Posted by: JDM..... | January 26, 2013

“Occupying” the power of wealth….

……while the wealth of power feeds unhampered….

Occupiers are the government’s BFFs. They divert attention from the real problem by beating up on “Corporate Greed”. Very rarely, however, does anything actually change, at least anything of substance. That’s because the root of the issues that so annoy the painters of placards and city park campers is the marriage between government and the corporate straw men, not the straw men.

Every once in a while somebody screws up, as with the recent banking sector scandal over fiscal bungee jumping with risky investments, and “Big Government” rides in on its horse’s ass to save the day. When the crisis cools down and the passions wane, life returns to normal. Congress sits, Nero fiddles, people bitch about the costs of living, and the elite of the economic dimension navigate their yachts through the complex seas of regulatory sleight of hand that keeps them afloat. It’s a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” world out there.

Yet, the “Occupiers”, et al, launch their bile at Big Business and demand that government “fix” it. Whatever the hell “it” is. In typical Human Nature format, the objectors extrapolate to include all above a certain income level as being guilty by association, conveniently pigeon-holing the assumed pariahs into a percentage-defined population. Endowments be damned, full scream ahead.

If the “Occupiers” are serious about trying to change what they see as an artificially skewed distribution of wealth, instead of just redistributing it for redistribution’s sake (and, according to their preferences, of course), they should abandon Wall Street and set up camp at KOA Washington, DC. Without the impossibly complicated tangle of government regulations that has developed, businesses would have to compete on a natural playing field of hills and valleys where success would depend more on what someone knew and how they applied that knowledge rather than on who one knows in high places and how much handicapping takes place on the Federal links.

People love to hate Big Business for greasing palms, yet they expect the palms to fix the problem. How naive. .

They think expanded government will create equity. What expanded government creates is government jobs first, illusions of equity, second, and perpetual illicit affairs with the deepest pockets, third, to keep the whole thing running smoothly.

This is nothing new, though we like to believe the American Dream is a “new” concept in substance as well as in name, and we like to think we invented everything. History is a continuum of inequity, with various entities struggling for advantage and control. One can no more repeal the laws of nature, be they of human nature or otherwise, than one can repeal the laws of physics. One can learn to work within those parameters, but neither emend nor eliminate them. Mankind learned to fly by working with nature and the laws of physics, not by changing them. Likewise, only by gaining an understanding of how we “tick” and by applying that knowledge appropriately can we achieve our goals to the extent that they can be achieved.

That means that the allegorical goal of a chicken in every pot does not literally describe a circumstance where every home is provided with a dead chicken, a pot, a stove to cook on, and a house to put the stove in, and so forth. Fighting hunger, poverty, and all of the unpleasant things that go along with those conditions is a desirable and laudable endeavor, but when government becomes enmeshed in the creation and management of “programs” theoretically designed to turn the allegory into reality, what actually emerges is a huge sub-government industry whose primary purpose is to grow.

It creates alliances and regulations to manipulate the flow of wealth and power through the society. Unless the extremes of such an economy are carefully husbanded, the poor and the super rich, the entire system would collapse.

In other words, the well intentioned, such as the “Occupiers”, expect those pushing the buttons of this lucrative enterprise to self destruct by eliminating poverty and extreme wealth.

Cultures have always addressed the problem of disabled or inadequate members of their communities. Chicken, allegorically speaking, has almost always been made available to the unfortunate and unable. The tendency over the last half century, however, has been to move towards serving the “chicken” on bone china with crystal goblets of cheap soda, while creating an expanding universe of “Special Interest” populations qualified to partake of the repast, each with its own dedicated bureaucracy.

Government is highly unlikely to discipline “Big Business”, folks. Government IS Big Business.

We love to invoke the Founding Fathers and romanticize the events that eventually culminated in the American Revolution, but rarely do we take enough time to ponder the parallels that can be drawn between those times and the present.

I have often wondered how, beyond the traditionally taught observations and interpretations of history, certain conditions could have developed to the point that the only way to survive was to escape, rebel, or vanquish one’s supposed caretakers. Unholy alliances have always existed in human society, and those who survived did so either by becoming a part of the controlling factions or by splitting from them. Kings and Emperors became such because of their alliances, and the lower echelons survived by establishing a certain amount of dependency on those who essentially farmed them like livestock. Balance was possible only as long as the one in power remained benevolent, which normally has been for a rather brief period. The ruler either tends to become self absorbed or is deposed by someone else coveting his power. As long as the ordinary ranks are fed and relatively content, however, complaints are minimal.

Today is no different, except we no longer have the clearly defined nobility and tiered classes that existed in the days of knights and barons. The process itself, however, has not changed one whit. Those vying for the power of wealth and the wealth of power utilize familiar mechanisms and processes.

The occupiers are correct in one sense anyway. The relative stability and balance has been lost or is in the process of being lost, and for the same reasons they have always been lost: Those in positions of power have established an elite ruling class. They have experienced the power, achieved wealth, and realized that power itself is perhaps the ultimate currency. But it is not the icons of business and enterprise that have enjoyed this epiphany. Their wealth and their power have generally been created, and their alliances have grown as a byproduct. The power and wealth of those who have become enamored of the wealth of power have created nothing except alliances, with wealth and power being the byproducts. They like it. They want more. But, unlike those they would like to capture and supplant, they produce nothing independently. They, ironically, are dependent upon those the “Occupiers” see as the core of the problem, Big Business, and industry. Government must either accept that dependency, or conquer the source of their wealth driven power in order to protect their wealth of power.

The true generators of this imbalance and discord are not sitting in gilded offices on Wall Street. They are sitting in publicly erected and publicly owned showplaces, collecting publicly financed salaries and benefits, broadening and expanding their power over the comings and goings of those who produce the wherewithal of those salaries and benefits, and encouraging unholy alliances with the most capable and driven of them to improve their own lot.

The die is cast, as the old saying goes. It would be nice if we could change something in the formula that allows this cycle to perpetuate, and we have come close. It would take some serious tweaking to put us back on course. My guess is that the school children of the future will study either the unprecedented transition of an emerging democratic oligarchy into a free market driven economy held together by a voluntary alliance of state-like entities, which is in turn protected by a limited central government that essentially has no authority over them, or they will simply learn the story of yet another empire that destroyed itself from within through its own excesses and self-absorption.


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