Monday, March 29, 2010

Arnold Kling on how the ruling class is gaming the rest of us

It seems to explain a lot:
My theory of the ruling class is that it comes from the lower right quadrant (teachers). That is, people who are highly educated but lacking in useful skills. If you will, the suits are in the lower-right quadrant and the geeks are in the upper-right quadrant.

My theory is that the ruling class gets its strongest support from people in the lower-right quadrant. They identify strongly with the ruling class. Placing an artificially high value on educational credentials is in the interest of the ruling class and everyone else in the lower-right quadrant. If it were not for the protection provided by credentialism and government employment, my guess is that many of those in the lower-right quadrant would have incomes no higher than those of people who are not college educated.

The challenge for the ruling class is to keep the other three quadrants (of electricians, engineers, and manual laborers) from uniting in opposition to the ruling class. To try to retain support among the highly-educated who are skilled, the ruling class tries to blur the distinction between the upper-right quadrant (engineers) and the lower-right quadrant (teachers). The ruling class would prefer to lump them all together into "the educated elite," or "technocrats." I fell for that one for a long time, but just recently the light bulb came on--hence the matrix.

Relative to the non-college educated, one tactic is to keep them sharply divided along ethnic lines. If people on the left side of the matrix think that their main threat comes from people of different skin color, then they will not unite against the ruling class.

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