To Every Citizen in the United States—

— who considers himself or herself to be astute observers of the current election campaign for President and representatives to the next Congress, you must read the chapter, “Economics and History” beginning on page 52 of Will and Ariel Durant’s The Lessons of History, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968). That book in which nearly every sentence is a possible quotation, or, rather, I might have said that of paragraphs, not sentences. The book is 102 pages summarizing all history.

They begin that “Economics and History” review in this way:

“History . . . is economics in action — the contest, among individuals, groups, classes, and states, for food, fuel, materials, and economic power.”

In our ongoing race for the election of a United States President we hear the issues surrounding a concentration and redistribution of wealth becoming critical for the future of our economy. The authors can give some context for that issue.

I have been uneasy about the making of an American royalty, an aristocracy as a danger to the continuation of a democratic form of government. I have heard a phrase that is coming into the back and forth between Republicans and Democrats, and when I heard it, it entered my thinking and, to me, was immediately understood: “dynastic wealth” (inherited wealth). I thought instantly of the several Masterpiece Theatre series of shows on public television about pre-World War I years in England. Those stories showed the dramas that derived from differences between “Upstairs” and “Downstairs”. That is what “dynastic wealth” is in the British experience, and it may be coming to America. I view the attitudes of Republicans as favoring an economic system that will surely develop “dynastic wealth” for what the democrats see as the party principle of the Republican party. “Distribution” or “Redistribution” are the buzz words you hear introducing that economic issue as a great difference between the parties.

Along with those words come “trickle down economy” and the Republican retort, “trickle down government”, pointing to the issue of “regulation” or “deregulation”, etc.

Since I wrote the above, I have seen a program that I recommend for everybody, “Moyers & Company”, and the title of the program was “Plutocracy Rising”. (“plutocracy” is government by the wealthy, the rule or dominion of wealth or of the rich, a body of plutocrats.) In England, there was the landed gentry, many with ties to royalty, the “upstairs” people, with all of the servants the “downstairs” people. Maybe that is what is arising in this society and may eventually come to our land, unless ways are invented to “redistribute” the wealth. Redistribution coming by way of the tax system? The presidential debates touched lightly on the issue. For the Republicans, the less said about that, the better. Our wealthy are plutocrats from capitalism assisted by the Republican Party as our economic system concentrating the wealth, assisted by deregulation. Recently the Republican candidates have shone the light on “small business” as a distraction for their pursuers, the Democrats, but I remember very clearly a historic incident under the Bush administration. A news item one evening back then announced that a huge sum of money appropriated by Congress that was destined to support small business was shunted off to big business instead. That is clearly in my memory what happened. Plutocracy! Here we come! But everybody cannot be a plutocrat, can they? Who would be the grunts for polishing their shoes?

Many people have no business voting Republican, the party with an eye to a plutocracy. Can those big-money capitalists legally require their grunt workers to go to Romney rallies? Well, they are doing it under threats to their jobs, aren’t they. And those same workers are “required” to vote Republican, or get fired. (How can they tell? Unless the poll workers are in cahoots.)


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