PLUTOCRACY: NEW WORLD ORDER

Western Intelligence, Oriental Despotism; Redux? Democratic Occident, Fascist Orient, & Vice Versed?

Obama just  nominated Commerce Secretary the billionaire heiress who discovered him, and introduced him to the Rubin-Summers-Goldman-Sachs-Citigroup conspiracy. Penny Priztker was condemned to pay a 460 million dollar fine by the Federal government in 2001, for financial malfeasance. 460 million, that’s more than Mitt Romney’s fortune, that made small rank and file democrats huff and puff, in indignation, a few months ago, just like their mighty masters told them to do.

Now, if the 460 million dollars fine felon becomes chief, that’s fine, as long as the masters of the people don’t ask the People to huff and puff about the fine. The finer the fine, the finer the master, say the little People, and they bleat, satisfied. As Obama put it:”Priztker is one of the most eminent personalities of our country“. When Pluto reigns, down is up.

When Common Decency Is A Hindrance

When Common Decency Is A Hindrance

Plutocracy is the New World Order. The New World Thinking. The New World Emoting.

To get some perspective on this, it’s good to have a retrospective look at the greatest plutocratic realms of the past, and ponder why extremely wealthy fascism rose, increasingly, in the Orient, while clever democracy rose, occasionally, in the West. And sometimes fell, disastrously, for reasons related.

It turns out that, when Rome became fascist and plutocratic, it turned to Oriental despotism, and criminals, indeed, came to command and control.

***

PERSIA REIGNED WITH ALL CRAFTS; YET NOT SMART ENOUGH:

Establishing  giant, metastatic empires in the Orient is nothing new: the Hittites tried it, they proceeded to invade Lebanon and the rich valleys behind, Egyptian territory. However young Pharaoh Ramses II, defeated them at Qadesh, next to present day Damascus. Through courageous combat in that battle which defined his long rule, Ramses rescued victory from the jaws of defeat, somewhat miraculously.

Ramses lost ground, though, and later made a loving peace with his enemies. Then, the Hittites having been destroyed by the mysterious coalition of the Peoples of the Sea, the Assyrians tried to impose their own giant metastatic empire, using the harshest methods. That brought them so many enemies that they got invaded from all quarters, annihilated as a nation first, and an army, later.

Then the union of Medes and Persians, thanks to three remarkable leaders, established a giant fascist empire, from Ethiopia to Central Asia, Libya to India. The third emperor, Darius, besides being excellent at sword-play in the dark, and a great general, proved capable of using a free market economy, switching to so called Keynesianism, and then a command and control economy, as needed. Darius established a giant “Royal” road network (ancestral to the one the Romans would build, four centuries later).

A Persian Pony Express, with posts every five miles, would bring news from distant corners of the empire in a week. Darius went on to invade the Scythians, land of the Amazons, present day Ukraine.

Darius’ Persia was the greatest empire, so far, larger than the present day continental USA. It became so, thanks to a great variety of methods of socio-economic governance. Some of these methods would later be used by the West, massively. Not just the communication network, the free market, the command and control, but also a crafty diplomacy of seduction, cooptation and local autonomy (that’s how the Ionian Greeks and Phoenicians became collaborators of Persia; whereas Alexander would annihilate Tyr).

However, unbelievably, tiny Athens broke the Persian empire, inaugurating the next great event, still on-going, the rise of the West. Again and again, minuscule Greek armies routed the juggernauts of professional giant armies. Again and again, small democracies proved superior to large fascist foes. I claimed that mental superiority entailed military superiority.

***

FREE IN THE WEST, SLAVES IN THE EAST

Herodotus explained the Greeks’ military superiority: free men are more motivated in battle, as they fight for themselves, he said. But it’s not clear that elite Persian soldiers did not feel free.

So I hold something slightly different: free men are, living in an “open society” are not just more motivated, but, simply, more intelligent. Yes, intelligent.

Yet how come that the free men tended to be in the West, and the subjugated ones, in the East? And this for 4,000 years, defining the “West” as anything west of Mount Lebanon. Why did so much of the Mediterranean turn out propitious to freedom and individual initiative? What of the enormous Celto-German forests, from Spain to the Baltics?

Two factors played a role:

1) Trade, with the big man, the leader being the ship owner-captain (Tyr, Phoenicia, Crete, Athens, Carthage, etc.). This required to excel at technology and adaptative intelligence, confronting nature.

2) Small owner-peasants. The West’s agricultural system did better thanks to small, free owner-peasants.  The owner peasant was captain of his own plot of land, and found himself in a situation roughly similar to the ship captain. Such people worked hard, and thought hard about outwitting nature. All of Germany was this way, until the military encroachment of Rome in the beginning of its plutocratic phase, brought, by reaction, a militarization of German society (this is what archeology shows).

A demographic core of owner-peasants was the core of the success of the Roman republic, and its successors, the Imperium Francorum, and France, or anything working along French lines (most of Europe). When enjoying this basic culture, of free, independent peasants, the West did very well. Why so? Because thinking by oneself, for oneself, makes one more intelligent.

***

WHY THE ORIENT IS DUMBER:

The Orient did better when the peasants could cultivate. That meant, when they had water. That was not obvious in the increasingly parched lands, from the Maghreb to India. First, there, one needed to bring water to agricultural lands. Whereas in the West, both water and arable land were in the same place, not so in the East. In the East water was on rocky mountains, arable lands in parts of plains at the bottom of said mountains. To bring the former to the latter, one needed great hydraulic works. Underground canalizations, sometimes fifty feet deep, could extend dozens of miles.

Such extensive works meant armies of workers and maintenance people. And also standing armies to establish and protect the necessary order. Plus a field army to roam around the empire, and keep the static defenses obedient.

In other words, food on the carpet in the parched, basin and range Orient meant a large fascist system to make it possible, and everybody enslaved to it, in a military organization (Christianity and Islam, both oriental religions, kept much of this essential psychological character: fascist god on top, giving absolute, even capricious  orders to its slaves below).

***

ALL TOGETHER NOW, DOWN THE ROMAN ROAD TO HELL?

What consequences today? Western countries do not depend upon small owner-peasants anymore, but upon giant farms, or agribusinesses, for food procurement. Even trade has become unbalanced: production on one end of the Earth, increasing unemployment, at the other end.

Giant agribusinesses, and unbalanced trade became facts of empire in Rome, and lasted centuries. It was a deliberate plot of Roman plutocracy. At some point, six senatorial families owned most of North Africa. Seneca, Nero’s tutor, the plutocratic philosopher of note, used to boast that he had no idea how many giant properties he owned on the various continents.

That delocalization and globalization made Rome, and Italy into an empty shell of its former self. As those who had the power, the senatorial families, wished. What they feared first, was a proud, potent, empowered People.

(Part of) Italy would resurrect as independent republics, more than a millennium later. 

What’s the morality of the story? Men have a strong instinct for doing things right. In a plutocratic system, though, men who do things wrong get rewarded, and this goes on, until the situation exponentiates and breaks down. Thus plutocratic systems are intrinsically pathological: they reward criminals. Not just criminal according to the laws of men, but criminals according to the laws of nature.

In the Orient, life is harder, less natural, militarization exploits part of the Dark Side, because human beings, by living there, live in a less optimal situation. In the West, the rise of plutocracy did not have these excuses.

The Romans knew this well. The Roman republic was the product of a revolution against Tarquinus Superbus, the king of Rome, of Etruscan origin. So the founding act of five centuries of Roman republic was an anti-plutocratic revolt. Same for Athens (several times, during the same centuries). 

The Romans passed a strong anti-plutocratic law. That law limited, by force the size of a family’s fortune; it fixed an upper bound on how much one could own. The Second Punic war saw the death, on the battlefield, of too many of the best leading Romans. Meanwhile the conspirators of wealth, back behind the walls of the fortified cities, as Hannibal was roaming the countryside, established a New World order of rents.

When Carthage got defeated, those men of greed kept on pushing, and tried to grab control of the state. After several wars of distraction against Macedonia, Carthage, Numantia, Corinth, etc. it became clear that was what was going on to thousands of the best Romans, led by top nobles (in mind and ancestry), the Gracchi.

The Gracchis mostly tried to impose the wealth limitation law. They also succeeded to impose a land redistribution (an unthinkable socialist measure in the post Thatcher-Reagan world!). Yet, the Gracchi and their supporters lost a civil war. All got killed, by the private armies of the plutocrats. By 100 BCE, when Caesar was born, the dice had long been thrown. Only extreme measures could address the situation (extreme measures that Caesar and Cicero, on the good side, would try).

Now what? Losing democracy, means, ultimately, that we will lose not just freedom, but intelligence itself. It is difficult to imagine how the Americans will pull out of their present death spiral into furthering the wealth of the .1%. When bandits are called “philanthropists”, all values have been inverted in a country: gangsters are in control, the mafia has got metastatic. It will go on, all inverted, until it explodes, or get trampled over. The commerce chief will be a certified felon.

The situation in Europe is not as desperate: conditions for a revolt exist. Although Goldman Sachs has its servants in place all over, the Italians threw out one of them, a Goldman Sachs partner, Mario Monti, at the first chance they got.

Some may sneer, as they notice that, once again I used “Orient” and “Occident” according to old Greco-Roman semantics. What of the true Orient, the far-out East, China and company? Well, I will hide behind my usual observation: it’s Western culture that conquered the world. Present day China’s ideology has very little that is specifically Chinese, besides what the West and China had in common, such as the more or less free market. The idea of “People” (Populus) and “Republic” (Respublica) are Roman. So the very title of China, the “People Republic of China” is, well, (Greco-)Roman.

The dangers threatening China, accordingly, like those threatening us, are those that devastated the Roman republic. For the reasons exposed above, the development in the West, of a more advanced civilization was first, thus why everybody adopted it later.  Rome was first to rise as high as it did. But, the greater the rise, the greater the fall. By 700 CE, the fall of Rome had been so great, that China had risen higher, on many indicators. The West, invaded by hordes of savages for more than six hundred years (beyond even 400 CE to 1000 CE) was fighting for survival.

Plutocracy as a New World Order is not just the end of many things. In the fullness of time, plutocracy is the end of everything.

Even the Will to Power. Slave masters are not so masterful. After all, they are enslaved to their slaves.

When Rome went down, Roman plutocrats whined that the “world was getting old“. By this they meant that resources were being exhausted, and that, in its stupidity plutocratic civilization could not find a technology out.

Right now, the world is not getting old, it’s getting killed. And that’s worst.

***

Patrice Ayme

About these ads

Tags: , , , , , ,

61 Responses to “PLUTOCRACY: NEW WORLD ORDER”

  1. Martin Lack Says:

    Thanks for the history lesson, Patrice. The fact that China has hit the economic equivalent of what marathon runners (Greek or otherwise) would call “the wall” is very worrying. As it is already consuming nearly 50% of the natural resources that humans plunder from the Earth on an annual basis, it could not carry on doubling its consumption every 10 years (because in 10 years there would be nothing left for anyone else).

    However, I am now worried about China for the same reason I am worried about most of southern Europe. In both cases, the end of growth seems bound to lead to widespread civil unrest and/or revolution and, sadly, revolutions never seem to solve anything. In fact, the new regime that emerges is often worse than that which it replaced.

    Having said that, it is hard to see what could be worse than the globalized corruption that we have now, other than near term human extinction. To be clear, I do not wish for extinction but, I can see very little chance of the leaders this morally-bankrupt plutocracy allowing anything more beneficent to emerge… Mammals only came to dominate the World as a result of the extinction of the dinosaurs.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Martin: Thanks! History teaches us all.

      I am not too worried about China, so far they have shown lots of foresight. They have an aging population, and still a 7% growth… The real danger for the PRC would be militarism, and, in particular the faction of the military prone to adventures against Japan, or with North Korea, or in the South China Sea…
      For mammals and dinosaurs, it’s not super clear what happened. Mammals existed for more than 80 million years BEFORE dinos disappeared. They were superior in the sense they did not go same as the dinos and others…

      The question: whether the voliceraptor types dinos were superior to, more brainy than, the mammals existing then. There is no doubt that the pterosaurs, the flying reptiles, flew much better than birds. Though. The real question is: were they more brainy???
      PA

      • Martin Lack Says:

        With regard to China, it now has nothing to gain (and everything to lose) by repeating the folly of the DPRK.

        With regard to mammals, they were small-bodied and warm blooded, brain size was irrelevant. Back then, there was no time for dinosuars to rationalise what was going on. Today, the situation is different, we have had the time and squandered it. We have had the brains and not used them. The outcome would therefore appear likely to be similar.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          I don’t know what the R is for in DPRK, but the DP is for Dynastic Plutocratic. Dynastic Plutocratic Rabid Katastrophe? The PRC was always much more democratic. Now, more than ever, although it’s a plutocracy (with a higher Gini Index than the USA!), the PRC is a democracy, relative to the DPRK… What did the dinosaurs in is not clear. See:

          http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/trapped-by-super-traps/

          Right, though, the capability of generating one’s own heat much better than dinosaurs had something to do with it. Stealing eggs of slowed down dinos in tough circumstances may have played a role.

          Today’s situation is different. Such situations have been encountered in the past, though never on a planetary scale. The weapons will be different, but extermination, cannibalism, and Hades’ worst ways will come back, on a scale not seen before by two orders of magnitude; the planet will look very different too, when this is over, that’s all… So to speak…
          PA

          • Martin Lack Says:

            It may be that you were pretending to misunderstand me for comedic effect? Or maybe you were thrown off-scent by the totally inappropriate ‘D’ in the abbreviation DPRK. In English ‘parlance’ (he says with sweet irony), DPRK stands for North Korea (i.e. unDemocratic People’s Republic of).

            Militarism failed in Rome and in Nazi Germany. It is failing today in the DPRK, and it will fail again if the CPC (i.e. Communist Party of China) does not pay attention to World history – and finish the transformation Deng Xiaoping started nearly 40 years ago. This is because it would seem (to me at least) that plutocracy Capitalistique may be irredeemably corrupted but, it is a paragon of virtue compared to plutocracy Communistique.

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              Sorry Martin, I was trying for “comedic effect”. Certainly the D is for dynastic… They trace their years to a particular day in April 1911, when the founder of the dynasty was born.

              In Rome, plutocracy led to militarism… Which indeed failed. But it took FIVE CENTURIES to fail… (From general Marius in 100 BCE to putting the Franks in charge of defense of the North West empire, while evacuating Britain, in 400 CE).

              China will still have a huge problem going from its present system to democracy. Rome was never capable of switching from a ‘democratic” city constitution to a “democratic” super state. The solution found was a galaxy of city constitutions, upon which was grafted a very lean militaristic fascist super state, entangled with a global plutocracy, hating each other.
              PA

  2. Dominique Deux Says:

    I always enjoy and more important, learn from your sweeping historical perspective. It reminds us that we’re part of an epic, and that the age of retirement, the cosmetics industry or fiddling with Libor are not everything that counts for mankind. It also reminds us that history is not an neutral process, and that in most major conflicts one can clearly spot a “good” and an “evil” side, regardless of the cynical relativism now being made to prevail.

    We may disagree on specific details, for example in my eyes, Cicero and the Black Prince, despite their personal virtues, were on the evil side, and Napoleon, despite his personal vices, was on the other side. But those ripples in history’s course are irrelevant by now.

    I’d like to bring a nuance to your contention that a demographic base of independent rural smallholders is the safest path to democracy and freedom from plutocracy. I’m not very sure that this demographic base, which was that of the huge majority of mankind in its African cradle, is such a robust predictor of civic virtue.

    An equally good predictor is proximity to the sea. The sea is the great mind-opener. Freedom addiction comes naturally to seafaring peoples, But it often wilts and dies when imported into continental masses.

    Use this filter and see how well it applies to major historical trends. It sheds light on how two ancient civilizations of similar skills, Mediterranean Europe and Mesopotamia, both civilizations of the wine, the olive, the sheep and the slave, evolved the one into massive theocratic tyrannies, and the other into fiery, seminal republics. It also may help understand why Britain, despite the cultural meanness of its leading elites and despite being a monarchy, actually pioneered and maintained personal and human rights, while France, despite being a Republic and rife with avowed philanthropic leaders, never really shed its fascination for tyranny. And think of the Red-Blue states on the US map.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hi Dominique! I was deprived of Internet connection in my present location for 24 hours, hence my silence… Napoleon? OK, he did great at Toulon, repelling the invading British who should have minded their own business (as PM Lloyd George himself pointed out nearly a century ago!). After that, it was all downhill… Napoleon should have done like Washington, and was amazed that Washington did like Washington. Napoleon actually said that, should Washington do like Washington said he would do, giving up “power”, he “would be the greatest man ever”… Thus proving that, he, Napoleon, was certainly not only not the greatest man ever, but was also singularly deprived of imagination…

      The statement about small peasant-owner is nothing new. Small self employed jobs are good enough to replicate the situation nowadays. Something to meditate in France where micro companies are killed in the egg, differently from Britain…

      I wonder if the TV and the Internet are today’s equivalent of the sea of old… Written while contemplating the Thyrrenean sea…
      PA

    • Martin Lack Says:

      Dominique – Thanks for highlighting Patrice’s remarks about peasant/subsistence farmers. The Communist Party of China was founded with the avowed intent of raising such people out of poverty but it has failed comprehensively. Furthermore, having recognised it was failing, it has tried to embrace some features of Capitalism and produced an inequitous distribution of wealth probably only surpassed by the Venezuela of Hugo Chavez.

      Meanwhile, of course, the Ponzi Scheme of globalised Capitalism seems destined to deliver subsistence farming to all but a very select few (who will probably go and colonise Space instead). Indeed, subsistence farming may well re-emerge as the dominant paradigm, but will it be by human choice (grassroots democracy and sustainable communities) or by force of nature (economic meltdown and ecological catastrophe)?

      I wish it could be the former but, because the majority of humans are still hypnotised by the pied piper of free-market economics, we seem to be heading inexorably towards the latter.

      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        Farming crucially depends upon fossil fuels at this point in several ways (including fertilizers). Going back to subsistence farming would be impossible without mega death. however, but generalized “hydroponic” farming may provide with a sustainable high tech way out…
        PA

        • Martin Lack Says:

          Good point. Highly mechanised modern agriculture = An industry that turns fossil fuels into food. I see that flame of technological optimism still burns brightly for you…

          • Patrice Ayme Says:

            Dear Martin: You will convene that it’s a fact. It’s not just that I pass for a lunatic. Modern agriculture is a machine to convert fossil fuels into food. However, fossil fuels are limited by the 2 degrees Celsius rise… Thus food is limited, except if we invent completely new ways of producing food (hydroponic, or growing it in bioreactors…)

            That flame of technological optimism shall burn, or we shall perish! Indeed!
            PA

            • Martin Lack Says:

              What we need is Star Trek-style food replicators – ready to provide for any demand at the push of a button (or voice-activated command). Them and desalination plants to enable us to escape from the real limiting factor for life on Earth – the finite and fixed amount of available freshwater on the planet.

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              Martin: such replicators, or fabricators exist in the lab, and are thought of for space missions. Also artificial organs made of real flesh from stem cells are been fabricated experimentally, including livers and hearts. From the recipients own cells, or universal stem cells. So this is all very practical, and at hand!
              PA

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              Desalination plants will work in many places with sun and sea; with basically EXISTING technology, sun energy can give free desalination. However, there are also lots of paces with not enough of either, that are getting plenty of FOSSIL water right now. With no more usable fossil fuels pretty soon, they will be in a bind. Hence the need for lots of energy, hence new nuclear energy (including FUSION).
              PA

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks again for the glowing appreciation, Dominique! There is no knowledge but historical. Even in science.
      PA

  3. John Michael Gartland Says:

    “Up Is Down and Down Is Up. ~Alice in America’s Wonderland (Anyone who says otherwise is an enemy of the state. They will be systematically minimized and mocked into appearing crazy by the make-pretend news/ entertainment division of the military-industrial-complex.)”

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      JMG: Indeed that’s insured:
      1) if one mentions anything related to nazism (Auschwitz?), one has lost the argument (so I guess, Israel lost ALL arguments!)
      2) If one speak about a conspiracy, one is a nut (locked up in mental asylum? ostracized by all?)
      PA

  4. Casimir Weston Says:

    sharing this…thank-you!

  5. John Michael Gartland Says:

    “Depriving the poor, triumphing over them: or how to make relative pain into an absolute good. Thus the pathology of plutocracy rules.”

    This is so skillfully executed that the oppressed will cheer, elect, re-elect, and defend their oppressors. Some pretty words and unkept promises, sprinkled with some crumbs and you capture their hearts and minds for life. In America, the left is left and the right is right and never the twain shall meet…yet all is one. Let’s just make pretend.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      John Michael: The population of the USA has not suffered for real, since the Secession War. Even the “I have a dream” stuff, was Mickey Mouse, relative to what happened in Europe. Nothing to do with losing 15% of a country population (as happened in Europe in several countries in the 20C)… France alone lost nearly 4 million in 31 years. Dead.

      So USA citizens do not realize that politics is of the essence. I am always amazed by the grossness of extremely well paid Silicon Valley types. All they talk about is some obscure drugged out sport teams somewhere…9/11: 15 of 19 assassins were Saudis. How many educated USA citizens know this? Instead they know all base-basket-football, hockey scores…

      When I am attending parties with such, I always have the impression I am watching speech capable monkeys at the zoo.
      PA

  6. Dale Wilder Says:

    The Carthaginian State was an informal hegemony of Phoenician city-states throughout North Africa and modern Spain which lasted until 146 BC. It was more or less under the control of the city-state of Carthage after the fall of Tyre to Babylonian forces. At the height of the city’s influence, it held a hegemony over most of the western Mediterranean. The empire was in a constant state of struggle with the Roman Republic, which led to a series of conflicts known as the Punic Wars. After the third and final Punic War, Carthage was destroyed then occupied by Roman forces. Nearly all of the empire fell into Roman hands from then on.

  7. Alexi Helligar Says:

    “Slave masters are not so masterful. After all, they are enslaved to their slaves.”
    Very Hegelian.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hmmm… Maybe I should read Hegel, once I mine time in another universe? In any case I promote you to the official German philosopher expertorate! :-)!
      PA

  8. Paul Handover Says:

    What a profound leaning experience reading this post. Going to read it aloud to Jeannie soon. So much to absorb yet the central message is so starkly simple.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thank you for being so kind to me, Paul. Coming from you, with your vast and kind appreciation of the world, it means much to me. Be it that your site, http://learningfromdogs.com/, grow!
      Starkingly simple, is also, in general, strikingly deep. Indeed. Richard Feynman said this in a few more words, to the same effect, thinking about the deepest problems in physics.
      Please do not hesitate to reproduce the essay on LfD! ;-)!
      PA

  9. Government Defines Profit | Some of Patrice Ayme's Thoughts Says:

    […] Western world insisting upon guidance by the headless chicken of the free market? Simply because plutocracy is the new world order, and that’s best insured by restricting access to money to the very richest. Austerity is not […]

  10. A new world order. | Learning from Dogs Says:

    […] the scene to a couple of disturbing essays.  The first from Patrice Ayme.  His essay is called Plutocracy: New World Order with the subtitle of The New World Thinking. The New World Emoting. The second essay is from Mattea […]

  11. Mike Borgman Says:

    Patrice,

    What are your thoughts on the redistribution of wealth as an absolute economic necessity?

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hello Mike, and welcome to this site’s comment side! I have answered this question many times before, in a sort of dispersed fashion, but your query entice me to think that I should write a special post about it, for further reference.

      The main problem with wealth is that, in an otherwise stable society, it tends to grow proportional to itself. In other words, it’s an EXPONENTIAL. This happens through a number of mechanisms, for example interest. Because it happens through a number of mechanisms, thoroughly treating the subject would take a time consuming book. Call it “Das Exponential Capital” (to parody Karl Marx).

      It’s to avoid growing wealth exponentially, based purely on financial capital, with purely financial means, that the Bible (hence Judeo-Christo-Islamism) outlawed charging interest to fellow believers (and why Jews, Christians and Muslims needed each other when they wanted to borrow money!). To this day, “Islamic finance” does this. But, actually it changes little because they replace payment in interest by payment in stake, or kind, and that does not hinder much the exponential phenomenon.

      Without redistribution of wealth, exponential growth insures that most wealth will be in a few hands shortly. Thus ALL sustained societies had wealth redistribution schemes, all the way to human sacrifices. (Viking chiefs’ concubines or Marahadjas’ wives were often burned alive: a fiery example of INCINERATING wealth outright, to avoid its concentration.)

      A milder way to do this is through exponentially growing taxes. Right now wealth concentration is not hindered enough in the USA. Thus the USA functions less and less as a democracy. Unfortunately, the problem is worldwide, the USA’s financial and corporate elite being just the head of a snake smothering the planet.

      But democracies, by putting all brains in parallel, are smarter and more natural. Thus, in the fullness of time, democracy and plutocracy engage in full battle, and, one way or another, a balance is re-established.

      More questions on this subject (or any other) are welcome!
      PA

      • Mike Borgman Says:

        Thank you Patrice,

        One of the issues is that our GDP is 70% consumer spending and the less that the 99% have to spend, then the lower the GDP. Also, I have a wonderful graph on wealth distribution over the last 85 years but don’t know how to share it with you??

        Last but not least; But democracies, by putting all brains in parallel, are smarter and more natural. Thus, in the fullness of time, democracy and plutocracy engage in full battle, and, one way or another, a balance is re-established.
        I’m assuming it’s time for the battle?

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Mike: It’s indeed high time for battle. Otherwise a nasty turn as in the 1930s is to be expected (this is already turning a bit that way in Russia and Hungary, among others). You can send me a graph at https://www.facebook.com/patrice.ayme
          (I despise lots of things about facebook inc, but it’s practical; some reader of this site took a few years to persuade me of that, but now I believe…)
          PA

  12. luv2sex Says:

    If the political system in the USA is broken, it’s no good, but Americans usually don’t rely on the government to get things done and sorted out. The strength of the country lies in its people.

    • Mike Borgman Says:

      Just exceptionally well said. I love to hear the words “We The People” because when I look at this morass, I know it’s up to us.

      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        Thanks, Mike! And very true:WE THE PEOPLE! My good friend Barack Obama picked up on that one in his last inaugural adress, that is, one inaugural too late… And, as it’s unfolding, it was all words, and only words to him. But it’s really up to us, We The People. As president Washington insisted.
        PA

        • Mike Borgman Says:

          Hi Patrice,

          I believe it is the rise of plutocracy and fascism that have made things worse not the reverse. I am however open to correction.

          • Patrice Ayme Says:

            Mike: You are entirely right. As it happened, things were going well until July 1914. Then a quartet of Prussian generals attacked four countries (including democratizing Russia and the French republic).
            Consequences: Russia was defeated, and the fascists (that is Lenin, Trodsky, Stalin) took over. Then, after an horrendous war, France and Britain, and Italy, although victorious, were bled white and very indebted. Germany was wrecked by revolution, and fell prey to USA plutocracy. Meanwhile the German order in Mittel Europa had broken down (as John Maynard Keynes had howled about in advance).

            Thanks in part to global plutocratic machinations, fascism took Italy, Germany, spain, Portugal. Fascism was loudly anti-plutocratic 9and that’s where the jewish obsession came in, as many prominent bankers were Jewish), but, in truth, at the beck and call of plutocrats (starting with Ford, who financed Hitler, but hated Jews and Wall Street).

            We are now in a similar situation, as far as plutocracy is concerned. The only difference is that, with the possible exception of Russia, no advanced country is (yet) playing the fascist card too enthusiastically, so plutocrats can’t really hide. Now, of course, the Saudi fascists are bringing havoc with their global Al Qaeda/Salafist campaign, and, because 9/11 was not apparently enough of an outrage, they are allowed to go on, with their influence on the Arab (pseudo) Spring…
            PA

  13. Hank667 Says:

    We did not create our own species. We are creatures of our universe. It’s time to for us to wake up.

  14. Patrice Ayme Says:

    As Hank667 says, we did not create us. We are creatures of the universe. Moreover; this is an extremely small planet (not a “super Earth”. so we are running out of resources, big time, and not in a few centuries, as we would be, on a “super Earth”!)

    At this point, whatever happens in any country, even small ones such as Israel or North Korea, has, potentially a deep, if not catastrophic impact.

    “Talking about the “American People” in a general manner, as luv2sex does, is very bold. Since its creation, the population of the USA has multiplied about 150 times. And nearly tripled since 1945. Some of its moral characteristics have changed noticeably in the meantime, some for the best (no more slavery; and scalps don’t bring cash as they did in 1667 Boston).

    The strength of any country lies in its people, always have, always will. Countless countries have broken in the past, thanks to indigenous plutocracy. However, for the first time, it’s the entire world, advanced civilization, conscious life, the biosphere itself, that are threatened. That is distinctly, undeniably, new.

    Elevating economics above the biosphere is the mark, not just of the devil, but of the horrendously stupid.
    PA

  15. Patrice Ayme Says:

    Paul Handover: “no healthy man without a healthy world.” should be on the lips of every person. A very powerful reminder of something as basic and fundamental as 2 + 2 = 4! Meanwhile, here in the USA thousands are campaigning to stop wolves being taken off the Endangered Animals list.

    That insight into what is happening in France sounds fascinating.

  16. Philosophy Feeds Engineering | Some of Patrice Ayme's Thoughts Says:

    […] read PLUTOCRACY: New World Order, Oakwood, a hydrologist from Britain, opined that: “There is nothing new in saying ‘our […]

  17. Oakwood Says:

    There is nothing new in saying ‘our civilisation will collapse because of our evil and selfish ways’. Mankind has been predicting that since the dawn of Man. You may well respond: ‘but this time its different’. They all said that too.

    If there are/were any societies in history that did not have a wealthy/privileged elite, they are/were very very rare. This seems to be the norm of human society.

    Perfect democracy and meritocracy do not exist. I am English, but have regularly worked with people of many different cultures, and also lived long periods in other countries. In my experience, the ideal of perfect democracy/meritocracy seems to be strongest in Anglo-Saxon cultures, and other north European (Netherlands and Scandinavia). In most other parts of Europe and most of the world, how you get on is much more linked to who you know, not what you know. This is such a norm in so many countries, that it is ‘taken’ and rarely complained about. I don’t know the nationality of Patrice Ayme, perhaps French? If so, then he should be very aware of this.

    The US political world is easily criticised for being dominated by the super-rich. I agree, this is a fault and big concern. But every political system has its failings. The UK likes to consider itself a model of democracy as the ‘Mother of Parliaments’. But its governments remain dominated by graduates of the private school system and elite universities of Oxford and Cambridge (as well as white upper-middle-class males). So many other political systems are dominated by a political elite or nepotism.

    Yes, you can find many problems in our political systems, but when was it any better?

    And is the world heading for self-destruction? In a similar vein, yes we have many many concerns and problems to address, but when did we have fewer? Mankind has proved pretty good at solving problems. But one unfortunate result is that they create a side-effect of new problems. For example, the problem of over-population does not result from self-indulgent pro-creation, but rather from the fact we have been so successful in medical and social advancement, that people, particularly infants, are surviving much longer than ever before. And so far, our trend towards choosing fewer children has not yet created a balance, though there is room for optimism here as populations seem to be stabilising (even falling) in some of the most advanced countries. But then, the next new problem is an aging population, where the young will have to support the every growing per cent of pensioners.

    Another example is the solving of malnutrition in the developed world. Through most of history, there was always a (tiny) percentage of obese people and a percentage of malnourished. Historically, the latter far exceeded the former. But having ‘solved’ malnutrition, the scales tip (metaphorically as well as physically) in the other direction. Obesity becomes the new problem.

    I HAVE ONE BIG QUESTION FOR PATRICE. If the present and future seem so dire, in which period in history would you prefer to have lived? I cannot think of one myself, and present an example of why below.

    I am a big fan of English diarist Samuel Pepys http://www.pepysdiary.com, who lived in 1600s London, writing a daily diary between 1660 and 1669. He lived through the English Civil War, the strict puritanism of Cromwell, the Great Plague, the Great Fire of London; of about 8 siblings, only about 3 survived to adulthood; he had a bladder stone removed without anesthetic – an operation with a survival rate of < 50%; he and his wife could not have children (with no prospect of IVF, etc). And yet, he was a great lover of life. He didn't sit there and cry into his ale. He accepted the world was far from perfect, and got on with life and made the best of it. He famously buried his best wine and Parmesan cheese in his garden to save it as the Great Fire was moving towards his house! If he only knew what we have now?

    I think people who claim we have it worse now than ever before in some way insult all those who have lived in the past – and still live in desperately under-developed countries now. We also need to maintain an optimism that we are capably of solving problems. Otherwise we give up.

    Thankfully, the world's survival is not dependent on the words of bloggers and commenters like us. We have to thank the very practical scientists and engineers who are finding and constructing solutions (though inevitably creating new problems on the way). Of course, we also need to thank many others in our society: campaigners, NGOs, aid-workers, our hard-working workforce, 'some' morally sound politicians, etc.

    oakwood

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Oakwood: I am a philosopher, not an engineer. Although I have maximum formal training in physics and mathematics (OK, not applied physics).
      Having the right philosophy is more important than having the right engineering. Rome had the right engineering (enough to make steam ships, as the French engineer Papin did in the 17C). But not the right philosophy (so emperors forbade to use advanced engineering).
      To answer your points:
      It’s precisely because mankind has been predicting that “our civilization will collapse because of our evil and selfish ways” that civilizations have kept improving, as they had to, due to out increasingly more powerful technologies (that require us to be ever more moral).
      “You may well respond: ‘but this time its different’. They all said that too.” Well, the reason they said that, is it was true, it is true, and it is more true than ever. Contrarily to what Nietzsche and much antique mythology believed, the world is not an eternal return of the same.
      For example, as we keep on pumping CO2, we modify the atmosphere for hundreds of thousands of years. This never happened before, ever since there were dinosaurs, and they disappeared (allusion to Dekkan Super Traps: http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/trapped-by-super-traps/
      I do not know how one can brandish “Anglo-Saxon” society (whatever that means) as the template of democracy/meritocracy while contemplating the British “Chamber of (mostly HEREDITARY) Lords”. I really do not. I am familiar with English society, and that is clearly an insufferable class society. Much more than the society of the USA. (The Netherlands is led by a hereditary plutocrat worth half a billion dollars, thoroughly loved in another orgasm of debasement!)
      I am a USA citizen; that may lead you to modify your wanton French bashing; although I am thoroughly familiar with France, it’s neither the first, nor the second place where I have lived. I do not get in the French republic the arrogant, demeaning class impression I get in England. I was in both France and England in the last few weeks, by the way.
      No country that is not a republic can call itself a democracy, as the ancient Romans would have been delighted to tell you.
      The question is not whether the situation is more dire now rather than before. We are as if trying to fly a new vehicle, the latest version of spaceship Earth. It never existed before. And thus may crash. We don’t want to crash.
      Be it only for the children.
      Thanks for your long and informative comment. I appreciate, and will learn more about the gentleman you mentioned.
      Patrice

      • Mike Borgman Says:

        This situation is far more dire than it has ever been before and soft selling the problem by saying we’re good at fixing problems is inherently irresponsible(whistling past the graveyard). Compound the problem with right wing think tanks producing pseudo science and feeding this drivel to the dis-informed which in my opinion is criminal only exacerbates the problems. So no, we might not fix it this time and everybody needs to get their heads wrapped around just that. In fact we may very well have crossed the point of no return but I’m going to put up one hell of a fight because I have four beautiful Grandchildren who need me to do just that.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          dear Mike: I agree with you 100%. I was happy to notice that Paul Krugman, who is progressing in the right direction, mentioned anger as a positive emotion, in his last editorial. I’m writing an essay on the subject. It’s time for anger.
          Even the Wall Street Journal ran an article, today, on the “New gilded Age” in Washington DC, and it’s clearly acerbic. The WSJ!
          PA

          • Mike Borgman Says:

            Anger is the result of passion and without passion we are hollow.

            When academics such as yourself, my brother-in-law and Paul Krugman are angry then something has gone horribly wrong or something is going wonderfully right.

            I believe that intelligent people are beginning to draw their swords in preparation for this battle.

            I also believe we will fight with the wisdom of Sun Tzu.

            “Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.”

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              Completely correct Mike, and so is Sun Tzu! I used to think my friend Obama was what they could not anticipate, and thus I spent more than a year helping him, full out (in particular with a book to debunk the myth that he was a Muslim). Instead I got to be the one struck by what I did not anticipate (although I ought to have, as a family member who had known Obama forever, and was also a prominent republican had warned me with a smile…) Now, of course, as Obama would say, he could not do anything. It’s the whole Washington and plutocratic establishment that is swimming in the gilded age mentality, as today’s Wall Street journal revealsabout DC.

              Right now, under Obama’s discreet prodding, the USA gives a really hard time to the Swiss plutocracy. The Swiss are snarling, but submitting. They have little choice. That submission could set-up a new paradigm. For application, worldwide. Hope springs, eternal…
              PA

  18. Mike Borgman Says:

    Patrice,

    I’m just thankful that Romney/Ryan didn’t win and I do believe that if Romney had won and if the Ryan budget had been implemented we’d be finished. Now having had time for the R&R paper and austerity to be discredited, we have in fact dodged a major catastrophe, but even more, this is a huge victory(go Keynesians). We also have university economic departments all over the world re thinking what they teach(thank you Professor K.) and this austerity shtick was going to be used to decimate social programs so another huge win for our side.

    So back to Obama, sometimes the bad you prevent is the equivalent to the good you may have accomplished.
    At the end of the day if Obama does nothing more than keep the seat warm for Hillary, then I’ll call that a victory.

    Also, the ACA is going to start taking a significant bite out of these republican governorships, as they refuse to implement expanded Medicaid. Jan Brewer(AZ)who I have no love for is the canary in the coal mine for republican governors. If she’s smart enough to implement expanded medicaid then these other governors are in deep kimchi and please don’t anyone forget the damage that’s been done at the state level because of alec.

    The work you did for Obama was not wasted it was in fact a glorious success, so thank you from the very bottom of my heart and don’t forget that this is multi-dimensional chess. What may look or feel like failure on one dimension may very well be a glorious success on another level.

    So to Sun Tzu, they did not anticipate failure in fact they blindly(faux news)anticipated great success. We on the other hand knew with absolute precision what was coming. Had the 2012 election been an actual battle, our enemy would have been decimated and the carrion eaters would by now be quite fat.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Mike: I am also happy R-R did not win (R-R is also the intials for the austerity demons from Harvard). I am not so sure Hillary will be that good anymore, as Clinton, as usual, sides with his boss Rubin on austerity (good, according to Bill!) OK, hillary has her own mind, no doubt, and, everything equal, I prefer a woman. But still…
      There are few serious progressive voice out there… The senior senator from Massachusetts, Warren, being one of them. I would prefer her to Hillary, even though she is from Harvard… ;-)!…
      PA

      • Mike Borgman Says:

        Patrice,

        My R&R paper reference was the Harvard paper. Elizabeth Warren is absolutely the best choice but we’ll never get her elected in 2016 (maybe 2024) so we get Hillary as our choice. Again, strategically we may not do good but we can prevent bad. In the meantime our other battle front is educating voters as to what’s happening to our country. Informing our country that the 1% are leading us down a path of destruction. So electorally we’re in damage control while we get voters up to speed on what’s actually happening and how their votes have real consequences that directly impact them.
        If we move towards ideological purity in our voting preferences then we’ll be very unhappy with the person occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in 2017. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like this anymore than you do but for now it’s necessary.
        Right now we’re trying to unwind 32 years of damage done by the right in this country and we’re going to have to be very smart on how we do this. The good news is, intelligence is our inherent advantage or at least I like to think it is.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Dear Mike: I agree with plotting mitigation courses. That’s why I gave nearly two years (come to think of it) to Obama, starting when no one thought he had a chance. I do agree that Hillary may behave very differently from Bill. Although the latter exasperated me often from some things he said, or did, never so with her.

          One thing: the “1%” are nearly as varied a lot as the 100%. In places like New York or the SF Bay Area (“Silicon Valley”), a 1% income does not carry very far. at least 1% on income (I think it’s around 380 K). I know relatively young couples with incomes in the 500Ks living in what I view as dismal conditions in Palo Alto (breathing the fumes of a major thoroughfare, plus a freeway, in their 3 million+ dollar home).

          In a place like Paris, or London, people with a 1% income trying to establish themselves can only fail. The (more than) three million people in the central Paris zone are “enjoying” real estate as expensive as Palo Alto (with much smaller incomes, although in France the basics are free, differently from the USA).

          However the low one percenters have tremendous influence in society. They are typically successful doctors, lawyers. I actually know a young couple, a very successful doctor and his lawyer spouse, in the Bay Area. They live in a city I would never live (not far from the airport), because they could not afford the plushest areas, considering where they work, the schools, etc. (yet their income is above 500 K).

          It’s crucial that these people be won over.

          so it’s important to insist that the real problem is the top .1% in income, not the 1%. The multi-millionaires in income and especially the FINANCIAL CLASS, which profits from a maximum tax rate of 20% (on carried interest), are the real problem.

          Obama succeeded (it was hard) to get them to pay a higher tax rate (from 15%). Also the corporate tax problem is acute. Either all taxes on all businesses have to be removed, or the huge transnational corporations have to pay the same rate as smaller businesses (by taxing them on their sales, not admitted, imaginary profits and losses).

          I wish Warren would run for the presidency, to help keep Hillary honest, and, as you say, instruct the vulgum. Overall, the lack of knowleedge of the commoners, in the EU and the USA, is how we got into our present predicament.

          The main motor of the French revolution was that the top 2%, the nobles, paid no, or little tax (they were exempt on grounds similar to present financial types). Revolution now ought to be easier, as the profiteers’ class is much smaller in percentage, and very foreign (prices of real estate in the coveted areas of the world are driven up by international, tax free plutocrats, describing themselves as lovers of humanity).

          Plus: the reason the French revolution turned bloody bad was a ferocious attack by a general coalition of all European aristocrats plutocrats (in 1792; the duke of Brunswick threatened to annihilate Paris in July 1792, when Louis XVI was still king1 This is all documented on the present site). Nowadays that danger does not exist if the EU and the USA act in concert.
          PA

          • Mike Borgman Says:

            Patrice,

            I believe we’re getting clarity on what needs to be done just not how to do it and further how to finance these projects. I’m fortunate to have a very strong alliance with a friend who is in the top 1% of the 1%. My friend thinks exactly as we do and is willing to back his beliefs financially. My friend has a Doctorate in Economics besides many of his other accomplishments and when I asked him why he was aligned with us, his simple answer was “he is an economist first” which reminds a lot of Paul Krugman.
            Smart people know that the economic trajectory we’re on, is going to end with this country slipping into 3rd. world status which benefits no one, including the 1%.

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              Good to know that you know someone of influence. As the French saying has it, “money is the nerve of war“. Put simply, the poor rarely has the opportunity to gather the powerful mind for self assured iconoclastic knowledge. Money is, fundamentally fungible power.

              Plutocrats can betray their own class: the most famous example was Caesar, but there have been countless in the meantime (even Louis XVI, father to the french and USA revolutions, however shortened by history he has been so far!)

              It’s not just the USA that is threatened by third world, or, more exactly, first, Brazilian status. Comparison with the Roman republic show that we are on the way to neo-feudalism, for the exact same reason. The Roman Republic had a very strong anti-plutocratic law, but globalization allowed to turn around it, for the exact same reason as now: law was local, plutocracy, global.

              Another, but related problem, is that of big time technology. Technology stalled after Rome became mostly a plutocracy, as plutocrats hate progress. I’m writing an essay just about a particular case of that, today, and will put it out in the next few minutes.
              PA

  19. Patrice Ayme Says:

    Mike: Let me republish my answer to your comment in a non scrunched way!

    Good to know that you know someone of influence. As the French saying has it, “money is the nerve of war“. Put simply, the poor rarely has the opportunity to gather the powerful mind for self assured iconoclastic knowledge. Money is, fundamentally fungible power.

    Plutocrats can betray their own class: the most famous example was Caesar, but there have been countless in the meantime (even Louis XVI, father to the french and USA revolutions, however shortened by history he has been so far!)

    It’s not just the USA that is threatened by third world, or, more exactly, first, Brazilian status. Comparison with the Roman republic show that we are on the way to neo-feudalism, for the exact same reason. The Roman Republic had a very strong anti-plutocratic law, but globalization allowed to turn around it, for the exact same reason as now: law was local, plutocracy, global.

    Another, but related problem, is that of big time technology. Technology stalled after Rome became mostly a plutocracy, as plutocrats hate progress. I’m writing an essay just about a particular case of that, today, and will put it out in the next few minutes.

  20. Mike Borgman Says:

    Patrice,

    Thank You times a million. Our exchanges have given clarity to the project I’m going to do. Also, “first Brazilian status” just brilliant!!!

    Mike

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks Mike!
      Let’s stay in touch. I published my essay on the politics of thermonuclear fusion.
      The next one, perhaps as soon as tomorrow, will tlak about the necessity of anger as an input in economics (fllowing krugman last Thursday, himself apparently directly following what I have long said…)

      You are welcome to prod me about whatever, I will do my best to answer if I can do it, it’s revolution central here…
      PA

      • Mike Borgman Says:

        Patrice, absolutely we’ll stay in touch and I’ll read the politics of thermonuclear fusion. Also, looking forward to the necessity of anger, as I head to the Dr. for a prescription of Valium(just kidding).

        Thanks for the offer to prod, if I become a pest just let me know.

        Mike

What do you think? Please join the debate! The simplest questions are often the deepest!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 355 other followers

%d bloggers like this: