Who is Middle Class

So recently I have encountered some political action by a group thinking drastically differently from me, and in an effort to model what the hell was going on, I may have finally figured out what the hell being middle class means, or rather what people intuitively mean by it when they say it.

For the longest time I was frustrated that seemingly _everyone_ self identified as middle class. Minimum wage walmart workers, right up to business owners reporting $500K a year on their income tax. That always seemed absurd and incomprehensible to me. After all who does that leave as the lower class? What about the rich? I think I get it now.

The first critical insight, and one that I have had for a while, is that middle class is not an income, it's a state of mind. It just happens to be a state of mind that correlates with a (wide) income level. The middle class are the people who "Have something to lose". That something might be potential, status, property, responsibility, or social connections. But the core thing that defines them is that they have something that they care about.
There are two very important repercussions to that idea, the first is they can be controlled and punished through what they care about. If you fine the middle class, they have money to be taken away, and they feel it's loss. If you put the middle class in jail for a few nights it disrupts their family life, their work life, and generally makes a mess of things.
The second repercussion is that they are interested in growing whatever it is they have, and as a corollary, they have an interest in making the system they are embedded in work better. They value things like efficiency, and are most emphatically NOT interested in going through the trauma that a societal reboot might cause, because it will present a serious risk to the thing they have.

Those who have exited the middle class on the bottom are not so much the poor, as the "Nothing Left To Loose" crowd. They have so thoroughly been failed by the current system, by the world as it stands, that they have nothing they particularly need to defend. If you fine them, it doesn't matter because they have no money anyway. If you put them in jail for a few nights it causes minimal disruption to their lives. Physical violence, and long term incarceration both remain dangerous to them, but even these things loose their threat, not because they are less painful, but because they are so likely to happen at random that a little extra exposure to the risk doesn't matter much one way or another.

Two party systems, Radicalization and the Overton Window

I have been thinking about how far to the right the democrats are, along with the role of occupy, and the tea-party, as well as the role of solidarity. My thoughts are built on top of a few core concepts, the first is how a smoothly running two party democracy leads to voter apathy, low turnout, and two candidates that are almost identical. This set of ideas was brought to my attention by Danny Hilles' article [ http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/hillis_democracy/hillis_p1.html (annoyingly broken up into many pages.

is Bitcoin a pyramid scheme?

My answer is "it's complicated". Honestly, bitcoin is just too different from too many things to really be pegged at the moment.

Also, I propose that we use SI style units for talking about bitcoin in day-to-day life... So right now, with bitcoin trading at $100, a cBTC is worth $1, and a mBTC is worth 10 cents.

Let's look at some of the takes on it:
At the moment, everything that I consider to be a traditional currency derives its value from one or both of two places.


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