By C H Smith
The irony is that neoliberal Capitalism supposedly reveres free markets: but that is mere propaganda. A simulacrum of free markets is erected for middle class consumption but behind the veils of obscure tax laws, sweetheart deals and the like, the Plutocracy and State functionaries both avoid any exposure to actual market forces which might expose them to risk or limit their share of the national income.
let’s call this dominant ideology Neoliberal Capitalist Democracy for want of a more accurate term).
that intellectual framework must increasingly substitute carefully designed simulacrum for authentic structures (for example, elections in which 98% of all incumbents win re-election)
Why are the State and the Plutocracy (two sides of the same coin) substituting simulacrum for authentic structures and truthful accounts? Let’s answer by asking: what would a truthful accounting of cui bono— to whose benefit?–reveal?
A truthful accounting would reveal that the entire status quo system benefits the rentier-financial Plutocracy and the high-caste class of State employees and corporate technocrats at the expense of the rest of us: the 99% who do not own 2/3 of the productive assets of the nation and the 75% who do not belong to the State/technocrat upper-caste which serves and enforces the system for its own self-aggrandizement.
In sum: a truthful accounting of cui bono would result in the exposure of the over-reach, exploitation, deception, fraud, mismanagement, mal-investment, manipulation and self-aggrandizement of the Plutocracy and its high-caste State/corporate technocracy (two “masters,” one system). A truthful accounting would result in the shattering of the illusion that belonging to and supporting the status quo is in your self-interest.
To maintain their share of the dwindling national income, it is essential that the Plutocracy and State mask the devolution and insolvency of the State. The primary prop of non-elite belief in the system is the faith that the Savior State will fund everyone’s retirement, healthcare and security as promised–a promise which cannot be fulfilled. (A Savior State promises to save everyone from personal responsibility via entitlements funded by demographic and financial fraud.)
Common purpose is replaced by self-aggrandizement and game-the-system looting. The Elites’ interests diverge from those of the society as a whole. The result is a profound political disunity of hardened, bitter camps warring over the remaining spoils of a decaying State.
Regulations are replaced by protection schemes and layers of purposefully impenetrable obfuscation which provide the Elites exemptions from market forces (risk and subsequent losses).
Healthcare is replaced by a highly profitable simulacrum structure in which 25% of the citizenry receive no care and another 25% pay for sham “healthcare coverage” which offers little to no actual care. The high-caste class of State and corporate technocrats is rewarded for their services to the State/Plutocracy with full coverage. (Observe the parallels to State employees’ coveted positions in Third World kleptocracies.)
The unavoidable failures and destructive consequences of the status quo are systematically internalized as personal failings: lack of will power, poor judgment, etc.; a simulacrum of “personal responsibility” masks the internalization of propaganda/master narratives which leave the Plutocracy and State safely unaccountable.
From the perspective of a media sustained by marketing, the ideal internal state is a deep, un-resolvable insecurity which can be temporarily soothed by shopping/entertainment.
A simulacrum of citizenship reduces a self-directed populace to passive “consumers.”
once you understand this substitution mechanism, a type of enlightenment occurs; you no longer accept simulacrum for “the real thing,” and the State/Plutocracy has lost your compliance, that is, your belief in the system’s fair accounting of your self-interest.
This conflict between direct, lived experience of our ever-worsening problems and the State/Elites’ “ignore reality, keep believing in our system” machinery causes a pervasive cultural and individual schizophrenia which causes participants to feel adrift, depressed, alienated, isolated and misunderstood.
This growing gulf between lived experience and the Elites’ heavily hyped narrative of how our world works eventually causes an enlightenment in some of the managerial/technocrat caste: their belief in the system fades and they drop out.
Once they realize the institutions they have given their lives to will fail, they either withdraw or begin work on an alternative framework of understanding.
They have learned that the Power Elite has essentially rendered itself unaccountable and thus the consequences of its vast over-reach will fall not on its own small membership but the ill-prepared citizenry below.
Then we will have to choose which trade-offs have the best chances for long-term success–not in preserving the bankrupt, unsustainable structures of the present but in constructing a sustainable, productive economy and a political culture based not on self-serving game-the-system looting
End note: I know this must strike some readers as lunacy; there are no simulacrum, and the State cannot possibly dissolve in insolvency. Others will be tempted to enter the merry-go-round “debate” as to whether the State should or should not be a “Savior.” It doesn’t matter; the State cannot print up $100 trillion without reducing the value of the dollar to zero, nor can it fund the military/security/Empire, its own domestic fiefdoms and the Savior State entitlements now promised to 300 million citizens without borrowing/printing $100 trillion– so however you care to calculate the end-state, it remains the same: insolvency and the complete devolution of the Empire/Savior State.