David Stockman: America Now Lives Under A 'Perverted Regime'

The rise of Trump—and Bernie Sanders too—vastly transcends ordinary politics. In fact, it reaches deep into a ruined national economy that has morphed into rank casino capitalism under the misguided policies and faithless rule of the Washington and Wall Street elites.
This epic deformation has delivered historically unprecedented set-backs to the bottom 90% of American households. They have seen their real wealth and living standards steadily deteriorate for several decades now, even as vast financial windfalls have accrued to the elite few at the very top.
In fact, during the last 30 years, the real net worth of the bottom 90% has not increased at all. At the same time, the top 1% has experienced a 300% gain while the real wealth of the Forbes 400 has risen by 1,000%.
That’s not old-fashioned capitalism at work; it’s the fruit of a perverted regime of printing press money and debt-fueled faux prosperity that has been foisted on the nation by the bipartisan ruling elites.
To be sure, the proximate cause of this year’s election upheaval is similar to that in Reagan’s time. Back then, an era of drastic bipartisan mis-governance generated an electoral impulse to sweep out the Washington stables.
Now, however, it is not just the Beltway political class that is under attack. The very foundations of American economic life are imperiled. What remained of healthy market capitalism in Reagan’s time is no more.
It has been battered by 30 years of madcap money printing at the Fed. It labors under the $50 trillion of new public and private debt generated by that monetary eruption. And it staggers from the destructive blows of serial financial bubbles.
These bubbles have self-evidently resulted in a destructive boom-and-bust cycle in the financial system, but also much more. Bubble Finance has drained productivity and efficiency from the Main Street economy and has channeled vast resources to speculators and wasteful malinvestments.
~ "Trumped!" by David Stockman

David Stockman, former director of the OMB under President Reagan, former US Representative, and veteran financier is an insider's insider. Few people understand the ways in which both Washington DC and Wall Street work and intersect better than he does.

In his upcoming book, Trumped! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin...And How to Bring it Back, Stockman lays out how we have devolved from a free market economy into a managed one that operates for the benefit of a privileged few. And when trouble arises, these few are bailed out at the expense of the public good.

Stockman brings us his report of what 30 years of politics, degenerative crony capitalism and “bubble finance” have finally wrought. The upheaval and crossroads represented by Donald Trump’s candidacy spell economic disaster or resurgence, depending on the steps America chooses to take from here:

This election is enormously important but it’s not entirely about the candidates, per se, but about the fact that much of the country is beginning to recognize that we’ve been on the wrong path for a long time and we’re reaching a dead end. And that’s why, you know, on the cover of this new book, I have a map of America and the east and west coast are colored, shaded, and the vast area in between is in white. I call it Flyover America.

And part of the book is to try to explain the phenomena of the Trump campaign, which came out of nowhere, and why there seems to be such an unexpected ground swell of economically driven support. Of course, the elite media wants to blame it on racism and xenophobia and, you know, small-mindedness of one type or another. But I think the underlying driver here, the underlying alienation comes from an economic policy that has benefitted enormously the bicoastal elites and we go through that, a very small share of the population that lives off finance venture capital and the enormous expansion of the warfare state and welfare state in Washington. Versus the rest of America – call it the 90% to use a general term.

But the think that I try to demonstrate in the book is that since 1987 when Greenspan arrived at the Fed in this era of bubble finances I call it incepted, we basically have a bifurcated economy. The bottom 90% of the population has no more real net worth today if you use an honest inflation measure to deflate nominal values. It has no more net worth today than it did in 1987. That’s nearly 30 years of going nowhere. The top 1% has gained 300% in net worth, which the Forbes 400 to take the final clip on this, is 1,000% gain.

Now, that’s not market capitalism at work. That is a, as I called it, a deformed or mutant system of crony capitalism and finance-driven economic life coming right out of the central bank and that whole complex of unsound policy that has produced a result that is very unsustainable. Not only has there been no net worth gain as we lay out in the book but if you just go to the year 2000, real median household income – again, deflated with, I think, an accurate measure of the cost of living faced by most households – is down nearly 20% from where it was when Bill Clinton was shuffling out of the White House.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with David Stockman (49m:26s).

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://peakprosperity.com/david-stockman-america-now-lives-under-a-perverted-regime/

I do not think that Washington is as stupid as we argue. (Although T2H's post on Wicker gives me pause.)
Even if I am not a citizen of the United States I still have a horse in this race and that gives me a box stand on.

What the US needs to do is to look after number 1. It's not hard.

Identify where you are bleeding and staunch the flow. I'm just guessing buy perhaps you cannot afford your military? You have perfectly functioning moat.

Maybe you need to stop fearing death and start practicing real medicine. It would appear that your entire Pharmaceutical /medical insurance thing is motivated by profit. Instead of Pursuing the Capitalist Ideal for is its own sake, consider nationalizing the whole shebang.  After all,  is good health and a reasonable life span not more important than a lot of digits in a bank account? 

Abandon this failed Ideal.  Stop making excuses for it. Grow up. It's not the Wild West anymore.

Let me make myself perfectly clear. Embrace National Socialism. Your current path has brought us all to the brink of nuclear war.

From the Stockman interview lead in;

Stockman brings us his report of what 30 years of politics, degenerative crony capitalism and “bubble finance” have finally wrought. The upheaval and crossroads represented by Donald Trump’s candidacy spell economic disaster or resurgence, depending on the steps America chooses to take from here:
I am hopeful that we can have a resurgence.. at least of the things that the US was once known for, like rule of law, and a free press for instance.  

This piece is very dense… but seems to be a very sincere exposition of the thought process that led one Sanders voter to choose Trump over Clinton.   I recommend it for anyone on the fence or leaning toward Clinton;

My vote for Trump will be the first Republican vote in my life, and I hope that this will be the only time in my life when the Democratic candidate is so abysmal that I’ll have to do this. It’s not because I like Trump; it’s because he’s vastly better than the Democratic nominee, whom I consider to be by far the worst Democrat ever. To me, choosing between Trump, who has no political record, and Hillary, who has the worst record in public office of any Democrat ever, is easy. On all other ballot lines, I shall, as always, vote Democratic. In fact, that will be the best way to block from getting to President Trump’s desk the Republican bills that he’ll likely be wanting to sign, such as any bill to eliminate the estate-tax. But I don’t expect that Democrats will at all oppose what might be his boldestprogressive initiatives, such as, perhaps, a European-style healthcare system. If Democrats would block something like that, they’d then be killing their own Party (and cursing their country), and there aren’t many Democrats who are (like Hillary Clinton would be) corrupt enough to carry things quite that far in the conservative direction, as to persist in sustaining healthcare-by-corruption. (As former President Jimmy Carter says of today’s U.S.: “Now it's just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president.”) Perhaps a President Trump would get so many congressional Democrats and Republicans to vote for a single-payer health insurance proposal, that such a piece of legislation could be signed into law much likelier than if a President Sanders (who would be voted against in Congress by virtually every Republican member) were to be pushing for exactly the same type of legislation and getting only some congressional Democrats (and no Republicans then) to vote for it. Indeed, we all might even turn out to be surprised to find that a President Trump will be the most effective progressive President since FDR. If Democrats control Congress, then he might turn out that way, and become widely revered — and the neoconservatives, who are America’s fascists, will then have to become curses upon some other land, perhaps Israel, because they wouldn’t be able, any more, to make life hell for Americans (such as by our invading Iraq and Libya). They’ll then be like the Soviet Union’s die-hard communists were, after communism ended: failed ‘prophets’ without a country.....
We’re going to be placing this country into the hands of either Hillary Clinton’s enemies, or else Donald Trump’s enemies, and the latter group are by far the worse of the two. Not to vote, in such a situation, or else to vote for a ‘protest’ candidate and so throw one’s vote away (even if the voting-machine will only be programmed to misreport it), is irresponsible. If America is not a democracy, then, still, a voter’s obligation is to do whatever he or she can in order to maximize the chance that it might become one. As between the two viable options here, Clinton is the clear police-state option, but Trump might possibly fight to restore America’s democracy. The choice of Trump over Clinton is easy to make, because, even in the reasonable worst-case scenario, the damage Trump would likely cause the country (and the world) is vastly less than the damage — nuclear war against Russia — that Clinton would likely cause. This is certainly no ‘Tweedledee, Tweedledum’ election. Not even close to that.
By voting for Trump, you add 1 vote to him, and 0 vote to Hillary, and so that’s a real action in the real world of electoral politics: it puts Trump up 1. By voting for Hillary, you add 1 vote to her, and 0 vote to Trump, and so that too is a real action in the real world of electoral politics: it puts Hillary up 1. Either vote is a real vote.

Borrowed from Goodreads:
“Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves.” 

― Herbert Marcuse

"In fact, during the last 30 years, the real net worth of the bottom 90% has not increased at all"
It's all about energy.  In the last 30 years the increase in Net energy extracted from fossil fuels has barely matched the increase in population.  Hence no real increase in net worth.  Very simple explanation.

What about the top 1% you ask? The top 1% may have most of the wealth but in energy terms they can only drive one car at any one time, live in one house at any one time etc etc. so in energy terms they are not consuming anything like as much energy relative to everyone else as their amassed wealth would suggest.

As for a choice between Clinton or Trump, both are equally clueless. Both cannot conceive that we may be entering our energy descent beyond (maybe at a subconscious level) by either collapsing foreign nations one by one, starting in the Middle East or building ‘fuck off’ walls around you.

Let's not be so quick to think that Trump is our Saviour.  He has provided anything but evidence that he could cope with a Federal Reserve crises much less with anything else.  I'm getting the distinct impression that a tacit endorsement for Trump is being offered by this site.  I hope this is not the case.



I'm sorry, but the notion that a member of the very same elite class that has fucked over the middle and lower classes over the last 30 years could somehow represent an "outsider" is just plain ludicrous. The man wouldn't know the middle class if it smacked him in the head.

Granted, Clinton isn't great, but this notion that Trump will stand up for the middle class? Please.


No one in the ruling political class OR ruling economic elite gives a fuck about any of us, period. For the record, I'm not voting for either one. As much as it will be wasted, I'm voting Jill Stein and the Greens. At least they represent something other than business as usual, and they are as "outsider" as it gets. Either way, change won;t come from voting; it comes from transforming your expectations and community to fit the reality of what's coming. All else is froth and chaff.

Not a show of support for Hillary, but the fact that Pence recently had good things to say about Dick Cheney and a quick review of Trump's advisers should scare the hell out of everybody.   Snydeman is 100% correct, the elites could care less whether you lived or died.  As my deceased next door neighbor, a WWII veteran of the Battle of the Bulge said, when asked about his experience in the war,"Your life ain't worth a plug nickel to the higher-ups."

Of course he is risk… he has no political record.  He says really stupid stuff much of the time… but there is no way he is more risky than Hillary.  Voting for Hillary is voting for more of everything… more war, more needless prodding of Russia, more loss of constitutional freedoms, more FED and more Wall Street.  Good luck with that.  I am with Stockman here;

David Stockman:  Well, that’s the heart of the matter. And you know, the point they make about Hillary, she’s experienced, she’s been there, she’s informed – those are exactly the reasons why I hope she’s not elected. Because she basically is, in some sense, the class president of a failed generation that has been running policy in the wrong direction, war abroad, debt at home, bubble finance on Wall Street, a rogue central bank that has essentially taken over economic life for all practical purposes in this country. You know, there’s a generation that has put that in place and now they’re blind – I call it Imperial Washington – is blind to the consequences and the unsustainability and the unjustness and the failures of the policies that they’ve put in place.

So in that sense, I see Trump as a disruptor, that he hasn’t spent 30 years drinking the Kool-Aid in the Imperial City. He hasn’t learned all the reasons why you shouldn’t raise questions about what the Fed is doing. He hasn’t learned all the reasons why we still need to have NATO and its 300 bases around the world when the Cold War ended, you know, three decades ago.

So what I think is refreshing about Trump is that he lets loose of common sense observations every now and then that at least begin to crack the façade of the status quo and the Washington assumption and the elite media assumption that all of this is working just as intended. And we had a scare in 2008 but that’s behind us, it was once in 100 year flood, and we can move forward with a much more optimistic outlook. I think that is just terribly wrong, it’s just completely upside down. We’ve been drifting towards the wall, kicking the can, and there isn’t a lot of runway left in this whole scheme, which is, you know, on the verge of failure.

Go ahead.. find anything good to say about Hillary.  We have a binary choice here... 



Surely, you don't think the average US Citizen wants military expenditures as large as the rest of the planet combined, or wants to have to pay 3 times as much for health care as the second highest country?

The vote, in the US, is only for form, allowing us to feel a power we do not possess.  We get to choose between two candidates who are bought and paid for, candidates who will say anything to get the vote and then do exactly what they are told.  And, if the vote goes the wrong way in a key election, then the right person gets elected anyway and the exit polls for some reason don't match the final vote tally in key precincts. Go figure!

I get a kick out of the "concern" over here that Russian hackers may tamper with our voting system.

All other arguments aside, I do not believe that Trump is bought and paid for in advance.  I can't predict what he will do exactly if elected, but I can predict what Hillary will do.  That makes the vote decision easy for me.

Having said that, I do not believe the true rulers of the US will allow Trump to be president.

"A bunch of white male billionaire supply side nuts who will find policies to help blue collar workers?Laughable joke."Make coal great again in West Virginia,use Chinese vs Pennsylvania steel to build your skyscrapers because its cheaper?Sure why not.I did see the Pence interview with Martha Raddatz and his role model is in fact Dick Cheney.Tha last 8 years have been majority ruled by the republicans.They have succeeded in knocking down every idea brought forth by the opposition.At the expense of the nation.If that is where your loyalties lye,then Trump away…Across the board landslide…Thankfully Women,Latinos,African Americans and other minorities now have a voice.They are the ones who have been hardest hit in the nation.They have been devastated…

Who's the "Perverted Regime," IMF, UN, G-20, Bush Family, US Lamestream Media, Hollywood leftist celebrities all afraid of? Who do THEY unanimously say threatens their profits, power, prerogatives, plans and procedures?  You know who it is (and who it isn't).  

I'm voting for The Clown because that gives me a rare chance to express a hearty F. U. to Them.  They will get my unambiguous middle finger.  And I'm voting for The Clown even though I know he's not a solution to anything.  I don't expect him to fix anything.  In fact my simple hope is not that he will fix Washington and NY, but that he will BREAK THEM.  I would like nothing more than for the whole Perverted Regime to be left nothing but a smoking pile of rubble.  Just like the economy can't be fixed until it's allowed to crash, the Perverted Regime can't be reformed until it's destroyed.  If there's still a USA after Trump breaks Washington, then we can rebuild and reform.

That's why I could never vote for The Evil Witch. She's the class president of the Perverted Regime, a pathological liar, and was voted "Most likely to keep the status quo, Perverted Regime, going as long as possible."  And to accomplish her mission she will have to crush the last vestiges of freedom left in this country – which she would gleefully do.


Wait until that Evil Witch turns her evil eye on US.


Great quote Tom.

And here’s the NYTimes weighing in telling us that when people vote, they mess things up. Seriously, the NYTimes just weighed in against democracy…which is the very same concept they routinely trot out to justify bombing some other country that needs to have more democracy.

Colombia and ‘Brexit’ Show Why a Referendum Can Be Dangerous

Oct 4, 2016

The voters of the world have had quite a year: They rejected Colombia’s peace deal; split Britain from the European Union; endorsed a Thai Constitution that curtails democracy; and, in Hungary, backed the government’s plan to restrict refugees, but without the necessary turnout for a valid result.

Each of these moves was determined by a national referendum. Though voters upended their governments’ plans, eroded their own rights and ignited political crises, they all accomplished one thing: demonstrating why many political scientists consider referendums to be messy and dangerous.

When asked whether referendums were a good idea, Michael Marsh, a political scientist at Trinity College Dublin, said, “The simple answer is almost never.”

“I’ve watched many of these in Ireland, and they really range from the pointless to the dangerous,” he added.

Now I’ll be the first to point out that 51% of the vote may not be the wisest decision on the block, because let’s face it, a lot of people are in fact dreadfully uninformed, but the thrust of this article is that referendums are never appropriate…unless they happen to go the way of the political “experts” and prevailing wishes of the status quo. Then democracy is great.

If the people of Crimea had voted to remain part of Ukraine, that would have been 100% A-OK with the US and routinely trumpeted across NPR, NBC, FOX and all the rest. Annoyingly, they voted 90%+ to rejoin Russia and that’s decidedly not OK. That’s an annexation, goddamn it!

The larger version of what’s happening here is that the war on cash is that same as the war on voting – the little people cannot be trusted. We need more government and more experts…you know, the same ones that have gotten us so deep into our nested sets of predicaments.

Well, if Trump wins here’s why I would cheer that outcome.

There were supposed to be three branches of government, the legislative, the judicial and the executive, with the media making up the so-called ‘fourth estate.’

Now all of that has gone decidedly off the rails over the past few decades and I, for one, deplore the cult of CEO worship that now infects the executive branch.

Hey, the president was supposed to just be one person, with a team, and they were not supposed to have a lot more power than either of the other branches. But over the past series of president more and more power has been greedily accumulated into the office of the president and now there’s entirely too much.

The president now apportions money and declares war without any votes being secured or cast in the legislative branch. The president and his staff routinely violate laws and then thumb their noses at the judiciary.

And, in the same vein as worshipping the Kardashians or shrugging when CEO’s grant themselves $100M paychecks, we’ve allowed the presidency to become far too big for its britches.

If Trump gets elected and then makes a mockery of the presidency, which many people fear will happen, is not a failure in my mind but a sought-after feature of his presidency. Go ahead! Knock that office down a few pegs.

Bring it back in line. Force Congress and the Senate to reassert their enumerated powers. Make them!!

If the US wants to go to war, then the legislature needs to cast that vote and be counted. If money is spent, then that decision needs to be made by the elected representatives. If anybody in government breaks the law then they need to be held accountable.


So that’s the benefit I see of a Trump presidency – knocking the office of the president back down to a manageable and appropriate size.

Enough already with this idol worshipping.

Time to reverse the era of bigger government and bigger financial institutions back towards individual rights.  It begins by breaking the current mold.

This Time They are Coming for Your Democracy
ZH had this piece, originally from YesMagazine.com

Perkins was recruited, ... to generate reports that justified lucrative contracts for U.S. corporations, while plunging vulnerable nations into debt. Countries that didn’t cooperate saw the screws tightened on their economies. In Chile, for example, President Richard Nixon famously called on the CIA to “make the economy scream” to undermine the prospects of the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende.

If economic pressure and threats didn’t work, Perkins says, the jackals were called to either overthrow or assassinate the noncompliant heads of state. That is, indeed, what happened to Allende, with the backing of the CIA.

He describes the same kind of dynamic now being aimed at US cities.  This reminds me of the migrant crisis in Europe and the getto / BLM / Police crisis in US cities.
Perkins has just reissued his book with major updates. The basic premise of the book remains the same, but the update shows how the economic hit man approach has evolved in the last 12 years. Among other things, U.S. cities are now on the target list. The combination of debt, enforced austerity, underinvestment, privatization, and the undermining of democratically elected governments is now happening here.

Sarah van Gelder: What’s changed in our world since you wrote the first Confessions of an Economic Hit Man?

John Perkins: Things have just gotten so much worse in the last 12 years since the first Confessions was written. Economic hit men and jackals have expanded tremendously, including the United States and Europe.

Back in my day we were pretty much limited to what we called the third world, or economically developing countries, but now it’s everywhere.

And in fact, the cancer of the corporate empire has metastasized into what I would call a failed global death economy. This is an economy that’s based on destroying the very resources upon which it depends…

van Gelder: ... the dynamic about debt...

Perkins: Yes, when I was an economic hit man, one of the things that we did, we raised these huge loans for these countries, but the money never actually went to the countries, it went to our own corporations to build infrastructure in those countries. And when the countries could not pay off their debt, we insisted that they privatize their water systems, their sewage systems, their electric systems.

van Gelder: I wanted to ask about your time spent in Ecuador with indigenous people. I’m wondering if you could talk about how that experience has changed you?

Perkins: Many years ago when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Amazon with the Shuar indigenous people there, I was dying. I got very ill, and my life was saved in one night by a shaman. I’d come out of business school this is 1968, ’69, and I had no idea what a shaman was, but it changed my life by helping me understand that what was killing me was a mindset—what they would call the dream.

I spent many years studying all this, and working with many different indigenous groups, and what I saw was the power of the mindset.

The shamans teach us—the indigenous people teach us—once you change the mindset, then it’s pretty easy to have the objective reality change around it. So, instead of the kind of economy we have now, a death economy, if we can change the mindset we can very quickly move into a life economy.

Building a world worth inheriting (hats off to Chris and Adam)
van Gelder : You quote Tom Paine in your book: “If there must be trouble let it be in my day that my child may have peace.” Why did you decide to use that quote?

Perkins : Tom Paine wrote that statement in December 1776.

[T]here’s nothing that rallies people more than to think about their children. … I’ve got a daughter and I’ve got an 8-year-old grandson. Bring on the trouble for me, OK, but let’s create a world they’re going to want to live in. And let’s understand that my 8-year-old grandson cannot have an environmentally sustainable and regenerative, socially just, fulfilling world unless every child on the planet has that. … we can’t have peace anywhere in the world, we can’t have peace in the U.S., unless everybody has peace.

[Compare Perkins YELLOW vision of how "to pursue peace" with that of the RED/BLUE faction that pursues peace by killing and dominating all current and potential competitors.]

So far it doesn't appear that any of us really wants either Trump or Clinton in the White House.
I'm doing like Snydeman and voting 3rd party. As long as you vote for somebody you can feel good about, then you're not wasting your vote!

I agree with much of what you say wrt the take-over of the executive branch by the corporatocracy, but must point out that they have also taken over the Congress and half of the Supreme Court.  More on that in a bit.
My long held belief is that democracy's only virtue is that when things become so unbearably bad that everyone recognizes they are horrible, we can vote the rascals out (and probably replace them with another set of rascals).  Witness the votes you cited in the Brexit, Columbia and Thailand.  Oh yeh, lets not forget Hitler.

Well, I don't think, from the voters' perspective, things have gotten all that bad yet.  You can credibly make the argument that the economy is being destroyed by the Fed, the corporatists and the gigantic debt bubble they have created, but those are kind of deep weeds arguments.  Most of the electorate don't, and don't want to, understand those forces.  Generally, since the great recession economic conditions have improved slowly for the average citizen.  With something close to full employment, at least as measured by the gov't and msm, most people are not in a revolutionary state of mind.  Even if mildly dissatisfied with the status quo, they will tend to vote for the candidate who most represents the traditional values they have been electing for the last half century.  That is relative peace (no full scale war), an economy that isn't tanking, the appearance of competence in their elected officials and (metaphorically) the trains running on time.

The only demographic solidly in Trump's corner is the poorly educated white males.  That population is no longer large enough to elect someone President without at least minimal support from other demographic groups.  He has successfully alienated most of them and, if my guess is correct, will further do so before election day.

So, the only realistic choice is between Trump, a loose cannon who knows nothing of the real issues facing us and has no interest in learning them, and Hillary, who, despite the far right's campaign to vilify her, still represents stability and tradition in most peoples' minds.  She isn't likely to wander far off the reservation to which we have become habituated.  That means there probably won't be much in the way of paradigm shifts during her administration, particularly if Republicans continue to rule Congress.  Continued low level war is likely as are favoritism toward the corporatocracy, support of the Fed and little or no action on really big issues like climate change or the debt bubble.  In fact, if Congress remains Republican, we probably won't have much action on anything except annual budget extensions to keep the gov't running.  IOW, she will renege on her campaign promises, but in totally predictably ways.  So, realistically the choice will be between more of the same and chaos.

Maybe during the next administration things will get truly ugly (debt bubble burst, real war, depression, hyperinflation, or something else in the parade of horribles).  If Trump is elected those possibilities will probably be enhanced, but who really wants that?  I think most people (i.e. the electorate) would choose to keep kicking the can as long as possible.  When and if the worst happens, then the American people will have the opportunity to throw the rascals out and begin the cycle again.  Why rush it?

Apropos of absolutely nothing:  This morning I was watching a news report from the college where the VP debate will take place tonight.  There was a small crowd of students of all possible political persuasions behind the reporter.  There were many signs pushing many agendas, but one made me snort my coffee through my nose.  In large red and blue letters it said "Feel your Johnson"

I believe the correct quote was: Feel the Johnson.

I mean why not?  The US, and the rest of the earth deserves someone like Chris as a leader.
Oh that's right, you need to be a power hungry, ego centric narcissistic type to be Pres. & appeal to the masses in the modern era.