Belatedly, after decades of growing inequality, the 99% – now able to communicate online – are waking up
An analysis by Jenni Russell, one of the Times’ few gifted and right-minded journalists, is summarised here. She says that it wasn’t the quality of the candidates or the prejudices about gender that mattered most in this campaign. It was the message. Our lives matter:
“That is the message of the Trump revolution, delivered with a roar of anger by people who have had enough of seeing their jobs, communities, identities and futures torn apart by the rapacious currents of unfettered capitalism.
“For 40 years they have been sold the promise that free trade deals and the flows of people and capital around the world will bring them prosperity. Instead their incomes have stalled, industries have collapsed, towns and cities have decayed, unfamiliar faces and cultures have appeared in their streets, and the rich have got much, much richer. Yet no one prioritised their loss and anguish until a billionaire channelled their voice.” . . .
She itemises, that, as union power has collapsed, competition increased and shareholders and managers awarded themselves the lion’s share of income:
- Workers’ pay has risen by 11% in real terms in that time,
- CEO pay has risen by almost 1,000%.
- The top 1% are taking 95 cents in every dollar, compared to 50 cents just 20 years ago.
She moves on to the psychological and cultural price the 99% have been paying: just as in Britain (a reference to Corbyn’s huge backing?) this is a vote to reject an economy that prioritises turmoil and profits over the human need for stability, meaning, community and hope:
“Millions of Trump voters are now clinging, fervently and gratefully, to his vague and airy promises of transformation and security. But the anguished question of how to remedy the acute problems of inequality, while keeping the engines of capitalism working, has so far eluded Nobel economists such as Robert Shiller, the ex-chairman of the federal reserve Alan Greenspan, and President Obama”.
Ms Russell ends by wondering if Trump, who “owns the whole train set now” – ‘an arch-capitalist’ who has filed for bankruptcy multiple times – will have the faintest clue how to deal with it?