AUSTERITY BENEFITS THE FEW BY STRANGLING THE MANY:
To fully understand the austerity drive, one has to go fully prehistoric, at the dawn of Homo Erectus. For at least a million years, Homo has known how to profit from fire, and, thus, a scorched earth strategy. That, itself, belongs to an even deeper instinct of apparently wanton destruction. Apparently, but not really.
The austerity drive has gone further than simply dismantling the welfare state. Austerity has attacked the very heart of the solution to get out of the deep economic, energetic and ecological crises we are getting into. Scientific research and education themselves are getting slashed, in Europe, or the USA.
For civilization, austerity has become the equivalent of banging one’s head on a wall, in the hope of improving one’s mental faculties. For conventional wisdom, it should make no sense at all, considering the grave catastrophe it’s bringing along. Yet, it makes sense, when one realizes that man has always fought man, even more than the ocean has always fought the ocean.
In places where oceans meet and struggle, giant rogue waves often form. They can destroy even super tankers. (One such place is along the south-east African coast, off Mozambique).
Some pontificate that class struggle is quaint. They are generally paid by the plutocratic system, that made the upper class a subsidiary of evil itself. Yet structures appear through struggles. Austerity itself is a rogue wave from such a struggle.
The notion of structure is not fully explained: thorough explanations have to go through Quantum Physics. Yet the transition from Quantum Physics to Classical Physics is not part of Twentieth Century science (this is the essence of the debate on the foundations of Quantum Mechanics, and why the last Nobel Prize in Physics was given to students of this mysterious transition).
The Honorable Paul Krugman lists a number of reasons for the austerity drive, while, correctly, decrying it (See Note). Paul credits humanity, or more exactly its leadership, with too much goodness. The most obvious reason for austerity is the one less talked about: benefiting the few by strangling the many. A master idea of the oligarchy is that class structures are no more. Yet, structures are all over: morphogenesis makes up the universe.
I wrote against austerity many times before (see Note), explaining in particular that it was the proximal cause of the fall of Rome.
This Fall is very striking, because it shows that plutocracy will sell its own country to make a buck. Indeed, there was no more money to pay the legions, from lack of taxation of the hyper wealthy. Thus evacuation, from sheer Will-To-Austerity, by the legions of Britain and of the “limes“, throughout the entire north-west corner of the empire.
Defense was entrusted to the Franks; the idea was that the Franks came for… free. The Franks had no choice, but to ferociously fight, as they were mostly peasant-owners, and needed to defend their land, thus, indirectly, the Roman cities and villas. However, the enemy, knowing the legions were out of the way, got lucky (frozen Rhine) and broke through at Chrismas 406.
It’s amusing that the “Fall of Rome” is always presented as a deep mystery, when it can be explained by exactly two battles, one lost by Valens at Adrianopolis, and the other as just related. In any case, austerity caused a tremendous military disaster within six years of its fiercest implementation!
Austerity always favors the rise of plutocracy, and the neo-feudalism we can observe blossoming today; when there is not enough money to employ the many, what needs to be done is still done. But it’s done only by what becomes an indispensable oligarchy.
Even those criticizing it are feeding the austerity machine: watch the Honorable professor Stiglitz in his palatial office at Columbia University, teaching economics by the People, for the People, while employed by a school that charges, 58,000 dollars a year, namely 20% higher than the median household income of New York City surrounding it. OK, let me explain. The austerity machine is the other face of the luxury machine. By thriving in the luxury machine, and making it thrive in turn, Stiglitz himself is a clog in that giant machine that made We The People irrelevant to the Luxury Tower of Power.
The deepest reason for austerity is also the simplest, and most shocking. Austerity is not just incidentally causing the strangling of the many by the few. It’s all about benefiting the few by strangling the many.
Most of the public has been well indoctrinated in Christian like ethics (see Nietzsche below about slave morality). Thus the naïve public will accordingly reject that such an inclination for a final solution of the public problem makes sense. And yet, it does. Thus, the very outraged denial of an inclination to the final solution has allowed it to happen many times before.
The Final Solution does make sense, once one realizes that ecological imbalance has been the greatest enemy of humanity for two million years. Ecological imbalances caused by an (over-) abundance of people. Thus, as the Romans put it, Homo Homini Lupus. Man is a wolf for man.
Thus, all the proximal, technical reasons given for austerity act as a cover-up for the deepest drive: making war to others, especially when it feels that there are too many, or at least too many of a kind one does not like. Thus the insistence that only a few should be served.
Reagan and others of his kind, speaking of government, said that “the beast should be starved“.
According to what I am saying here, they really meant, what they really wanted to say, as their wild, basic instincts told them, was that the beasts should be starved. Thus ultra hard line conservatism is as mean as the eons have had it. And as mad, as mean as the older evils had it: racism, colonialism… in all cases, it was all about the war of the few against the many, that war that never ends, the war of man against himself, killing, not just because that’s a force that gives us meaning, but because that’s the culling, that gives us a world.
We could, of course, do differently now. But, instead of insuring the luxury of a few individuals, as the greatest good, we should then strive to make understanding of everything our greatest luxury. And that’s start
1) On preceding remarks on austerity: I wrote nearly a year ago, “Why Austerity?”. That listed detailed causes for the austerity drive. “Why Europe Lays Supine” addresses the peculiar European case; Europe credited humanity with too much goodness, too, and believed, that, by being virtuous, the world would follow. Instead the world used European naivety to its advantage. Now Europe finds herself on the verge of an obvious depression, and is finally throwing overboard its ecological drive to lighten the ship: it refused to support its carbon price system, the world’s most advanced mechanism to control CO2 emissions.
2) Sade agreed with the Romans that man was up to no good. In particular, Sade observed that politicians had to be among the worst individuals, and relished inflicting their “sadistic” powers on others. And that much of their “politics” was motivated that way. he wrote about it as outrageously as possible, including Prime Ministers torturing the innocent, just to relax. Accordingly, Sade was jailed for decades by the Ancient dictatorship of Louis XVI.
Sade was freed during the Revolution of 1789. He had been one of its main instigators, directly and indirectly. He found himself in some of the highest responsibilities, and advised strongly against imposing the revolution by force throughout Europe, precisely because he was aware of the calculus of violence of man against man, the inclination to commit violence, while covering it up in noble fashion.
3) Nietzsche pointed out that there were two moral systems in force in Europe. Christianity, officially enforced, was the morality for the slaves, imposed to the slaves, and they did not know any better. Slaves had been made to believe that Christianity was the only morality in existence. Whereas European aristocracy ruled according to its exact opposite, the rule of the strong. Nietzsche’s analysis is still true today.
Yet, from my more cynical viewpoint the “aristocracy”, is not just admirable, literally a “rule of the best“. Instead, it’s a vile plutocracy at heart. So, instead of embracing the masters’ race, as Nietzsche seems to inclined to do, I reject it, when it’s just a vulgar plutocracy, just as I reject slavery, as another form of the Dark Side. I basically believe that the double morality system goes on today, with the same sort of results: that’s why financiers get to pay taxes at a much lower rate, from complicities in government… While preaching the free market and meritocracy (the moral system for the Plebs, precisely the one plutocrats are violating).
4) In light of the preceding, Paul Krugman’s remarks, although well meaning, are rather meek. Said he:…”calls for a reversal of the destructive turn toward austerity are still having a hard time getting through. Partly that reflects vested interests, for austerity policies serve the interests of wealthy creditors; partly it reflects the unwillingness of influential people to admit being wrong… a further obstacle to change: widespread, deep-seated cynicism about the ability of democratic governments, once engaged in stimulus, to change course in the future.”
But Paul, of course, has to be published, and thus appreciated enough, by Very Serious People Very Sadistic Plutocrats.