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