Thursday, March 27, 2014

Arnsperger on regression and progression

In my research today I found a couple of old Arnsperger articles at Integral Life: Obama's Jobs Speech and The American Jobs Act. From the latter:

"Obama’s economic worldview, in terms of spiral dynamics, is orange-going-on-green. [...] He is a Keynesian, basically demand-side Democrat who believes the capitalist economy can be helped by budget policy to grow and to create many more jobs than it destroys; he is an egalitarian liberal, meaning a liberal who thinks equality shouldn’t be total (you need a significant degree of income inequality to keep incentives active and to keep people innovative and entrepreneurial) but who believes that America should embody the ideal of equal opportunity to the fullest and that public policy can be active in providing the conditions for this to be the case; he thinks that earning your income through a job—rather than through either unemployment insurance extended too long, or financial speculation made too easy—is an expression of personal responsibility, and that endeavoring to provide jobs for everyone is an expression of collective responsibility.

"He is facing a Republican party—as well as a contingent of economists—who are predominantly blue-harking-back-to-red, and who staunchly believe that with people, especially the rich, behaving as they do (as described by the upper-right quadrant) and with capitalism, globalized and financialized, operating as it does (as taught by the lower-right quadrant), providing tax breaks in the middle income brackets and requiring “millionaires and billionaires” to step up and accept higher taxes will be self-defeating: It will, so the story runs, cause closedowns and capital flights so that there will be a net destruction of jobs."

"Can the capitalist market economy be compatible with a liberal-egalitarian Democratic set of values? It has in the past. It may no longer today. Not because that worldview has become “wrong,” but because both (a) the system’s inner workings have been modified over the past three decades through reform after reform going in the direction of more liberalization and more privatization and (b) the system’s “inhabitants,” we as citizens, have changed on average (in the upper-left quadrant) in a direction that may make this worldview less workable. The period from 1979 to 2008—with Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, and Bush, Jr. officiating as successive presidents—has been one in which a fully-fledged “spirituality of economic individualism” has made its way into US citizens’ consciousness, mostly under the pressure of a globalized economy put together by red-to-blue decision-makers. Not that the regression from orange-green to red-blue occurred in every individual citizen to the same extent, but on average the end of the 1970s ushered in a period of memetic regression that is only now starting to get reversed. Reversed it will be, for sure."

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