Austerity Is A Conspiracy By Those Who, Having All The Money, Want Us To Have None:
What do plutocrats want? In the common, all too restrictive sense of plutocracy as the “rule of money”, “plutocracy” is supposed to mean that plutocrats want their money to rule.
Yet, plutocracy is not just about money. Even if one starts with “money”, one ends up with much more. Indeed, money is power onto others. By establishing charities, foundations, political financing, and other networks of influence, plutocrats extent invisibly their power beyond the horizon, and below the ground.
However Homo Sapiens Sapiens not being made to be submitted to others “power”, we have there, in this will to quasi-infinite plutocratic power, a form of cruelty, not to say, mayhem. Power struggles kill, among chimpanzees.
Notice that, with chimpanzees, even the alpha male has very little power: as soon as three of his subordinates gang up against him, he is toast. The same holds with wolves, or lions.
But civilization is all about power. When only a few have its reins, they become like gods. At least in their minds, habits, ways, and means. That’s why plutocrats, their obsequious servants, and those they have hypnotized, worry so much about “us living within our means”.
A Few Guys Have ALL The Power, What Could Go Wrong?
Whereas a modern bureaucrat, like Eichmann, can send millions to death. Some will say the analogy is in poor taste. But not so. People such as Obama, Hollande, Putin, can literally launch actions that, in the worst possible case, could lead quickly to the death of billions (it takes just one 300 kiloton thermonuclear bomb to destroy most of any city on Earth).
I do believe that so much power, in so few hands, in so few brains, is not just immoral, but unwise. This makes civilization highly unstable.
However, a meta-discourse has been held, not just logically, but emotionally: it is OK to have so much power in so few hands.
Let’s put aside the main problem aside. The main problem being that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that Czar Putin, for example, has more power than all the Czars who existed before him, put together: it’s not just that Stalin, had no H bombs. Both him, and Brezhnev, were worried by the Politburo (their top communist colleagues). Putin, by comparison reigns on a coterie of obsequious plutocrats, anxious about Polonium in their tea, or homicide by heart attack.
Not that Putin needs to give a direct order. For someone who can roughly kill half of Chechnya, and then get away with offering luxury homes there to his gregarious friend the “star”, not to say czar, Depardieu (not prosecuted for war profiteering, whereas the French government prosecutes commoners for basically nothing, commonly), letting it known to its secret services subordinates that he would love it if contradictors could just vanish, is elementary.
An aside here: when top official of the Nazi administration asked Adolf Hitler directly whether there was a systematic policy in place for killing Jews, Adolf Hitler firmly denied there was. At the Wannsee Holocaust conference, top Nazis confronted SS General Heydrich, and told him that Hitler had personally told them that it was not the policy of the Reich to kill the Jews. And they felt sure that, should they ask Hitler that same question again Hitler would give the same answer.
To that Heydrich icily replied, with a thin smile: ”Of course, he will!”
The fundamental problem with the top Nazis was not that they had some very bad ideas, it was that they had too much power. That enormous power (greatly enabled by the dog-like submissivity of the average German at the time), led them in a quick succession of choices, ever more abysmal, starting in January 1933. (To this, as soon as 1933, the French and American Republics reacted by engaging in giant military spending to equip themselves for a world war; Poland and Britain, instead, reacted by becoming Hitler’s best friends. They would realize their mistake in 1939)
If A Few Guys Can Fry Us All, Why Can’t They Own Us?
If it’s OK to risk thermonuclear Armageddon with a few morons in control (for vicious moron, consider Putin), why is it not OK to risk an economic apocalypse, let alone a climate apocalypse, with even more morons in control?
Is it not more. democratic? If Obama has too much power, does not giving ever more power to the Koch Brother, Bill Gates, and the Z guy from Facebook counterbalance that?
In any case, bleat the sheep, if plutocrats have all the power, they take all the decisions, and we can rest.
So, indeed, we have to ask again, what do plutocrats want? What train of evolutionary thought do they come from?
Well, simply the cruel streak which leads to extermination. The main problem of man has been man. For millions of years, being the top predator.
Insane Austerity Is Plutocracy Under Another Name:
One of the appreciated commenters on this site, Chris Snuggs, made the observation that:
It is not “austerity for austerity’s sake”, Patrice. It is simply the principle of “living within one’s means”. NO COUNTRY IN EUROPE IS DOING THIS. The idea that “ending austerity” is the solution is risible leftist claptrap. It is the failure to live within our means that has led to this as politicians at all levels either bribe voters with the latters’ own money, or in the case especially of Italy and Greece simply steal it.
If it were just Italy and Greece, we would be safe. Stealing from politicians is a worldwide phenomenon.
The son of the preceding (“socialist”) president of Senegal, found himself with a fortune of more than a billion dollars. After a change of president, judges put him in jail, in the hope of finding out where the money came from. Senegal is one of the world’s poorest countries (having no resources of any sort, but for fish devoured by Korean factory ships, which, I am sure, paid very well; the fish came back after the new president asked the Koreans to pay, and the French empire lent a military jet which takes pictures).
“Living within our means” sounds good, but a sovereign country is not a family (contrarily to what Obama said).
The money within a country is not a store of value (only gold reserves are; most countries got rid of them). Instead, money enables the population to do a number of things. If there is not enough of money around, these things cannot be done.
Moreover, money, like blood, has to circulate.
However, it’s not doing that anymore, as the wealthiest store it, and have less use for it than the lower classes.
How Not To Live Within The Means Of the Wealthiest:
Take the case of France.
Suppose France borrowed a trillion Euros on the free market, at the present rate of less than 1%. Investors, in their despair, are ready to lend to France at that rate, on the ten year bond.
Such a borrowing would allow the government to augment enormously its spending: it could pay for the best universities in the world (as China is presently trying to do), it could finance all sorts of fundamental research, it could even fabricate large Thorium reactors, with the whole economy to go with them (mines in Brittany, U 233 breeders, etc.). Presto, no more energy and CO2 crisis, and reactors which could be sold worldwide.
The pessimist would bemoan that we cannot afford it.
Of course we can: it would cost, nothing.
Hopefully, inflation, over the next ten years, will be 1% per year, entirely cancelling the interest payments. Higher inflation, though, would devour the principal.
Is this all fancy? Today the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Britain’s finance and economy minister), G. Osborne, announced that Great Britain will, finally, reimburse its First World War debt. How? By borrowing at 4%, the lowest interest in Britain for a very long time.
Says Osborne: “This is a moment for Britain to be proud of. We can, at last, pay off the debts Britain incurred to fight the first world war. It is a sign of our fiscal credibility and it’s a good deal for this generation of taxpayers. It’s also another fitting way to remember that extraordinary sacrifice of the past.”
Actually it’s even better than that: some of the debt to be repaid comes from the Crimean War, the wars against revolutionary France, and even the South Sea Bubble (three centuries ago).
Borrowing Can Buy You The World:
As Dominique Deux, another esteemed commenter on this site, reminded me: “Britain did not get to be the world’s first industrial power by “living within her means” but by extensive long-term borrowing.”
It is even better than that: The Bank of England, the world’s first central bank, was created to support the Royal Navy. Basically, if the Navy needed money, the Bank would print it.
That was put to good use a century later. France was much larger economically, economically, not to say intellectually, than Britain, so fighting the French superpower seemed ridiculous. However, as France was in the way, this is exactly what Britain did in 1756-1815. Paying Prussia as an attack dog, creating a huge Navy, etc.
By borrowing extravagantly. So much borrowing that Britain won, but for the little problem of the French engineered creation of the American Republic (a foundation which proved the undoing of both France and Britain.)
To Make Money, Government Can Just Grab It From The Filthy Rich:
Famously, confronted to the invasion of Francia by the Arab, Syrian, Berber, and generally hysterically Muslim armies, and navies, in 721 CE, the Merovingian government of Prime Minister (and effective head of state) Charles Martel, just nationalized the Catholic Church, selling its precious metals, and stones.
That was a stroke of genius, as it defeated both Christianism and (what the Franks viewed as) its Islamist sect. (OK, it took a full generation of total war.)
That method is more available, the more plutocrats there are.
Osborne (out hero of the day, the conservative plutophile who heads things financial in the UK), spoke yesterday of introducing a “Google Tax” of 25%. Says the Guardian: “Responding to outrage about the minimal contributions big corporations make to European governments, the Treasury is targeting Silicon Valley companies such as Google, Amazon and Apple, but the measures will reach beyond technology to high street chains such as Starbucks.
“We will make sure that big multinational businesses pay their fair share,” assured Osborne. That will not be easy: one is talking here about what some view as the richest criminal enterprises in the world.
Facebook made something like 100 million dollars of profit in Britain, and paid not even five thousand dollars of tax. The Guardian: “Google paid just £20m tax in the UK last year. But its actual British revenues were £5.6bn. The group as a whole has a profit margin of 20%, suggesting the company’s real profits in the UK could have been as high as £1.2bn. Taxed at the proposed 25% rate, this would deliver £280m a year in revenues for the Treasury from just one company.”
Having plenty enough of money to accomplish important work, is pretty much how the West went through the 30 glorious years of strong economic expansion after World War Two.
In practice, though, debt can be reduced by taxing the wealthy. Why to borrow from the rich, when one can tax them? Well it all depends if one lives in plutocracy (borrow), or in democracy (tax).
Under general-president Eisenhower, the wealthiest were made to contribute (Ike used his 93% upper margin tax rate; it was of course the same in Europe).
That’s how to live within the better means we could create for ourselves.
This means, first, defanging what, and those who, have too much power, be it thermonuclear, political, economic, or even ideological.
Democracy is not just a way of life, but the way to survival. Just what the cruelest, and fiercest instincts do not want.