It’s not really about bad trade deals, they’re just one of the symptoms of the disease. Whether it’s outsourcing, offshoring or automation, the hollowing out of the middle class is about capitalism – the unsleeping, unblinking single-minded shark that amorally devours profits.
Capitalism is the word that has to be debated. Limits on it have to be set in order to have a functioning democracy and a healthy middle class. Socialism became a curse word because capitalism was so ascendant and powerful that it was forbidden to question that the former was evil and the latter a God-given golden ray of sunshine.
Capitalism, conservatives have decreed, never fails, people sometimes fail capitalism. So the greed that causes depressions, is just normal. Market swings that cruelly take people’s life savings, just nature’s way. The great men who cause worldwide consternation are never criminally liable for their depredations – they were creating wealth and, well, it’s imperfect.
Capitalism is the concept that needs to be opened up for bigger debate. The understanding that we live in a mixed economy and we have to set the parameters of how we want our economy to work for us has to be opened up for bigger debate.
Thankfully, millennials are ready for this debate. Are politicians bold enough to bring it up?