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The New Gilded Age: First Time Arrogance, the Second Time Vengeance
By David Rosen
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2018-01-13 03:56:11
 

 Source: counterpunch.org

 
 

 Photo by Anirvan | CC BY 2.0
 
 In his 1852 essay, “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte,” Marx recalls a saying from Hegel, “that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice.”  Marx adds, “He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”

Often forgotten, Marx follows with an equally telling observation: “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.”  He warns, “The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.”  That nightmare defines 21stcentury U.S. politics.

In 1873, Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner published The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today, a popular work that satirized the greed and political corruption of the modern era.  The term “gilded age” stuck, signifying a period lasting from the 1870s to 1910s.  It epitomized the rise of a new class of capitalists, the “robber barons,” who promoted innovation with shady business scams that fostered corporate tyranny.

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