The Pie Is Shrinking so Much the 99% Are Beginning to Starve

Social movements arise to solve problems of inequality, injustice, exploitation and oppression. In other words, they are solutions to society-wide problems plaguing the many but not the few (i.e. the elites at the top of the wealth-power pyramid).

The basic assumption of social movements is that Utopia is within reach, if only the sources of the problems can be identified and remedied.  Since inequality, injustice, exploitation and oppression arise from the asymmetry of power between the few (the financial and political elites) and the many, the solution is a reduction of the asymmetry; that is a tectonic realignment of the social structure that shifts some power—economic and/or political—from the few to the many.

In some instances, the power asymmetry is between ethnic or gender classes, or economic classes (for example, labor and the owners of capital).

Social movements are characterized by profound conflict because the beneficiaries of the power asymmetry resist the demands for a fairer share of the power and privileges, while those who’ve held the short end of the stick have tired of the asymmetry and refuse to back down.

Two dynamics assist a social, political and economic resolution that transfers power from those with too much power to those with too little power: 1) the engines of the economy have shifted productive capacity definitively in favor of those demanding their fair share of power, and 2) the elites recognize that their resistance to power-sharing invites a less predictable and thus far more dangerous open conflict with forces that have much less to lose and much more to gain.

In other words, ceding 40% of their wealth-power still conserves 60%, while stubborn resistance might trigger a revolution that takes 100% of their wealth-power.

History provides numerous examples of these dynamics.  Once the primary sources of wealth-generation shifted from elite feudal landowners to merchants and industrialists, the wealth (and thus the political power) of the landed elites declined. As the industrialists hired vast numbers of laborers drawn from small farms and workshops, this mass industrialized labor became the source of the wealth generation; after decades of conflict, this labor class gained a significant share of the wealth and political power.

The civil rights and women’s liberation movements realigned the political and economic power of minorities and females more in line with their productive output, reducing the asymmetries of ethnic and gender privileges.

In broad-brush, progressive social movements seek to broaden opportunities and level the playing field by reducing the asymmetric privileges of dominant classes defined by power and privilege.  The core mechanism of this transition is the recognition and granting of universal human rights: the right to vote, the right to equal opportunity, and rights to economic security, i.e. entitlements that are extended universally to all citizens for education, healthcare, old-age pensions and income security.

Again in broad-brush, these movements have largely been categorized as politically Left, though many institutions deemed conservative (for example, various churches) have often provided bedrock support for progressive movements.

Social movements which seek to limit the excesses of state power tend to be categorized as conservative or politically Right, as they seek to realign the asymmetry of power held by the state in favor of the individual, family and the traditional social order.

The Expanding Pie Fueled Expanding Entitlements

Writer Ugo Bardi recently drew another distinction between Left and Right social movements: “Traditionally, the Left has emphasized rights while the Right has emphasized duties.

As rights manifested as economic entitlements rather than political (civil liberty) entitlements, rights accrue economic costs. As Bardi observes: “Having rights is nicer than having duties, but the problem is that human rights have a cost and that this cost was paid, so far, by fossil fuels. Now that fossil fuels are on their way out, who's going to pay?”

I would argue that the cost was also paid by higher productivity enabled by the technological, financial and social innovations of the Third Industrial Revolution, roughly speaking the interconnected advances of the second half of the 20th century.

These advances can be characterized as expanding the economic pie; that is, generating more energy, credit, technological tools, opportunities, security and capital (which includes financial, infrastructural, intellectual and social capital) for all to share in a socio-political-financial allocation broad enough to make everyone feel like they were making some forward progress.

This long-term, secular expansion of the pie naturally generated more demands for additional entitlements and rights, as the economy could clearly support the extra costs of allocating additional wealth and resources to the many.  From the point of view of the few (the elites), their own wealth continued expanding, so there was little resistance to expanding retirement, education and healthcare entitlements.

But in the 21st century, the expansion of the pie stagnated, and for many, it reversed. Adjusted for real-world inflation many households have seen their net incomes and wealth decline in the past decade.

Despite the endless media rah-rah about “growth” and “recovery,” it is self-evident to anyone who bothers to look beneath the surface of this facile PR that the pie is now shrinking. This dynamic is increasing inequality rather than reducing it.

The Shrinking Pie And Stagnant Productivity

It is a truism of economics that widespread increases in productivity are required to generate equally widespread increases in income and capital, i.e. productive wealth. To the consternation of many, productivity has stagnated since 2010; no wonder household income for all but the upper crust has gone nowhere.

If we glance at a chart of productivity, we see a strong correlation with speculative investment bubbles (the dot-com and housing bubbles 1995-2005) and speculative spikes fueled by central bank monetary stimulus (2009-10).  Absent bubbles and monumental excesses of central bank stimulus, productivity quickly sinks to its secular trend line: downwards.

This next chart depicts the long-term trend line of productivity through all four industrial revolutions. Note the decline concurrent with the 4th Industrial Revolution (mobile telephony, the Internet, AI, robotics, peer-to-peer networks, etc.) and the depletion of cheap-to-access-and-refine oil:

The unwelcome reality is that the economy is changing in fundamental ways that cannot be reversed with policy tweaks, protests or wishful thinking.

Consider the percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP) that goes to employee compensation (wages and salaried). Labor’s share of the GDP has been in a downtrend since 1970, which not coincidentally was the peak of secular productivity:

In this below chart of the distribution of wealth in the U.S., we find the same correlation to the downtrends in productivity and labor’s share of the economy.  The bottom 90% of households' (the many) share of the wealth pie topped out in the early 1980s and has declined precipitously since, while the wealth of the top 0.1% (the few) has more than tripled since the late 1970s:

This next chart depicts the remarkable (and recent) spike income growth the few have recently enjoyed, at the expense of everyone else:

The increase in wealth and income inequality and the decline of productivity and labor’s share of GDP are the result of structural changes in the economy, changes with far-reaching consequences.

While it’s appealing to identify policies endorsed by self-serving insiders and elites as the source of these changes, that is far from the whole story. Much of this growing asymmetry stems from profound changes in the global economy that depreciate labor (as conventional labor is no longer scarce) and increase the gains of the top few in a “winner take most” allocation that benefits speculation, leverage and new ways of organizing labor and capital that reward the organizers far more than the users/participants.

In this new era of a steadily shrinking pie, the sources of inequality and related social problems have also shifted.  As a result, the social movements that were effective in the past are no longer effective today. Attempts to address rising inequality with the old tools are fueling frustration rather than actual solutions.

In Part 2 — Social Unrest: The Boiling-Over Point, we examine why our existing models for social change have slipped into ineffectual symbolic gestures that fuel fragmentation and frustration -- and why that will lead to a dangerous boiling over of the 99% against the elites controlling the system.

When that happens (and it seems inevitable at our current trajectory), the rending of our social fabric will happen stunningly fast. The ensuing social disunity and disruption will be of the sort many alive today have never seen.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

When Biden was given the keys to the Oval Office in January 2021, gas was $2.50 a gallon and the inflation rate was 1.4%. Today gas is at $3.32 a gallon and the inflation rate is at 7% ... and STILL RISING. These are just 12 months of numbers, but we’re clearly in a worrying decline. While the economy has opened up more post-COVID, it’s not just getting worse — we’re going IN REVERSE.

On "Glenn TV" Wednesday, Glenn Beck heads to the chalkboard (and the very top of his studio ceiling) to explain what’s happening to inflation and why it’s so hard for your family to afford basic goods and groceries. It’s not “corporate greed,” as Democrats have been telling you. The Biden administration wants to continue to spend trillions of dollars to “reinvent capitalism,” but that’s in addition to the trillions that are being pumped out IN THE SHADOWS.

Glenn exposes what the Fed has been doing behind closed doors and shows us the tidal wave that’s about to hit. He’s looked at the numbers, and they're frightening. Carol Roth, former Wall Street investment banker and author of “The War on Small Business,” gives advice to Americans who want to protect their checking and savings accounts before it’s too late.

Watch the full episode below:

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The stock markets have taken a nosedive in the biggest downtrend since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. But that's nothing compared to what's coming thanks to our government's embrace of modern monetary theory, warned BlazeTV's Glenn Beck on the radio program.

"It really is important that you understand what's happening to us," Glenn stated. "Modern monetary theory is truly the [fuel] ... for the great reset. It is the idea that we can print as much money and spend as much money as we want," he explained.

"Then the next step is to release the Federal Reserve digital currency and make payments by other currencies [including cryptocurrencies] illegal," he continued. "And you're seeing it happen now in real time. Why would they do this? Because you cannot print this kind of money without having absolute control over how it is spent."

Glenn broke down the steps powerful political organizations — like the Federal Reserve — will take to end currency competition and enact a Federal digital dollar, which will allow for the government to have complete control over how we spend our money.

"This is what's coming. This is coming quickly, and events will make it move faster. For instance, why is Joe Biden basically giving Ukraine to Russia? He's giving it to them. He he knows Russia's not afraid of him. Putin knows that [Biden] is not going to do anything ... neither is NATO. They're not going to do anything," Glenn said.

"It's because war resets everything. War is the best great resetter. Changes boundaries. It changes borders. It changes laws. It changes societies. It changes currencies. It changes everything. And in the end you just want the war to stop. And so you you accept whatever it is the terms are that you're going to have to live under now. We're in very, very dangerous times. The only way to survive this is to know why they are dangerous times."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn Beck:

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Chances are, you've noticed that many large companies have decided to become woke activists, despite the fact that alienating half your customer base is a terrible business strategy.

This woke shift isn't being driven by the usual market forces. It's the Great Reset's ESG score system at work, Glenn Beck said on "GlennTV." Under the “environmental, social, and governance” score system, companies will no longer make decisions based on what you, the consumer, want. Now, it's all about what those in power deem society should want. And it's not just businesses that are affected, he explained.

Watch the video clip below or find the full episode of "GlennTV" here:


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11 things you can do to help stop the Great Reset

Photo by Arthur Franklin on Unsplash

The foundation of the American way of life is freedom from tyranny, which can only exist in a nation that defends the rights, powers, and property of individuals and families. Over the past two centuries, the greatest threats to liberty have come from governments, both foreign and domestic. And from the beaches of Normandy to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Americans have repeatedly conquered the challenges placed before them by those seeking to extinguish or limit individual rights.

However, over the past few years, a new, potentially catastrophic danger has emerged, but not primarily from the halls of Congress or state capitols. This threat to freedom has largely emanated from the board rooms of the world’s wealthiest, most powerful corporations, large financial institutions, central banks, and international organizations such as the United Nations and World Economic Forum.

In an attempt to secure vast amounts of wealth and influence over society, corporate CEOs, bankers, and investors, working closely with key government officials, have launched a unified effort to impose environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards on most of the industrialized global economy. ESG standards are also referred to as “sustainable investment” or “stakeholder capitalism.” According to a report by KPMG, thousands of companies, located in more than 50 countries, already have ESG systems in place, including 82 percent of large companies in the United States.

ESG standards are designed to create a “great reset of capitalism” and to “revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions.” ESG supporters plan to enact these radical changes by using ESG schemes to alter how businesses and investments are evaluated, so that instead of focusing on the quality of goods and services, profits, and other traditional economic metrics, companies — including financial institutions — are evaluated largely on their commitment to social justice and environmental causes and then assigned scores so that companies can be compared, rewarded, or potentially punished.

Supporters of the movement for a Great Reset also plan on using technology to limit free speech and privacy rights, and they support creating vast new government programs that are designed to transform the Western economy via the Green New Deal, European Green Deal, a federal jobs guarantee, and basic income programs.

Together, the proposals that make up the Great Reset represent the most serious threat to freedom in the West since the fall of the Soviet Union and perhaps since World War II. But there is hope. We can stop the Great Reset, but only if we act quickly and with great conviction.

Below are 11 steps you can take to push back against the Great Reset. These steps represent a powerful bottom-up, grassroots approach to the Great Reset’s top-down plan to remake the world. Although many of these steps won’t be easy for everyone to take, they are essential for ensuring that our children and grandchildren will grow up in a world that protects the rights of individuals and empowers families, rather than wealthy special interests, financial institutions, and large corporations.

1. Live Not by Lies: The time for remaining quiet is over. When you hear or see something that you know to be false, speak up. Be kind, generous, and compassionate, but do not, under any circumstances, allow lies to infect your life. Further, do not support organizations, publications, politicians, schools, or any other institutions that regularly promote false claims.

2. Buy Local: The reason the Great Reset is so powerful is because so many of us have become totally dependent on large multinational corporations. They can be easily manipulated in a way that small, local businesses cannot. Learn to buy local, whenever possible, even if it means spending more money on your purchases. Yes, big corporations offer conveniences and low prices that many small businesses can’t compete with, but those benefits come with a great cost: your freedom.

3. Bank Local: Big financial institutions and banks are driving much of the Great Reset movement. They have started to use their incredible wealth and power to alter society by financing only those businesses who agree to the terms of the Great Reset. This problem is going to get worse, so it’s important to find local banks and credit unions you can trust and who refuse to utilize ESG scores and other discriminatory schemes.

4. Support Local Farms: If you live in an area that has local farms and farmer’s markets, consider buying as many of your groceries as possible from farmers. In the future, food production and distribution are going to change dramatically. It’s important that you support local farmers and build relationships with individuals who can provide you with the goods you need in a time of crisis. One of our main goals must be to make local communities as self-sufficient as possible, and that cannot happen unless we support local farms.

5. Be Vocal: After starting to shop and bank locally, be sure to tell big financial institutions and corporations why they have lost your business. They need to know that their decisions have serious consequences.

6. Run for Local Government: Local and state governments will soon be our most important defense against the Great Reset. Consider running for your local school board, zoning board, or even for a state legislative office. If you don’t feel qualified for these positions, find someone who shares your values and help them run for office. If we don’t have control of our local governments, we won’t be able to halt the Great Reset.

7. Demand That Your State Pass Laws Against ESG Scores: In America, states have a tremendous amount of power to slow the Great Reset and protect their citizens from abuses by large corporations, banks, and international institutions. They can do this by passing laws that make the use of ESG metrics and other, similar systems by financial institutions illegal, when used as a precondition for banking services, financing, investment, etc. ESG scores are, by definition, discriminatory and should be made illegal by state lawmakers who care about protecting their citizens’ rights.

8. Make Responsible Spending a Key Issue for Politicians: In recent years, politicians on the ideological left and right have totally abandoned responsible fiscal policy in favor of vast money printing and loose monetary policies. The many trillions of dollars that have been “printed” in recent years put our economy at risk and are being used to fuel the Great Reset. Without these trillions of dollars of printed money, it would be exceptionally difficult for governments and financial institutions to buy off corporations.

9. Organize Anti-Great Reset Groups: No matter where you live, there are Americans in your community who do not support the Great Reset — Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike. Find like-minded neighbors and organize a local, peaceful resistance. Find people you can trust and agree to support one another when times get tough. Now, more than ever, we need to develop dependable communities.

10. Buy Property and Diversify: Property ownership is going to become increasingly more difficult in the months and years to come. It’s important that you work with a qualified financial adviser to help you figure out the best way to buy property and diversify your investments. Buying hard assets, including real estate and precious metals, could be a good way for you to protect against the Great Reset and a possible financial collapse. If you already own property, resist selling it to large corporations and financial institutions, whenever possible. (This is not financial advice, and I’m not a financial adviser. Talk to an expert you trust before taking action!)

11. Make the Great Reset a Litmus Test for Politicians: Before supporting politicians, find out if they know what the Great Reset is and what they plan to do to stop it. If they aren’t familiar with the Great Reset or don’t have a plan to halt it, then demand that they learn about the Great Reset and develop a proposal to prevent it. Political leaders who refuse to take the Great Reset seriously do not deserve your support. This is the key issue of our generation.