1. Tim Harris says

    A lot of things started around 1980 – I’ve been reading Thomas Piketty’s very good ‘Capital in the 21st Century – and they would seem to be connected…

  2. says

    Another aspect of the Merican system that puzzles me, is elected judges. I lived in Pennsylvania during the 2009/2010 academic year – I do remember reading about the cash for kids scandal at the time – and I was surprised to see signposts on the neighbours’ lawns supporting this or that person who was running for office as a judge. I could be wrong, but I suspect this favours judges who are tough on crime rather than ones with a sense of proportions and a disinclination to use the law as a blunt instrument of power.

  3. says

    Uh, did I just see a troll passing through? I was just trying to discover if he had any previous posting history (he did, but it was just one post, and a rude one too) when poof, his post disappeared. I wasn’t sure if he was trying to do sarcasm and failing spectacularly, or if he was a real troll. Most likely the latter. Good riddance, then.

  4. Sili says

    Same as the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan: there’s money to be made for cronies.

  5. ShowMetheData says

    IPCS has a website where you search prison stats

    Actual numbers
    United States of America 2 228 424 prisoners
    Canada 40 544 ( One-tenth the size of the U.S. and about the same level of “loose morals”)

    1 United States of America 2 228 424
    2 China 1 701 344
    3 Russian Federation 676 400
    4 Brazil 548 003
    5 India 385 135
    6 Thailand 296 577
    7 Mexico 249 912
    8 Iran 217 000

  6. Crimson Clupeidae says

    This is the part where we all get to chant “We’re number one!” over and over, right?

    Cuz…’merka, Fuck Yeah!

    I want off this planet…..

  7. lpetrich says

    Why 1980? That reminds me of historians Arthurs Schlesinger I and II with their work on cycles of American history. They propose that US history alternates between liberal and conservative phases:

    Liberal: public purpose, reform
    Conservative: private interest, retrrenchment

    L: Adoption of Constitution, C: Hamiltonian Federalism, L: Jeffersonianism, C: Retrenchment after War of 1812, L: Jacksonianism, C: Domination of Federal Government by Slaveowners, L: Civil War and Reconstruction, C: GIlded Age I, L: Progressive Era, C: Republican Restoration, L: New Deal, C: Eisenhower Era, L: Sixties Radicalism, C: Gilded Age II

    These phases usually last about 16 years, and they are partially a generational effect, and partly a response to previous phases. Liberal phases often involve major reform efforts that can be hard to sustain, especially when those efforts seem to have won. Conservative phases often produce problems that society’s elites are reluctant to do anything about, if they accept that those problems exist.

    But some conservative phases have lasted a *long* time. The first of those was the Gilded Age, which followed a period of major national trauma, the 1860’s with the Civil War and Reconstruction. We are currently in a second Gilded Age, which follows another period of major national trauma, the 1960’s with the black civil-rights movement and Sixties radicalism.

    We are overdue for another major age of liberalism and reform. Bill Clinton’s Presidency seemed to be the start of one — at first. But he was a wimpy moderate, and it didn’t happen. Barack Obama has gone a bit further than Bill Clinton, but his presidency has largely been Bill Clinton II. The Occupy movement got beaten up rather badly, and it has fizzled out.

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