In my view, for a historical system to be considered a capitalist system, the dominant or deciding characteristic must be the persistent search for the endless accumulation of capital—the accumulation of capital in order to accumulate more capital. And for this characteristic to prevail, there must be mechanisms that penalize any actors who seek to operate on the basis of other values or other objectives, such that these nonconforming actors are sooner or later eliminated from the scene, or at least severely hampered in their ability to accumulate significant amounts of capital. All the many institutions of the modern world-system operate to promote, or at least are constrained by the pressure to promote, the endless accumulation of capital.
[...] fear leads to the search for political alternatives of kinds not entertained before. The media refer to this as populism, but it is far more complicated than this slogan term suggests. For some the fear leads to multiple and irrational scapegoatings. For others, it leads to the willingness to unthink deeply ingrained assumptions about the operations of the modern world-system. Th is can be seen in the United States as the difference between the Tea Party movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Although educational credential inflation expands on false premises—the ideology that more education will produce more equality of opportunity, more high-tech economic performance, and more good jobs—it does provide some degree of solution to technological displacement of the middle class. Educational credential inflation helps absorb surplus labor by keeping more people out of the labor force; and if students receive a financial subsidy, either directly or in the form of low-cost (and ultimately unrepaid) loans, it acts as hidden transfer payments. In places where the welfare state is ideologically unpopular, the mythology of education supports a hidden welfare state. Add the millions of teachers in elementary, secondary, and higher education, and their administrative staffs, and the hidden Keynesianism of educational inflation may be said to virtually keep the capitalist economy afloat.
As long as the educational system can be somehow financed, it operates as hidden Keynesianism: a hidden form of transfer payments and pump-priming, the equivalent of New Deal make-work setting the unemployed to painting murals in post offices or planting trees in conservation camps, Educational expansion is virtually the only legitimately accepted form of Keynesian economic policy, because it is not overtly recognized as such. It expands under the banner of high technology and meritocracy—it is the technology that requires a more educated labor force. In a roundabout sense this is true: it is the technological displacement of labor that makes school a place of refuge from the shrinking job pool, although no one wants to recognize the fact. No matter—as long as the number of those displaced is shunted into an equal number of those expanding the population of students, the system will survive.
link this to "learn to code"-style policies & skills-biased technological change
The 1968 Civil Rights Act made housing discrimination illegal, but subtler forms prevailed. Crystal and Vanetta wanted to leave the ghetto, but landords like the one on Fifteenth Street turned them away. Other landlords and property management companies--like Affordable Rents--tried to avoid discriminating by setting clear criteria and holding all applicants to the same standards. But equal treatment in an unequal society could still foster inequality. Because black men were disproportionately incarcerated and black women disproportionately evicted, uniformly denying housing to applicants with recent criminal or eviction records still had an incommensurate impact on African Americans. When Crystal and Vanetta heard back from Affordable Rentals, they learned their application had been rejected on account of their arrest and eviction history.
From this account, it is clear that the relationship between unemployment and inequality is an intricate one [...] Nonetheless, involuntary unemployment is of concern in its own right, and for this reason alone it receives considerable attention in what follows. Unemployment, and attendant job precariousness, are themselves sources of inequality. A person rejected by the labour market is suffering a form of social exclusion, and even if full income replacement were to allow his or her standard of living to be maintained during unemployment, the individual's circumstances would have worsened. Above all, it is a matter of agency and a sense of powerlessness. [...]
depends on whether there's good unemployment insurance etc
[...] we risk creating the impression that inequality is rising on account of forces outside our control. It is far from obvious that these factors are beyond our influence or that they are exogenous to the economic and social system. Globalisation is the result of decisions taken by international organisations, by national governments, by corporations, and by individuals as workers and consumers. The direction of technological change is the product of decisions by firms, researchers, and governments. The financial sector may have grown to meet the demands of an aeing population in need of financial instruments that provide for retirement, but the form it has taken and the regulation of the industry have been subject to political and economic choices.
rise in inequality due to changes in the balance of power
[...] When richer families have more children, inequality is reduced [...] "The average upper middle-class familiy is only two-thirds of the size of the average working-class family. Hence, in the absence of modifications introduced by marriage, fresh accumulations, and taxation, the distribution of property would be likely to become more and more unequal." [...] better-off families having fewer children and hence accentuating the tendency towards greater inequality.
[...] The issue is not just between a lucky generation of baby-boomers now approaching retirement who got the best pension deals and benefited most from the house price boom, and a younger 'jilted generation' who have little. Many baby boomers have little wealth, and only a minority enough to see them through retirement without state pensions playing a major role. And a significant proportion of younger people stand to gain a great deal from inheritance and lifetime help from parents and grandparents. The conflict of interest is ultimately between the more affluent half of the baby-boom generation and poorer members of their own generation and younger households with the 'wrong' relatives, for whom advantage will not cascade down the generations.
the whole idea of young people being 'helped' by their parents has a lot to do with wage suppression and rising (rentier-led) inequality, which makes the idea that parents are graciously supporting their kids a bit dubious to say the least ... a little bit disappointed that he didn't go more into why the younger generation isn't doing so well, cough neoliberalism (or maybe he did and i can't remember idk)
It maybe should not be a surprise that there is a symbiotic relationship between high inequality in a society and low social mobility. In a highly unequal society, many advantaged parents will do all they can to ensure that their children do not slip down the economic ladder--they know that it goes a long way down. And if incomes and wealth are unequally distributed, they have the resources to help them. At the same time, they may realise that higher rates of social mobility, in relative terms, cannot be a one-way street. If policy helps increase the chances of someone starting in a less privileged position to go up the social scale, that must mean that someone else's chance of going down has to rise, which may include their own children, and does not then seem so attractive. While many favour increased upward mobility, few want to mention the increased downward mobility that has to go with it (in terms of relative positions, at least).
wonder how such parents would feel about dismantling the ladder entirely
As this outline of the neoliberal policy package shows, neoliberalism is [...] a description of at least two powerful and intertwined contemporary economic dynamics: globalization and financialization. Neoliberalism can be understood as the historical conjuncture, and political legitimization (via both coercion and consent) of these two processes. Globalization is the integration of the international economy via trade. The original version of liberalism certainly involved globalization, but without the kind of financialization we have today with neoliberalism--or at least, back then, finance played a different and subordinate role as investor in productive enterprise.
[...] this definition of neoliberalism is helpful since it allows us to [...] understand the differences between what is sometimes called the "first era of globalization"--British free trade imperialism in the nineteenth century--and what we call globalization today (by which we mean something more specifically neoliberal).
the conditions are those that must be met for receiving an IMF loan
he describes the IMF as one of the most important frontline institutions for neoliberalism