by C H Smith
A great clash between what we are told is unfolding and what is actually unfolding lies just ahead.
The status quo “Powers That Be” and its mainstream media repeatedly insist that:
The Social Security entitlements promised to all will be paid; all that is needed are modest policy adjustments.
The current financial meltdown was unexpected and could not have been foreseen; it is a temporary “bad patch” which has already been fixed by government intervention and modest policy/regulatory adjustments.
The consumerist culture which has evolved over the past 60 years is a natural and highly successful perfection of capitalism, prosperity and American values; Americans are the happiest, most prosperous people on the planet.
Yet all of the above is demonstrably false.
The current financial meltdown was not only easily predictable, it was inevitable, as the consequences of systemic fraud, deception, embezzlement, misrepresentation, collusion, debauchery of credit, exponential expansions of risk, debt and speculative leverage could not be held off forever.
The devolution of American culture and values was not natural, rather it has produced the perfection of crony capitalism, monopoly capital and an ever-expanding State beholden to an Elite which owns or controls the vast majority of the productive assets, financial wealth, income and lawmaking machinery of the U.S.
We have a cultural disorder we “treat” by numbing the patients’ awareness of their own alienation, anxiety and unhappiness.
I believe the evidence is overwhelming that all the soothing contentions pressed upon us by the Powers That Be on a daily basis are in fact false. If this assertion is true, the vast majority of what is “reported” and “consumed” as “news” and “commentary” is essentially propaganda, either conscious or subconscious.
As a result, we will have to construct an alternative understanding of our world which aligns far more closely to reality.
If all the fundamental contentions of the Powers-That-Be are demonstrably false, we are forced to ask why they press them so mightily and persuasively on us.
The answer to this critical question can be found by asking cui bono: to whose benefit? Although we are constantly told the system benefits all of us, this is also demonstrably false.
This leads to the conclusion that the entire intellectual structure which supports and enables the U.S. economy, government and culture is nonsense, and those pushing it so mightily and pervasively are doing so out of a highly refined self-interest.
Compare your own lived experience and intuitions with the mass media’s “happy story” that everything is just fine, minor financial perturbations have been resolved and a consumerist Utopia is still firmly in place.
those who control the vast majority of assets, wealth, and tools of persuasion have the most to gain from a continuing belief in the system’s soundness and stability. Thus their defense of the system which serves their interests above all else will be fierce and unremitting.
The Plutocracy is not a conspiracy in the formal sense of a membership which gathers like the Bohemian Club or even an informal assemblage such as the Bilderberg Group.
Thus in describing a Plutocracy I am not positing a semi-formal conspiracy but simply a financial elite which controls some 2/3 of the productive wealth of the U.S. This is simply a statement of fact. Their collective self-interest is in maintaining the conceptual, legal and financial systems which enable their continued dominance of wealth and influence.
people with similar self-interests naturally band together in self-organizing networks and groups to protect those interests, and since information is power then the inner workings of various self-organizing groups are confidential as part of that self-protection.
Thus when I speak of The Plutocracy I refer to a self-organized Elite based on protecting their ownership of 2/3 of the productive wealth of the nation. As each acts to protect his/her wealth at the highest reaches of influence (tax shelters, tax breaks, legislative exclusions, legal rulings, etc.) then they are also acting to defend their class.
If you conclude that favoring the status quo in all matters will protect your career, income and status [you are less likely to] announce the Emperor has no clothes.
As a free-lance writer in the mainstream media, I witnessed how such mechanisms work in the real world. Thus stories which reflect poorly on major advertisers like realtors and builders are not killed outright–they are merely strangled by demands for more evidence, more documentation, etc., or watered down in the name of “fairness” and placed in little-seen areas of the media outlet’s offerings.
As its own interests diverge from those of the culture and economy at large, the Plutocracy has an irresistible incentive to foster the illusion that policies which benefit the Elites also benefit the middle class. Thus while the Plutocracy and its mass-media minions trumpet the benefits of the free market, these same Elites work with unremitting zeal to exempt themselves and their State factotums from these very same free market forces.
Thus even as the global financial pyramid of highly leveraged bets and debts unravels, the status quo response is bureaucratic shuffling of oversight duties, minor tweaking of regulatory rules trumpeted as “major fixes” and behind the scenes, trillion-dollar bailouts of the Plutocracy funded by the non-Elite taxpayers.
When the non-Elite citizen comes to understand this, a new mechanism takes hold
This is how empires fall:
Unfortunately for both the Elite and the underclasses, ultimately, This widening structural imbalance creates a profound cynicism and political disunity which cripples any attempt at structural solutions.
Given that any real solution would reduce the Plutocracy and State’s share of the national income, both the Plutocracy and the State (including all those dependent on its various fiefdoms) resist all structural change, preferring stagnation and eventual collapse to any reduction in their income and power that would otherwise require the Plutocracy to absorb the catastrophic consequences of its over-reaching leveraged gambles.
This failure to address the underlying cause–systemic over-reach and Plutocratic domination of the economy and political system–insures the instability will only worsen.
It is worth recalling that the average compensation for the 10 top [US] hedge fund managers during the go-go years of the 2000s was $600 million each. That is not a typo. the Elite inadvertently provides the lower classes with a compelling example of increasing wealth via fraud and manipulation rather than actually producing goods and services.
Thus petty corruption and fraud increases in all State entitlement programs as every sector of society seeks to suck off the maximum benefits while contributing the least possible to the public coffers.
Thus does a nation or empire built on the sacrifices and communal spirit of its citizenry degrade into a doomed culture from the Plutocracy on down through the technocratic upper caste to the underclass. [an underclass who are bought off with minimal social welfare programs and endless entertainment via TV – Bread and circuses]
This evasion of hard choices (and free market forces) will eventually bring down the nation’s currency and its debt-ridden State
As the wheels fall off the U.S. economy and the bubbles cannot be re-inflated, fruitless attempts at holding back the tide with incantations (stop, tide, I speak for the U.S. Treasury!) and loopy sand castles (the bottom is in, buy now!) abound. Unresponsive to propaganda, the real world grinds down into a global Depression without visible end.
If we do nothing, we will be swept along with the Great Descent. Alternatively, if we want to prosper, then we must first gain an understanding of the crisis we face.