Imagine a transaction between a farmer and a trader of farm produce.
The farmer’s time and energy are fully committed to getting a decent harvest in the face of fickle weather and uncertain market prices, while also looking ahead to the next season. He can spare no time or energy for complex business transactions or financial calculations.
The trader has plenty of time, energy and incentives to master the tricks of finance and business. To him, the farm produce is merely a commodity which he can buy or sell, process further for value addition, pledge as collateral, dump in a foreign market … or whatever else brings in good profit. Only the trader’s cunning limits what he can or cannot do with a given commodity – and there is no limit to that cunning.
The farmer’s life depends on hard work; the trader’s life depends on cunning. Therefore the farmer would invariably have a weaker hand in any transaction with a dealer.
The argument made here extends to any other primary producer – factory worker, miner or bus driver – whose life depends on “the sweat of his brow”. Cunning business and finance types can run circles around such people in any business dealing, and economic exploitation of primary producers extends seamlessly into violent crime, usury, money-laundering et cetera.
This has been true throughout history; but in recent decades – with technology and transport spanning the world – rigging of “free markets” has become hugely exacerbated. Owners and managers make big profits, while primary producers get the short end of the stick.
Around the world, economic systems are designed so as to exploit with maximum efficiency low-cost natural resources and primary labour. This is the so-called “globalist agenda” of the business and managerial classes.
The fig leaf of this narrative of greed and power is that maximum economic efficiency of exploitation is somehow “good for all of us”; of course no proof is needed for that cunning and noble-sounding claim.
In practice, there is almost no upper limit to how much primary producers can be exploited. The game is designed by the cunning people and totally rigged in their favour.
“To each his own”, the primary producer may say. But he would also surely need the assurance that the system would not let his family go under; that line must not be crossed.
This is exactly where a serious problem arises. The cunning ones do not really care if a few families of primary producers – deplorables! – do go under. For these self-proclaimed “elites”, other human lives do not count for much. While the simple-minded primary producers accept having to share the planet with the cunning ones, that courtesy is not reciprocated.
There is virtually no upper limit to human cunning. Sophisticated mechanisms of leveraged speculation, risk management and money-printing are devised to ensure that the cunning types profit under any conceivable economic situation. In catastrophic situations, when huge risk insurance payoffs would endanger the whole system, the government – also under the hidden control of the cunning – arranges huge bailouts, at public expense.
In this way, the most cunning 1% of the people around the world have built a seemingly crash-proof economic bubble – or cocoon – around themselves. They seem to harbour the illusion that, contrary to the law of impermanence, their cocoon will last forever.
As economic exploitation worsens, the chasm between primary producers and the most cunning 1% grows wider.Because the rules and laws governing any economy are man-made, this phenomenon is in reality the deliberate tearing of the fabric of society.
Because this phenomenon is today global in scope, it has created the global divide which we are witnessing. The primary motive force behind this phenomenon is “big finance” seeking big and risk-free returns. To that end, their core strategy is: “Whatever it takes”!
A primary producer in any society has only one rational, human hope: A life of basic dignity for him and his family. Not much to ask, surely – but the cunning will grudge him even that.
We can only hope that the future global economic system will be fairer to all segments of the global population; and that it will not, as at present, favour only the cunning, self-proclaimed “elites”. The economic system should heal the global divide rather than aggravate it.
While there is no limit to the cunning schemes of exploiters, there is a limit on how much deprivation and degradation primary producers will tolerate. Depending on history and culture, this limit varies from society to society. Beyond that limit, when they have nothing to lose, primary producers have no option but to rely on the strength of their numbers.
If the above analysis is accepted, then all “ideologies” – of the “right” and the “left” – are seen merely as obfuscatory tools of the cunning, aimed at herding labouring masses into their assigned zones of economic exploitation.
The Hollowing Out Of America
Authored by Charles Hugh Smith
To conceal the decline, institutions only measure what can be massaged to appear positive. These statistics include inflation (Consumer Price Index, CPI),the unemployment rate, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and hundreds of financial numbers: net wealth, bank loans and so on.
Everyone knows from experience that big-ticket expenses such as healthcare (see chart below), childcare, rent, college tuition, etc. have been rising at double-digit rates, while shrinkflation has reduced the quantity and quality of goods even as price has remained unchanged.
In other words, the official statistics are gamed to appear positive even as the nation is being hollowed out. People sense the disconnect but since what actually matters isn't measured, there are few objective indicators of the decline we all experience in everyday life.
And so while we're constantly told the American consumer is in good shape, with manageable debt and rising incomes, in the real world auto loan defaults are soaring, 40% of those suffering from cancer are wiped out by the co-pays, and superficially middle-class households are one layoff away from default and insolvency.
America is being hollowed out even as we're constantly hectored that all is well. We're told saving $10 on a pair of poorly made shoes is a tremendous benefit of globalization and neoliberal policies, but does a couple hundred dollars in savings on poorly made stuff (which is itself offset by an unmeasured decline in quality and durability) offset the fact that a huge swath of American households can no longer afford to rent their own apartment or house, much less buy a house?
Does this modest reduction in the cost of consumer goods offset the upward-spiraling cost of healthcare that is bankrupting small business and households? Does it offset the stagnation of wages for the majority of wage-earners? Does it offset the insecurity of work and benefits? Does it offset the decline of competition and the subsequent domination of profiteering monopolies and cartels in the American economy?
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