The industrialists, bankers and politicians tied to the oligarchy have coded the system to tilt the game in their favor. It is now a matter of statistical record that the “recovery” after the 2008 economic crisis was a transfer of wealth to those who already dominated the game. The poor got poorer, and so did the well-adjusted and middle class.
The times are getting more difficult not just for those on the bottom, but for all who are not towards the top.
Columnist Jeff Sparrow at the London Guardian wrote a column on the growing nightmare of inequality at a time when the economy will be sparing few from harsh conditions. The headline is particularly punchy:
By every meaningful measure, today’s elites are gods. This should make us angry
According to Oxfam, the wealth of those richest 62 people grew by more than half a trillion dollars since 2010, even as the wealth of the bottom half of the world dropped by 41%. That, mind you, took place in the period after the global financial crisis, during the years of supposed recovery.
In other words, inequality increased massively when the economy was growing, with most of the new wealth created going to the rich rather than those who needed it most.
What can democracy possibly mean in a society resting on such disparities … Today… the notion that our 62 god-kings can be in any way constrained or controlled by Joe and Jane Citizen dropping their votes in a ballot box is too ludicrous for serious contemplation.
On the contrary, the multibillionaire relates to the pauper as predator does to its prey, with the vast human flock simply a resource that, in Pushkin’s phrase, can be “either slaughtered or shorn”.
It’s about time to pull back the veil. It isn’t kindly old grandfathers in charge of a flawed paternalistic system; it is wolves voting on what kind of sheep to have for dinner from a global supply chain of gullible and dependent people who have few alternatives and little means of improving their circumstances.
Sparrow says that they have become “gods,” pure and simple, the world’s titans now qualify among the gods:
To update that list, add everything made possible for the wealthy by the almost magical technology of the 21st century. Once you do, it’s clear that today’s elite don’t need to imagine themselves gods. By every meaningful measure, that’s what they are. They have absorbed, via their wealth, all the attributes that religion traditionally attributed to divinities, even as the world’s poorest still endure conditions familiar to the labourers who constructed the pyramids.
Such statistics should come as a shock: not necessarily a surprise but something more like an electrical jolt, awakening us to the global order we’ve constructed, now, in its everyday operations, demonstrably more unfair than any previous society in human history.
There are those who, naturally, blaming the system on capitalism – scorning the billionaires and calling for a level playing field under socialism.
Of course, the problem isn’t capitalism. That our society functions IN capitalism is one of the biggest deceptions we face. Like “Republicans” and “Democrats,” the term “capitalism” has become a mascot for the corrupt, embedded insiders who have rigged our economy as easily as they have rigged the political systems of the most powerful nations in the world. Certainly there is no free market.
The Federal Reserve, a privately owned agency, controls the public money supply – and through quantitative easing and monetary policy gives the bulk of the currency’s kinetic energy to the big banks who dominate Wall Street, and in turn, steer or control the major consolidated industries that provide services in the private sector under the Fortune 100 companies, or who fulfill government contracts and steer taxpayer spending through public services for the collective hive of the masses.
In short, the problem is crony capitalism, and the cronies aren’t 2-bit opportunists, they are managing the major trading blocs and vested interests of the entire economy.
Socialism is but one predominant flavor of collectivism – large systems (public or private) which the “crony” billionaires growing in wealth have taken control of and learned to milk. When governments push expense and far reaching programs, they create a market for their favorite bidders.
For instance, when Congress considered major cuts to the SNAP food stamps program, to appease public anger, it was the major banks, like JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, and Walmart, the dominant retailer, and major food groups who lobbied to keep and expand it. The debit cards that SNAP uses generate revenue from fees for JP Morgan; Walmart sees the largest share of spending from food stamp purchases, and the food industry – dominated by a handful of conglomerates – benefits as well.
In short more “socialism” will not keep the rich from getting richer, and will not deliver us all ponies. However, the righteous anger of the many is growing, and likely to spill over in the wake of forecast financial gloom and disaster.
Meanwhile the power elite – currently convened in Davos for their annual spectacle of global domination – are keenly aware of the roused rabble who shake their fists at ivory towers and clamor for radical change, by whatever means.
They may not be satisfied with the threatening levels of instability; on the other hand, they have often ruled through chaos and crisis.
Reportedly, Warren Buffet said:
“Sure there is class war, and it is my class, the rich, who are making it and we are winning.”