The U.S. stock market is a decade into a rally that has seen broad indexes triple in value and generate $30 trillion in wealth. The unemployment rate is 3.8% nationally, and the early caucus and primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire are tied with even lower seasonally adjusted rates of 2.4%. Real annual growth in the gross domestic product was recently estimated at 2.9% for the U.S. in 2018, outpacing other developed economies such as those of Japan and Europe.
Does this sound like a textbook case of pre-revolutionary misery? Not exactly.
Socialists, though, see virtually any economic condition as paving the path away from capitalism. In bad economic times, the population rebels against the system that can be blamed for having led to deprivation. And in good economic times, the heightened inequality means that class tensions are heightened, as soaring visible wealth stokes envy and resentment.
It may be that the danger of socialism is greater in good times than in bad, because in good times, people are susceptible to the illusion that the country can afford socialism, writes Ira Stoll.