A recent comment over at Zman’s blog seemed to be well liked, so I shall add a few more thoughts. First the comment:
“The cloud people are all but invisible to some folks out here in flyover land. From a struggling mid sized town in East Kentucky perspective, the cloud people don’t seem important at first. Walmart has done more damage to the community than Mexicans. Highway project after highway project (bypassing the bypass route of the old bypass route), have destroyed more small businesses than Jews. Consolidated schools have destroyed more small towns than blacks. White people are not having children for numerous reasons, but when the community schools are gone, it is just one more pita to deal with.
The ironic thing is that a majority of people in these towns will favor the Wal-Mart (cheap stuff), highway project (muh jobs), and giant mega-school in the middle of nowhere (for the children). Of course the cloud people profit from all of the above. Some in the Alt Right like too say that economics do not matter, but we need a message that resonates with people.”
I have no interest in ranting against Walmart–I shop there too. I am interested in thinking about the way we live today, and the fact that both left and right are unhappy with the arrangement. Any criticism of globalism or crony capitalism always meets cry’s of “muh free markets!” from the right, and “communism now!” from the left. Neither left nor right are addressing the loss of social trust occurring in the west.
Walmart’s success involves economies of scale, but Walmart has historically engaged in aggressive price discrimination. Even those rare purchasers who can buy goods in greater quantities than Walmart may not get a price per item as low as Walmart. Supplier contracts are abused to create supplier monopolies, but the left today has no interest in trust busting.
Much of America is in decline, middle class jobs seem scarce, and boarded up store fronts are prevalent in much of small town America. People who live in these towns will eagerly support any government initiative that seems like it might offer opportunity. The little southern Illinois town of Tamms supported a nearby supermax prison a few years back. The people there probably thought that new stores and restaurant would follow, but all of the development occurred near Interstate 57 several miles away.
A huge percentage of US GDP is government funded indirectly if not directly. Most of the growth sectors of the economy (health care, education, etc.) involve government funds. The Reagan era rallying cry of less government and more individualism does not resonate as it once did. People may not support big governments, but they do not trust big business. Huge cuts in health and education spending will be needed to prevent insolvency, but helping the private sector will not necessarily bring back middle America. The west is lurching toward a plantation economy similar to what is seen in much of South America. The new right needs to present an alternative.