Plutocracy Rising, Demos Sinking

Oligarchy: the rule of the few. What we have.  Democracy: the rule of the People. What Switzerland has, legislatively speaking.

Civilization is first rendered possible only by another type of organization. Civilization is an increasingly complex machine, that works only because of the nature of a sophisticated hierarchy of laws. This was known by the time of Babylon’s Hammurabi, 37 centuries ago. Thus the state of law is a necessary pre-condition for civilization. However, to have a state of law, one needs a state. That’s shrinking in the USA… just when it should be expanding:

If the USA Government Shrinks Enough, So Will Law

If the USA Government Shrinks Enough, So Will Law

[This covers all governmental spending as percentage of GDP: local, state, federal.]

In a related development, Obama’s own Food & Drug Administration, just woke up, and decided to do something about the feeding day in, day out, of all meat animals in the USA with enormous amounts of antibiotics, as I had requested, with my usual subtlety of crashing asteroid. See: “Fish Rots By The Head”

One has to explain the graph above a bit. The strong peak of spending at the time Obama took power (so to speak) was related by the failure of corporations, such as General Motors. Saving General Motors cost 50 billion dollars at the time, but saved 1.2 million jobs (because of all the car parts makers). Final cost was ten billions. The rescue of AIG cost 180 billion, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs 60 billion each, and so on. All these programs were started under GW Bush, Obama extended them.

Thus Bush was not just the self-described “decider”, but also the rescuer. (This emergency spending is not in the graph, by the way.)

To be taken ever more seriously, Krugman makes a point of lauding Obama always. However he says:” You can see that there was a brief, modest spurt in spending associated with the Obama stimulus — but it has long since been outweighed and swamped by a collapse in spending without precedent in the past half century.”

Krugman in :”Unprecedented Austerity” then draws the inescapable conclusion: “a strange thing has happened on the fiscal policy front. Intellectually, the case for austerity has pretty much collapsed, having been reduced at this point to the Three Stooges Theory: we’re supposed to consider austerity a success because it feels good when you stop, or at least let up. At the same time, however, austerity policies continue to be imposed, on both sides of the Atlantic.

And amid the punditizing over the latest budget deal, it’s worth considering just how unprecedented US austerity has been….to do this when the private sector is still deleveraging and interest rates are at the zero lower bound is just awesomely destructive.”

[Notice that this is the very respectable, very serious Krugman saying this, not the horrendous Tyranosopher.] What is going on? The Three Stooges?

No. The Wolf and the Lamb is the fable that depicts our times best.

An example of wolf-lamb interaction is the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). As Prof Krugman points out, the GDP impact of the TPP shall be infinitesimal. So why bother to negotiate it?

A hint about the TPP’s true purpose is that the Trans Pacific Partnership is negotiated secretly. This habit, secrecy, is not compatible with democracy. So the TPP negotiation is another trick to weaken democracy.

This is confirmed by the fact the corporations have 600 lobbyists negotiating the TPP, whereas each state has only three (3!) negotiators.

In other good news, the democrats, to make a budget deal, negotiated the cutting of unemployment subsidies to millions. The more rags dress the rabble, the greater the lords. Austerity for the rabble, is what the Wolves of our ages, our Lords, want. However, we are in a nominal “democracy”, where the “Demos” redistribute quite a bit of the Lords’ money, to itself. A way to stop that redistributive non sense is by imposing austerity to the government, that is, to The People (who theoretically rule in democracy). The hyper rich have never paid fewer taxes (relatively to their global income), on this side of the Middle-Ages. And that’s directly related to this will to shrink the government.

Why are the rich reducing government spending? Superficially, because it enables them to pay fewer taxes.

The fewer taxes the hyper rich pay, the more their wealth grow, and the more they can eat their way through representative “democracy” by buying influence among the few elected officials who are deciding our destiny.

It’s a vicious circle.

But, even deeper than this circle, the plutocrats want to return society to the law of the jungle. The more they transform society into a jungle, the more they justify their demonic tendencies, that is, themselves. Those who are vicious can only feel welcome in a vicious world.

It provides them with satanic social security.

It’s an even more vicious circle. Dante’s Inferno revisited. And down we go. In America, and in Europe.

Patrice Aymé

***

Note: A country cannot be a democracy without first being a state of law, an état de droit a Rechtsstaat. Athens tried it, and crashed. The USA and Great Britain before it, both following the orders of ther West Country Men, tried to do without, and it worked great so far (that’s why South Africa, the USA, Canada and Australia all developed Apartheid, under the guise of multiculturalism…).

In truth, the common ideology in the Anglo universe, revised by the West Country Men,  was relentless exploitation, of whatever could be exploited.

That’s why the USA Supreme Court is not really a Constitutional Court (see Bush versus Gore), and Britain added only a Supreme Court thanks to liar Blair.

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12 Responses to “Plutocracy Rising, Demos Sinking”

  1. Paul Handover Says:

    Have to say that I found your essay powerfully scary. Trying hard to put that emotional reaction to one side leads me ask if you, and other thinkers and academics that you meet, have any sense as to the outcomes that are more likely to happen? And any sense of timescales? Interesting times!

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Anything could happen. Look at the crazy situation in North Korea: plutocracy is, truly, a form of madness. An excusable madness (see the bombings of Hamburg by the RAF in WWII) sometimes, as Roger Henri correctly commented here.

      Demonicity can be a force for good: strategic bombing of the Axis killed around 2 million people (including the 2 nukes), but nearly eradicated the fascists’ economies, fuel and armament procurements.

      But, if, and when it has no excuse, plutocracy is no just madness, but it tends to grow, feeding on itself.

      A way to not feel stupid, is to get even more stupid. Same with evil.
      The possibilities are endless. Look how a small disaster such as 9/11 changed the world, when it was just a self inflicted wound (the CIA had recruited Bin Laden in 1970 in Turkey, and trained him and his army). Much greater catastrophes are obviously coming. Some unfolding: fracking.
      PA

      • Paul Handover Says:

        I just read your reply. Then sat for 10 minutes staring at the glowing screen of the tablet wondering how I would respond. Realised there’s very little, if anything, that I can add. Except to be very grateful that I have a woman to love me, dogs I can hug (2 on the bed just now) and I’m the wrong side of 65! Can’t resist adding will the last person to leave the Planet please turn the lights off.

  2. Meredith New York Says:

    Meredith
    New York
    It’s a vicious circle justified by warped slogans of freedom. For centuries people fought and died to achieve the founding documents of the US. Now the 1 percent simply adapt US principals to keep their advantage over the majority of their fellow citizens.

    Representative democracy? The US S. Court equalizes money with free speech to legalize bribing lawmakers to write laws transferring the nations resources to the 1 percent. The true moochers are the top few, taking from the productivity of the majority.

    Universal education? Control it with stingy financing. Let colleges be a source of profit in tuition and loans.

    Universal voting rights? Let ’em line up to vote but keep the choice of candidates and platforms within the narrow range that benefits the 1 percent.

    Universal health insurance? Design it so that public taxes subsidize insurance company profits, thus removing more public resources for health.

    Free press and 1st amendment? Just buy up enough media to dominate it, so they can propagandize millions to identify with the 1 percent, and vote against their own interests.

    Impartial objective justice system? Use drug control to justify life sentences–yes, life–for marijuana possession, even as it’s being legalized in more places. We may see prisoners rotting away in jail forever, while those outside enjoy their pot anywhere.

    So easy for the powerful to just arrange a phony democracy and convince the public that it’s real.

  3. Equality, Innovation, Civilization Sustained | Some of Patrice Ayme's Thoughts Says:

    […] Intelligence at the core of humanism. « Plutocracy Rising, Demos Sinking […]

  4. Sallie Reynolds Says:

    Patrice, Thanks for noting the change in the Food and Drug Administration toward antibiotics for food animals.

    Those of us who work closely with wildlife rehabilitation organizations and ecological concerns have known for decades about the dangers of irresponsible use of new drugs and chemicals. The story behind the development and final banning of DDT and DDE, the “miracle” pesticides of post-WWII agriculture, is a telling example. At the same time, powerful antibiotics were introduced, “miracle drugs,” and they too were quickly over-used and misused, to the point that our water-table is now largely contaminated and disease pathogens we had “conquered” are once again striking us, now immune to the antibiotics we developed to protect us.

    This is the best-known and most acknowledged effects of drug misuse. But other effects are equally disturbing. We are beginning to understand the terrible consequences of widespread antibiotic use in domestic animals. These, and growth hormones, were long administered to cattle designed for our tables because in order to get the rich, marbled flesh we prize, cattle must be fed grains, which distress their digestive systems. When the cattle are given antibiotics to off-set that problem, they are also given growth hormones so they will grow quickly, living long enough despite stress, to put on the flesh that makes them valuable in the meat market.

    There is more. In recent decades, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, diclofenac, was administered to cattle in Asia. The cattle tolerated the drug well, but it did not leave cattle carcases, and substantial amounts remained in the flesh that was consumed by scavengers. India, Pakistan, and other countries in south Asia have for many centuries depended upon the services of large vultures to clean up their waste animal products. Town dumps and open spaces and even city streets were kept clean and disease-free by millions of vultures who quickly consumed any dead animal, and whose digestive systems were able to destroy most natural pathogens. But diclofenac caused them to die of kidney failure. In the late 1980s, into the 1990s, scientists recorded a swift and alarming decline in vulture species in these areas. Many scientific groups sought the cause, and in 2006, the Peregrine Fund identified the culprit and convinced several areas in Pakistan, in particular, to limit or ban the use of the drug. Some of the vulture species began to recover quickly, but the largest and once most numerous and useful were killed off by the millions, and have not made much of a comeback. The surviving populations are too small, and breed too infrequently by nature, to rally.

    In the meantime, rabies, a disease carried by mammals but not by birds, has begun to spread. The feral dogs, who have taken over the garbage areas of India and Pakistan, in the absence of vultures, are spreading this fatal disease by biting humans who come near them or try to drive them away. And that is only one disease.

    The death of the vultures has had a cultural effect, as well. In Asia several ancient societies have for thousands of years counted on vultures to consume their human dead. In the US, a number of early cultures also considered the condor, a giant vulture species, as messenger between gods and humans. In the US, there remain no such cultures, but in Asia today, a number of societies are facing a difficult problem: to somehow provide protection for the vultures they count on in their burial rituals, or to give up their age-old rites of passage.

    On this beautiful planet, we are all connected. When we seek changes for our human purposes, we would do well to consider our other brethren before we act. Many creatures have arisen on Earth and passed into extinction, most long before we humans walked upright and began to turn the world to suit our restless brains. We are increasing the spread and speed of changes, and if we don’t take care, we run the danger of presenting Earth with more than she, in her beautiful fashion, can absorb and contain. Someday the sun, in its natural evolution, will kill Earth, but it would be a sad irony if before then, one of her most successful species destroys not just her living beings, but the very force of life itself.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks Sallie for the thoughtful, illuminative and instructive comment. Yes, I am 100% for vultures. I used to live in Africa, and was familiar with them. Africans used them for garbage disposal. It worked very well, much better than any system I have heard of since. Walking towards a pile of fifty squirming, flapping super gigantic birds flying away loudly protesting was fascinating.

      I noticed the change in FDA policy. I don’t see why my good frienemy Obama waited five years, until I fired a broadside to the corrupt head of the FDA (thanks to Mark Strasser for alerting me, involuntarily), to kick the FDA in action.

      And we will see. So far they talk. They have talked of that before.

      The Sun will leave us alone for 5 billion years, or so. Within a billion years, we will have conquered the galaxy, or we will not be. (And much faster than that if faster than light travel is somehow feasible).
      PA

  5. Lovell Says:

    Plutocracy is the system by which phantom energy acts on the affairs of men. Dark energy is repulsive energy. It keeps things apart, it divides, it disperses.

    And because plutocrats will devour the rest of population through impoverishment; and in as much as poverty tends to be the main driver of disunity and dispersion among men, plutocracy is the default system favored by dark energy.

    How do we counteract this malignant force when 73% of the universe is dark energy?

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Lovell: Nice analogy of plutocracy with Dark Energy. However, we have no idea what DE could be (I have a vague theory related to my much less vague Dark Matter theory, related to my subquantal theory). DE happens in part perhaps because we do not understand gravity (that’s what brandishing the cosmological constant says, ha ha ha).

      Yet, the Dark Side is sometimes irreplaceable (just ask Jesus). And also Dark Matter keeps galactic clusters, and probably large galaxies, together.

      Plutocracy is an epiphenomenon slave to civilization (not so the Dark Side). All civilization of some note had to fight it, and master it.

    • Lovell Says:

      Dear Patrice,
      For me at least, the striking characteristic of DE is that it is repulsive; that it is responsible for the accelerating expansion of the universe which will culminate, astronomers and physicists say, with the Big Rip. It will rip apart galaxies, planetary systems, living things, atoms and even quantum particles.

      DM, on the other hand, is attractive. It fuses things together and has a positive gravitational force. But it is less dominant because there’s only 23% of it in the universe. So in the push and pull battle between these two cosmic forces, it’s no surprise that the repulsive side is winning.

      No surprise too, that the Plutos are winning.

      P.S.:
      I’m not sure if I understand you correctly when you refer to the Dark Side. Do you mean the literal, biblical evil?

      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        dear Lovell: Not enough is known about Dark Energy to check my own theory to my own satisfaction, against it. For Dark Matter, I have an immediate explanation… And it does not require Axions. It’s a fully novel way to look at all of physics.

        Anyway, the “Big Rip” is another fantasy, even more weird than the Big Bang.

        I don’t really know what Biblical Evil is. As God says in the Qur’an: “of these things you shall ask no question, it’s not your business”. What is true is that there are passions in humanity having to do with the exact opposite of what you have to deploy when interacting with a baby. Those antagonistic-to-child-care passions are: the urge to kill and miam, submit and subjugate, and be served, cruelty, greed, viciousness, rape, brutality, bullyness, sadism, hyper active sexualism, cannibalism, the excitement of the hunt, the rage for destruction and annihilation, incoherence, hatred, envy, sloth, unjustified anger, incomprehensible anger, avarice, pride for no good reason, hardness of the heart making one behave like a heartless robot, etc.

        The Dark Side has been central to the rise of the genus Homo. (Even chimps would not exist without it0.

        Although the Dark Side is an ingredient in plutocracy, plutocracy does not arise just from it. However, when established, it implodes into it like a Black Hole.
        PA

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