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Mon Sep 10, 2012, 12:58 PM

Rule by the Rich

By Jerry Mander

Source: New Left Project

Monday, September 10, 2012

Binghamton University professor emeritus James Petras sums up the new growing problem this way in “Canadian Dimension” (April 7, 2011): “The current concentration of wealth exceeds any previous period in history; from King Midas, the Maharajahs, and the Robber Barons to the Silicon Valley–Wall Street moguls.” Petras argues that in most countries, including the United States, the sudden emergence of a large, super-rich class of billionaires has been significantly promoted by nation-states and lower-level governments, conspiring with the wealthiest classes to serve their interests over all others:

“What is striking about the recovery, growth, and expansion of the world’s billionaires is how dependent their accumulation of wealth is based on pillage of state resources; how much of their fortunes are based on neo-liberal policies which led to the takeover at bargain prices of privatized public enterprises . . . that the state—not the market—plays the essential role in facilitating the greatest concentration and centralization of wealth in world history . . . The sources of billionaire wealth are, at best, only partially due to ‘entrepreneurial innovations.’ ”

All GDP per capita figures in poor countries are actually misleadingly high. A small handful of the richest people have skimmed most of their wealth off the top by controlling wealth-producing mineral resources or land or the government itself. So the poorest half of society really has nearly nothing.

In internal correspondence from IFG, Santa Barbara reports, “The oligarchs are smart. They have realized that the global economy is starting to die. It’s short on resources, and the costs for what remains are skyrocketing. The prospects for rapid economic growth in the real economy, and for sustained high-level “surplus value,” are sharply diminished. So, many of the wealthy are coming to the view that they will no longer seek business growth, per se. More and more of them are seeking political control as a way of gaining economic expansion. They can squeeze out more by controlling the political process—toppling unions, gaining subsidies, cutting their taxes, gaining offshore havens—and, perhaps most of all, by privatizating services like education, transportation, the military, security, Medicare and Social Security, health services, and many aspects of the natural commons, like fresh water. That’s their big new market: commodification of the commons.”


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polly7 Sep 2012 OP
riverbendviewgal Sep 2012 #1
Shagman Sep 2012 #2
nikto Sep 2012 #3

Response to polly7 (Original post)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 01:00 PM

1. This is as bad as making water a commodity..not a human right

commodification of the commons

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Response to polly7 (Original post)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 04:12 PM

2. smart? really?

“The oligarchs are smart."

Is it smart to take food out of your slaves' mouths? to dam the river and deny water to the farms downstream? to take a toll for use of a road without maintaining it? You get more in the short term, but in the long term everybody starves. That's not smart.

They may be cunning when it comes to maximizing their income, but they aren't smart.

Smart would be planning for the long term. Reduce the population, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce expectations. Their kind of smart will get us all killed.

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Response to polly7 (Original post)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 07:11 PM

3. The Rich...


...may be the only source of fresh meat available to ordinary Americans in a few years.

They will be hunted as food.

Until they are all gone,
and humankind starves.

The future will resemble a bad sci-fi movie with very good special effects.

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