The main idea of this book is that the new class – the Clerisy in alliance with High Tech Oligarchs is taking over America and trying to destroy traditional American middle class and its dreams about house, good job, family, and suburban live. This new class conducts ideological war against American Middle class dream and trying substitute it with some kind of minimal environmental impact existence with low levels of consumption and high level of reliance on government. While this attack was successful so far, it seems that this success is coming to the end. The next generation begins to express its alliance to traditional American dream despite years of indoctrination in schools and universities. The real live consequence of expensive education not delivering good job and necessity of coming back to parents’ house to live in childhood room will probably override indoctrination leading to resurrection of America and defeat of Clerisy and High Tech Oligarch in their quest to subdue it.
- The New Class Order
This chapter is about changing class structure in America. The main features are:
- Rise of new high tech oligarchs who do not need a lot of workers to create their products and therefore get to keep newly created wealth without sharing it with unionized militant workforce
- Expansion of Clerisy and Gentry Liberalism – groups sustained by government either as government employees or recipients of government transfers to education, science, art, and similar activities that would have little value on free market.
- Two groups above push changing attitude to growth mainly directed against improvement of life for other people. A good example are liberals who after obtaining nice housing out of city fight against urban sprawl and demand government to protect their good life by forcing these “others” to live in overcrowded cities.
- Traditional backbone of America – Yeomanry: small business owners, middle level workers, and independent professionals are loosing ground under attack from these new forces against their livelihood. This attack is not only economic, but also ideological attack against their American Dream, middle class way of live, and their religion.
- New oligarchs and statists also expand lowest and poor layers of population by using multitude of welfare programs, and opening door for massive illegal immigration in hope to obtain reliable voting block with numerical advantage over middle class.
- Valley of the Oligarchs
This chapter analyses the new high tech oligarchs, their background and attitudes. It also looks at source of their power that author calls technocoolies – educated people from third word countries massively imported into Silicon Valley who attracted by American dream and are much cheaper and a lot more dependent on companies than similarly qualified Americans. Author also look at the huge divide created by this new development in Silicon Valley when small part of population is extremely rich, while vast majority especially immigrants extremely poor with very little in between unlike regular America.
3.The New Clerisy.
This chapter is describing the new class that author identifies as clerisy – educated people employed in various forms of white color jobs related to government bureaucracy, media, education, science, entertainment and similar highly subsidized areas. Generally this class very much similar to old religious classes of clerics in premodern society fulfilling the similar function of justifying and supporting existing order and indoctrinating young people. They also constantly in conflict with free market forces of society that they despise and consider undeserving to keep wealth they created. Author also discusses singularity as a Clerisy’s Dream of High-Tech Nirvana where deserving people merge with computers in all-powerful combination while undeserving people become superfluous mass reduced to human animals.
- The Proletarianization of the Middle Class
This chapter describes ongoing process of degradation of middle class (Yeomanry) that includes elimination of small independent businesses and semi-qualified jobs that used to provide for middle class income. It includes some history of this class from its beginning as farmers in the country of easy available land, then its blossoming in the middle of XX century as middle class employees of big unionized companies and owners of small businesses, and finally its dramatic decline at the end of XX and beginning of XXI century due to automatization and globalization of production. The Clerisy’s vision of future live for this class author provides reference to Obama’s propaganda clip “Live of Julia” where each step in the live of woman depends on government and all decisions in this live made by wise bureaucrats.
- Geography of Inequality
This chapter is about growing fight between clerisy and yeomanry for living space. Clerisy is working hard to convince or force yeomanry into crowded cities claiming that it is “progress” and living in small spaces without car is the best way to save environment and achieve economic progress. They practically declared war on Suburbia and “urban sprawl”. Interestingly enough they do not apply it to themselves preferring spacious living from big suburban houses for lower levels of clerisy to the huge estates for the members at the top.
- A Screwed Generation?
This chapter takes on the generational problems encountered by Millenials who seems to be moving in direction of becoming the first generation of Americans who have it worse than their parents – baby boomers. Everything from destruction of family and disappearance of middle class jobs to extended live span of their parents and correspondingly declined Social security and Medicare, and especially raise in globalization seems to be working against them. However the most painful is lost of traditional path to the top via education. It became very expensive and does not bring such returns as it used to be, leaving the new generation with degrees and huge debt, but without professional jobs and staff that used to be coming with these jobs: homeownership and middle class lifestyle. However at the end of chapter author noted that Clerisy’s propaganda seems to be failing miserably and young generation still wants its American dream with all its attachments: home, family, children, and suburban living.
- Renewing Aspiration
The final chapter is brief review of multiple previous crises of capitalism and how each time capitalism would come out of this restructured, renewed, and stronger than ever. Author hopes and believes that it is going to happen again and to make it happen the decisive ideological and cultural war against clerisy should be waged. The victory would probably include wide suburban middle class running tremendous amount of independent self-employed businesses and pushing aside high tech oligarchs with their environmental and middle-class killing agendas.
MY TAKE ON IT:
Generally speaking I agree with analysis of current situation especially as to the role of High Tech Oligarchs and Clerisy. However I see it not as a new phenomenon, but a continuation of all American tradition of middle class bureaucracy that just moved from middle management position in various private enterprises to Clerisy positions in governmental and government dependent organizations. The biggest problem in my opinion is actually psychological. If in the old system all these middle managers and professionals were a necessary component of the productive machine, the clerisy is pretty obviously is not productive, consistently demonstrating its uselessness to everybody capable to see. It dramatically decreases agreeableness of actually productive people to confiscatory taxes or unsustainable debts necessary to feed the clerisy. Ideological attack by clerisy on religion, culture, lifestyle, and families of these people hardly could be considered a smart strategy for clerisy prosperity or even survival even if it’s numbers continue to grow. The old paradigm of propertied man buying labor from non-propertied and all paying taxes for social safety net and relatively small clerisy overhead is disappearing. The new paradigm that would give meaning to people’s live and resources to make this live into American Dream is needed and Singularity is not it.