September 29, 2013

Commentary: The political implications of 'Breaking Bad'

It may not be so far-fetched to view the popular AMC show as an analog of the neoliberalism of the early 21st century.

By Matt Byrne
Staff Writer

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Photos courtesy of AMC | Staff Photo Illustration | Michael Fisher

Pierson said the real-life American Southwest is a particularly apt setting for his theory, with its low taxes, weak or nonexistent labor unions, plentiful retirees, high rates of immigration, limited access to middle-class jobs and a wide disparity between rich and poor.

It is not too far-fetched that in a few dozen years, social historians will look back at the fictional drug market of "Breaking Bad" and see it as an analog of politics of the early 21st century: Winners take all, fortunes shift rapidly and government intrusion (in the form of the Drug Enforcement Administration) represents an integral threat to the way business is done.

Those rules sound alarmingly close to the vision proffered by a recent generation of American politicians, who call for eliminating parts of the federal government and allowing businesses to regulate themselves, and call for lowered taxes on the wealthy so that entrepreneurs are not penalized for their hard work.

While we're left to watch, impatiently, for answers from our representatives in Washington D.C., we can always count on Walter White, whose American Dream is about to come to a crashing conclusion.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:


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