Various places have commented on a recent article by Peter Turchin on the cycle of inequality. Interestingly it matches pretty well with what I have written, with some important differences. That someone in the mainstream admits that we have an elite, and that they control society largely as they want, is a big development.
In brief Turchin says inequality- he means concentration of elite power, but it would sound paranoid to say that, so he says inequality, which people are supposed to care about- increased until around 1920, when social chaos frightened them into restricting immigration and improving labor conditions, and that they lost interest in keeping inequality in check around 1980, and it has increased since.
He dates the beginning of the truce to 1920, which is too early. The 1924 immigration restrictions were not a peace offering. The elite feared being overwhelmed, and the cheap labor strategy was backfiring. The truce didn’t begin until 1933, and the peace offering was the repeal of Prohibition. Prohibition was a policy largely aimed at the Irish and German populations. The “We Are The World” culture of the 30’s was a big change from the aggressive oppression of German culture around World War I. In World War II the Nazis and Fascist were formally the enemy, and it was emphasized we were not at war with the German or Italian people, although as a practical matter that was the case.
Turchin is a Russian Jew, and like a lot of Protestants doesn’t understand the conflicts between different kinds of American whites. As such you can see his mistake in dating the beginning of the truce. In dating the ending he may be a little intellectually dishonest. The truce formally ended in 1965, partly with the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, and completely with the black riots that began that year and the commitment to aid blacks at the cost of the destruction of white urban communities. Living standards have been declining since 1972, so where did Turchin get 1980 from? He goes as far as he can by questioning immigration, to bring up racial issues would be going too far with the taboo.
The difference between the 1920’s and now is that then, the working class understood the elite was hostile, and had ways of organizing themselves. Those were lost with the New Deal and the move to the suburbs. People are by and large completely helpless now, and remedying this is the first necessary step in our survival.