Sometimes events in the world can lead one to believe in a higher power. Just after I had a Twitter exchange with Matt Yglesias on the backlash against globalization and other changes in society over the last four decades, Jim Hoagland was good enough to give me a beautiful example of the elite attitude that fostered the backlash.
As I said in my tweet in response to Matt:
"Yes, and that we cosmopolitan types aggressively pushed integration in a way that was designed to reduce the wages of the bulk of the population. And, then to deny that we did it and there is something wrong with the people who are upset about it."
Hoagland's piece is exactly the sort of mindless trashing of people unhappy with the current economic and social situation. As the headline puts it, "the tech economy is hard to explain. Running against the Other is much easier."
The argument is straightforward, those dumb rubes can't figure out that their standard of living was wrecked by technology and globalization, so they lash out at immigrants and other out groups.
I know there is a large industry that insists that all Trump supporters are hopeless racists, some of whom voted twice for a black man for president, but I am not really interested in the souls of Trump voters. I am more interested in having a truthful dialogue among people who pretend to be knowledgeable intellectual types.
There was nothing inevitable about the upward redistribution of the last four decades. It was not the result of technology, it was the result of our policy technology.
Let me put this in a way that even Jim Hoagland could understand. How rich would Bill Gates be if Microsoft didn't hold any copyrights or patents on software? While I'm sure Bill Gates would still be doing fine, he's a smart and ambitious guy, he would not have $100 billion. In fact, he probably wouldn't even have $1 billion.
We have patents and copyrights to provide incentives for innovation and creative work. We can make them longer and stronger or shorter and weaker. We can also have alternative mechanisms (see Rigged, chapter 5 [It's free]). If we wanted the gains from growth to be broadly shared, instead of flowing to the top, then we could make patents and copyrights shorter and weaker. The decision to make them longer and stronger was a decision to transfer money from the "ignorant" masses to elites who then denounce them as racist.
Anyhow, we aren't likely to see a piece making this obvious point in the Post, but it does happen to be true.