class war

This Week In Doom, July 8


That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on July 8, 2018

“The world that you see is being configured to a probable reality that you haven’t yet chosen.”

 ― Douglas Rushkoff  


What occasioned some collapse-related noise this week on the Diner Forum was an article penned by Douglas Rushkoff entitled, Survival of the Richest–The wealthy are plotting to leave us behind. Worth a peek.

Rushkoff is a writer, documentarian, and lecturer whose work focuses on human autonomy in the digital age.  (See his website. ) He had been invited to an exclusive resort to deliver a keynote speech to investment bankers on the subject of “the future of technology.” The fee was un-turn-down-able for a university professor–he described it as  "about half his annual professor’s salary ."

After he arrived, he was ushered into a room he thought might have been the green room, but was instead the setting for him to meet his REAL audience: five super-wealthy hedge fund bankers with questions of their own.

Which region will be less impacted by the coming climate crisis: New Zealand or Alaska? Is Google really building Ray Kurzweil a home for his brain, and will his consciousness live through the transition, or will it die and be reborn as a whole new one? Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked, “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?”

The Event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, unstoppable virus, or Mr. Robot hack that takes everything down.

This single question occupied us for the rest of the hour. They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once money was worthless?

Yes, the rich are different from you and me. They have private security. Plus they know we're doomed and have absolutely no intention of doing anything aside from saving their own skins. This should surprise no one. For them, a "talk about the future of technology" is really about

…preparing for a digital future that had a whole lot less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether and insulating themselves from a very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic, and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is really about just one thing: escape. 

There was a time within recent memory when the future seemed inventable and accessible, in Rushkoff's words, " a playground for the counterculture, who saw in it the opportunity to create a more inclusive, distributed, and pro-human future." Now, when Elon Musk is launching cars into space, Peter Thiel reversing aging, or Ray Kurzweil uploading his mind, they saw a digital future with far less to do with making the world a better place than with transcending the human condition altogether.

It's been obvious for years that our technology has far outstripped our ethics, this since the moment the Enola Gay released her cargo. At a time when everything that can be commoditized will be, and all transactions, including moral, ethical, and spiritual, are filtered through the logic of the spreadsheet, we should expect nothing else.

Now we wrestle with the ethical dilemmas presented by unchecked technological development at the behest of corporate capitalism. Dreamed-of digital utopias have waxed into marketplaces that have become exploitative and extractive. Bots and algorithms, and even conversations overheard by your cell phone prompt offers of new deals just over the digital horizon. Workplaces for suppliers become increasingly dehumanized and automated (think Amazon). We collectively wring our hands with each story about jobs lost, exploitations of the gig economy, and collapse of local retail. And tthose about the rest of the world, where we export our trash and poisons, create toxic waste dumps in third world countries picked over by peasant children and their families, who sell recovered materials back to the manufacturers. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Our extractive culture exports our problems: out of sight, out of mind. And once out of sight, we escape to fantasies afforded by new tech baubles and toys– VR fantasy worlds, shooter games, movie franchises based on comic heroes and 3D animation, zombie apocalypses, and so on. The zeitgiest is fairly shrieking at us. Ours is the logic of the junkie: we believe that the next tech fix is just around the corner.

When the hedge funders asked Rushkoff how to best maintain authority over their security forces after “the event,” He suggested should treat those people really well, right now, engage with their security staffs as they would family members. And extend an "ethos of inclusivity" to  business practices, supply chain management, sustainability efforts, and wealth distribution…

They were amused by my optimism, but they didn’t really buy it. They were not interested in how to avoid a calamity; they’re convinced we are too far gone. For all their wealth and power, they don’t believe they can affect the future. They are simply accepting the darkest of all scenarios and then bringing whatever money and technology they can employ to insulate themselves.

We should take them at their word.


Short takes:

EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigns amid scandals, blames critics 

Pruitt's 14 scandal investigations finally became too much of a burden even for The Orange Lout to take, and Pruitt did an el-foldo, blaming everyone else on the way out the door. Crying the obligatory "witch-hunt," and pour everyone a round. Pruitt's successor promises to be Pruitt without the serial grifts.

China and Russia hit back at Trump tariffs

45 launched his "easy-to-win" trade war this week. China's commerce ministry lodged a new complaint with the WTO. Russia announced extra duties on US imports in retaliation. Beijing accused the US of starting the "largest trade war in economic history". Evidence mounts that Trump's trade fights will be most harmful to the people who voted for him, especially in states with large exports of soy.

It Was Absurdly Hot in North Africa Thursday

The entire globe is in the grips of an unusual heat wave. Following sweltering temperatures in the U.S. and a hot, smoky Siberia (with temps above 90 degrees F at the Arctic Circle), we have what may be the hottest temperatures ever recorded in Africa. The heat dome over Algeria and the rest of North Africa was “3.5 to 4 standard deviations from normal, meaning highly unusual.”

Intense heat wave shattering temperature records in Iran and the Caucasus

An intense heat wave has shattered temperature records in Iran and the Caucasus nations of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia, causing power shortages. Weather experts said the heat wave is the result of a high-pressure dome that formed over the Eurasian region and reaches as far north as southern Russia.


Surly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.

Christmas Truce of 1914

Off the keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci

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Published on Land Destroyer on December 24, 2014

ChristmasTruceW-1024x769

Discuss this article at the History Table inside the Diner

The Christmas Truce of 1914 – Pinhole of Light Among a Nightmare of Madness

December 24, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) In the end, we have more in common with the furthest flung foreign common man than the closest corporate-fascist that presumes dominion over our lives.During the early 1900’s, Europe was locked in the first World War. Millions would perish – tens of thousands in a single day. On one brief occasion, a pinhole of light shined through this utter madness, revealing the truth of this man-made nightmare. The men in the trenches were being driven toward each other, not by some irreconcilable difference they had with one another, but by the greed of those ruling elite residing in their respective homelands.

If only the British and Germans realized it was the greed of their own banking houses and industrialists that had them in the trenches and not some irreconcilable difference amongst themselves…

Knowledge is power, ignorance literally can mean death. When will we start being leaders in our homes, communities, counties, and provinces – driving our own destiny rather than being driven? Shall we look upon the Christmas Truce of 1914 with wonder a century on, or look toward it as evidence something was and still is tragically wrong with human civilization and work this next year with renewed vigor to resolve it?

Naming Names: Your Real Government

When dark deeds unfold, point the finger in this direction.
by Tony CartalucciThis is your real government; they transcend elected administrations, they permeate every political party, and they are responsible for nearly every aspect of the average American and European’s way of life. When the “left” is carrying the torch for two “Neo-Con” wars, starting yet another based on the same lies, peddled by the same media outlets that told of Iraqi WMD’s, the world has no choice, beyond profound cognitive dissonance, but to realize something is wrong.What’s wrong is a system completely controlled by a corporate-financier oligarchy with financial, media, and industrial empires that span the globe. If we do not change the fact that we are helplessly dependent on these corporations that regulate every aspect of our nation politically, and every aspect of our lives personally, nothing else will ever change.The following list, however extensive, is by far not all-inclusive. However after these examples, a pattern should become self-evident with the same names and corporations being listed again and again. It should be self-evident to readers of how dangerously pervasive these corporations have become in our daily lives. Finally, it should be self-evident as to how necessary it is to excise these corporations from our lives, our communities, and ultimately our nations, with the utmost expediency.International Crisis Group
www.crisisgroup.orgBackground: While the International Crisis Group (ICG) claims to be “committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict,” the reality is that they are committed to offering solutions crafted well in advance to problems they themselves have created in order to perpetuate their own corporate agenda.

Nowhere can this be better illustrated than in Thailand and more recently in Egypt. ICG member Kenneth Adelman had been backing Thailand’s Prime Minster Thaksin Shinwatra, a former Carlyle Group adviser who was was literally standing in front of the CFR in NYC on the eve of his ousting from power in a 2006 military coup. Since 2006, Thaksin’s meddling in Thailand has been propped up by fellow Carlyle man James Baker and his Baker Botts law firm, Belfer Center adviser Robert Blackwill of Barbour Griffith & Rogers, and now Robert Amsterdam’s Amsterdam & Peroff, a major corporate member of the globalist Chatham House.

With Thailand now mired in political turmoil led by Thaksin Shinwatra and his “red shirt” color revolution, the ICG is ready with “solutions” in hand. These solutions generally involve tying the Thai government’s hands with arguments that stopping Thaksin’s subversive activities amounts to human rights abuses, in hopes of allowing the globalist-backed revolution to swell beyond control.

The unrest in Egypt, of course, was led entirely by ICG member Mohamed ElBaradei and his US State Department recruited, funded, and supported April 6 Youth Movement coordinated by Google’s Wael Ghonim. While the unrest was portrayed as being spontaneous, fueled by the earlier Tunisian uprising, ICG’s ElBaradei, Ghonim, and their youth movement had been in Egypt since 2010 assembling their “National Front for Change” and laying the groundwork for the January 25th 2011 uprising.

ICG’s George Soros would then go on to fund Egyptian NGOs working to rewrite the Egyptian constitution after front-man ElBaradei succeeded in removing Hosni Mubarak. This Soros-funded constitution and the resulting servile stooge government it would create represents the ICG “resolving” the crisis their own ElBaradei helped create.

Notable ICG Board Members:

George Soros
Kenneth Adelman
Samuel Berger
Wesley Clark
Mohamed ElBaradei
Carla Hills

Notable ICG Advisers:

Richard Armitage
Zbigniew Brzezinski
Stanley Fischer
Shimon Peres
Surin Pitsuwan
Fidel V. Ramos

Notable ICG Foundation & Corporate Supporters:

Carnegie Corporation of New York
Hunt Alternatives Fund
Open Society Institute
Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Morgan Stanley
Deutsche Bank Group
Soros Fund Management LLC
McKinsey & Company
Chevron
Shell

Brookings Institutewww.brookings.edu

Background: Within the library of the Brookings Institute you will find the blueprints for nearly every conflict the West has been involved with in recent memory. What’s more is that while the public seems to think these crises spring up like wildfires, those following the Brookings’ corporate funded studies and publications see these crises coming years in advance. These are premeditated, meticulously planned conflicts that are triggered to usher in premeditated, meticulously planned solutions to advance Brookings’ corporate supporters, who are numerous.

The ongoing operations against Iran, including US-backed color revolutions, US-trained and backed terrorists inside Iran, and crippling sanctions were all spelled out in excruciating detail in the Brookings Institute report, “Which Path to Persia?” The more recent UN Security Council resolution 1973 regarding Libya uncannily resembles Kenneth Pollack’s March 9, 2011 Brookings report titled “The Real Military Options in Libya.”

Notable Brookings Board Members:

Dominic Barton: McKinsey & Company, Inc.
Alan R. Batkin: Eton Park Capital Management
Richard C. Blum: Blum Capital Partners, LP
Abby Joseph Cohen: Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Suzanne Nora Johnson: Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
Richard A. Kimball Jr.: Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Tracy R. Wolstencroft: Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Paul Desmarais Jr.: Power Corporation of Canada
Kenneth M. Duberstein: The Duberstein Group, Inc.
Benjamin R. Jacobs: The JBG Companies
Nemir Kirdar: Investcorp
Klaus Kleinfeld: Alcoa, Inc.
Philip H. Knight: Nike, Inc.
David M. Rubenstein: Co-Founder of The Carlyle Group
Sheryl K. Sandberg: Facebook
Larry D. Thompson: PepsiCo, Inc.
Michael L. Tipsord: State Farm Insurance Companies
Andrew H. Tisch: Loews Corporation

Some Brookings Experts:
(click on names to see a list of recent writings.)

Kenneth Pollack
Daniel L. Byman
Martin Indyk
Suzanne Maloney
Michael E. O’Hanlon
Bruce Riedel
Shadi Hamid

Notable Brookings Foundation and Corporate Support:

Foundations & Governments

Ford Foundation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation
Government of the United Arab Emirates
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Banking & Finance

Bank of America
Citi
Goldman Sachs
H&R Block
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
Jacob Rothschild
Nathaniel Rothschild
Standard Chartered Bank
Temasek Holdings Limited
Visa Inc.

Big Oil

Exxon Mobil Corporation
Chevron
Shell Oil Company

Military Industrial Complex & Industry

Daimler
General Dynamics Corporation
Lockheed Martin Corporation
Northrop Grumman Corporation
Siemens Corporation
The Boeing Company
General Electric Company
Westinghouse Electric Corporation
Raytheon Co.
Hitachi, Ltd.
Toyota

Telecommunications & Technology

AT&T
Google Corporation
Hewlett-Packard
Microsoft Corporation
Panasonic Corporation
Verizon Communications
Xerox Corporation
Skype

Media & Perception Management

McKinsey & Company, Inc.
News Corporation (Fox News)

Consumer Goods & Pharmaceutical

GlaxoSmithKline
Target
PepsiCo, Inc.
The Coca-Cola Company

Council on Foreign Relations
www.cfr.org

Background & Notable Membership: A better question would be, who isn’t in the Council on Foreign Relations? Nearly every self-serving career politician, their advisers, and those populating the boards of the Fortune 500 are CFR members. Many of the books, magazine articles, and newspaper columns we read are written by CFR members, along with reports, similar to Brookings Institute that dictate, verbatim, the legislation that ends up before the West’s lawmakers.

A good sampling of the most active wings of the CFR can be illustrated best in last year’s “Ground Zero Mosque” hoax, where CFR members from both America’s political right and left feigned a heated debate over New York City’s so-called Cordoba House near the 3 felled World Trade Center buildings. In reality, the Cordoba House was established by fellow CFR member Feisal Abdul Rauf, who in turn was funded by CFR financing arms including the Carnegie Corporation of New York, chaired by 9/11 Commission head Thomas Kean, and various Rockefeller foundations.

Notable CFR Corporate Support:

Banking & Finance

Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
JPMorgan Chase & Co
American Express
Barclays Capital
Citi
Morgan Stanley
Blackstone Group L.P.
Deutsche Bank AG
New York Life International, Inc.
Prudential Financial
Standard & Poor’s
Rothschild North America, Inc.
Visa Inc.
Soros Fund Management
Standard Chartered Bank
Bank of New York Mellon Corporation
Veritas Capital LLC
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
Moody’s Investors Service

Big Oil

Chevron Corporation
Exxon Mobil Corporation
BP p.l.c.
Shell Oil Company
Hess Corporation
ConocoPhillips Company
TOTAL S.A.
Marathon Oil Company
Aramco Services Company

Military Industrial Complex & Industry

Lockheed Martin Corporation
Airbus Americas, Inc.
Boeing Company,
DynCorp International
General Electric Company
Northrop Grumman
Raytheon Company
Hitachi, Ltd.
Caterpillar
BASF Corporation
Alcoa, Inc.

Public Relations, Lobbyists & Legal Firms

McKinsey & Company, Inc.
Omnicom Group Inc.
BGR Group

Corporate Media & Publishing

Bloomberg
Economist Intelligence Unit
News Corporation (Fox News)
Thomson Reuters
Time Warner Inc.
McGraw-Hill Companies

Consumer Goods

Walmart
Nike, Inc.
Coca-Cola Company
PepsiCo, Inc.
HP
Toyota Motor North America, Inc.
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.
De Beers

Telecommunications & Technology

AT&T
Google, Inc.
IBM Corporation
Microsoft Corporation
Sony Corporation of America
Xerox Corporation
Verizon Communications

Pharmaceutical Industry

GlaxoSmithKline
Merck & Co., Inc.
Pfizer Inc.


The Chatham House
www.chathamhouse.org.uk

Background & Membership: The UK’s Chatham House, like the CFR and the Brookings Institute in America, has an extensive membership and is involved in coordinated planning, perception management, and the execution of its corporate membership’s collective agenda.

Individual members populating its “senior panel of advisers” consist of the founders, CEOs, and chairmen of the Chatham House’s corporate membership. Chatham’s “experts” are generally plucked from the world of academia and their “recent publications” are generally used internally as well as published throughout Chatham’s extensive list of member media corporations, as well as industry journals and medical journals. That Chatham House “experts” are submitting entries to medical journals is particularly alarming considering GlaxoSmithKline and Merck are both Chatham House corporate members.

No better example of this incredible conflict of interest can be given than the current Thai “red” color revolution being led by Chatham House’s Amsterdam & Peroff with consistent support lent by other corporate members including the Economist, the Telegraph and the BBC.

In one case, the Telegraph printed, “Thai protests – analysis by Dr Gareth Price and Rosheen Kabraji,” within which Price and Kabraji make a shameless attempt at defending the Western-backed, Maoist themed, violent protests. While the Telegraph mentioned that Price and Kabraji were both analysts for the Chatham House, they failed to tell readers that the Telegraph itself retains a corporate membership within the Chatham House as does the Thai protest leader’s lobbyist, Robert Amsterdam and his Amsterdam & Peroff lobbying firm.

Notable Chatham House Major Corporate Members:
Amsterdam & Peroff
BBC
Bloomberg
Coca-Cola Great Britain
Economist
GlaxoSmithKline
Goldman Sachs International
HSBC Holdings plc
Lockheed Martin UK
Merck & Co Inc
Mitsubishi Corporation
Morgan Stanley
Royal Bank of Scotland
Saudi Petroleum Overseas Ltd
Standard Bank London Limited
Standard Chartered Bank
Tesco
Thomson Reuter
United States of America Embassy
Vodafone Group

Notable Chatham House Standard Corporate Members:

Amnesty International
BASF
Boeing UK
CBS News
Daily Mail and General Trust plc
De Beers Group Services UK Ltd
G3 Good Governance Group
Google
Guardian
Hess Ltd
Lloyd’s of London
McGraw-Hill Companies
Prudential plc
Telegraph Media Group
Times Newspapers Ltd
World Bank Group

Notable Chatham House Corporate Partners:

British Petroleum
Chevron Ltd
Deutsche Bank
Exxon Mobil Corporation
Royal Dutch Shell
Statoil
Toshiba Corporation
Total Holdings UK Ltd
Unilever plc

Conclusion

These organizations represent the collective interests of the largest corporations on earth. They not only retain armies of policy wonks and researchers to articulate their agenda and form a consensus internally, but also use their massive accumulation of unwarranted influence in media, industry, and finance to manufacture a self-serving consensus internationally.

To believe that this corporate-financier oligarchy would subject their agenda and fate to the whims of the voting masses is naive at best. They have painstakingly ensured that no matter who gets into office, in whatever country, the guns, the oil, the wealth and the power keep flowing perpetually into their own hands. Nothing vindicates this poorly hidden reality better than a “liberal” Nobel Peace Prize wearing president, dutifully towing forward a myriad of “Neo-Con” wars, while starting yet another war in Libya.

Likewise, no matter how bloody your revolution is, if the above equation remains unchanged, and the corporate bottom lines left unscathed, nothing but the most superficial changes will have been made, and as is the case in Egypt with International Crisis Group stooge Mohamed ElBaradei worming his way into power, things may become substantially worse.

The real revolution will commence when we identify the above equation as the true brokers of power and when we begin systematically removing our dependence on them, and their influence on us from our daily lives. The global corporate-financier oligarchy needs us, we do not need them, independence from them is the key to our freedom.

For more information on alternative economics, getting self-sufficient and moving on without the parasitic, incompetent, globalist oligarchs:

The Lost Key to Real Revolution
Boycott the Globalists
Alternative Economics
Self-Sufficiency

Comes the Precariat

Off the keyboard of Surly1
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ccgallery_precariat

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on August 31, 2014

Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

 “The sooner we realize that we are locked in deadly warfare with our ruling, corporate elite, the sooner we will realize that these elites must be overthrown.”― Chris Hedges

 

Tomorrow, September 1 and Labor Day, will mark the second anniversary of the death of Margaret Mary Vojtko, an adjunct French professor who, at the age of 83, had recently lost her job at Duquesne University.  Ms. Vojtko suffered cardiac arrest on a street corner in Homestead, right outside of Pittsburgh,  yards from the house where she had lived almost her entire life. Rushed to the hospital, she never regained consciousness. Vojtko was an adjunct professor of languages who, after decades of service, found out that her appointment would not be renewed. After decades of toiling in academic insecurity, she was unceremoniously dumped.

Vojtko was a member of the precariat. Most likely, so are you.

When the story moved, I took notice, as I had graduated Duquesne,  in days lost in the mists of the Anthropocene. Two and a half weeks later, Vojtko’s lawyer, Daniel Kovalik, published an op-ed about Vojtko called “Death of an Adjunct” in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In it, he noted

Margaret Mary was an adjunct professor, meaning that, unlike a well-paid tenured professor, Margaret Mary worked on a contract basis from semester to semester, with no job security, no benefits and with a salary of between $3,000 and just over $3,500 per three-credit course. Adjuncts now make up well over 50 percent of the faculty at colleges and universities.

While adjuncts at Duquesne overwhelmingly voted to join the United Steelworkers union a year ago, Duquesne has fought unionization, claiming that it should have a religious exemption. Duquesne has claimed that the unionization of adjuncts like Margaret Mary would somehow interfere with its mission to inculcate Catholic values among its students.

0 interest in people

One thinks that Duquesne might have a better case arguing against contraceptive benefits for workers than against unionization on the basis of religious belief, but I will leave that one for the Holy Ghost Fathers (who operate Duquesne) to sort out. The following February, in remarks given by Noam Chomsky to a gathering of members and allies of said Adjunct Faculty Association of the United Steelworkers in Pittsburgh,  he explained how the adjunct professor’s death was, at least in part, a direct consequence of what passes for economic policy in the Fascist States of America:

That’s part of the business model. It’s the same as hiring temps in industry or what they call “associates” at Wal-Mart, employees that aren’t owed benefits. It’s a part of a  corporate business model designed to reduce labor costs and to increase labor servility. When universities become corporatized, as has been happening quite systematically over the last generation as part of the general neoliberal assault on the population, their business model means that what matters is the bottom line. The effective owners are the trustees (or the legislature, in the case of state universities), and they want to keep costs down and make sure that labor is docile and obedient. The way to do that is, essentially, temps. Just as the hiring of temps has gone way up in the neoliberal period, you’re getting the same phenomenon in the universities. The idea is to divide society into two groups. One group is sometimes called the “plutonomy” (a term used by Citibank when they were advising their investors on where to invest their funds), the top sector of wealth, globally but concentrated mostly in places like the United States. The other group, the rest of the population, is a “precariat,” living a precarious existence.

It’s too late for Margaret Mary Vojtko, but it’s not too late for the rest of us. Back in the day, when Alan Greenspan was “St. Alan,” chairman of the Federal Reserve and widely regarded as a seer more gifted than the Oracle at Delphi, he gave a speech, the remarks of which you can find here, and which Chomsky characterized:

 

 

 

When Alan Greenspan was testifying before Congress in 1997 on the marvels of the economy he was running, he said straight out that one of the bases for its economic success was imposing what he called “greater worker insecurity.” If workers are more insecure, that’s very “healthy” for the society, because if workers are insecure they won’t ask for wages, they won’t go on strike, they won’t call for benefits; they’ll serve the masters gladly and passively. And that’s optimal for corporations’ economic health. . . how do you ensure “greater worker insecurity”? Crucially, by not guaranteeing employment, by keeping people hanging on a limb than can be sawed off at any time, so that they’d better shut up, take tiny salaries, and do their work; and if they get the gift of being allowed to serve under miserable conditions for another year, they should welcome it and not ask for any more. That’s the way you keep societies efficient and healthy from the point of view of the corporations. And as universities move towards a corporate business model, precarity is exactly what is being imposed. And we’ll see more and more of it.

 

And that has been policy. Citibank, they of the serial taxpayer bailouts, had a very clear idea of where such policy was steering the economy, and advised investors accordingly. Citi’s 2005 brochure for investors called “Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances,” urged investors to put money into a “plutonomy index.” The brochure says, “The World is dividing into two blocs — the Plutonomy and the rest.”  It was, of course, one thing for Citibank to say this quietly to investors, but when the general public caught on to the news, six years later and Occupy took to the streets to say the very same thing, they got a face full of pepper spray and mass arrests for their trouble.

Class-war-ahead

So what did Citi’s crystal ball tell its investors in 2005? You missed this:

What are the common drivers of Plutonomy?

1) Disruptive technology-driven productivity gains, creative financial innovation, capitalist-friendly cooperative governments, an international dimension of immigrants and overseas conquests invigorating wealth creation, the rule of law, and patenting inventions. Often these wealth waves involve great complexity, exploited best by the rich and educated of the time.

2) We project that the plutonomies (the U.S., UK, and Canada) will likely see even more income inequality, disproportionately feeding off a further rise in the profit share in their economies, capitalist-friendly governments, more technology-driven productivity, and globalization.

3) Most “Global Imbalances” (high current account deficits and low savings rates, high consumer debt levels in the Anglo-Saxon world, etc) that continue to (unprofitably) preoccupy the world’s intelligentsia look a lot less threatening when examined through theprism of plutonomy. The risk premium on equities that might derive from the dyspeptic “global imbalance” school is unwarranted – the earth is not going to be shaken off its axis, and sucked into the cosmos by these “imbalances”. The earth is being held up by the muscular arms of its entrepreneur-plutocrats, like it, or not.

precariat1

Somewhere in Hell, Ayn Rand is smiling. How deeply comforting it must have been to receive this brochure in 2005 and read these words cosseting the “rich and educated” who would be reaping their just rewards as a result of the system in which they were savvy enough to invest. Christopaths like Joel Osteen call this sort of thing a “blessing.” Others call it a reason to put heads on pikes.

The hard work of generations of plutocrats, and the investments of right wing financiers and public policy have borne a toxic and remarkably abundant fruit. And here it is for your consumption, citizen, in this survey conducted by Rutgers:  “Unhappy, Worried and Pessimistic: Americans in the Aftermath of the Great Recession.” The summary: “The protracted and uneven recovery from the Great Recession has led most Americans to conclude that the US economy has undergone a permanent change for the worse, according to a new national study. Seven in 10 now say the recession’s impact is permanent, up from half in 2009 when the recession officially ended.”

Key findings include:

  • Despite sustained job growth and lower levels of employment, most Americans do not think the economy has improved in the last year or that it will in the next.

  • Just one in six Americans believe that job opportunities for the next generation will be better than for theirs; five years ago, four in 10 held that view.

  • Roughly four in five Americans have little or no confidence that the federal government will make progress on the nation’s most important problems over the next year.

Much of the pessimism is rooted in direct experience, according … Professor Carl Van Horn, co-author of the report.

“Fully one-quarter of the public says there has been a major decline in their quality of life owing to the recession, and 42 percent say they have less in salary and savings than when the recession began,” Van Horn said. “Despite five years of recovery, sustained job growth and reductions in the number of unemployed workers, Americans are not convinced the economy is improving.

He added that only one in three thinks the U.S. economy has gotten better in the last year, one-quarter thinks it will improve next year and just one in six believe that job opportunities will be better for the next generation of American workers, down from four in 10 five years ago.

It would appear that John Q. has finally looked up from the Doritos and beer to become aware of what Citi investors knew and profited from a decade ago.  Occupy arose directly from revulsion at the corporatization of every aspect of life. The thought was to get people in the streets, the better to influence public opinion and policy.  But Occupiers got arrests, tear gas, pepper spray and the full priapic majesty of the State for their trouble.  We used to chant, “Whose streets? Our streets!” But, as events in Ferguson have clearly illustrated, the streets belong to the owners, whose militarized police express their will. As a means to influence policy, demonstration is not nearly as effective as the legalized bribery known as “campaign contributions” from corporate lobbyists. And with corporate unionization as a percentage of the total workforce now ticking away at all time lows, it remains instructive to see the contortions to which companies will go to prevent any sort of worker organization.
So on this Labor Day weekend, when the charlatans and frauds and hired prostitutes who slavishly do the bidding of their corporate paymasters prattle on about the evils of unionization, do not fail to remember that the one thing that capital fears more than anything is working people banding together to make common cause.
***

Surly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, articles and spittle-flecked invective on this site, and has been active in the Occupy movement. He shares a home in Southeastern Virginia with Contrary and is grateful that he is not yet fitted for a drool cup.

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