Comments: The Class Struggle

Yep. Democrats are the party whose rich people and technocrats are considerably more in harmony. I honestly don't know how the Republicans get any of the comprador technocrats to work for them; I guess they just console themselves with the perks and drink a lot in the evenings...

I've never before read anything mentioning Uday Hussein that made me laugh, but this post achieved it. I'm curious now what the Arabic for 'Move On' is.

Posted by Nell at September 11, 2008 11:22 PM

Great, insightful post. Just as a footnote, I find this entertaining: "Wallace received her BA in Mass Communications from UC Berkeley in 1994, and her master’s degree from Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University."

Posted by some dude at September 11, 2008 11:30 PM

In every large American technology company I've worked for there has been an Uday Hussein. Every single one. You can tell who they are by their clean offices (no paper, books, clutter, etc). Technocrats by contrast are pigs.

Oh, and if Corporate Uday keeps a putter and practice green in front of his desk you are well and truly fucked.

Posted by Jimbo at September 11, 2008 11:36 PM

Someone bright recently said that the difference between the R's and the D's was that the Democrats recognized the need for regulation of business and industry, while the Repub's favor deregulation. The technocrats would favor sensible regulation, I think, out of enlightened self-interest anyway.
I like better the theory that the two sides are the Sane Billionaires and the Insane Billionaires, though.

Posted by Monkay at September 11, 2008 11:47 PM

Does blacksmith count as a technocrat?

Posted by Mike Meyer at September 12, 2008 12:02 AM

"When the president wished to advocate, eg a tax cut, he did not argue his case before the Detroit Economic Club or send a surrogate to Jackson Hole. He made a rally speech before cheering supporters. That made for effective soundbites and exciting images. But it abdicated any effort to make an argument that could convince people who were not predisposed to be convinced."

nice point. and, really, why should the president do anything else. after getting elected there is little anyone can do to them for four year (ok, three years) and even less anyone can do to them after being elected to a second term.

Posted by bamboozlde at September 12, 2008 12:52 AM

Mr Schwarz, word.

Posted by RobWeaver at September 12, 2008 03:04 AM

Interesting. I suspect it's a bit more continuous than that, some complacency is necessary on the part of the second and third quintiles.

Posted by abb1 at September 12, 2008 05:57 AM

Good analysis overall. Excuse me while I whip this out:

But as America has gotten less and less middle class, the power of the technocrats has eroded. At the same time, the rich have begun to bitterly resent that technocrats have ANY power.

We loves our nationalism here in the USofA, but this struggle, at least from the view of the holders of capital -- transcends it.

With globalization, the native technocrats have become unnecessary to a large extent and there's no need to include the locals as much any more. Professional organizations that protect accountants, lawyers and doctors have carved out their niche because they understood this relationship and saught to insulate it. However, just about everyone else in the technocrat ranks has had their positions eroded away.

Result is a shrinking middle class, and a divergence of income, and of traditional goals.

Overall, I'd think that the elite rich would be morons if they failed to take advantage of Tom Friedman's flat world model. The elite are transnational, regardless of the noises they make about the greatness of this country or that country. The middle class OTOH is firmly rooted in place, tethered by debts and obligations and false sense of patriotism. Confusing training with education.

Posted by Labiche at September 12, 2008 08:54 AM

I think you sell the technocrats short. While some of them have dreams of becoming rich (Moes), some of them have these vestigal thoughs of fairness and equality, and feel awful guilty while they work to oppress the 80% (me included). That's what's fueling much of the Obama/blog enthusiasm you mentioned, and why I predict the blogs will quiet right down once Obama's in place.

Posted by j-rex at September 12, 2008 09:32 AM

"The truly rich are so used to instant gratification that they're consumed with fury when the technocrats inform them reality won't grant them their every desire. Rather than accepting they can't transform the entire mideast into a society that worships Tax Cut Jesus, the rich blame the technocrats for purposefully obstructing their cunning plan."

Ha! Classic Schwarz.

Tax Cut Jesus will get you if you don't behave.

Posted by Jonathan Versen at September 12, 2008 09:50 AM

There used to be an Ivy League joke:
"The Yalie owns the company. A Harvard is its CEO. And the guy from Dartmouth is VP Human Resources."
Still applies, and as long as among themselves there's a supply of VPs for Legal, IT and International Development, nothing will happen.
Shrinking middle class? As long as my boat stays afloat...
Sure, some in "middle management" care about equality and social justice, but they know, from years in the corridors of power, that power can be unlodged only with power.
And there is where everything stops. You can't use muscles that have atrophied from lack of exercise. The muscles for "class war" are missing. Even the idea of "class," as many have observed, is still abhorrent to most Americans. It would take decades of education to change that, and our schools aren't going there.
The most coveted road is still from Harvard to the Harvard Business School to Goldman Sachs. If all that collapses, maybe our education could begin. But my money (ha ha) would be on another horse, should that happen. Think Peron.

Posted by donescobar at September 12, 2008 09:58 AM
What's happening now is the technocracy is organizing itself to fight back. MoveOn, the Obama campaign, blogland—that's the technocracy in action.

I tend to disagree.

What I see if I look at MoveOn, the Obama Campaign and blogland in general is a struggle of ideologies against entrenched ideology. But not something that is pushing class struggle to the fore or that understands it as such.

The options that these organizations present are equal to kicking the ball downfield; not a restructuring or recognition that the 80% needs elevation. Obama's Tax cuts will do it? Doubthful, although that 2% surcharge on SS is a step in the right direction, it hasn't called class struggle by it's right name, therefore, it won't be engaged realistically.

Posted by Labiche at September 12, 2008 10:11 AM

Chomsky says (and I may have already cited this) that the Dems and Reps are both business parties.

The difference is that the Republicans are the party of big business and small business, while the Democrats are just the party of big business.

Posted by Seth at September 12, 2008 10:11 AM

One of the best books I've read and best on the "technocrats" is :"The Oppressed Middle. Politics of Middle Management. Scenes from Corporate Life," by Earl Shorris. (1981, pb later)
Brilliant and gripping.

Posted by donescobar at September 12, 2008 10:32 AM

Seth, it's just that th' GOP talks a better talk of being down-home and folksy, and democrats are a bit embarrassed by that sort of thing. But they're both the big business party-- I prefer to think of the democrats as the secular wing of the GOP.

Posted by tiffa hancock at September 12, 2008 10:35 AM

Chomsky's pal Michael Albert (one of the Z Magazine people) has had this same theory for decades. His name for "technocrats" is "the coordinators" and his analysis is otherwise the same. Well-educated upper middle class (and lower upper class) liberals are in the coordinator class and want to be seen as the champions of those beneath them, but don't want to be too close to them either. The blue collar and pink collar people are well aware of the condescension and hate them for it and vote for Sarah Palin.

Posted by Donald Johnson at September 12, 2008 12:22 PM
I'm curious now what the Arabic for 'Move On' is.

In Iraq, it's just 'Move On', shouted in English, and punctuated with a few rounds of gunfire.

Posted by darrelplant at September 12, 2008 12:25 PM

With all due respect to Michael Albert, this is basically the subject of Part II of the Road to Wigan Pier.

Posted by john at September 12, 2008 12:58 PM

Part II of Road to Wigan Pier is terrific. I had forgotten all about it. I'll have to read that again. Thanks for the reminder.

Posted by cemmcs at September 12, 2008 01:47 PM

One other piece for your theory. Part of the problem is that lots of technocrats don't do folksy because they don't think of themselves as elites -- they're just lower class people who have moved up a notch. They think they should be able to naturally relate because they're not that far removed. Barack Obama probably never thought someone with his background would be accused of being an elite, and have to prove he's just like real folks. Michael Dukakis in 1988 certainly never thought the son of Greek immigrants would look more "elitist" than the son of a blueblood Connecticut family.

The rich know better, and don't hesitate to hire people to make them look folksy.

Posted by Whistler Blue at September 12, 2008 01:48 PM

Before popular culture turned into mass culture, folksy could be good,whether high or low. Some of it was genuine, arising from "folks" in community theaters or pubs, not handed down by mass media and mass media marketers. Little of the old popular culture remains, even in little villages in Oxfordshire or in the North of the UK, for example. Folksy is as much a pose as elitist by now. It's the height of the wad of money that separates us.

Posted by donescobar at September 12, 2008 02:12 PM

Really sharp. Thanks.

Posted by Batocchio at September 12, 2008 04:49 PM

Interesting, except for the absurd idea that Obomba isn't owned by the rich. Biden pushed the button on the nuclear bomb of class warfare, the 2005 Bankruptcy bill. They are both financed by Wall St., both support military adventures across the globe. Just because they aren't rich themselves, doesn't mean they serve the upper middle class. Obomba isn't powerful, so he sucks up to power, as Lolo advised him.

Posted by Marcus at September 12, 2008 05:12 PM

Been awhile since I read Albert, but I didn't mean to give the impression that he's the very first to have those faults. But I don't know who is the first. Albert is just the first person I'd read on the subject.

Posted by Donald Johnson at September 12, 2008 05:19 PM

"he's the very first to have those faults."

That was some weird Freudian slip--no idea what it would mean. Probably random neurons firing. Come to think of it, that's usually what's going on when I'm thinking.

Anyway, I mean that I didn't think Albert was the first person to have those thoughts, not faults.

Posted by Donald Johnson at September 12, 2008 05:21 PM

Dang, you're a good writer.

Posted by Teresa Nielsen Hayden at September 17, 2008 11:51 AM