It has been a paleontological mystery: what happened to the Neanderthals? Neanderthals were a species of human beings dominant in much of Asia and Europe. Then, as Homo sapiens (us) moved into their territories they vanished in a quite short period of time for such things. At first, paleontologists speculated that it was our superior brains, specifically allowing us to use sophisticated language to foster cooperation in groups and bands that made us superior and we out competed the Neanderthals for resources (game, etc.). That idea held up for a while but unfortunately it didn’t hold water.
Next it was suspected that we hunted them into extinction. After all, we have hunted any number of species into extinction (Dodos, North American Megafauna, etc.). They were competitors for resources, so it made sense. That didn’t seem to hold water either.
Recently scientists have gone looking through Neanderthal DNA to see if we interbred with them. At first the answer was “no.” Then the answer was “maybe.” And now the answer is “Yeah, baby!” So, apparently we fucked them into extinction. (Just from memory I remember a quote from a book “The American Father” that said most men “would willingly mount a snake if it were suitably defanged.” So, this argument sounds like it rings true.)
In any case, breeding them into extinction is much softer and gentler than killing them off one by one or massacring them. Kind of makes one proud.
But, wait, you ask: what has this to do with class carfare. This is supposed to be a class warfare blog. Well, as you know, modern war is frequently conducted economically. And many economists have been puzzled at the disconnect between worker productivity and GDP per capita (both going up quite nicely) and family earnings (not). For years and years Americans have been working harder and harder (showing consistent productivity gains) and yet falling farther and farther behind.
Some of these economists say it is globalization that is causing this, or that technology is causing it, that there are fundamental economic reasons for this. They are wrong. If there were economic, that is supply and demand, reasons for the decline in middle class wages and incomes, then you would see connections, cause and effect chains, that could link the two. You know, globalization (or technology, or whatever) was depressing profits, so wage concessions had to be made to stay competitive at that lower profitability level. But that is not what has happened.
The profits banked by corporations and the earnings of the monied interests in this country have skyrocketed, as has inequality of wealth. The suppression of middle class wages has come through an orchestrated campaign to bribe elected officials to suppress unions, suppress “government regulations,” and to legalize “entitlements” for the rich. Why else would “hedge fund managers” who make over a billion dollar a year pay income taxes at the lowest rate that poor people pay? Why else would major corporations making billions in profits pay no corporate taxes? Why else would the labor unions in this country join together to get a “card check” law passed, reinstating the common practice of the past of signing workers into a union through cards of intent, a process which is basically a secret ballot, and failing to get that law passed?
If we don’t wake up, we could end up like the Neanderthals, fucked into oblivion, albeit economically.