DBWI: U.S. middle class continues to decline after 1975 recession?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by GeographyDude, Sep 1, 2019.

  1. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    In reality, the economy had a more-than-ten-year expansion till 1987 and even that recession was relatively shallow. And, of course, we addressed over-dependence on oil.

    But what if we didn’t?

    The only thing I have is . . just drift? That there are other bright and shiny issues and the Republicans and Democrats more compete on these.

    And before you so oh-so-quickly say ASB, keep in mind that in the big flow of human history, other large, prosperous societies have also declined, and one could argue basically just thtough drift. It could have happened.

    Please paint me a scenario.
     
  2. interpoltomo please don't do coke in the bathroom

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    Udall beats Ford in '76, leading to Reagan, or less likely a rehabilitated goldwater in '80 instead of Reubin Askew. The US lacking national healthcare and a basic income after the early 80s seems like a good way to set things back for the middle classes. Addi n privatization of social security plus free trade from Reagan/Goldwater in the 80s if you want it to decline.
     
  3. Somedevil Well-Known Member

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    The only way I can see that happening is instead of Ford winning in 76 vs Church which lead to Askew winning in 80 and him being able to place his moderate but progressive and pro people policies in place like the to some people early move to american made solar and wind power plants which were union made can you picture West Virginia , Kentucky , PA, Ohio,Wisconsin etc with out them what used to be called the rust belt is now the green belt.

    Church or some other well meaning Democrat beats Ford and gets blamed for the oil embargo and all that went on with the Iran. So that in 80 Reagan runs like he did and honestly wins (crazy right) and places far right wing pro wall street and anti union polices in place
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
  4. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    But, of course, we do have trade! We just haven’t let the corporations run wild and the whole thing become a damn race to the bottom.

    Yeah, I guess we could go this route, but too unlikely, too improbable.
     
  5. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    That’s going way back and, frankly, I think the only reason Reagan won the nomination is because some major establishment Republicans bowed out figuring 1980 was a lost cause for the R’s.

    And I know we have an occasional ATL in which Reagan gets elected and has a Goldwater-esque presidency, but I think that’s too much. As I remember, Reagan’s big issue was lowering the top individual tax rate. And although it might surprise less knowledgeable students of U.S. politics, as former head of the Screen Actors Guild, Reagan was pro-union. Yeah, I guess it’s possible he could morph to anti-union, but good luck! :cool:
     
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  6. West Well-Known Member

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    I think were all giving too much credit to domestic politics for the success of Americas middle class.

    I think one of the big things that changed everything was the gang of four defeating the effort to oust them and them turning china into the hermit state it is today. The people who wanted to oust them wanted to open up china to global markets. As we saw when india opened up their economy that would have led to a massive rush of coprerations looking for cheap labor, and there wouldn't be labor laws limiting pollution and employee abuse like india has so the rush would have been even bigger then OTL.

    It also would have come at that window when America was retooling its economy, which would have taken a sledgehammer to our manufacturing base, my guess goods are cheaper but less jobs in the us and the steel belt becomes the rust belt, and of course I think that by now china would probally be one of the top economies in the world and maybe takes india's second place trophy.
     
  7. interpoltomo please don't do coke in the bathroom

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    >China going the Cuban route of authoritarian capitalism while nominally claiming to be communist followed by liberalization 20-30 years later

    That kind of doesn't work. I'm not saying that China couldn't start economic reform earlier than literally this year, but the scale in size differences between China and Cuba make giving China a cuba-like history of post-1980 economic reform, the 1989 move towards "Guided democracy" and the "second cuban revolution" in 2008 bringing in multiparty democracy.

    China going capitalistic like the USSR or India post-License raj would help but becoming a second superpower like India? That'd require two implausible domestic policy developments 1) Reagan or Goldwater or Rumsfeld in '80, plus in 1988 or 1992 a democrat who combines both sounding populist+being a free trader BOTH coming off in the same timeline. I can imagine scenarios for one or the other.

    Then there's the security concerns. Sure, developing mexico to OTL's Portuguese standards of living has been expensive but it gave the US a second secured border. Imagine if we had Issues with illegals from Mexico in addition to central americans like OTL.
     
  8. Somedevil Well-Known Member

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    I don't know I feel he is very much made a major shift all around to the right when he left the democratic party and joined the GOP. I mean even in our timeline he advocated against the Californian teacher strike in the late 80's when Jerry Brown wanted to change there retirement plans
     
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  9. Sam R. Well-Known Member

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    Imagine if that minor trend of privatisers of everything at Chicago weren’t killed in Chile? What if they took control of the United States along with the team b cia analysis group
     
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  10. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    And I think it would take something pretty much that specific.
     
  11. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    That’s what I’m trying to say. Large-scale trade is a positive,

    with the exception that if we let corporations run wild and treat their workers and/or the environment as if we're living in the time of Charles Dickens!
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
  12. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    Reagan’s a tough nut to crack as far as what made him tick. He very much marched to his own drummer.

    And I think he was largely successful as a conservative Californian governor providing a counterpoint to a liberal state legislature. But as president? I’m just not seeing the same level of success.

    And then, a teachers strike always seems to go to resentment over teachers getting the whole summer off! :openedeyewink:
     
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  13. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    Chile is another example of a successful mixed economy, although more on the socialist side with Allende for about nine years. Frankly, somewhat of a close call since he survived an impeachment vote just shy of two-thirds and carried on as a minority president, and it’s that kind of shit which can lead to a coup.

    And Japan, South Korea, and India are Asian models of successful mixed economies more on the capitalist side. In fact, I’d say one of the lessons of post-1950 is that mixed economies outcompete purist models thank you very much. :)
     
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  14. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    https://www.visualcapitalist.com/80-trillion-world-economy-one-chart/

    This is from a zonky alternate history site.

    They’re envisioning China opening economically in the early ‘80s, and even with some serious rough patches, having pretty constant catch-up growth.

    And even though I wish the people of China well with their recent opening, I’m going to have to judge this one . .

    No way
     
  15. Vladislav Well-Known Member

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    Even in the worst case scenario, it will be better than Soviet politics under Yeltsin in Central Asia. I can’t imagine Americans fighting the Islamic Terrorism bombardment of weddings and funerals and supporting local repressive regimes with a one-family-one-child policy.

    Reagan was a supporter of a tough line in relation to the USSR and during his reign there would not be a second detente. If there is no second detente, the Yeltsin will be forced to withdraw from the retention of the Baltic and Central Asian republics.

    The absence of the Ford Plan will lead to the fact that after Andropov not the pragmatists Gromyko and Yeltsin come to power, but the dogmas Shcherbitsky and Gorbachev, who will delay economic reforms until the collapse of the USSR

    The irony is that this trend dominates the USSR, starting with Yeltsin, who privatized most of the industry and made millions of citizens co-owners
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
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  16. interpoltomo please don't do coke in the bathroom

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    "co-owner" what an "interesting" and very american euphenism for chattel slaves
     
  17. interpoltomo please don't do coke in the bathroom

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    Easy to imagine. Result would be US that'd look like c. late 2010s former Yugoslavia or former South Africa -- ethnic warlords, secessionism and radicals of the left and right with their own states. You'd get the scenario of a unipolar world the hawks wanted, but ruled from Moscow instead of Washington like they want.
     
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  18. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    and from yet another zonky alternate history site:
    This site envisions Denmark becoming a major player in wind power!

    Ah . . [heavy sigh]

    Look, I'm all in favor of imaginative alternate history, but it has to be somewhat realistic. And about this one,

    No way!
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
  19. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    I think I'm just an economic determinist, at least 80% of the way.

    Centralization is best for catch-up industrializing, whereas de-centralization is best for consumer goods. And with a second detente, this second stage is going to come to pass, pretty much regardless of which chief executive is in power. A crummy chief executive may delay it, but that's about it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
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  20. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    And if you're looking to do dark, gripping dystopia, slavery is a damn good end point.

    The only thing I have is that maybe the 1970s relaxation of drug laws instead goes the other direction? And even though harping and preaching a negative is pretty much the most counter-productive thing in the entire universe! , and people generally know this, maybe there's political push and momentum from the opposite direction? Good luck.
     
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