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Breaking the Social Contract

10:43 am in Uncategorized by miguelitoh2o

The natives are restless.  We used to get to come into the castle when the marauders and pillagers arrived at the city’s walls in exchange for our support and defense of the realm.  Not any longer.  This war is being fought in the realm of ideas and promulgated by the plutocracy through their public relation branches, aka the MSM.  The people have taken to the streets with amorphous discontent and amorphous demands.  The only given is that they’re not going to go away.  They’ve spied the little man behind the green curtain, dispensing aphorisms, misinformation, and advice, and have decided to call him out.  It’s become clear that no one in a position of power or wealth gives a fig for them.  The best plan the owners of the world can come up with is to discredit them, or failing that co-opt them and their movement.  With luck de-fuse the smoldering keg on the doorsteps of our moneyed class.    With more luck, that moneyed class will recoup all or most of the debt owed them from the 99% who don’t enjoy the economic clout to cause the renegotiation of their debt.  The most the 99% can count on is to have legislation introduced to forgive penalties on early withdrawals from their IRA accounts so they might pay back the bankers while risking their personal safety net.

It becomes harder to dismantle this social bomb as the people get closer to the edge of economic survival, but these are some committed flaks we’re up against.  As each day passes it becomes clear that any sense of noblesse oblige that may have once existed in the upper echelons of society has devolved into a cynical PR operation designed to sway public opinion toward the belief that someone, anyone still cares about those 99% of Americans who don’t belong to the club.  And to instill fear of changing the status quo.  Still, as resources dwindle and personal debt accumulates while the middle class strives to maintain a lifestyle before it diminishes to mere economic survival; it becomes harder to distract the unwashed masses from the underlying truths.  As a Buddhist might say:  Painted cakes don’t satisfy hunger.  And no matter how hard the economic elite spin this, the underlying reality that is sparking the public’s discontent remains the same.   I take heart in the way the Soviet Union collapsed under the weight of its’ failed ideas and implementations, for the same thing can happen here in the West.  All the PR in the political universe can’t spin away the level of unemployment and debt slavery that is the apparent goal of the plutocracy.

Eventually the oligopoly will call out the police in an effort to maintain order.  They’re all ready there with swinging batons and pepper spray here in the early skirmishes of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  This is just the beginning.  It will get worse, and maybe we’ll have our own “uniquely American” version of tanks entering Tienamen Square, and a few martyrs to rally around, but probably not.  The oligarchy learned that lesson pretty well at Kent State University on May 4, 1970.  More likely the movement will be baited, provoked into doing something that could ostensibly justify quick and decisive police action to shut it down, while a parallel slam by the MSM press discredits the movement.  As leaders emerge, there will be attempts to expose any flaws in their personal histories, and otherwise discredit any movement mouthpieces that emerge.  In the meantime they’ll be trying to trip the rabble up in beltway debates in which most sane non-policy wonks will end up in verbal quicksand sooner or later.  If not, they’ll seek a way to co-opt the movement, then sucker those who fall for it in the standard bait-and-switch following the election.

 

Still, I don’t see this going the way the oligopoly might want it to. We’ve reached a kind of saturation point at which there is no turning back.  We’re arriving at the point at which the spell has been broken in a sufficient number of American minds to carry the seminal desire for reform forward.  There’ a growing communal knowledge that no one in power is listening anymore, and that no one will do anything to stem the tide that is washing our citizenry out to sea, to sink to oblivion off the front pages of the remaining news outlets that would bother printing the demise of Joe Everyman.   There’s no telling where that will end, but I think the pre-manufactured ideas of the Kochs of the world will carry little weight when it’s you, your family, and your friends on the bread lines.  So in some ways the form of our discontent should stay just as amorphous and unfocused as it has been.  It makes it harder for the political and moneyed class to pin down and subsequently disown based on some manufactured intellectual abstraction.  Eventually they’ll snap to the fact that telling the people to eat those painted cakes isn’t gonna cut it.  Eventually they’ll realize that they aren’t the only ones who can break the social contract that has existed between the rich and the poor for most of human history, when we are at their gates.

Things Fall Apart

7:59 am in Uncategorized by miguelitoh2o

Things really are falling apart.  Our Captains of Industry know that profit maximization at all costs paves the way to a better future for us all.  By putting Capital into the hands of the wealthy we will fuel economic prosperity across class lines by creating jobs.  Removing the burden of regulation we can lead the way to a new economic paradigm in which the rising economic tide lifts all boats.  To staunch the growing international debt/credit crisis social safety nets need to be pared.  The many must belt tighten; even suffer a bit, if but for their own good.  The rightness of these beliefs are self-evident, even filtered through third hand delivery systems tracing back to the great thinkers who lay prone in the bell towers of the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, as they adjust their scopes on their oblivious targets, bustling about on the quad below.

Meanwhile our captains are lifting foreign workers out of their poverty, providing jobs, feeding their families, providing goods and services to the next emerging market, raising mankind.  They’ve suffered some minor setbacks lately. Plant explosions for one, and BTW, worker suicides are up.  Working conditions are beside the point.  These kamakazi workers are merely trying to cash in on the deep pockets of their employers.  Diving from company rooftops to oblivion never looked so inviting, when hope has faded.  These free-loaders are merely cashing in.  The obvious solution is to install “suicide nets” in strategic places.  Then have worker-bees sign anti-suicide pacts with the company.  Always think PR.  Control the press, spin the discussion, and the collective amnesia of the masses will do the rest.  Above all keep the production lines operating.  If things continue to fall apart, we’ll move operations to an even more bereft corner of the world, where they’ll open their hearts and minds to the magic of our Capital.

In some ways it’s easier to accomplish now.  That sense of desperation can swing both ways.  It can work for us captain, or it can swing the other way.  Jobs.  Carrot?  Or Stick?  No matter.  When they’re hungry and cold they’ll see the logic.  Docility can come from desperation or from hunger.  Weak body, weak mind.  You get the picture.  I think we can make this work.  As long as things don’t continue to fall apart.  As long as all we captains stick together.  Stick to the script.  Deserters will be shot.

This essay was written in response to a discussion I had last night with an expat businessman who thought parroting the rhetoric of Heritage and Cato, (even filtered through his third generation sources), is the balm the nation and the world needs now, if only the blind would see, and the deaf open their ears.  My thinking is further influenced the Matthew Stoller’s excellent essay.  In Stoller’s own closing words:

“One day a chunk of the elites will break away from this consensus, as the system experiences a breakdown that is so severe it threatens the interests of a powerful constituency group. For now, we will be watching the embers.”

Cross-posted at my blog.