing
of the tax and transfer system
in other words
olaf palme times twelve
is not about to lead to
any material steps forward


"This is Fred, of course, not Charlie. But Fred was no slouch "

i adives you strike this wen..father s
even the suggestion of a distinction
betwixt these siamese souls
is in the event ...toxic

in a broad setting especially one
beset with anarcho nihilists like your site
even only by implication
suggesting engels the postivist materialist ought to be distinguished from
red rabbi karl
the true dialectical magician
strikes at the core of
the diamat legion's seamless solidarity



pwog seems to have long answered to your call for mocking the
bleeding heart liberals progressive hat
where as neoliberal
pretty nicely
covers the rubinites clintonians etc


"I thought this was going to be an argument about progress in the economic sense, what we used to call "growth".'
and it is precisely here where battle ought to be joined

between the hobbits monks
and other hairy shirt soul shiners

and the diamat likes
of engels and lenin
of course technical progress as its now called
is iondeed the topus
that pro tech types
like FB and yes ... once the cloak is thrown off ..MOI..
the paleolithic red trogs
of the crow tribe
and dean Swift
if not father smiff



Yup. I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.



"..for the first time really open the Pacific Ocean to civilization, and for the third time in history give the world trade a new direction?"

why the clipping of this father ??

aren't you curious about
the other two
and prior
"new directions " in world trade ???

i notice also this written in 1849
does a nice job suggesting a trans continerntal rail link
nearly 20 years and a civil war
b4 it became realizable
not a future cook shop vision
but visioning none the less

and we can extend this vision
apporoximately in proportion
to the generality of the necessarily entailed next step "outline"
as in socialization of the production platform
a next step indeed
but even once properly
still the other side
of a fairly epical interval ehh ??


"We take the following truths to be self-evident..."

FB furnishes more proof that Canadians are funny. It does seem that today's 'progressives' are increasingly obsessed with their (and everyone else's) diet. They're generally preoccupied with consumption. Why is that? I think they despair of ever changing any major public policy for good and become increasingly petty and self-centered as a result. Or maybe they are just trifling, petty know-nothings, who are too grown-up and modern for religion but need something akin to it.


Last smack at the dead horse: "progress", whoever uses it, means change within a system. Progress never means change of the system. quod erat demonstrandum.


oddly the contemporary
ultra greened american "patsy bourgois" left
is fairly obviously
way into
anti growth forms of technical progress
but is this too easily confused with technical retrogression ???

one thinks mass meat peddled bicycling
electric pipsqueak cars

a return to truck gardening with mad Al ???
surrender to the Soylent corporation



"the rest of the world's ... progress is already coming at our expense, and the planets "

this is the reactionary outcome of green souling

yes it's personally finessed
by riding a bicycle drinking tap water
eating local etc
but surely the desire to join us
by the global south is viewed with a heavy sense of problematics

getting these localists into narrow inward looking
supporting such things as well .. trade protectionism
and non interference
gets derailed by their cosmopolite concerns about boreal -centric notions of human rights
the very part of "universal progress "
that the global south
least wants


i'm not sure most folks share
your limits on the application
of the word progress
to improving instances
of system reform
of system scrapping

but its surely a crtical dinstinction deserving of different lsbels



i think we can agree progressive
was a non populist reformer
to begin with
under roosevelt the word liberal was redefined
to incorporate the progressives
under a big tent that included
classic personal liberty
free trade and anti trust
in a sense during the new deal
the new use of liberal became the cover for progressive

during the first act of the kold war
it wasn't the liberals
but american commies that re activated
the word progressive
as a cover

recall their alliance with henry wallace

the reds were progs well before the likes
of most kold war ex new deal type
bleeding heart "liberals" took shelter under that label

in time and after enough liberal bashing
had produced the result
mjs points to where like yuppies
most post woodstock liberals
are the type of liberals
that think they don't like "liberals "
recall social-cultural liberals
identity liberals
new deal great society type
big transfer system "liberals "

in time of course progressive
became the default cloak for anyone
left of ronald reagan and homer simpson

recall that notion
social change organization ??

time to crank that back up ??

"Progressive" is the lamest attempt at rebranding since the SciFi channel started calling itself "Syfy."

Nick Hart:

I think the term "progressive" ceased to have any meaning once people started using it to describe Obama.


the mexican war... good

WW II .... good?

under some interpretations, the Holocaust... good.

the Zionists... "concentrate a dense population and extensive trade at the most suitable places on the coast of the Pacific Ocean eastern Med."

Seems arbitrary to me, this kind of argument. A way to rationalize any event that advances (?) the realization of a subject's vague wishings. At the end are animalized humans in open war with everything that pops up on the horizon.

Milton Marx:

Always fun to watch smart folks deride progress while typing on a blog made possible by software and hardware that themselves are proof of progress.

I suspect more than a few of you have seen a doctor recently, taken an antibiotic, chosen to vote, or not to vote, walked safely and freely on a warm summer night or a cold winter evening, without fear of harm or death. Perhaps you have expressed a thought out loud or in writing, without fear of censure or arrest. Perhaps you got a health plan from your union.

Perhaps some of you have had children who have received immunization.

And so forth.

Progress? What progress? (He types onto the Internet on his Dell laptop.)

Navel gazing, chin-scratching and ruminating about Progress --- like ruminating about whether or not to vote --- is a luxury secured by freedom and....progress.


Happy New Year Miltie!

As a political label, the word is certainly a trick and a mistake. But I think MM has a point. Progress is not a meaningless term.

Personally speaking, I'd wager the real task of our century will prove to be survival. But I also think the term "progressive survival" denotes all the difference that matters.

The main claim of the Declaration of Independence was hard won social science. Science and technology are also hard won skills and institutions.

Can we penetrate existing power and forge a world that is both ecologically honest (itself a sign of real progress) and also spends as much as it can afford on continuing the good side of enlightenment projects?

I'd also say it's pretty real progress that whoever today's Engelses might be, they know damned well better than to advance the paint-peeling howlers Fred does in this particular passage. If morals and democracy are bourgeois fictions, and if history really is a machine, we are already fucked.

I also note the sophomoric mixture of logic Fred deploys here: Bakkie talks silly about national cultures, so all values and human culture are illusions.

I like me my Fred, but the dude stepped in some pies, too.

You dumb lefties don't know anything! Every rough tough working man in my rough tough working class neighborhood loves working progress and progressive working rough tough democrats and you're all just stupid for not voting for our team in the big game ANYBODY BUT BUSH ANYBODY BUY BUSH HOPE FOR CHAAAAAAGE!!!11!one!!!


Y'all should read Gabriel Kolko's Triumph of Conservatism. He makes pretty clear that all the reforms that went under the name of Progressivism, were actually sought and either written or influenced by business, not for the good of consumers, but as protection against their own internecine wars.



GK proves two things by this narrative

one : we live under corporate hegemony

two : some corporate guided reforms and restructurings
are directly socially progressive
even from a job class perspective

two i think WILL come into play over health care provision and costs ...in time

be clear better is not here optimal by any means

the various class interest barriers
prevent optimality of course

Milton Marx:


Progressive reform happens when Corporate Power gets the shit scared out of it. That's the only thing Power understands, and ever will.

SMBIVA doesn't work. Nor does fracturing into a thousand pieces. Organizing, taking to the streets, and, yes, voting works.

The Left used to scare people. Scared Tricky Dick. It scares no one now.

Milton Marx:

By the way, here's a good way NOT to scare Power into progressive reform: Spend hours and keystrokes debating the terms progressive and liberal. Nor trashing people who are trying to bring about change. Nor snarking about people who do things like attend that rally in DC (the union one, not the Stewart-Colbert one).

C'mon, 'lil Miltie! We really want to hear about your rough neighborhood.

op sez on 01.06.11 @11:00:
pwog seems to have long answered to your call for mocking the
bleeding heart liberals progressive hat
where as neoliberal
pretty nicely
covers the rubinites clintonians etc

These days, when people ask where my politics are, I just tell them I'm a Leftist -- not a Liberal, not a Progressive, but a Leftist, goddammit, because that's the most honest and accurate answer. I consider "Liberal" an insult, and "Progressive" to be a pussified cop-out. I've been called an anarchist to my face -- and taken it as a compliment, btw -- but I'm sure there's some black hoodie-wearing NYU punk out there who's got nothing better to do but sit around all day and argue over theory who'd tell me that technically, I'm not really an anarchist.

Some crank over at the American Power Blog referred to me as an "anarcho-communist" in a slag piece about my "Teabagger" cartoon; I thought it was your typical right-wingnut randomly stringing together terms to create some kind of kooky epithet, but a pal of mine went over to Wikipedia and looked it up, and I'll be goddamned if that wasn't a real term, and that my politics came pretty damn close.

No problem, man. I'll take it.

"Personally speaking, I'd wager the real task of our century will prove to be survival"


As I said elsewhere the major progress we're experiencing now is towards destruction of the environment in service of the enslavement of humanity to consumerism. It's what our corporate overlords demand and it's what they'll get until they get it no more due to circumstances that not even they can control.

And the idea that the people who live under this regime have any choice in the matter, that they can get "organized" and change things is a pipe dream. The juggernaut is juggernauting along at full tilt. All you can do is prepare for the crash and try to get out from under it's crushing fall.

Al Schumann:

Milton, there's an unspoken caveat to the post's closing argument. The use of any stick at hand depends on whether or not it's actually a stick. If it's writhing and hissing, you probably shouldn't pick it up. That difference can bite! By the same token, bringing about change is a fine thing to do, provided it's actually change.

One can get bogged down hopelessly in arguing the semantics of "change", "liberal" and "progressive", but as a rule of thumb: increases in material security are good, decreases are bad. For example, liberal progressive change that yields higher insurance premiums for less coverage and more iatrogenic illness is not worth an organized effort.

Milton Marx:

>>>And the idea that the people who live under this regime have any choice in the matter, that they can get "organized" and change things is a pipe dream.

Drunk, you are far more likely correct, and to be vindicated, that not.

Al, yes:
increases in material security are good, decreases are bad.

Al Schumann:

Milton, I thought you'd agree.

Regarding the banter on blogs, I like it. I don't think it's going to accomplish anything material or measurable. It's a break from pin factory stuff for me. The interaction is often pleasurable. It keeps me from morbid preoccupations. Sometimes it exposes areas of my own ignorance. Sometimes I've been helpful to others. But it's not progress or anything like that. It's just being human. In the pin factory, I feel the need to practice that as much as I can.

Milton Marx:

Is the pin factory a union shop? If properly mobilized, the proles could do a lot of damage with pins.

Al Schumann:

All the proles I know want a shot at petit bourgeois comfort. They want to earn that shot first and then they want to earn that comfort. I find that admirable and appalling. So mostly with them I just put my back into helping, breaking a sweat and getting my hands dirty.


"increases in material security are good, decreases are bad."

excellently brief
btw hence
this owen prescribed
draft left reform line :

let the yahoos smash the deweyite school-lag
single payer uber alles


" the idea that the people who live under this regime have any choice in the matter, that they can get "organized" and change things is a pipe dream"
the history of industrial unionism in amerika

suggests this is a matter of time frame

the whole arch from say 1850 to 2010 suggests we jobbled many
are on a great wheel of misfortune

a wheel that is at least
50% underwater
and to boot
revolves faster
above the water line
then below it

once this has been clearly overstated
to miss the signifigant intervals
of rising above the water line
---circa 1937-1968 ---
misses both the periodic torture of it all
and...and here's the point at hand

the relief of it ...relief ...relief ...
a period of improved material security
as mad Al might say
air to breath so to speak

history indicates class struggle produces
these intervals
both a rising above the water line
and a less then cliff edge decline
back toward the water line
once more dunking us under
for the bad part of the ride

would we mcskillniks
be better 100% of the time generation after generation
underwater ???

Al Schumann:

My former pin factory was unionized. The local collapsed. I've gone from that to self-employed, to self-unemployed, back to self-employed.

There were many factors in the collapse. I'd say the proximate causes were an effort to be a mainstream political player in electoral contests, and a desperately fatuous effort to increase the pension fund through playing the market. The investments soured and the politicians passed "right-to-work" laws.

Post a comment

Note also that comments with three or more links may be held for "moderation" -- a strange term to apply to the ghost in this blog's machine. Seems to be a hard-coded limitation of the blog software, unfortunately.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Wednesday January 5, 2011 11:05 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Contractors and contractees.

The next post in this blog is Thought experiment.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License

This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.31