Showing all posts tagged power:
Some people like to argue that more economic inequality is a good thing, because it is a "natural" byproduct of capitalism in a world of "makers and takers," "winners and losers," "wolves and sheep," [insert your favorite Manichaean metaphor here]. However, too much inequality is deleterious for both economics and politics -- for reasons that are intertwined.
Those who amass exorbitant wealth often increasingly use a portion of their gains to capture politics. While the mythological promise of trickle-down economics is that we must not have progressive taxation, because giving more money to the already wealthy is the only way to spur economic investment and innovation and create jobs -- in actual fact the majority of tax cut windfalls go to stock buybacks, offshore tax havens, regulatory capture, political lobbying, and campaign donations. All this is a runaway amplifying feedback loop that tilts the playing field further away from equal opportunity, social mobility, and democratic...
Money's value is as an exchange medium.
The more concentrated the money becomes, the less it is being exchanged.
When less money is being exchanged, the economy grows more stagnant.
If the economy continues to grow more stagnant, recessions typically take hold -- and deflationary pressures begin to realize the underlying devaluation of the currency and reflect that by lowering real purchasing power.
Suppose one person manages to hoard all the money (essentially this is the condition of Gini Coefficient = 1). Then, money is worthless. It ceases to have any exchange value.
Sadly this thought experiment isn't as extremist or far-fetched as one might think, considering the stats:
The three wealthiest individuals in America own more than 50% of the domestic populationThe eight wealthiest individuals in the world own as much as half the entire planetAnd this doesn't even begin to broach the topic of how overly concentrated money affects political power...
"'I understood the infamous spiritual terror which this movement [the Social Democrats] exerts, particularly on the bourgeoisie, which is neither morally nor mentally equal to such attacks; at a given sign it unleashes a veritable barrage of lies and slanders against whatever adversary seems most dangerous, until the nerves of the attacked persons break down... This is a tactic based on precise calculation of all human weaknesses, and its result will lead to success with almost mathematical certainty...
I achieved an equal understanding of the importance of physical terror toward the individual and the masses... For while in the ranks of their supporters the victory achieved seems a triumph of the justice of their own cause, the defeated adversary in most cases despairs of the success of any further resistance.'
No more precise analysis of Nazi tactics, as Hitler was eventually to develop them, was ever written."
-- The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer
The creator of the also excellent Century of the Self film series released his latest film in October, 2016. Dubbed HyperNormalisation, it offers both a history lesson of the complicated relationship between the West, the Middle East, and Russia, as well as an unflinching look at the roles played by technology, surveillance, and the media on our modern condition of general confusion, destabilization, and surrealism.
we have the capacity to build whatever mental model of reality we like -- and there is always a differential. If the differential is vast enough, we get delusion -- and if delusion is fed, we get mental illness.
Yet we also give some people enough power to enforce their delusions on others. In some sense, that is what power is: the right to craft your own version of reality into being.
Look: i'm not Christian but i was raised in the church and you know -- i can super get on board with, & always try to have compassion with my fellow humans. As #WWJD would have wanted. There's good stuff in there. But Kim Davis seems to miss the proverbial forest for the trees. It's like the freshly minted newborn foal that balks at the idea of Grace. She's ungainly and on spindly legs and trying to figure it out.I think at heart Kim Davis is actually trying to do the right thing, which is what is truly tragic in this bizarre situation that ultimately has more to do with the vicissitudes of Kentucky law than with any larger religious interest.Kim Davis has been a sinner in a very deep way -- more than most of us -- and she's quite honestly getting on in life. Not old per se -- plenty of years left perhaps should things go according to First World Plan. And yet myself as a "not quite starting with 4 but almost" person begins to understand the drive that Freud write about; that Kier...
Why do we still feign shock at police brutality and abuse of power? Because we hope that ingratiating ourselves to power will reward us, and fear that exposing its moral bankruptcy may harm us.
### See also:
* Rodney King
* Michael Brown
* loose cigarette seller Eric Garner
* 14-yo killed in NY
* every peaceful protest ever
* subprime mortgage crisis
* Savings and Loan crisis
* bank bailouts in array[list years]
* financial advisor scams
* Bernie Madoff