The Pathology of the Rich

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The Pathology of the Rich – Chris Hedges on Reality Asserts Itself pt1

TheRealNews TheRealNews

Published on Dec 5, 2013

On RAI with Paul Jay, Chris Hedges discusses the psychology of the super rich; their sense of entitlement, the dehumanization of workers, and mistaken belief that their wealth will insulate them from the coming storms

Why are many of WW2 generation worried about the rise of fascism?

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At a time, when those British soldiers killed in war are remembered, it is salutary to focus on why many of the WW2 generation are so nervous about the parallels between the 1930s and now.

“What no one seemed to notice,” said a colleague of mine, a philologist, “was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know it doesn’t make people close to their government to be told that this is a people’s government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing to do with knowing one is governing.

 What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security. …

 This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter. 

 ’They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-1945′ – Milton Mayer  University of Chicago Press. Reissued in paperback, April, 1981.

Does that sound familiar?

Nevertheless, David Malone updates to the current era:

‘Repression is so last century.’

Why repress when you can simply drown it out.  All it takes is for the media outlets to be owned by a few powerful and like-minded friends.  A few media moguls and corporate giants, whose plastic pundits raise their voices while the dolly bird presenters flash their thighs.  It’s all so full throttle and frantic, and charged with desire and greed.

Anyone who disagrees is a conspiracy theorist.  Anyone who breaks ranks is a whistleblower and whistleblowers are domestic terrorists, dysfunctional loners with personality problems and axes to grind.

When the truth is vilified, hunted, gagged and goaled, then the State has chosen to go to war with the nation.

http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/2013/06/secrets-and-lies/

Bernadette Meaden agrees:

When the history of this particular period is written, people will marvel at what the Conservatives have achieved. To lose an election, scramble into office, and then go on to change society so significantly in a few short years shows, it has to be said, quite some chutzpah….

It is so much easier for a government when Ministers can tell lies which go unchallenged, become accepted ‘facts’ and are repeated ad nauseam to justify ‘difficult decisions’. Perhaps the classic example of this is Grant Shapps’ widely publicised statement that almost one million disabled people had dropped their benefit claims when tests became tougher. This was completely untrue…There was an effective media blackout on this development.

http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/18586

David Malone adds:

Our ‘Betters’ have found Goebbels was wrong.  You don’t have to protect the people from the consequences of the lies you tell them, as long as you can blame those consequences on someone else.  On unforeseen global economic forces, on conniving foreigners who devalue their currency, or terrorists or whistleblowers.  Or even the people themselves for taking on debts they couldn’t afford or on ‘necessity’ and ‘precedent’ – the bond holders cannot be made to pay – it goes against international precedent.

http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/2013/06/secrets-and-lies/

That certainly sounds like George Osborne’s stranger-to-the-truth explanations.

On top of all this, we have the Big Brother revelations of Edward Snowden about mass surveillance.  (Goebbels eat your heart out.)  This should have been no surprise.  Zbigniew Brzezinski was writing, as long ago as the late 70s, about the problems for the power elite of controlling the masses in an age of information and communication.  David Malone again:

In a democracy rule is by consent. In a dictatorship it is by control.

Which do we have in the West?  It seems to me, it is no longer clear.  We certainly still have the rituals of rule by consent.  But behind the elected front men and women is a shadow state.  Its people ritually swear allegiance to those we elect.  They declare themselves there to serve and protect.  But when it is us they spend their time spying on, whose interests are they protecting?  Can you really serve those you do not trust?

In 2008 we discovered that behind the banking system we knew about, there was a vast shadow banking system whose size most of us never suspected.  In 2013 we have glimpsed not only the scale of the shadow state but the degree to which it, like the shadow banking system, is out of control and not working for us at all.

http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/2013/07/nsagchq-the-new-praetorians/

Chomsky of course has no illusions about our living in a Democracy.  He calls the present system RECD – really existing capitalist democracy – pronounced ‘wrecked’.  In other words, our ’democracy’ is government by the wealthy for the wealthy, a plutocracy.

In the work that’s essentially the gold standard in the field, it’s concluded that for roughly 70% of the population – the lower 70% on the wealth/income scale – they have no influence on policy whatsoever. They’re effectively disenfranchised. As you move up the wealth/income ladder, you get a little bit more influence on policy. When you get to the top, which is maybe a tenth of one percent, people essentially get what they want, i.e. they determine the policy. So the proper term for that is not democracy; it’s plutocracy….

 http://www.chomsky.info/talks/20130617.htm

 

In fact a number of analyses have identified that it is only a handful of individuals, fewer than 200, that ‘rule the world’.  Real News 24 writes:

Some people have started realizing that there are large financial groups that dominate the world. Forget the political intrigues, conflicts, revolutions and wars. It is not pure chance. Everything has been planned for a long time.

 … In short, the Federal Reserve is controlled by four large private companies: BlackRock, State Street, Vanguard and Fidelity. These companies control U.S. monetary policy (and world) without any control or “democratic” choice. These companies launched and participated in the current worldwide economic crisis and managed to become even more enriched…. The same “big four” control the vast majority of European companies counted on the stock exchange.

In addition, all these people run the large financial institutions, such as the IMF, the European Central Bank or the World Bank, and were “trained” and remain “employees” of the “big four” that formed them.

http://www.realnews24.com/the-large-families-that-rule-the-world/

Particularly focus on ‘It is not pure chance. Everything has been planned for a long time.’

The release of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet papers from 1983, confirm that all this coalition government’s determination to dismantle and privatise the NHS/ public services, are just the end game that the Conservatives had in mind 30y ago.  We are experiencing ‘disaster capitalism’ as described by Naomi Klein.  The economic crisis caused by the banks in 2008 is being used to justify implementing IMF-style liberalization of the UK for the benefit of the transnational corporations.

In Europe, the ‘crisis’ is being similarly used to dismantle the welfare net and force through federalization.  The Brussels Business Documentary (Corporate Europe Observatory) charts the corporate capture of the EU, initially by the industrialists of the European round Table, and now by the vast body of lobbyists that rival the Washington contingent.

http://corporateeurope.org

THE BRUSSELS BUSINESS DOCUMENTARY

 

The next stage of neoliberal/neofeudal corporate supremacy is the rushing through (by 2014) of the US-EU Free Trade Deal, which will allow corporations to force governments to change any of their domestic legislation which is inconsistent with ‘liberalisation’… employment and environmental protection, banning of GM crops, and so on.

Michael Meacher writes:

‘It says a lot about democratic accountability that the most profound and far-reaching issues are not discussed in Parliament.   It was true of the decision in the UK to build the first atomic bomb.  It was true of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment in the 2000s which aimed to give the world’s rich countries the right to draft universal investment laws which would guarantee corporations unconditional rights to conduct financial transactions which could not be challenged by governments or citizens.   And it is true now of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which US and EU trade negotiators are currently trying to bring to fruition.   It too, if carried through, will allow international companies to hold governments to account, rather than the other way round, if they believe that governments are introducing environmental, social or labour standards which unreasonably impinge on their commercial prospects.

Of course in selling the idea to the (gullible) public, not a word is said about this.   Instead we are told that it will increase transatlantic economic growth by 1-2% a year and that that will increase incomes by several hundred pounds a year.   What is not mentioned, even if you believe the salesman’s patter about the benefits, is that the increased incomes will accrue very largely to the holders of capital, not to ordinary folk to any noticeable degree.   But the real impact is felt on democracy.   There is a touching faith that everyone in the West accepts that democracy is the foundation stone of our society and culture and the immoveable basis of our rights for justice and redress.   But the capital holders, the corporate class, have never accepted this – and nor really have the ideological wing of the Tory party.’

http://www.michaelmeacher.info/weblog/2013/11/us-eu-trade-deal-is-next-stage-of-neoliberal-corporate-supremacy-but-not-discussed-in-parliament/

‘Fascism should more appropriately called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power’ – Benito Mussolini

Gramsci, imprisoned by Mussolini, wrote shortly before his death in 1937:

 ”The old world is dying away, and the new world struggles to come forth: now is the time of monsters.”

That was true then and is true now.

Addendum:

The academic, Lawrence Britt composed a list of 14 characteristics common to the fascist regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto and several Latin American regimes.  It is a frankly alarming list to read with the Coalition Government in mind.  http://rense.com/general37/fascism.htm

See also Think Left’s

Why should we be very concerned about the current US/EU Free Trade Agreement?

Is George Osborne failing … or succeeding brilliantly?

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Is George Osborne failing … or succeeding brilliantly?

Obviously the answer depends entirely on what are George Osborne’s actual intentions?

We are led to believe by government and commentators in the mainstream media that George is trying to ‘re-balance’ the economy, eliminate the deficit by 2017 (sorry 2018!) and create the conditions for the private sector to grow and export the UK out of recession/depression. He and David Cameron tell us that fiscal austerity or expansionary fiscal contraction, is showing signs of working and anyway, there is no alternative (TINA).

However Martin Wolf, the distinguished FT journalist, describes Cameron’s arguments for sticking to the government’s programme of fiscal austerity as ‘overwhelmingly wrong-headed’. (1)

Duncan Weldon quotes the FT leader ahead of the Budget and writes:

FT leader ahead of the Budget opens by stating:

More than halfway through the UK coalition’s term of office, the British economy is becalmed. Output is flat and confidence is perilously weak. The UK is experiencing its slowest recovery since the 19th century. Nearly half a decade has passed since the crisis erupted and the economy remains no bigger than it was in 2006 – more than 3 per cent below its 2008 peak. It is no longer fanciful to talk about a lost decade.

As we approach the Chancellor’s fourth Budget, we can already guess that much of the content will feel eerily familiar – growth revised down, borrowing revised up, an insistence that his policy is working and delivering low interest rates, some additional austerity measures to be announced for the future and some ‘more of the same’ policy in the short-term (corporation tax, the personal allowance and generic ‘deregulation’ being likely candidates). (2)

 

I could find dozens of quotes in the same vein.  So in terms of mending the UK economy, George Osborne has signally failed!

Furthermore, it is not just that he has failed on economic indicators.  His ‘austerity’ cuts have or will have severe consequences for the social fabric.  For example, more than a million more families will be living in poverty by 2015. (3)

Picture 39

Research published by the TUC earlier today shows that the decisions being made by the government will cost middle-income households £1,200 a year. By the time of the next election, nine in ten households will be worse off, and half of all children in the UK will live in families below the breadline. (4)

However, this aspect of George Osborne’s strategy is, in his own terms, a success .. a real success.

Such impacts were implicit in the CSR (Comprehensive Spending Review October 2010) which if implemented in full would result in less spending on public services in the UK than that of the US by 2014/15  (5)

However, it has to be said that not everybody accepts George Osborne’s stated agenda as being his real purpose.

Ivan Horrocks, commenting on Tax Research UK as long ago as September 2011, wrote:

 I do wonder if part of the issue you and many other commentators have with Osborne and co is that you/we are ascribing to them a primary economic policy aim which is in fact not their primary aim. We assume that Osborne and co’s primary concern (aim) is to get the economy growing again. And to be fair, this is the impression that Osborne and co promote.

But what if their primary aim is in fact to (try to) fundamentally restructure economic (and social) relations in this country (and beyond if they can) and that their belief is that to do that “austerity” is an essential tool. It can be argued that this is similar to the approach Thatcher employed between 1979-83. For example, under the cover of “austerity” we are witnessing a massive fire sale of public assets, planning laws are being relaxed, the NHS is being “restructured”, and so on and on, all to the considerable benefit not to the “big society” but to big business and big finance.

My conclusion would be that the “austerity” approach – and the narrative that’s been developed to support it – will not be dropped, regardless of any arguments put by the IMF, UN, you, Martin Wolf or anyone else – or the production of data that shows how dire the economic situation of this country is – until Osborne and his supporters are confident that their primary policy aim is sufficiently entrenched to withstand efforts to stop or undo it. Again, we see this approach reflected in the behaviour of Thatcher’s first government. And, furthermore, it resonates with the reported view of senior/influential Tory thinkers, that the first Blair government wasted their first two years in power. In summary then, we could argue that Osborne and co have simply been very good at learning from history. (6)

The passage of time has certainly vindicated Ivan Horrocks assessment. The ‘austerity’ approach and accompanying narrative (“its all Gordon Brown’s fault”) have not been dropped.  And regardless of the economic data, the arguments of the IMF, UN, Richard Murphy and Martin Wolf, we continue to witness the fire sale of public assets, planning laws are being relaxed, the NHS is being “restructured” and so on… to the benefit of big business and big finance

 

Richard Murphy is also in firm agreement that George Osborne’s real agenda is a Tory revolution  ‘aimed at creating a managed, corporately controlled, and deeply unequal ‘democracy’.(7)  (Note the quotation marks around ‘democracy)

He quotes Ivan Horrocks who is unsurprisingly, not surprised at all:

… It’s the inevitable conclusion of a strategy and process that was undoubtedly conceived while the Tories were in opposition and in concert with many of those who stand to benefit.… Now the Tories are aware they’ll only be in power for one term completing the demolition of the state, the fire sale of public assests and services, and the engineering of the corporate control of as many regulatory and governmental institutions as is possible will gain pace drastically. As will the tempo and harshness of the attack on the poor and less fortunate in our society. (7)

(edited)

Michael Hoexter makes a similar argument in New Economics Perspectives:

After the initial panic surrounding the global financial crisis of 2007-2008 subsided, an opportunistic brand of neoliberalism emerged, that continued neoliberalism’s attack on government as a stabilizing, moderating force in society.  This re-energized brand of neoliberalism advocates fiscal austerity and balanced government budgets, “worrying” that public bond issues floated during the economic stabilization process were “unsustainable” debts….

(T)hat the prime drivers of fiscal austerity were representatives of the financial industry, which had just been bailed out by government and had gotten themselves into trouble via high levels of private “leverage,” has, so far, escaped the notice of most sectors of the press in Europe and the United States and, therefore, the consciousness of the public.  Furthermore, the potential future advantages to that same industry of austerity’s selective shackling of government’s ability to create and control the liquidity of the economy have also, so far, escaped the notice of a gullible press and, by extension, a good portion of the public. (8)

So is George Osborne failing or is he succeeding brilliantly?  And does he know which agenda he is following?  Does he actually believe in the failed neoclassical nostrums?  Is he being ‘manipulated’ in some way by those vested interests who stand to benefit?  Or was it always his intention to keep the crisis going to provide the ‘shock doctrine’ which justifies asset-stripping and re-structuring the economic/social relations of the UK ?

In writing about the imperative for a macroethics, Michael Hoexter makes the observation:

… fundamental moral confusion may be mere pretense in the sociopaths and Machiavellian political operatives who are, no doubt, crucial to the success of the austerity campaign.  Yet, their (fallacious) ethical argumentation has swept along more gullible political leaders who have not paused long enough to consider the uniqueness of their role as leaders of governments.  These leaders, with the exception of the Euro-Zone countries, can move their governments to issue currency to bail their nations out of any real or imagined financial bind (though finances do not necessarily solve real economic difficulties).  Either, believing the fiscal reality of currency-issuing governments was identical to that of a business or a household or fearing their constituents would view them as immoral if they did not treat the national budget as that of a household, politicians have, so far, acted as if they do not recognize their distinct macroethical duties as regards the national budget. (8)

A similar point made by the Guardian’s Zoe Williams when she speculated about … the true division of the Conservative party – the ones who are mistaken versus those who are wrong deliberately… Some of them are simply out of their depth, do not understand the benefits system or a government’s realistic prospects of controlling the economy…Others take the Fox News approach: if you can just get enough misinformation out there, enough people who were only half-listening might half-believe you. Competing claims don’t need to relate to facts, their validity will be judged on the manner in which they’re delivered. You may have to retract later, but what does that matter? (9) 

Michael Hoexter provides a disturbing rationale for neoliberal behaviour:

Conventional neoclassical economics has normalized sociopathy in economic life by assuming the “utility maximizing individual” at every turn, which aids sociopaths in gaining positions of power and influence in our contemporary society.  In the political science derivative of neoclassical economics, James Buchanan’s “public choice theory,” politicians are assumed to be as fundamentally amoral as neoclassical economics’ model of the person, which has the effect of excusing or making invisible political corruption…. (8)

Disturbingly, I conclude with the (edited) view of Andrew Dickie, another regular commentator, on Tax research UK whose opinion is respected by Richard Murphy:

Ivan and I have been in agreement on this before – this will be a Neo-feudal state, in which we subjects in the oligarcho-democratic state we now enjoy are transformed into serfs,without rights, in a feudal state where the land-basis of mediaeval fedualism will be replaced by a “territorial” carve-up on the basis of income streams from taxation = Prince HMRC and Duke NHS and Marquess Tertiary Education, and Earl Secondary Education – somewhat reminiscent of Prohibition Chicago!…. These new “garagiste/card-sharping/rent-seeking” baronage know the price of everything and the value of nothing, and their only skills are those of rip-off and plunder, and are a universe away from the real economy and real wealth creation, which will be the task of the serfs – as it always was….. (10)

Andrew Dickie ends with the advice that “ Labour should be putting down a marker – a future Labour Government will bring all these illicitly disposed of mutually created assets back under democratic control, without compensation where possible, which, given that it is highly likely that their new “owners” will already have made more than they have paid for the assets, will be easy to justify.” 

I’ll more than second that… but in the meantime, there’s another Osborne budget….

Related Think Left Posts:

Capitalism – Neoliberalism, Plutonomy, and Neo-feudalism.

Soylent Green, George Osborne and Plutonomy.

Plutonomy – Invasion of the Political Body Snatchers.

What is George Osborne playing at?

(1)  http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1670a3d2-880f-11e2-8e3c-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2NQUQ6WUO

(2)  http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2013/03/through-the-looking-glass-economics/

(3)   http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2013/03/a-million-more-families-below-the-breadline-by-2015/

(4) http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2013/03/next-wednesday-george-osborne-should-admit-hes-got-it-wrong/

(5)  http:// onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-923X.2011.02169.x/ful l 

(6)  http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2011/09/06/maybe-osbornes-quite-happy-a-double-dip-that-provides-cover-for-all-he-wants-to-do/#comments

(7)  http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2013/03/14/the-tory-revolution-is-aimed-at-creating-a-managed-corporately-controlled-and-deeply-unequal-democracy/

(8)  http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2013/03/without-an-effective-macroethics-our-civilization-is-doomed.html#more-5010

 (9)  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/02/iain-duncan-smith-polemic-politics-cynical

(10) http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2013/03/14/that-tory-revolution-and-the-rise-of-neofeudalism/

A Neofeudalist Fantasy inspired by Bilderberg 2012

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The Bilderberg phenomenon is often dismissed as a ‘conspiracy fantasist’s dream.  However, there is no doubt that there is an annual three-day conference attended by members of the global aristocracy, global leaders of industry and politicians (including US presidential candidates) from around the world.  This year’s shadowy elite leaders’ conference was on May 31st 2012, so what was on the agenda? No real information is forthcoming, not even from the usually outspoken attendee Ken Clarke MP, nor from the queen of the Netherlands, the chairman of Barclays, and the chairman, vice-chairman and CEO of Shell Oil who also participated. 

Charlie Skelton reported that  ‘The Occupy movement seems … to have realised that the problem isn’t the 1%, it’s the 0.001%…..”We refuse to pay for the banks’ crisis” was the cry from OccupyLSX back in the autumn. They demanded an end to “our democracy representing corporations instead of the people.” What Bilderberg represents is the fact that our democracy IS our corporations. And politics is just the wake behind a shark fin.”

This is a possible history to fill the void.

 

Imagine a land, long ago, when people lived in small groups, gathering what they needed from the environment as they migrated from place to place ‘following’ their food.  Collecting wild hazelnuts and berries from the autumn woods; shellfish and seaweed from the shore, new green shoots in spring, grubs, roots and occasionally catching a fish or hunting for meat.

Over time, population growth, and rising sea levels, created food scarcity in the shrinking forests and grasslands.  Some groups settled down and became farmers .. a much harder life in many ways but it ensured a more or less regular food supply for the greater number of mouths.

Now, as any parasitologist would tell you, a new farming ecosystem meant new opportunities for ‘parasitism’ to get established.  And sure enough, there were soon groups of hunter-gatherers who adopted a land-based ‘pirate’ life-style of ‘raping and pillaging’ the farming communities. 

Pretty quickly, it was realised that this was disadvantageous to both the farmers and the pirates because it meant farmers dying from raping, pillaging or starvation, and the pirates having to find another farmer.

A new strategy evolved;  ‘land grab’ and enslavement of the farmers who now found themselves working as serfs to feed both themselves and the pirates.  Furthermore, the pirates left the farmers with barely enough to survive and to still keep on farming.  On the plus side, the pirates were willing to protect their assets, which may have meant that the farmers led a quieter life, free from other marauding pirates.

Psychologically, there was a terrible cost to the pirate aristocracy.  They had to shut down any sort of empathy for the suffering of the serfs… they had to make them ‘the other’, ‘less than’ and different. The pirates grew to see themselves as ‘very special’ entitled people who deserved more than their fellow human beings. To preserve this, there was a fierce sanction against marrying outside their pirate class. Inevitably, this sort of narcissism impacted on their relationships with their partners and children.

Furthermore, the narcissistic pirates became too special to do their own chores or look after their own children… or even to allow their ‘wives’ to do so.  And there was never enough being produced to satisfy the narcissistic pirates… these very special people saw no reason why they should not have it all.  And their increasing wealth came to substitute for the emptiness of their relationships.  The rules applied to other people but not to themselves.

Ultimately, there were limits as to how many of these bandits, any farming community could sustain.  At first, the expanding population of pirates could be accommodated by extending their range; by colonizing and taking over other groups of farmers.  But pretty soon, there were turf wars between rival gangs of pirates and many young male serfs were taken away from farming to fight on behalf of the pirates.  Of course, to have serf soldiers doing the dying instead of the pirate aristocracy was pretty irresistible to the pirates.

So it was, that successful pirates acquired vast empires of land with a multitude of serfs.  However, this presented a whole set of new problems … how to administer and keep control of a huge underclass?

From the start, organised religion, with different brands of hell-fire and damnation, was a major means of maintaining the pirates in their privileged position, and this control lasted for many centuries.  But, eventually, the pirates found that they could safely promote certain serf individuals to positions of authority and power without losing their overall sanction … and with that came the understanding that ‘divide and rule’ was a much more subtle and effective control mechanism than threats.  It became the strategy of choice from that time on.

Now, there was a means to divert any blame or resentment away from themselves and onto the apparent authors of the oppression, the administrators … the proto-politicians.  By keeping their lives and their wealth hidden from the masses, the pirates could not only exert ultimate control over the administrators, but with judicious paternalistic interventions, the aristocracy could induce respect, loyalty and even admiration from the unsuspecting serfs.

With colonization of foreign lands, came trade between different pirate overlords, and with trade came the need for an IOU system or money, banks, accountants and lawyers…. And the way in which the pirates stopped those professions running off with all the money was to make it ‘worth their while’ .. ‘to cut them in on the deal’.  In some aspects of banking, they found that it was particularly advantageous to employ those serfs who lacked empathy, and had all the ingenuity of the intelligent thief… the ‘anti-socials’.

So life continued over still more centuries.  There were blips of serf rebellion, but the pirates and their henchmen were always able to find a compromise which appeared to favour the serfs but in reality, incommoded the ruling elite very little.  The rentier pirates lived well – they had a monopoly on overhead charges for access to land, minerals or other natural resources, bank credit and other basic needs. They had no need to earn a living by producing anything because they received so much wealth from their inheritance and unearned income.

Then a disaster fell.  A huge war, a financial disaster brought about by the crooked bankers (that were installed by the pirates themselves), followed by another huge war.  The income of the top 1% fell from 24% of total pre-tax income to a mere 10% in the space of 20 years.  Worse was to follow.  The troops, returning from 5 years of war, were in no mood to put up with the privations of the life that they had had before the war.  A new type of government was elected which put in place a National Health Service, free dentistry, free schooling and a welfare safety net.  These were only of benefit to the serfs because the pirates had always had the income to pay for their own schools and medical provision.  On top of this, energy production, transport, utilities and communications were nationalized, and run by the government to further the national good.

The pirates were aghast .. not only were they being taxed to pay their share of services that they certainly didn’t need or use … not only did they lose the interests that would have been forthcoming prior to nationalization… but the sheer impertinence of the ‘little people’!

Who on earth did they think they were … breaking up the natural order?  It was the politics of envy!!

The fight-back had to begin. Fortunately, the pirates had allies abroad who certainly did not want to see such socialist ideas infecting their own countries.  The imperative to fight the welfare state and the mixed economy, overcame any difficulties that the narcissistic pirates had in co-operating … and doubtless each thought they might just find ways to outdo the other ‘pirates’.

One of the biggest problems, for the pirates and their fellow travelers, was that the welfare state was immensely popular with the serfs.  It was clear that any moves to re-privatise state services would need stealth.  A slow but a steady worsening, much media-undermining, and then the incremental introduction of private provision back into public services, would serve their ends.  The plan was that by the time they had finished, the serfs would go along with anything because they would think that they had so little to lose!

The pirates salivated at the idea of all those services that were going to be privatised.  There would never be a lack of demand for those assets, and payment was guaranteed by unavoidable taxation of the serfs by the government, that the serfs had themselves elected (Hee hee!).

Fortunately, the serfs had already been groomed to believe in the freedom of the press and the impartiality of the BBC.  How the absurdity of this belief made the pirates laugh!  It was almost incredible to them that the ownership of the papers by pirates, and the pirate leadership at the BBC was ignored.

The lower orders were to be deliberately distracted, and given opinion not facts.  They would be fed a diet of celebrity and sport; a constant drip-drip that politics was boring; that all politicians are the same; that all politicians are looking after number one; and that all politicians are like children needing the working people to bail them out yet again.  Active misinformation, propaganda and spin would be directed to cultivate the ‘correct’ attitudes amongst the managerial and educated middle classes. All that the pirate owned media had to do, was to label any inconvenient challenge to the pirate frame of reference, as ‘extremist’, ‘ideological’ or ‘a conspiracy theory’… and the ideas wouldn’t be taken seriously. TINA was to be repeated at every available opportunity… there is no alternative.  But underlying all of this, was the imperative that there was to be as little information as possible about the fabulous wealth and life-style of the pirates, or indeed their ownership of the assets.

There would be little difficulty in implementing most of their blueprint, given the pirate entourage of willing politicians, CEOs of corporations, the bankers and the financial sector, and these were to be the public faces of the scam. This political-corporate-financial nexus would be acting in their own self-interest so would not hesitate to keep the overall scheme as hidden as possible.

However, there was one major hurdle.  How to prevent another radical ‘out-of-control’ government coming into power and renationalizing everything?  Unfortunately, the pirates and confederates had previously miscalculated when they had allowed the serfs to have voting rights.  This was spun, at the time, as being ‘democracy’ but now it had been shown to be capable of back-firing on the pirates.  What was needed was a way of negating democracy and elected sovereign governments… the most obvious solution was another layer of government which took precedence.  They needed global governance!

But at this point, some bright young ‘anti-social’ serfs objected:

“The serfs won’t buy global government.  They are attached to their own lands and have little enough faith in their own politicians, let alone foreign ones.  Apart from anything else, they’ll want to vote for a global government and we don’t want to go down that road again!  Anyway, we don’t need a global government.  We have the tools already.”


The young anti-socials laid out their cunning plan:

“Our original inspiration was that of ‘The  Emperor’s New Clothes’ story.  The swindlers’ aim was to make a fool of the Emperor and take his money.  Your aim is to make the democratic process a joke, and take the money.   Our vision taken from the Emperor’s clothes’ story is that we require a shift in the prevailing conceptual framework … just as the people and the Emperor, in the story, were persuaded to believe that others could see the clothes.

In our case, this can best be provided by the assertion that ‘the markets know best’; and therefore ‘governments interfere with the markets operating properly’ and ‘we need to deregulate – we need to set the markets free’.  Then if, or rather when, the markets fail, we can say that there’s still too much red tape hindering the markets; that we must make it easier to ‘fire and hire’; that companies/individuals are not investing because of too much taxation; that public provision must be privatised because its ‘crowding out’ the private sector; and planning laws are holding back the economy by inhibiting very large conservatories from being built!

This is the perfect, plausible even, vehicle to achieve your goal.  Implicitly, the market knowing best means that the electorate and politicians do not … ergo ‘democracy’ becomes redundant.  In the same manner, it is implicit that government will shrink with the privatization of public services. The role of the state will be confined to being collector of taxes to pay for the privatized services, and to oversee law enforcement agencies required to protect the corporations, banks and pirates.

The first step must be to cause economic havoc in the country.. which should not be a problem for our financial friends.  This will justify our tame politicians to take the draconian action necessary to privatise the nationalized industries.  Eventually they will be able to fully dismantle the NHS and the rest of the welfare state.

The next step will be to set up some global agencies .. a WTO (World Trade Organisation), an IMF (International Monetary Fund) and a World Bank … who would have responsibility to maintain market freedom.  We need to set in place a General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) which will be mandated to supercede sovereign government legislation.  This has the advantage that governments can sign up to a treaty without having too much discussion in Parliament.  Furthermore, the negotiations can be completed in secret citing commercial sensitivity.  Any new government wanting to reverse privatisation will find themselves hamstrung by  the terms of the GATT and subject to WTO decisions.

The universal strategy will be a pincer movement.  The financial sector will create an economic crisis which will justify draconian cuts in the welfare system, mass privatization of public services and a fire-sale of national assets. The corporations will then step in to take-over services and buy up the assets cheaply. The politicians will take on the banks’ debts and recapitalise the banks.  This way we will be able to create a low-waged, high unemployment society with high levels of personal serf indebtedness.  Then we will be properly back in the driving seat with our back-to-the-future neofeudalism.

Oh, but before we forget, it is really, really important to be able to get ‘our money’ out of the system before it crashes!  We will need to get rid of exchange controls on the movement of money, and we need to sort out and ramp up ease of access to tax havens.  The serfs can have their redistribution of income .. we’ll redistribute it upwards and offshore!

Postscript:

Who would willingly have allowed the scurrilous ‘pirates’ to turn the clock back?  But just look at the graph (1)… and they’re not finished yet.

 

“If you’re sitting in banks driver’s seat and if you are controlling the quantity of national money, than de facto you control the political situation as well. Because if government needs loans and you are not willing to lend, than you are in absolute control of that government, and that’s the situation we’re in today.” Bill Still (3)

 

As Sherrill said, without regulation, capitalism is thievery. We stopped regulating the financial system, so thieves took over. (2)

 

 

 

Related posts:

Michael Hudson  http://real-economics.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/meta-thinking-on-political-economy.html

http://www.michaelmeacher.info/weblog/2012/09/tories-ramp-up-the-class-warfare/

http://think-left.org/2011/07/21/red-labour-must-address-the-elephant-in-the-room/

http://think-left.org/2012/08/20/has-george-osborne-been-taking-trans-atlantic-lessons-from-the-jude-wanniski-and-the-republicans/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/30/bilderberg-2012-technocrats-are-rising

(1)  http://think-left.org/2011/10/14/capitalism-neoliberalism-plutonomy-and-neo-feudalism/ 

(2)  http://www.economonitor.com/lrwray/2012/07/23/why-were-screwed/#idc-cover

(3)  http://www.positivemoney.org.uk/2011/09/bill-max-keiser-show/