HOW PLUTOCRACY IS BORN.
December 23, 2007.
“The Economist” published an article criticizing Paul Krugman, and claiming instead that: “The very rich are not that different from you and me; or less different, perhaps, than they used to be.” Krugman has been observing what all the percentage charts on how riches are spread out indicate: a recent, increasing, dramatic, imbalance in the USA.
In its counterattack, “The Economist” launches on a red herring, and rides it to hell in reverence to their subterranean God and provider, Pluto. Their big counter argument is purely materialistic: that a small TV and a big TV are still showing the same show. But, similarly, “The Economist” could have observed that a small pail for a denizen of the vulgum and a huge gilded bath for Nero were still baths, containing the same chemical, water. Fair enough: “The Economist” knows how to sound deep and precise to mesmerize the naive. And to be totally irrelevant to the problem at hand, which is whether the USA is turning into a plutocracy.
The point about INEQUALITY OF RICHES, indeed, was that NERO LED ROME BY THE NOSE, and the Populus Romanus did NOT. Rome was born a half democracy, but by the time the Rich had got immensely rich, lo and behold, the poor had lost CONTROL NOT JUST OF ITS MATERIAL WEALTH, BUT, OUTRIGHT, OF ITS DESTINY. That is what a pluto-cracy is: the rich-commands. The Roman Rich decided to go do wars in foreign lands, conquer, kill the natives, and exploit the survivors. For example, the Roman Rich ended up attacking not just Gaul, but Iraq (then called Mesopotamia). Wars of choice against foreign countries don’t just bring the spoils, they keep the fascism up. By definition fascism is the mental submission of the many to the very few, and is the natural mindset aristocracy, oligarchy, or plutocracy need.
In other words, although “The Economist” would like us to forget this, there are OTHER, MORE IMPORTANT types of inequalities than just wealth and income. Wealth and income LEAD to these more fundamental inequalities. And a few inequities besides. For example, in the USA, the rich can pay to get out of a jail, while his less fortunate co-defendant will stay emprisoned (under the exact same charge, and it could be murder). US citizens have been imprinted to find this fair, and are unaware that this is a manifestation of plutocracy. In the USA, literally, the rich can get away with murder.
Primate societies are organized by inequality, and the human ones are no exception. Such inequalities are not about who has the most wealth. There is no wealth among monkeys. Instead PRIMATE INEQUALITY IS ABOUT WHO COMMANDS AND ENJOYS RESPECT. The Bush family got away from using Auschwitz slave labor to build its own wealth, and every day they enjoy the intense fear and respect which makes 300 millions US citizens terrorized by just the evocation of such a drastic fact.
The US oligarchy decided to go invade the Middle East, to go get itself some oil, and made it so. What the US population truly wanted there was irrelevant. The US population was made to have the emotions and the ideas the US Rich wanted it to exhibit. Rich US citizens can program at will the emotions of their sheep; they own the media, and the data, and the hearts. (”The Economist” is also mesmerized by the Rich, such is its profession: it’s completely dependent upon seducing the wealthy, which it does by presenting as gifts ideas that the wealthy can sometimes use to justify its rule).
So what matters is not so much income and material wealth inequality (as The Economist harps on in a diversionary tactics), but the fact that, in some conditions, in some doomed countries, a state of plutocracy is fatally entered: then the RICH COMMANDS, THE POOR OBEYS. the Rich does not just command bodies, but minds. Thus once entered, plutocracy is not easily exited: the minds are made.
Besides old Rome, Russia is an example of the stickiness of plutocracy. Russia was a plutocracy for so many centuries that, when Lenin and company came into power, all the structures of mental submission, which were deeply anchored in the Russian psyche, kept on going, and so Russia submitted to the Red Terror for the same reasons, and in the same ways as it had submitted to the White Terror before. After parliamentary democracy came, those mental structures of submission were still in place, and Russia submitted to the instantly made oligarchs. Russia was anxious to submit… (Putin and his friends have argued this to some extent, to justify their own muscular rule: since Russia wants to be dominated, it may as well be Putin, who has its interest at heart, so he says.)
In the USA, the university system has become a device for the Rich (a source of servants, a way to network the Rich with itself). Even “The Economist” begrudgingly has admitted this more than once (even running a cover story on it).
There is a built-in reason for increasing disparity in wealth, which has to do with the nature of the exponential function. That is why the “death tax” was invented, sometimes back in the neolithic; it curbs the transgenerational build up of wealth (of the sort which converted Rome into a plutocracy).
Everything indicates that the USA is not far from the plutocratic stage. The control of the popular assembly (”Congress”) by the supposed opposition changed nothing with respect to the most major US policies. An examination of who leads the opposition shows why the Rich are well in control. And so on. Plutocracy was the cause of the “Decline and Fall” of Rome (Gibbons correctly accused Christianity, but Christianity itself was a consequence of fascism, itself a consequence of plutocracy). The reasons for Rome’s downfall are very deep, and would apply just the same to the USA.
Patrice Ayme, 12/23/07.