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The early trade systems were much more limited in scope as the market for "high value" items was, at first, limited largely to ruling elites. This market expanded and differentiated during the early modern era to merchants, tradesmen and an expanding group who buttressed the newly  more complex societies, such as lawyers, clerks, sea captains and army officers.  But this remained a small portion of the total population.

It has only been in the 20th century that a large portion of the population could earn enough to be able to purchase high value items such as automobiles.  In the USA, post-WWII prosperity was built on higher wages for the working population.  That is what is changing in the USA.  The distribution of wealth has reverted back to levels not seen since 1929.  Real income is declining for the great majority of families.

In their greed, political and economic elites in the USA have adopted policies which treat the entire USA as a disposable item of consumption from which they can extract the maximum wealth in the short term.  They see their wealth as mobile, owing no national allegiance.  But power is not so context free.  Kuwait could not liberate itself from Saddam with its "Fund for the Future" alone.  That required the military forces of the USA and Europe.

In what context will those elites represented by the Bush Administration enjoy the benefits of their wealth when they have succeeded in extracting all portable wealth from the USA and left a hollow shell behind?  How will they protect that wealth?  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 12:14:56 PM EST
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