Most authors will begin their article by stating their main theme and then building upon it. Curtis waits until the third paragraph from the end to put his finger on the point I think he's trying to make:
There seems little doubt that the economic pattern [of impoverishment] results from government intervention; it is nothing new in history. India’s static caste system and China’s 15th century halt of exploration and change both embedded poverty via economic stasis. In America, it has been overregulation and the increasing corruption accompanying crony capitalism.
Still, the article is written so badly that the author seems to miss his own point. He begins by listing the "conditions that lifted North America so far above the economic norm:"
...available land and resources, a smaller, pro-development government, disparate post Renaissance and mostly post Reformation immigrants that shattered traditional classes, and an industrial revolution supported with European capital.
He only mentions "government intervention" in passing and then refers to it as "smaller" and "pro-development." I suppose a government that barely exists could be considered "pro-development," but saying early government in America is "smaller" than government nowadays is crazy and misleading. It's like comparing the development of boats over the centuries and saying colonial frigates were "smaller" than the USS George H.W. Bush.
The unique and requisite "condition" that lifted America "above the norm" was a new culture that embraced laissez-faire government and individual liberty. People emigrated from Europe to escape old world aristocracy, intolerance and tyrannical rule. In America they built a nation based on equality of opportunity, tolerance and independent self-reliance. That cultural base has been eroded and all but destroyed since, and that is why the future of America today, both political and economic, is so bleak.
Yes, the American middle income segment of the population is shrinking. Wealth is being drawn away from that segment to the wealthy elite by two institutions: a monetary and financial system that enshrines continuous and steep inflation; and an interventionist state that embraces logrolling, cronyism and outrageous aristocratic corruption on a scale surpassing the Old European status quo that early American pioneers fled.
Is it any wonder then that "impoverishment seems likely to be the new normal for America?"
As for "robotic production" putting "masses of workers" on the dole, it's a red herring. Fears of "automation" are as old as technology. Progressives believe that each average, normal American shlub should have a "good" job and a "decent" living wage. That is simply bull shit propaganda. Americans don't live to work; they work to live. They want their efforts to translate into an improved standard of living. They want what capital accumulation, automation, a sound currency and government non-intervention provide: goods and services at a lower price and an easier life for themselves and their children.
A world in which robots make production of consumer goods and services more profitable and efficient is the world we should be striving for, not the world we need to fear...unless that world is devoid of truly private capitalists and entrepreneurs and is flush with crony capitalists who are in league with a managerial, interventionist state.
Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor and now a Professor of Public Policy, said that redistribution of incomes will be necessary to support the masses of workers unemployed as the machines take over.
This type of reductionist nonsense is so typical of progressives. They can't imagine a laissez-faire economy in which free individuals are able to manage their own affairs and their own property to their own best advantage WITHOUT government interference. In short, they believe ordinary Americans are too stupid and incompetent to survive on their own without the guiding mandates of the progressive, intellectual elite enforced by the heavy hand of an interventionist government.
Reich and his arrogant, aristocratic, fellow traveling morons are the reason America today is not the prosperous country our forefathers founded.