[Cross-posted at The Masses]
I started blogging a few years ago, but I was never really dedicated to it. I’d post a bit here and a bit there, but I didn’t have the interest or the drive to keep it going. It wasn’t until Scott Walker attacked the working men and women (my lovely wife in particular) that I truly found my muse.
I created The Masses, in honor of John Reed who was a first-hand witness to the 1917 Russian Revolution. Reed wrote about the classless society that briefly arose from the uprising of the proletariat only to be undermined and ultimately corrupted and crushed by Stalin and his thugs. I admire Reed for his optimism and his dedication to the cause of working people.
I created The Masses because I felt (more than saw) a kind of revolution coming. I could feel it in my soul that America was nearing an economic and social breaking point. Marching with 100,000 people around the Capitol in Madison said to me “Things need to change!”
Indeed, at that time, capitalism itself seemed on the brink of collapse. I had no illusions that we’d get a “worker’s paradise.” No, capitalism would survive despite the best efforts of the financial capitalists to kill it, but I thought we might at least shift the dialog. Fair Markets instead of just Free Markets.
I started reading economics blogs, I took a macroeconomics class at UW Waukesha (as one conservative detractor calls it, the Junior College) and spent time exchanging e-mails and comments with economists around the world in an effort to better my understanding our collective circumstance.
I followed (and still follow) the events unfolding in the European macroeconomy. Greece was a long obsession of mine as we watched the failure of expansionary austerity wreak havoc on the Greek economy and the Greeks themselves. They took to the streetsThe fate of nations hangs in the balance. Indeed, the unwinding of the Euro could be the most fascinating and catastrophic economic event we’re likely to witness in our lifetimes. Excitement abounds!
For the longest time, I focused on a few topics that I deemed critical to our state and our nation. I spent a lot of time reading and learning about economics because I believe that a sound footing in macroeconomics and a systems-oriented understanding of our modern global economy is the only way we’re going to survive.
With my background in anthropology and statistics, I chose to blend my formal training in social science, my semi-formal and informal learning in economics and my interest in data-driven policy to offer a forum for others to discuss these complex policy circumstances. But somehow that hasn’t been happening lately. It’s been all about politics and who did what to whom. Pot shots and smack downs.
It would seem, then, that I have lost my way.
Upon reflection, I just got wrapped up in the politics of recall. It was exciting! It was fun! It hinted at revolution! Poking conservatives in the eye got to be a fun hobby. Pointing out the error of their ways became the main point of my posts. But eventually the fun wore off.
Don’t misunderstand me, Scott Walker has got to go. His economic failures are enough to remove him. His fiscal policies have exacerbated Wisconsin’s economic downturn making us one of the worst economic performers in the nation.
It’s time to go back to what I know and what (I’ve been told) I do best. More economics, more healthcare, more policy, less politics.
I reserve the right to post a snarky article or two from time-to-time, but I’m going to stick with the policies of economics and society and leave the politics to those who have more patience for the excruciating minutiae of political discourse in 21st century America.