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Ransoming the US

June 22, 2013, 9:00 AM

In the 1960’s, John Crowe Ransom looked back at the post Civil War South, and discussed how at the time the South was Reconstructed and Unregenerate.

The South had just had the practices of slavery abolished, so they were rebuilding the infrastructure that they had, but with one slight difference: no slaves.  However, they built the same infrastructure.  They maintained the same organization that they had had with million of laborers who were forced to work for free. It seems obvious that this would be hard to maintain now that these workers had control over how much they worked, and how long they worked.  They also did not embrace industrial production! This caused a huge drop off in production.  Ransom suggests that the South’s unwillingness to change plunged them into poverty.

Now remove slavery from the equation.  Does this resistance to change sound familiar?

In Washington, there is a refusal to acknowledge that the policies that were put in place over the last 30 years have failed to produce the desired outcome of economic growth and shared prosperity.  Therefore there is no serious attempt to deviate from the status quo or change the policy environment. Policy makers are vested in this bankrupt ideology that seems to be ruling the day.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “history repeats itself.”   When you strip away the details, and break these time periods down to their bare bones, does that phrase hold true?  Is it possible that we have digressed in our thinking all the way back to the Reconstructionist South?  Are we still divided enough that we cannot even come to a common consensus on an economic policy that will get us out of the current economic recession?

I hope not.

The contexts here may be different, but the underlying problems seem to be the same.  Is the United States a modern day, Civil War South?



Ransoming the US

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