Krugman rightly denounces “toxic inequality“. One can say much more. Inequality has poisoned civilizations, before. Now it’s even poisoning the planet itself. And much worse will come if corrective measures are not applied.

Inequality is not just a political problem, it’s also a mathematical problem, with dynamics similar to the mathematics of Black Holes. If one falls too deep into it, there is no coming back. Contrarily to what obsolete philosophies said.

Black Hole Plutocracy?

Black Hole Plutocracy?

Here are the three ingredients of this mathematical situation:

a) the fascist instinct. The group pulls together as one mind once the group is under attack. That instinct is more than 50 million years old. It turned primate troops into effective superorganisms able to hold off predators, armed with war minds rather than dangerous bodies.

b) the plutocratic phenomenon. The exponentiation of capital plays a crucial role: the more capital one has, the easier it’s to get more, everything else being equivalent.

Rousseau observed: “Everywhere one looks, man is in chains“. Yet, total democracy is the natural state of man. Indeed, groups in nature are not under attack every day. Thus the fascist state (everybody goose-stepping behind the chief, and thinking, and feeling what the mind of the chief does) ought to be rare, as they ought to appear only in unnatural situations.
Hence, monarchies, tyrannies, aristocracies, theocracies, all types of plutocracies, are not natural states. So how come they keep on appearing? When the Roman Republic grew, it was continually at war, for centuries. Why? because it was fighting to death all sorts of plutocracies surrounding it. Not just Carthage and Hellenistic kingdoms.

When Rome was sacked by Gallic invaders in 387 BCE, the chiefs of that Celtic army were on a giant kleptocratic adventure; Rome struck them as a rich agricultural and herding area, ripe for plunder. Kleptocracy is also a form of plutocracy.

(After Rome paid a huge ransom, the Gallic invaders, were defeated and later annihilated, by the dictator Camillus.)

Plutocracies kept on appearing within civilizations, in the last 7,000 years, from an abuse of the fascist instinct and plutocratic phenomenon out of control. Both fascism and plutocracy are exponential phenomenon. Moreover, they are entangled: plutocrats discover readily enough that fascism is their friend, and that they can foster it with a state of perpetual war. A recent demonstration of this is the Bush’s Patriot Act. The instauration of this state of siege corresponds to rising inequality in the USA.

(In 1979 the income of the top 0.01% was 1.5% of all income in the USA; now it is 5.5%. This means that the wealth of the top .01% in income has been multiplied by a factor of 3.67. In the same period the income of the top 1% went from 9% of all income to 23% of all income. Hence the top 1% are 2.55 times richer. This is all paid by having the lower classes poorer than they used to be.)

The most successful societies were aware of the preceding pitfall, that deadly exponential of wealth and fascism. Thus the Roman Republic put an absolute limit on wealth. It’s no accident that the same Camillus above who defeated the Gallic plutocrats allowed the passage in 376 BCE of the Lex Licinia Sextia that put a limit on the public land (held by the army) that could be acquired by one individual (to a measly 1.3 square kilometer). There was cheating, though, by major plutocrats, and things came to a head under Tiberius Gracchus in 134 BCE. Basically, plutocracy was not lawful in the Republic, and the Gracchi tried to make it so. They failed, and the result was 2,000 years of plutocracy.

However, We The People, when ruled by the few, tend to revolt: see the American and French revolutions. Both succeeded, though, because their oppressors were too civilized. Lack of civilization has allowed the oppression to perdure more in the Orient, all the more as it is entangled there with theocracy. (In the West the break with theocracy occurred when the Roman army of the franks took control in 486 CE: it was a Pagan army!)

So indeed, to keep control, enters:
c) The Dark Side. The oligarchs, threatened by revolution, react by doing whatever it takes to stay in control. No brutality is high enough. See Syria. At that point, “plutocracy” takes its full meaning, as the rule of the worst, the rule of Pluto in all its splendor, the rule of the liar and the invisible, as the Greeks had it, and the astutely vicious as the French had it.

The USA is early in this general degeneracy. However, it is a massive society, and a model. Its faltering is thus of great consequence.

Faced with the infamy of the Dark Side Unchained, the people used to revolt. No tyranny ruled a Greek polis for more than three generations. then it was back to revolution, democracy, etc.

Polybius spoke of this cycling, 22 centuries ago, going through seven stages, as if the mathematics of psychohistory were rigorous. However, History does not always repeat itself. Polybius ought to have known this.

After the well named Macedonian fascist Antipater took control of Greece, Macedonian rule went on until the Roman legions defeated the Macedonian phalanx. Twice. So Greece did not self-liberate (although Greek armies helped the Romans). And indeed Polybius himself was taken hostage by the Romans (before he became friends with the .001% there!)

When plutocrats took control of the Roman republic, they were anxious to keep a republican façade. It would take more than eighteen centuries for constitutional democracy to return (in 1789 CE, simultaneously in France and the USA, the entangled revolutions; yes, no, Britain is NOT the “closest ally” of the USA).

Another example of non cyclicality is what happened to Egypt; after rabid men in black, the Christian monks ravaged Egypt around 400 CE, and burned the world’s largest library, Egypt, which had been a creator of civilization for 3,000 years, never recovered.

Passed a point, the Dark Side overwhelms all. This is what happened in Syria. Syria, fundamentally was just a very bloody hereditary plutocracy. Yet, offered the possibility of fleeing, and enjoying billions stashed away, as Tunisia’s ex-dictator Ben Ali does in Saudi Arabia, Assad chose to escalate the ferocity, well beyond what his father already did.

The same stickiness of horror happened during the Spanish Civil war, originally just a revolt by the Spanish army in the Canaries and Morocco (then leveraged by Hitler, Mussolini, Texaco, and countless American corporations).

After millions were killed, the return to normal in Spain was enforced by a decapitation of the fascist regime by assassination (when ETA executed admiral Carrero Blanco in Operation Ogro, the partial launch into orbit of the dictator), plus an incorporation in the European Union, under severe conditions (a similar scheme, a combination of force and negotiation, could be extended further around the Mediterranean to many a horrendous regime).

Nevertheless we have to keep in sight that the Dark Side, like Black Holes, cannot just suck everything up, but can be indefinitively stable. Whether we like it or not, and be it only because we want to survive, we are in a run-away tech society.

Hence the return of total plutocratic control now would be no cycle, but termination of civilization. Yet, plutocrats are solidly entrenched: just look at Putin, the ex-head of the Soviet KGB, now the hope of masses of naïve fools, just as his (spiritual) grandfather Stalin was in the 1930s.

Why would plutocracy be the end? Because, ultimately plutocracy reigns as the mind of one (or a few), and is no more intelligent than that one (or those few). Whereas democracy is the exact opposite: to exist it has to encompass millions of minds intelligently debating. (That’s why Obama, considering the sorry state of the democracy in the USA, has turned into the Professor In Chief, educating millions so that they can acquire enough intelligence to debate destiny in a half sentient way.)

And that mind of one will have to call to the Dark Side, darker than ever before, to master billions. There would be no limit to how dark things could get.

Plutocracy, entangled with fascism, is this world great Black Hole, and great temptation. See China rushing back to it under Xi. Plutocracy, entangled with fascism, will be resisted through massive force only. be it only intellectually massive force. As Obama just pointed out (in a particular case).

Many philosophies in the past, from Ancient India to the Mayas, to common men wising up, have argued for the Eternal Return of the Same, as Polybius did. This sort of metaphysics is in a way reassuring; do everything wrong, and it will turn out OK in the long run. However science has now debunked this completely: be it geological evolution, atmospheric evolution, biological evolution, or cosmological evolution, the only thing that does not change is change.

Change is your only chance, think accordingly.


Patrice Ayme

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26 Responses to “Black Hole INEQUALITY”

  1. Paul Handover Says:

    Stunningly powerful words. An essay for all time, perhaps. Magnificent!


  2. Old Geezer Pilot Says:

    Without sermonizing as to the morality of the growing wealth at the top, there are strong arithmetic reasons to denounce it.

    All economies depend on production and consumption to make them work. Eliminate either and activity stops.

    Since the 0.01% can only consume so many yachts and jets, the rest goes into “investments”.

    Since the 0.99% have less money to spend, overall demand will be lower, hence, businesses will NOT want to invest in productive capital equipment. So that “investment” money will now be directed into…

    drum roll for Goldman Sachs

    “Structured Investment Vehicles”

    also known as


    Which is why the market is up, housing is up, and interest is way down.

    It is another giant bubble.

    But it is NOT SUSTAINABLE.

    We have learned nothing.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear OGP: The other day, i had a dream of big black cobras, meters long, their hoods half deployed, slithering on the ground, and nobody could stop them. These are the top financiers. Those venimous serpents don’t know much, but they have learned well.

      This was the 40th anniversario of Allende’s assassination this week, the original 9/11. And in that one, the CIA was certainly directly involved. He was just a Socialist, founder of the PS in Chili… He was minister of health in the popular front in 1938, BTW…

      The CIA spent 2.7 million dollars to defeat Allende in 1964, plus much more millions from Royal houses in Europe, the Vatican, Christian Democratic parties, all sorts of frantic plutocrats. Same stuff as in Italians in 1948, or Chili in 1970, to create an anti-Socialist terror.


  3. Andrej Dekleva Says:

    Strong metaphors and deep connections, as usual – thank you. In order to understand your economic argument further perhaps you can explain why the universe requires a black hole at the center of every ‘productive’ galaxy – it seems demise of light by gravity (‘greed’) is unavoidable?
    Perhaps sufficiently strong and numerous laser sharp focus points might destroy the olde black hole chimney?


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Andrej: The role of Black Holes at the core of galaxies, if any, any role, or any Black Hole, that is, is not clear. This is a subject that is actively studied. Do BH generate galaxies, do the latter instead generate the former?

      I rather lean towards the latter. Yes giant galaxies have giant BH at their cores, but that just says they are giant. Once I gave a math-physics seminar at Stanford explaining all the deficiencies of conventional black Holes theory, and all the stupendous minds in attendance looked at me somewhat haggard with unhappy toad faces. I was pointing out all the holes in black Holes.

      BH theory makes lots of Quantum assumptions, so many one, or at least me, can’t really be sure of anything…

      Miniature barred spirals like the Magellanic Clouds do not seem to have BHs…

      In any case that’s less mysterious than Dark Matter. Yes, I can massage my own Quantum Theory to easily produce Dark Matter readily (and Dark energy too, by the same token!)


  4. de Foucaud Paul Says:

    So, equality between humans, an utopia ?


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Paul: it’s not a question of going equity nut. As a would-be hyper intellectual, I have colossal respect for intellectual capital, and views myself as a sort of zillionaire thereof. Seriously, the whole idea of hard thinking is there is such a thing as inferior and superior thinking.

      So the correct position is to do what the Res Publica Romana used to do: block too much inequality of material possessions.


      • de Foucaud Paul Says:

        This question was provocative for sure, as a “blak hole” is looking for.
        Thanks for your answer.
        “République”, looks as a good system to avoid ploutocracy in northern countries.
        But not sure


  5. richard reinhofer Says:

    “(That’s why Obama, considering the sorry state of the democracy in the USA, has turned into the Professor In Chief, educating millions so that they can acquire enough intelligence to debate destiny in a half sentient way.)”

    ‘Murica, can’t be teachin’ kritikal thinkun.


  6. EugenR Says:

    Dear Patrice, Wau!!! Amazing, I am not man of pure flattery but in this article you are at your best. You so clearly explained the major disease of the Western societies, the un-precedent drive towards economic inequality. Your historical examples so well pinch-point the precedents in the history, and beautifully exposed the real nature of the plutocratic phenomena.
    If may I, I would like to ask your opinion about one more connected question that intellectually bothers me lately; What psychological influence has on the recent plutocracy the collapse of USSR. Being USSR one of the worst kinds of plutocracy, there is no sorrow for its disappearance. Yet I have the feeling (nothing supported by systematic research) the collapse of this evil system gave psychological legitimacy to the western plutocracy, to stop to pretend to be altruistic and expose its real nature without shame and feeling of guilt. This question is more than just another intellectual question, since if discovered that the societies, when at state of illusion of stability and diminished external threats, tend to self destructivity, which comes together with the plutocratic phenomena of more and more concentrating wealth and political power in hands of few, it may help to warn the societies, before it’s too late for any change.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Eugen: thanks for your compliments! I appreciate very much. It’s encouraging.
      You are 100% right about the collapse of the USSR. It was leveraged into a proof of veracity by the Western plutocracy. they in turn leveraged that again by installing plutocracy as the ideal model in Yeltsin’s Russia. Putin was the reaction to that.

      Although both had been long entangled: the Harriman brothers and others brought the capital to develop Caucasus oil. And then of course roosevelt and his government of traitors gave half of Europe to Stalin… Before neglecting a very good occasion to get rid of him, by being kind to Marshall Joukov…(Joukov had the means and will to get rid of Stalin; instead Ike had a plot with Stalin…).


  7. Old Geezer Pilot Says:

    And let us not forget George H W Bush and his role in the collapse of the USSR.

    In the late 70s, the CIA predicted that USSR oil production would reach peak production, just as it had in the USA earlier that decade (as predicted by M King Hubbert in the 40s.

    As Bush the Wiser was a CIA spook, and had “family ties” to the Saudis, he was in a position to call and tell them to flood the market with cheap oil when he became VP.

    I cannot prove this, but the facts show an unexplainable drop in oil during the 80s, which severely cut USSRs main commodity for desperately needed foreign exchange.

    I am no fan of any of the Bushes (and I hope there are no more), but I think he is the unsung hero of that collapse.

    Just my 2 cents,


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Yes OGP: Your 2 cents are worth more than that. George H W Bush was pretty effective. But he was an authentic WWII hero, that had got to have put him in the right mood. He also made the USA wheel chair accessible… It’s entirely believable that we would have been better off with another Bush I term: after all the way Reagan and Bush solved the S&Ls involved nationalizations and criminalization… More than 2,000 nationalizations.

      As far as the USSR is concerned, Russia will have to develop unconventional oil and gaz, and so is collaborating with foreign energy companies. Meanwhile, as a petro state, it still is roughly in the same situation as the USSR used to be…


  8. Lovell Says:


    Larry Summers pulled out of contention for Fed chairmanship:


  9. Old Geezer Pilot Says:


    Dracula will not guard the blood bank.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Frankly, I did not expect it. But another Democratic Senator in the committee had withdrawn his support (for the reason that Dracula had caused the crisis!) So it would have forced them to recruit republicans, loud and clear to save Dracula. That was a bit akward to all. Dracula is staying in Harvard, minding the children!


  10. kevishaw Says:

    Patrice, you are truly at your best here, with the realization of the Black Hole 1%, and the nearly inescapable pull it can have on anything which comes near, including sources of light within its grip. In conversations with enlightened friends, the frightful density of the BH ties in with the way the media and governing body seems to shrug with acceptance of the inevitability of global warming, and tells us we must simply pull up our pants and “go shopping,” to ward off the deeper waters to come. Thanks again, for making simple pictures out of the complexity of plutocracy.


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