Brief acts of terrorism in California, Tennessee, and other states and civil protests in places like Missouri, Maryland and Illinois seem to challenge the idea of perfect social stability. People can sometimes be heard to say not everyone gets along. This is true.
Oregon, a place once seen far removed from such matters, is now caught in the orbit of protest. As with many things, that situation can be viewed from many vantage points. Some ask why such a harsh crackdown on protesters in Ferguson but not Oregon? That is just one example of a view regarding the situation.
I developed a thought about these events. Middle East to the densely populated cities to the wide open plains. The crux of that view can be seen in the article, Rural Oregon’s Lost Prosperity Gives Standoff a Distressed Backdrop. What I have written in the past on this blog is that the foundation of many of these events seems rooted in economics.
Economics is not the whole story, but it is most of it. Either capitalism is good enough for everybody or it is so insufficient as to leave open the door for a great disruption some time in the future. When I read that article about the lost jobs in Oregon, the old argument that local entrepreneurs can just rise up and fix it seem hollow. The government did come in and give people jobs. Not everyone like the jobs, but the income saved many lives.
Bernie Sanders is running for president. I don’t agree with all of his ideas and thoughts, but I do agree with his jobs program. As president, he will probably provide more jobs for people. That will make the biggest improvement towards better lives for more people. Trickle down economics didn’t work. That was the big idea of 1980s. The captains of industry are not here to save you. It is primarily self-interest. That works for some, but as the population keeps growing, the reach and benefits of self-interest economics seems more limited. Capitalism appears most relevant in the 18th and 19th centuries with a population of a few million. The growth in the 20th century is like an aftershock that is getting fainter as the years go on. Depressions and recessions are like the winds of reality that sweep in and remind us of more fundamental truths.
That was my political statement.
No, industry and commercial activity are not deterministic except for small pockets of time in the past. People have a breaking point and there is no shame in admitting that. Lack of resources (social and material) is a predictable breaking point in which the worst nature can emerge. You do not govern that by force. Most results gained by force are often temporary. Force can be inefficient (and often is) when the mitigated outcome requires a disproportionate exchange of resource in the form of concentrated power to resolve a situation. Instead, it costs less and is more efficient to do the right thing and strive towards a win/win situation for the greatest number.