Fri Feb 22, 2013, 10:06 AM
trof (47,588 posts)
Southern poverty pimps: The “original sin” of the Southern political class is cheap, powerless labor
This is the most cogent, readable, and understandable explanation of southern power and politics that I have ever read and I'm a life-long southerner.
Kudos to Salon's Michael Lind.
"Contemporary American politics cannot be understood apart from the North-South divide in the U.S., as I and others have argued. Neither can contemporary American economic debates. The real choice facing America in the 21st century is the same one that faced it in the 19th and 20th centuries — Northernomics or Southernomics?
Northernomics is the high-road strategy of building a flourishing national economy by means of government-business cooperation and government investment in R&D, infrastructure and education. Although this program of Hamiltonianism (named after Washington’s first Treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton) has been championed by maverick Southerners as prominent as George Washington, Henry Clay and Abraham Lincoln (born in Kentucky to a Southern family), the building of a modern, high-tech, high-wage economy has been supported chiefly by political parties based in New England and the Midwest, from the Federalists and the Whigs through the Lincoln Republicans and today’s Northern Democrats.
Southernomics is radically different. The purpose of the age-old economic development strategy of the Southern states has never been to allow them to compete with other states or countries on the basis of superior innovation or living standards. Instead, for generations Southern economic policymakers have sought to secure a lucrative second-tier role for the South in the national and world economies, as a supplier of commodities like cotton and oil and gas and a source of cheap labor for footloose corporations. This strategy of specializing in commodities and cheap labor is intended to enrich the Southern oligarchy. It doesn’t enrich the majority of Southerners, white, black or brown, but it is not intended to."
"It is all a system, you see. Southern conservative policies toward immigration, labor unions, the minimum wage and social insurance don’t reflect supposed conservative or libertarian ideologies or values, even if conservative or libertarian intellectuals are paid to dream up after-the-fact rationalizations. These policies are reinforcing components of a well-thought-out economic grand strategy to permit the South, as a nation-within-a-nation in the U.S., to pimp its cheap, dependent labor for the benefit of local and foreign (non-Southern) corporations and investors."
Several more paragraphs well worth the read:
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