BY DECAPITATING THE WRONG PHILOSOPHY
Guillotine The Obsession With Making The Gold Man Richer.
Abstract: Plutocracy and democracy are, by definition, incompatible. I give perspective on how and why decapitating wealth would help to restore civilization. I answer a question from one of the commenters on this site, Old Geezer Pilot: …“if the 99% were to CONFISCATE ALL THE WEALTH of the 1 %, would it amount to very much?”
In financial wealth, it would amount to only 42% (in the USA). In philosophical and civilizational import, infinitely more. It would change the atmosphere of civilization. From unbreathable, to life sustaining.
One cause of the Greater Depression is economic inequality, which has risen to the level of the late 1920s. Economic inequality, in turn, has led to strident philosophical and even cognitive imbalances. In part because that is the ecology wealth needs to survive, in part because wealth bought universities, and the media (even in France, see below).
Mad bull plutocracy needs to be decapitated, before it causes further mental imbalance to civilization. So what would confiscation of the properties stolen by the plutocrats bring? Well, it would bring a change of mood, back from worshipping the Golden Calf, plutocracy, back to democracy.
Trashing the Goldman Calf is not just important philosophically and emotionally, it’s even important for daily life. officially, since 2008, the west has spent 8.9 trillion dollar on private banks, while cutting everything else, including fundamental scientific research (something neither India nor China has done, quite the opposite!).
The coming victory of the French Socialist party will change everything. Hollande declared that: “My true enemy has no name, no face, no party. He will never stand for election and will never be elected. Despite all this, he is in charge. My enemy is the world of finance.”
To think well, don’t forget the Dark Side (view from Notre Dame Cathedral. Paris).
This ought to remind Obama that, having governed as if he were Romney, complete with Romneycare, there is little incentive for those who wanted change to go vote for Romney again, so they may well stay home. Just to whine that the real Romney is more scary, may not carry the day.
FRANCE: HEADING OUT OF PLUTOCRACY IN 3 WEEKS?
Spanish bulls for corrida are from a special, hyper aggressive breed. I saw a funny scene on video: a bull came into the still deserted arena, totally fuming. He was furious to have been deported from the wilds he enjoyed the last few years. So he charged, at an amazing speed, in such a straight trajectory that he hit the wall on the far side of the arena without deviating or slowing down any. His head went one way, its body another, and he flipped upside down in the air like a crepe.
There it laid in the sand, half dead. This is a good metaphor for plutocracy. it will not stop, it makes no sense, it is just inhabitated by Pluto. Trying bipartisanship with that, it’s Sarkozy and Obama. The former may soon jump from the Elysee palace to a judge’s hot seat.
That soon to be ex-president of France, Sarkozy, is in the same spiritual family as Thatcher and Reagan: be ever kinder to the rich, they will employ you.
True enough: ex-British PM John Major made a fortune working for the Carlyle Group, an international arms’ and financial conspiracy that makes the interface between corrupt Western politicians, the wars they organize, and the banks they feed. Tony Blair’s immense fortune is entirely made of pay-backs for his work on behalf of international plutocracy. He shows up at hedge fund, they give him enormous sums for opening his mouth, that’s how he does it. No prostitute was ever so expensive.
Same for Bill Clinton. It is thus difficult to wag the finger at Putin (who does the same, while not even waiting for the end of his rule, which, he announced modestly, will be around 2024).
Putin has to do the work all by himself, he cannot depend upon the vast pre-existing network of Western plutocracy, going all the way back when Hitler was just a wet dream, JP Morgan had, when he plotted with his young pet, the German Schacht, a quarter of a century later, one of Hitler’s creators. (Yes Schacht, one of the great criminals of history, was exonerated by the Nuremberg tribunal, although he had to attend that formality.)
The brother of the French president, Olivier Sarkozy, heads the Carlyle Group: international plutocracy is well organized. Sarko, bro of Sarko, is immensely rich.
In three weeks, Mr. Hollande, the candidate of the Parti Socialiste will be elected president of France. He will raise the top margin tax rate to 75%, he will yank the French army out of Afghanistan. That’s going to be a shot across the bow of world plutocracy. A little shot: the top USA tax rate under president Eisenhower, was 92%.
DOES FRANCE MATTER? YES, BUT WAS MADE INTO A PLUTOCRATIC TROJAN HORSE WITH EMU:
Cynics will laugh that one has seen that movie before. Mitterrand was elected in 1981, in the teeth of Thatcher and Reagan’s revulsion back to stone age (still unfolding, as the crash that never ends). Mitterrand, a pseudo socialist, ex-Vichy, soon had to revert to smaller objectives.
Mitterrand supported Thatcher on day one about the Falklands, while Reagan dithered, and had nothing to offer. Mitterrand trained the British military against the French weapons Argentina had, Super Etendards, Mirages, Exocets cruise missiles.
The British knew how dangerous Exocets could be: they had the world’s largest stock of them. Mitterrand gave secret codes and counter-measures, secret factory stuff. During the war the Argentines were very courageous, and capable, but often of their weapons mysteriously failed at the second of impact. Many British ships got hit with bombs that did not explode. Even the warhead of the Exocet that sank the Sheffield did not explode.
It’s highly likely that, without the secret French help, enough of her Gracious Majesty’s Navy would have ended at the bottom of the Atlantic to make the recovery of the Falklands, a really ugly affair. Lady Thatcher owed the “Sphinx” (Mitterrand). So she consented to the tunnel under the Channel, and, more importantly to the Single European Act. She also did not obstruct the European Monetary Union (EMU), probably Mitterrand’s greatest achievement.
Little did Mitterrand realize that the crafty plutocrats had infected the architecture of the EMU completely with the poisonous idea that they, the plutocrats, and they alone, could finance the EMU. And that they, and they alone, could be financed by the European Central Bank. Somehow, they imparted upon their victims that the notion that putting banks in control of the states was the most moral, most economically correct position.
That nightmare had been put in place by French socialists viewed at the time as very smart (such as Jacques Delors, Mitterrand’s finance minister, and then grand master of European construction, making Thatcher eat in his hand). In retrospect those French socialist experts were, at best, incompetent fools.
It did not struck them that the initial law passed in France in 1973 prevented the Banque de France to finance the Treasury, was passed under president Pompidou. It’s similar to Obama and his democrats not being alarmed that the health law they pushed for was a product of the right wing Heritage Foundation, and his Romney (a “private equity” quick buck artist).
Pompidou was hired in 1953 by Guy de Rothschild to work at the bank Rothschild. In 1956, Pompidou was appointed the bank’s general manager, a position he held until 1962, when president De Gaulle made him Prime Minister. This Pompidou banker became president in 1969. Naturally enough, he passed a law that has now subjugated all of Europe to the banks’ good will.
Except Britain, where banks have been nationalized in 2008.
And the French socialists understood nought, and still don’t seem to have. The socialists instituted their European welfare state as a wholly subsidized subsidiary of the banking sector. Obama seems to harbor a similar hope. The advantage is that, doing so, one does not antagonize plutocracy. The disadvantage is that history will know one was on the Dark Side, someday to be judged as roughly as the Roman Principate.
Even more remarkably, the mystification of plutocracy as socialism, economic and moral rectitude, keeps on going.
There was a debate of the ten French presidential candidates against a panel of journalists, one of them, Longlet, specialized in economy. Marine Le Pen, the National Front candidate complained that the Banque de France had lost the ability to buy treasuries. That ought to be a well known fact, at the core of the European sovereign debt crisis.
However, unbelievably, the economic journalist told her dismissively that buying treasuries would make France into Iran, or Zimbabwe. Le Pen, a lawyer by training, correctly told him that buying treasuries with its central bank was exactly what the USA has been doing. Instead of admitting that this fact was indeed a fact (that’s called Quantitative Easing), the economic specialist scolded Le Pen for knowing no economy. That Longlet was obviously paid for being lying so outrageously.
Another candidate, the highly educated Cheminade, made charges similar to le Pen, and all journalists ganged up on him because they said he had claimed that some in Britain and the USA had supported Hitler. They told him, and dozens of millions of watching French viewers, that he was a lunatic to entertain such notions. (reminder: Great Britain signed in 1935 a treaty with Hitler that explicitly violated the Versailles Treaty, as it allowed Hitler to rebuild a Navy and expand to the east, in exchange for setting up a trilateral trade system between Britain, the Empire, and Hitlerland).
The next day, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the most prominent candidate of the three from the “left of the left” is Le Pen’s fiercest adversary. She had walked off a debate with him a few weeks before (and he passed her as the third most popular candidate as a result; together they pull more than one third of the electorate!) However, confronted to the same journalist gang the next day, he condemned them for lying to Le Pen, and all of France about the Fed. Yes, Mélenchon said, Le Pen was right, and you were wrong. The gang did their best to change the conversation.
I was left with a weird impression: here were ten candidates, from the extreme right, to the extreme left, and none of them said anything really outrageous (OK, Philippe Poutou admitted that imprisoning bosses was a past time of his; but, in France this is a time honored tradition). However the journalists were deeply outrageous: they supported the established order, national or international, tooth and nail, and even provided Hitler’s sponsors with the shade they have always enjoyed.
Just as no Anglo-Saxon super capitalist could have ever helped Hitler in any way, according to those media super stars, it was also Zimbabwean for a national central bank to lend a dime to the national treasury.
Believe it or not, this is the conventional wisdom in Europe. Years ago, I was kicked out of a web site called the European Tribune, because I opposed these views. The site was managed by a highly successful, you guessed it… banker, and plenty of his colleagues on the site were enraged as I evoked all the American banks which financed Hitler, and how the USA government seized German property after WWI, to redistribute it to its plutocratic friends, and their German interface came to be known as the Nazi Party. (Conveniently the building where the records of the transactions were kept burned down: who needs fiction, when we have reality?).
Mélenchon accused the journalists to received outrageous salaries. My personal impression was worse: they are clearly paid by the financial plutocracy to utter counter-truths. All of this, notice, in France. it is of course much worse in the USA or briatin. Actually the Guardian ran an article on how scandalous it was to see Philippe Poutou, and his kind on TV. Whines the Guardian about these terrible things, equality and democracy:
“…why the equal billing?… We are seeing a lot more of Poutou, candidate for the New Anti-capitalist party, these days thanks to one of the quirks of French presidential elections that means as voting day approaches, a law kicks in giving every candidate equal air time on radio and television. It’s not just the length of time they’re given, but the quality … meaning no shunting the no-hopers off to midnight slots… Poutou stands no chance of being elected, and doesn’t want to be. Like the other no-hope candidates he is using the election to air his party’s political views..
In the USA, there are no democratic “quirks”. Hope is for sale, after being bought. Actually, there is just one party, the bipartisan party, and the president lauds it. Plutocrats give more money to whom they favor, and, in 94% of the cases (House of Representatives, Senate), the candidate who spends more get elected. In 2008, for the first time since public financing of candidate existed, a candidate refused to it, to gather much more money through private donations. That was Obama, and he out-spent, not just Clinton, infinitely, but his final opponent two to one. Wall Street fat cats financed Obama massively, while Obama hid behind millions of tiny contributions to claim it was not what it appeared to be, whatever it was (personal disclosure: I did finance Obama massively; however, to my dismay, I found out he preferred to socialize with the meowing fat cats; differently from me, they have millions to offer him, after he gets out, if he is a good boy, and that is apparently what he prefers, following in this the despicable Bill Clinton).
1930S: WHEN “DEMOCRACY WAS FINISHED“
The other time France went against the grain was in the 1930s. France refused to let her central bank allow banks to create massive money (a policy that was replicated as the ECB’s vicious mandate). All other leading countries did the opposite, and the Great Depression hit France longer. Economics were secondary, though, as everybody could see that another war with German fascism was looming, and war preparations were more important.
By 1936, France elected Léon Blum as socialist Prime Minister. A socialist of Jewish ancestry was the perfect answer to Hitler’s anti-Judaism. Blum passed a lot of far reaching legislation later adopted throughout the West, and now the world.
On his second time as PM, in 1938, Blum sent heavy weapons to the Spanish republic under assault from the fascist conspiracy. However it was too little too late. American plutocrats, such as the oil company Texaco, had been supplying Hitler’s and Mussolini’s armies invading Spain. It was difficult for France to fight Germany, Italy, a rebel Spanish army, and, basically, those who ruled the USA. At that point, having got rid of its strong pro-Nazi elite, Great Britain was becoming more aware of the necessity to align herself with France, instead of the sort of plutocratic propaganda of the American ambassador, Joe Kennedy.
Said Joe, on the record:”Democracy is finished in England. It may be in the USA.” Plutocracy at its best. The guy was obsessed by becoming the first Catholic president of the USA.
WHEN SOME OF THE RICHEST JEWS NOURISHED NAZISM:
So are we getting in a similar situation? Yes, and no. Yes, in the sense that plutocrats, hysterical at the sight of one of the leading countries freeing themselves from subjugation, are going to do their best to sabotage French socialism, in the hope to stop any momentum that way in other countries. This is what happened in the 1930s.
However this time is different. In the 1930s France, from the People to the secret services, was well aware of the conspiracy between international plutocracy and fascism (some, even in France, loved it; many of these traitors met their demise in 1944-45, when dozens of thousands were executed, more than were during the French Revolution of 1789, or the Commune’s annihilation). The secret services tried a sophisticated operation to expose the connection between Nazis, international financiers and industrialists, and even Jewish-American billionaires. That Simon Warburg affair backfired as Dutch “justice” ordered the book destroyed, worldwide (only one copy survived in Switzerland).
To this day a colossal amount of disinformation exists about the Warburg family. Although some facts are in plain sight: two of his members, for example, served on IG Farben’s board. IG Farben was the giant Wall Street created chemical monopoly that was behind Hitler, Auschwitz, and Zyklon B. It was part of a giant conspiracy set-up by Wall Street to turn around the anti-monopoly laws of Teddy Roosevelt, with the full support of the government of the USA.
The conspiracy behind Nazism boggles the mind. It extended, it extends, well after the death of the participants. In a few days I will be in Washington’s airport: it’s named after one of the main Nazi collaborators in the USA: the Dulles brothers. Now celebrating Martin Luther king’s dream is excellent, but celebrating it too much leaves no passion to condemn the implicit celebration of the triumphant duplicity of the supremacist Dulles. In other words, the martin Luther King cult, poorly executed, becomes a cover-up for the plutocracy underneath. MLK would have been the first to call attention to that.
All of this shows the importance of moods.
THE 1% IS NOT THE PROBLEM, THE .1% IS:
Another point, and very practical: the 1% is not really the problem. The bottom half of the 1% retire on a post tax income roughly equal to the average family income in the USA. Most of them have worked very hard all their life on a post tax income of around $250,000, out of which they can invest at most $100,000, as they live typically in expensive area where it cost $150,000 to live in mediocre life (try to live in New York or San Francisco on $150,000: you will live less well than with $30,000 in, say, Montana).
The real problem is the top .1%. Their worth is above 100 million dollars. They can go anywhere, borrow for nothing (their preferred method to avoid tax). They use tax heavens, worldwide. They go to politicians, tell them what to do. To illustrate, see Barak Obama using Warren Buffet as a piece of his brain (Obama is now going around in circles with what he calls a “Buffet rule“, which says that the richest of the richest shall be taxed at 30%, half the upper margin rate of the upper middle class).
To defang the top .1% is very simple: index the capital gains tax on income (and in particular so called “carried interest“). Leave it as now for less than a million dollars, and then bring it up to 90%. also make tax heaven unlawful.
Some say that the rich would leave if taxed and hounded throughout the West. Where? China? Siberia? Iran? North Korea? Mars?
PLUTOCRACY IS NOT JUST A CLASS, IT’S A MOOD, AND A HOPE:
Old Geezer observes and asks: The 1 % have treed the 99 %. So, I ask as a thought exercise, if the 99 were to CONFISCATE ALL THE WEALTH of the 1 %, would it amount to very much? Other than making us all feel better for seeing justice done, would there be much of a change? I am asking this question because I really don’t know the answer. It is NOT rhetorical.”
Excellent question. Confiscation will address vengeance and justice. Redistribution of property can have also a very positive effect on the economy, and on society.
The reason why Che Guevara failed in Bolivia is that he had not weighted enough the impact of the redistribution of land that happened in Bolivia in the 1950s. Thus the proletariat was not anxious to support him. Redistribution did not happen in Rome when the Gracchi asked for it, but something a bit like that happened under Tiberius (among the middle/upper classes). Tiberius intervened with national banks created for the occasion.
Morality: we should not believe we have nothing to do with imperial Principate Rome. By the way only 52 individuals were executed in Tiberius’ times for treason. Many were obviously very culprit, in a sordid plot, more than a decade long, that resulted in the death by poison of Drusus, Tiberius’ son. The crime was found out only 8 years later.
Confiscation can have two dimensions:
1) confiscation of wealth
2) confiscation of power.
Wealth is power, but not all power is under the form of confiscable wealth. When Putin reigns as a tsar, he uses his power. His considerable wealth is for his retirement.
Both wealth and power need to be confiscated from the plutocrats. The top 1% owns 40% of property in the USA, observes Stiglitz (Nobel Prize eco 2001). They leverage that into enormous power because they completely dominate intellectually the representatives of the PEOPLE, and the media class. .
The foremost positive effect of confiscation would be to change completely the philosophical guidance of civilization.
Take health care, USA. Obama claimed his plan, Obaromcare, is about insuring 30 million Americans not insured now. Sounds good, but not fixing the main problem, and that is the health care plutocracy, and it sucking ever more of GDP. The plan was mostly devised for those. So Obamromcare was an elaborate con job.
Look at the banks: nine trillions were given to the managements that caused the crisis, or their brothers, to invest more into “financial products”, and keep the hedge fund “industry” afloat.
So was Afghanistan: first of all, a profit for the military-industrial. So, in France, was Sarkozy cutting the taxes on the hyper rich. (Instead of having an industrial policy, as Merkel had.)
In all these abominable plots, one sees that the overall philosophy was that making the rich richer was a meta-value: from it all goodness will flow. Once that philosophy, that the key economic strategy is to make the rich richer is guillotined, one can put a completely different philosophy on the throne.