Came to alma mater Roosevelt to hear economist Dean Baker. Class act fo' sure. His set of concerns are distinct from the present blogger's. His lecture, for the "Roosevelt Club," goes back to the capitalism of the 1930's for a direct comparison with today, as if it is the same world. Seems to me as if he says there is no difference in the present society and that of 75 years ago.
In some sense I suppose there isn't ---- i.e. if the statistics that are kept correspond logically. This yields a lot of good statistics. For example, deflation today is one-half per cent. Deflation in the great depression was as much as eight per cent. Such direct comparison is good for a lot of things of course: so, unemployment in the G. Dep. was a lot higher than it is now, 25% compared to 10%. But then, later, he tells us that for African American black male youth (ha ha - redundant) unemployment is 46%.
So much for his thesis that unemployment is lower today than it was then. All depends on who you compare I guess. Baker "gets" a lot of well-grounded points. He's a well-grounded sort of guy.
But my thesis --- so different from his that I would not bother confronting him directly over this --- is as follows. Capitalism means change, acceleratingly so. Thus, between 1850 and 1930 we would see this kind of thing: great capitalistic progressiveness or "change." That is eighty yrs. OK. Between 1930 and 2010 is also eighty years, and I would also expect to see great change. I would expect more change if change accelerates.
What the case is today is drastically distinct from what it was in 1970; not to mention compared to 1930. I just think it is a different world, different situation.
I look to the future; Dean Baker looks to the past.
Very well-grounded down to earth personality though.