The Status Quo Plan – Convince the American Public to Accept Serfdom

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 5.03.20 PM

Earlier today I came across a fantastic article published at Naked Capitalism by a writer known as Gaius Publius.

Yves Smith introduces the piece with the following poignant passage:

Let us not forget that the “things are going to get worse for you” story also conveniently diverts attention from the degree of rent extraction and looting that is taking place. US corporate profit share of GDP has been at record levels, depending on how you compute if, of 10% of 12% of GDP, when no less than Warren Buffett deemed a profit share of over 6% of GDP as unsustainably high as of the early 2000s. That higher profit share is the direct result of workers getting a far lower share of GDP growth than in any post-war expansion. So the increased hardships that ordinary people face is not inevitable, but is to a significant degree due to the ruling classes taking vastly more than their historical share out of greed and short-sightedness.

Now here are some excerpts from the Gaius Publicis piece:

If you think of the country as in decline, as most people do, and you think the cause is the predatory behavior of the big-money elites, as most people do, then you must know you have only two choices — acceptance and resistance.

Why do neo-liberal Democrats, like the Clinton campaign, not want you to have big ideas, like single-payer health care? Because having big ideas is resistance to the bipartisan consensus that runs the country, and they want to stave off that resistance.

But that’s a negative goal, and there’s more. They not only have to stave off your resistance. They have to manage your acceptance of their managed decline in the nation’s wealth and good fortune.

Again: The goal of the neo-liberal consensus is to manage the decline, and manage your acceptance of it.

Corey Robin says when Clinton tells the truth, believe her:

“Amid all the accusations that Hillary Clinton is not an honest or authentic politician, that she’s an endless shape-shifter who says whatever works to get her to the next primary, it’s important not to lose sight of the one truth she’s been telling, and will continue to tell, the voters: things will not get better. Ever. At first, I thought this was just an electoral ploy against Sanders: don’t listen to the guy promising the moon. No such thing as a free lunch and all that. But it goes deeper. The American ruling class has been trying to figure out for years, if not decades, how to manage decline, how to get Americans to get used to diminished expectations, how to adapt to the notion that life for the next generation will be worse than for the previous generation, and now, how to accept (as Alex Gourevitch reminded me tonight) low to zero growth rates as the new economic normal. Clinton’s campaign message isn’t just for Bernie voters; it’s for everyone. Expect little, deserve less, ask for nothing. When the leading candidate of the more left of the two parties is saying that – and getting the majority of its voters to embrace that message – the work of the American ruling class is done.”

In Germany after WWI, austerity imposed by outsiders created the conditions for fascism to grow. We knew this. We were even taught this in school. And we certainly know just how good that is for women and minorities.

But in America (and Britain), that austerity is being imposed by our own leaders, and most effectively by leaders of the Democratic Party (and Labour Party) — the supposed “left” party, the party that was understood to support working people.

Clinton, like all of the DLC, talks like this “new economy” of decline is something that just happened, like it’s a natural force. They do not admit that it was a political decision to break the power of ordinary working people and put it back into the hands of the aristocracy. They pat us on the head and tell us they will try not to make it as bad as the Republicans will, but it will happen and there is nothing to be done about it.

And they actively divide us by making personal and tribal differences into the main show of the public political arena (only 7% of Americans claim never to have used birth control, so how is it a “Democrat” thing?) while behaving like the really big decisions that are wrecking our lives are none of our business. (Bank bailouts that were opposed 200-1 in calls to the White House from the public! Stopping the prosecutions of fraudulent banksters! HAMP instead of real home-owner relief! Secret TPP talks, for godssakes!)

As a woman and person of funny-color, I know who is being callous and insensitive toward me, and it isn’t Bernie Sanders.

Perfectly put.

Indeed, the American public has two clear choices: Fight back, or accept serfdom.

What’s it gonna be?

For related articles, see:

America’s Road to Serfdom – 51% of Home Renters Are Over 40 Years Old

“Serfdom is the New Normal” – Talkin’ Oligarch Blues with Perpetual Assets

American Serfdom in One Chart

The Oligarch Recovery – U.S. Military Veterans are Selling Their Pensions in Order to Pay the Bills

The Oligarch Recovery – 30 Million Americans Have Tapped Retirement Savings Early in Last 12 Months

The Oligarch Recovery – Study Shows Real Wages Have Plunged for Low Income Workers During the “Recovery”

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

Like this post?
Donate bitcoins: 1LefuVV2eCnW9VKjJGJzgZWa9vHg7Rc3r1


 Follow me on Twitter.

8 Comments

 Add your comment
  1. I listened to KPFK radio in L.A. (one of five stations in the Pacifica Radio Network) daily during my commute to work. It was considered by most to be too far to the left. But in Southern California it was only they who were correctly reporting and analyzing the detrimental effects the Bush tax cuts and the costs of war would have, and reporting on the violations of our rights. It was clear that the Bush Administration and the Republican leadership cared not one iota about the American people. Indeed, the zealousness with which they were financially raping us and violating our rights, and the new laws they were passing for guest worker visas to make Americans compete with cheap Mexican workers for jobs, made me realize by 2003 that the elite are trying to make serfs out of us all.
    What wasn’t evident at the time was that the Democratic leadership was only slightly less bad (using the word “better” would just be inappropriate) than the Republican leadership.

    Obama is working hard to take away our guns, in case managing our acceptance doesn’t go so well.

  2. “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” Warren Buffett

    The 1% went to war on the 99% (aka the global consumer), very silly really.
    The class war has destroyed demand.

    Inequality is a problem for investors too.

    2014 – “85 richest people as wealthy as poorest half of the world”
    2016– “Richest 62 people as wealthy as half of world’s population”

    Doing the maths and assuming a straight line …….
    5.4 years until one person is as wealthy as poorest half of the world.

    So much money to invest and so few investment opportunities.
    The problem of inequality.

    Better get some helicopter money to the masses to increase demand.

    A good quote from John Kenneth Galbraith’s book “The Affluent Society”, which in turn comes from Marx.

    “The Marxian capitalist has infinite shrewdness and cunning on everything except matters pertaining to his own ultimate survival. On these, he is not subject to education. He continues wilfully and reliably down the path to his own destruction”

    Marx made some mistakes but he got quite a lot right.

    Jeez, no one told me that global employees are the global consumers.

    So as we all increase profits by cutting labour costs we are effectively cutting our own throats.

    You got it.

    • A failure to recognise the true nature of Capitalism has led to the slump in demand through ever rising inequality.

      The true nature of Capitalism has obviously been forgotten over time.

      Today we think it brings prosperity to all, but that was certainly never the intention.

      Today’s raw Capitalism is showing its true nature with ever rising inequality.

      Capitalism is essentially the same as every other social system since the dawn of civilisation.

      The lower and middle classes do all the work and the upper, leisure Class, live in the lap of luxury. The lower class does the manual work; the middle class does the administrative and managerial work and the upper, leisure, class live a life of luxury and leisure.

      The nature of the Leisure Class, to which the benefits of every system accrue, was studied over 100 years ago.

      “The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions”, by Thorstein Veblen.

      (The Wikipedia entry gives a good insight. It was written a long time ago but much of it is as true today as it was then. This is the source of the term conspicuous consumption.)

      We still have our leisure class in the UK, the Aristocracy, and they have been doing very little for centuries.

      The UK’s aristocracy has seen social systems come and go, but they all provide a life of luxury and leisure and with someone else doing all the work.

      Feudalism – exploit the masses through land ownership
      Capitalism – exploit the masses through wealth (Capital)

      Today this is done through the parasitic, rentier trickle up of Capitalism:

      a) Those with excess capital invest it and collect interest, dividends and rent.
      b) Those with insufficient capital borrow money and pay interest and rent.

      All this was much easier to see in Capitalism’s earlier days.

      Malthus and Ricardo never saw those at the bottom rising out of a bare subsistence living. This was the way it had always been and always would be, the benefits of the system only accrue to those at the top.

      It was very obvious to Adam Smith:

      “The Labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money. But every savage has the full fruits of his own labours; there are no landlords, no usurers and no tax gatherers.”

      Like most classical economists he differentiated between “earned” and “unearned” wealth and noted how the wealthy maintained themselves in idleness and luxury via “unearned”, rentier income from their land and capital.

      We can no longer see the difference between the productive side of the economy and the unproductive, parasitic, rentier side. This is probably why inequality is rising so fast, the mechanisms by which the system looks after those at the top are now hidden from us.

      In the 19th Century things were still very obvious.

      1) Those at the top were very wealthy
      2) Those lower down lived in grinding poverty, paid just enough to keep them alive to work with as little time off as possible.
      3) Slavery
      4) Child Labour

      Immense wealth at the top with nothing trickling down, just like today.

      This is what Capitalism maximized for profit looks like.

      Labour costs are reduced to the absolute minimum to maximise profit.

      The beginnings of regulation to deal with the wealthy UK businessman seeking to maximise profit, the abolition of slavery and child labour.

      The function of the system is still laid bare.

      The lower class does the manual work; the middle class does the administrative and managerial work and the upper, leisure, class live a life of luxury and leisure.

      The majority only got a larger slice of the pie through organised Labour movements.

      By the 1920s, mass production techniques had improved to such an extent that relatively wealthy consumers were required to purchase all the output the system could produce and extensive advertising was required to manufacture demand for the chronic over-supply the Capitalist system could produce.

      They knew that if wealth concentrated too much there would not be enough demand.

      Of course the Capitalists could never find it in themselves to raise wages and it took the New Deal and Keynesian thinking to usher in the consumer society.

      In the 1950s, when Capitalism had healthy competition, it was essential that the Capitalist system could demonstrate that it was better than the competition.

      The US was able to demonstrate the superior lifestyle it offered to its average citizens.

      Now the competition has gone, the US middle class is being wiped out.
      The US is going third world, with just rich and poor and no middle class.

      Raw Capitalism can only return Capitalism to its true state where there is little demand and those at the bottom live a life of bare subsistence.

      Capitalism is a very old system designed to maintain an upper, Leisure, class. The mechanisms by which parasitic, rentier, “unearned”, income are obtained need to kept to an absolute minimum by whatever means necessary (legislation, taxation, etc ..)

      Michael Hudson’s book “Killing the Host” illustrates these problems very well.

      When you realise the true nature of Capitalism, you know why some kind of redistribution is necessary and strong progressive taxation is the only way a consumer society can ever be kept functioning. The Capitalists never seem to recognise that employees are the consumers that buy their products and services and are very reluctant to raise wages to keep the whole system going.

      A good quote from John Kenneth Galbraith’s book “The Affluent Society”, which in turn comes from Marx.

      “The Marxian capitalist has infinite shrewdness and cunning on everything except matters pertaining to his own ultimate survival. On these, he is not subject to education. He continues wilfully and reliably down the path to his own destruction”

      Marx made some mistakes but he got quite a lot right.

      Jeez, no one told me that global employees are the global consumers.

      So as we all increase profits by cutting labour costs we are effectively cutting our own throats.

      You got it.

  3. It’s a Selection Not an Election: It’s All Theater of the Absurd Ad Naseum!
    https://tabublog.com/2016/02/29/6545/

  4. Federal government income rose after the Bush tax cuts, same as after the JFK tax cuts, same as after the Reagan tax cuts.

    The U.S. hasn’t known true capitalism since FDR; even less since LBJ’s Great Society began. A reasonable label, now, is “crony capitalism”, the marriage of the uber-wealthy, giant corporations and the government.

  5. Usury was accepted a long, long time ago when the masses accepted, ah, well – usury.

  6. So, the Rothschild Khazar Mafia – a Medieval Crime Syndicate – wants to take the world – including America – back to the 11th Century AD???
    Good luck with that one.

Leave a Reply