Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Producers and Predators

Watching the Republicans hijack to the Producer-Predator dichotomy reminds me of when they hijacked the "rising tide lifts all boats" line of the Progressives.  In that case, the original argument was that rising incomes for the most poorly paid of us would lift the incomes of everyone in the social strata above them.  This is the argument of Henry Ford and the Keynesians in addition to Jack Kennedy who is often credited with the idea.  When it was hijacked, it came to mean that a rising yacht would lift all tides and that the most thoroughly discredited economic idea in history—trickle down—was actually not as insane as it sounded.

So now we have Republicans talking without any irony about producers-parasites.  The very idea that some retiree living on Social Security is a moocher is insane. MOST people in that social stratum lived their whole lives as Producers doing things like pick vegetables in the heat of California's Imperial Valley.  So an idea that started out as a description of the differing economic strategies of farmers and bankers has been appropriated by mega-thief Romney to argue that old people just scraping by are actually more harmful to the real economy than a vandal capitalist like himself.  And that is what their argument is—a cynical attempt to distract folks from their own sins.  I am not so sure I would do this if I were them, because the Producer-Predator argument has a long and honorable history and it WILL crush these cynical bastards if it gets out.

As someone who has been writing about Producers-Predators since the 1980s when I first discovered this 19th century class analysis, I take this personally.  But I am not worried because while Producer-Predator class analysis was invented by the Producers themselves in thousands of conversations among the cheated farmers of the 19th century, producer-parasite is largely the demented musings of Ayn Rand who was light-years away from understanding the sort of productive activity it requires to keep a nation going.

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