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We Don't Have Time

Climate idea

How to avoid a civil war and restore a high functioning, representative democracy to the U.S.

The cures for our economic, political, climate and social problems are mostly well understood and within our reach - there is a path forward. But we have been subject to 50 years of disinformation from many directions, so many of our common assumptions are wrong. People have to understand the socio- economic system we live in and the root causes of the problems in order to know how individual actions affect the system. Being born 75 years ago, my sons have taught me most of my prior assumptions were wrong. Below is the summary of the research on what I’ve been finding.
Not to be an alarmist, but the biggest academic question when I recently attended my 50th business school reunion was how to avoid a civil war. We are in the same political pattern that led to the Civil War and we need to avoid it. Substitute “fossil fuel”, or “polluting industries” for “slavery” and the struggle is the same. The world’s largest profit flow comes from extractive industries and the ultra-wealthy aren’t allowing that to be reduced without a fight – we have to make sure it is without a war. Since the 1970’s the ultra-elite have been fighting and winning with disinformation, but they are starting to lose making them more dangerous. There is a solution (below).
We are being manipulated by the elite and those who set up the money pump for the elite (see:


The US tax system increases income disparity by 8% while France’s reduces it by 7% - the system is rigged and everyone knows it. The historical pattern is clear - in any time when living standards for the middle and lower class are falling while incomes for the economic elite (top .7% in the U.S. case) are skyrocketing – discontent brews. When the political will of the common people is thwarted by an elite (e.g. gun safety, addressing the climate and environment, taxing the wealthy, Citizens United, medical care availability, abortion, etc.) – discontent brews. And it’s brewing globally. Political entrepreneurs (like Mao, Lenin, Trump, Putin, Castro, Hitler, La Pen, et. al. – try to think of one who hasn’t used this tactic) fan a conflict when society needs to cooperate. At the end of WW II we had increasing upward, social mobility, now the U.S. has very little upward mobility statistically – we are statistically equal to Argentina. It is now a complete myth statistically that in the US someone can work harder and progress to middle and upper class.
Populist leaders, called political entrepreneurs, emerge and usually come from the lower elite class, but are dissatisfied with their lot. So, they use their access to power and money to mold support for themselves as leaders of a dissident faction.
The populist playbook is always the same:
• You’re being oppressed – I’m outraged and you should be too….
• “They” are doing it to you
• Only I can save you, (but historically populist leaders never have, or implement a workable plan – it’s always a plan to improve their wealth and power)
• I have to do extreme things – to save you
One party/side always chooses to be extreme to further their political careers. This forces some extremism in the opposing side, but that side usually tries to address the problems without fighting. This puts the moderates at a negotiating disadvantage. This is the critical point, can the sane majority control the political reactions to the extreme concentration of wealth, to social inequity and to the pollution crisis at the same time? 3 families in Charleston started the Civil War.
There are 2 statistically proven cures:
• Roosevelt’s new deal worked to reduce unemployment from 25% to 10% and restore the countries income and GDP before WW II. Long term it eased the path to the middle class:
o Tax the top .7% @ 91% and raise corp. taxes
 Increase taxes on incomes > $400K and wealth > $10M. Tax corporations 40% on national earnings without loopholes. (For the US this starts with removing the SS Tax Cap on high income individuals.)
o Create national infrastructure jobs - WPA
o Remove the barriers to unions
o Fund quality education for all
Maintain the moral high ground by never indulging violence – this is how Gandhi beat the British and the SCLC got the civil rights act passed - without mass killing.
The New Deal has been systematically dismantled since the 1970’s (it was fought by the wealthy oligopoly from the beginning), but Reagan Neoliberalism with deregulation has essentially recreated the conditions that led to the Great Depression and ultimately globally to fascism in Europe, Asia, S. America - that gave us WW II.
We are now in a highly disrupted age and instability will increase before it gets better, if it does:
• It’s too late to avoid some of the worst results of global warming caused by pollution
o Food production is headed down
 Food shortages will inflame political instability
 There will be a push to use more chemicals in agriculture, but chemicals destroy the long term ability of the soil to grow plants, or sequester carbon over time. This will make food supplies worse over time.
o The ocean is close to a heat and acidity tipping point where 55% of our oxygen that comes from ocean plants is at risk of ending – right now.
o Etc.
The U.S. hegemony on the world stage is ending and that trend can’t be reversed in our lifetimes.
o China’s economy is now larger than the US, India will be 3rd – world affairs will be much more conflicted
o US extremists are pushing for a non-democratic (despotic, dictatorial?) state.
 A US led by a despot would be extremely dangerous – a war between superpowers would end civilization.
 Reps. Clay Higgins (R-LA) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ) are calling for physical resistance and war (6/10/23). Kari Lake is saying all the gun owners should rise up when Trump is found guilty. Marjorie Taylor Green is proposing articles of succession. “The Freedom Caucus” held the whole country hostage. The extremists have made themselves clear.
The cures for both the pollution problems and the political system are within our reach. As the IRA has proven, upgrading our economic production to become regenerative rather than destructive will create millions of jobs and trillions of dollars of new investment opportunities at this time when the world is awash with capital. The economy it creates will be sustainable for a world population (now inevitable) of 9.5B.
Investors need profitable investment and are happy to invest in new cleaner processes (often they will need public support or insistance to create the new infrastructure). The actual, vested interest conflict battle comes from those protecting their profits coming from their obsolete investments. They generate scare stories to get voters on their side - these stories are not true (e.g. you won’t have meat, a car, a job, retirement funds, etc.). If we revise global tax systems to tax proportionately for the use of societies resources (i.e. progressive taxes) and to make companies pay their full cost of production (including pollution mitigation), this will improve standards of living for the poor and middle class. Fair taxes will allow funds for climate mitigation, rebuilding infrastructure to work with regenerative technologies, insurance stability and social programs. In turn less pollutions means less sick days, less cancer, less missed work for companies and employees.
But ultimately, the dissatisfaction comes from a lack of dignity and self-respect. People who cannot contribute are unhappy. That simple – lack of meaningful work, means dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction means “ripe to be politically exploited.” People think they (and their children) lost their “good” jobs to globalization, immigrants and “others.” That’s only about 20% of the cause – they lost them to automation, robotics, IT – and now AI. We can’t put that genie back, so what now? EDUCATION. Starting with Civics and History. People need to understand the context within which they live. They need to learn the emerging skills they aren’t as likely to learn from their parents. Most importantly – PEOPLE NEED TO SEE THAT THEIR HARD WORK CAN IN FACT BE A PATH TO RISING IN SOCIETY! That is a virtuous pump that rewards hard work and insight while dispelling social dissatisfaction – but that pump doesn’t work today and must be fixed.
We need a new New Deal. We need Congress to function in the interests of the majority – that means taking money out of politics, eliminating the single party primary and passing the National Popular Vote (the Electoral College must vote proportional to the popular vote in their state). To do that (and avoid civil war) the extremists need to be taken out of office and out of the national debate. People need to understand that the deficit came from unfunded tax reductions on the wealthy and from two unfunded wars (first where we didn’t issue war bonds). We have less social safty net expense that other industrial nations that have a higher standard of living - meaning that a strong social safety net often generates more gov't revenue and savings than it costs.
Most of all, we must recognize that a label, like ‘Conservative’ does not make it so.
If you want to learn more about the technical and organizational solutions to the pollution crisis, register to take the Climate Boot Camp free at :

Michael Linn
Echo Hawk

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  • Annett Michuki..

    57 w

    the is quite informative

    • Joseph Githinji

      57 w

      Great research findings Mike , this should be used as a case study around the globe because I feel as if the story of each nation is more or less the same. We must all stand and fight the spirit of extremism in totality and say no to civil war.

      • ance Star

        57 w

        I also appreciate the finding of Mike which will help reduce civil war

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