Paintings, and sculptures just sold for unprecedented amounts of money. In a world of deflation, “art” has been increasing in value at 12% a year. A Picasso was sold for 179 million dollars, illustrating the increasing might of plutocracy.
As I have been trying to explain, as recently as yesterday, the wrong obsessions act as cover-ups for the real levers of power (yes, the Atlantic Slave Trade was abominable, but arguably not as much as the alternative). People look at beautiful paintings, and do not realize that they are valued, not at all for themselves, but as UNTAXED CURRENCY.
Hyper expensive art is mostly about tax evasion. Not just about rising inequality.
One can buy a million dollar painting, pay with cash, and it’s not written down anywhere in a financial system, or documented to a tax authority. Hyper expensive art provides with tax free exchange among those who can afford it. Let’s consider the usual suspects.
In Socialist France, “art” escapes most (colossal) taxes on inheritance. As simple as that. How come the so-called “French Socialists” did not notice, nor any other French government in the last few decades? (That is similar to no USA government having noticed that the USA is the greatest tax heavens, anywhere, thanks to the enormous tax code subtleties…)
“Some people use art, especially expensive art, as a form of money laundering,” said Nouriel Roubini, famous for predicting the housing crash, and now a professor at New York University. Some people, yeah. In truth, most plutocrats use art as bin Laden’s Al Qaeda used diamonds: untraceable mean of exchange. A parallel currency, bit-coin for the haves.
It is actually even worse than that: art can be exchanged “in kind” and thus be used as an OFFICIAL NON TAXABLE CURRENCY.
(That “in kind” transactions are NOT taxable is the number one subtlety of the USA tax code system, an exquisite knowledge reserved to plutocrats and their attendants…)
And, once again: how come nobody has noticed? (Go ask the sort of “authorities” who systematically censor my comments at the New York Times… It’s not because what I say is false, or irrelevant; it’s the exact opposite: I get censored because what I say is true, and relevant. Yet dangerously destabilizing as some plutocrats told me to my face.)
Paul Krugman and associates are starting to notice this, that a certain naivety on the part of self-described “progressives” makes progressivity a joke. How can one “progress” when one does not know what is going, nor, even what has been going on?
See Krugman’s post: “Fighting For History”. By manipulating how the past is perceived, minds can be changed in the present. For example, much of American plutocracy aided and abetted Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. This is revealing upon the nature of said American plutocracy.
In 1953, the Bush family was actually paid a gigantic amount of money for managing the American-Silesian company (13 million in 1953 dollars, and that is 125 million in 2015 dollars). Adolf Hitler viewed American-Silesian as the “Reich’s most important defense company“. The Nazi dictator explained to Prescott Bush that he had to nationalize the company, but would he please stay as the excellent manager he was, as he would be fully reimbursed after the war, no matter what. (Prescott Bush had to resign in August 1942, under the pressure of the government of the USA, which nominated him to the U.S. Senate in compensation.)
Had these facts been known by the public, would it have been possible to elect any Bush to the presidency? Or the Vice-Presidency? Or allowed to head the CIA? Of course not. “Progressives” do not study history enough.
Recently organizations representing American Jews asked the French SNCF, which suffered hundreds of its employees executed at the hands of Nazis for acts of resistance, to pay reparations (for having transported Jews who were assassinated).
How come they have not asked something similar from the Bush family?
Not just because they really absolutely do not know.
But because the powers that be know that the questions one asks have to do with the power one wants.
To sort out the plutocratic art problem, the answer is the same as for Greece’s main problem. Determine who owns what, and tax accordingly. Worldwide.