Friday, September 11, 2015

All wealth created by Middle Class !?

Yesterday's lie: all wealth created by the rich ; today's lie: all created by the middle class.

The truth is, at least in today's ideological culture, it takes big people's wealth and decisions, the middle people's managing the carrying out of these decisions and the back breaking labour of the smallest people, all to create new wealth.

(And I say all this as a left-leaning Green.)

The fact is that successful wealth creation, like everything else truly successful on Earth, requires a 'coalition of all talents' to come about, has always been true.

But today, all but the very richest and the very poorest claim to be middle class and as such, to be 'creating' all the wealth.

But when everybody is middle, nobody is middle - for what we would actually have then would be a single "uni-class", rather than a three class system.

Part of today's problem is a great reluctance to define the middle more accurately than a bit of vague hand waving, a la Mr Trudeau and his Liberal candidates, as I recently witnessed myself at a Halifax all-candidates debate.

One way, I suggest, to nail down the elusive jello that is the definition of "the middle class" would be to take a nation's median income (the income that one half of all tax-reporters earns more than and the other half earns less than) and combine the bottom 16.7% of those earning more that that median with the top 16.7% of those earning less than the median.

We would, I believe, then have the middle class defined simply as the middle third of all family income earners --- not whether they went to university and held a white collar job.

This doesn't deny the fact that well to do young black men in fancy cars will still be stopped and hassled by policemen in a way that extremely poor old white women riding the bus never would be.

Or deal with the reality that few women will ever end up being invited onto the boards of the Big Banks, even if they are extremely rich.

But income and such seemingly non-income related issues are truly united.

For possessing high income is a very good place to see the financial advantages of being part or all of a country's majority race, ethnicity, religion, marital status and political ideology groupings.

Just as low income usually reveals the disadvantages of not being part of some or all of these popular 'tokens' for obtaining really good education, housing, health care, police protection and jobs.

"small" patients defined

Now you might understand that when I say that Henry Dawson's Manhattan Project was made up of "small" patients, I don't mean "small" as in terms of age or size, but rather as small in terms of income and social status : power basically.

As in being basically powerless because they lacked it all : wrong race and religion and education level and income level and physical fitness level.

In the "military preparedness" world of medical America in the Fall of 1940, to be working class and black or Jewish and to be a SBE patient was to be about as powerless and worthless as one could be.

Partly because of their lack of income and because they lacked the right skin tone and religious faith.

But mostly because SBE was seen an invariably fatal, re-occurring, expensively chronic illness. Even if one SBE hospital patient was cured of one bout of the disease, it kept coming back until the patient died.

But it was the faint hope clause of the very occasional cure that kept patients and their families to keep coming to the top research hospitals, filling expensive beds instead of dying quietly and cheaply at home.

Because no doctor really believed the hospital had anything to do with the cure, SBE cures were like terminal cancer cures, an Act of God even to the non-believer.

And while most SBEs died of a a stroke caused by an embolism in another part of the body than the heart, the infection also slowly but surely and permanently reduce the effectiveness of the already damaged heart valve.

So even if Dawson did cure the SBEs, even permanently, the valve damage wouldn't allow them to fight as infantry.

This is why many in the medical elite were for denying any penicillin to the SBEs, even though it was the only thing that could cure this fatal disease, reserving scarce penicillin instead to errant husbands and boyfriends who had picked up a non-fatal dose of the clap overseas.

But Dawson felt that in a total war, virtually all work was useful war work and even those with damaged valves can still do lots of useful work.

Besides, if only wartime penicillin was as mass produced as Dawson had long argued for, it could be given in advance, in small amounts, to prevent those with damaged valves from every getting a serious bout of SBE (which usually ended requiring more penicillin than even a lifetime of preventive shots).

Then the SBEs, a plurality who were draft age young men as it happens, could go from being the most worthless in society, the 4Fs of the 4Fs, to potentially becoming prime 1A cannon fodder.

(A mixed blessing for sure !)

One wonders what would have happened if penicillin had turned out to be a cure for Polio, a disease particularly of the white middle class suburbs, rather than a cure for SBE and Rheumatic Fever, diseases of the inner city poor , minorities and immigrants ?

I doubt then it would have been denied the Polio sufferers, war or no war and I think Dawson figured this to be so as well.

SBE was medical Universes away from Dawson's area of medical expertise, but he decided to cure the SBEs because he wanted to make a moral and scientific case for widening 1940's narrow concepts of just who could be inside the human portfolio.

The trend was to reduce the portfolio only down to only the financially, socially and physically fit, but Dawson wanted the portfolio to be widely diverse as possible.

Just as he thought the small in the biological world - like the penicillin-producing penicillium, had much to offer Humanity, if we only but let them.

These ideas were seen as absurd then but are commonplace today.

We changed obviously and totally.

And it all had to start somewhere, sometime, with someone ....

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