The Oligarchs want to rule everything, even though their rule ends up being misrule and invites a counter response from the Deep State.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Oligarchs seized the Russian economy and stole everything that wasn’t nailed down. The country was broke, it was anarchy. Russians would have starved to death except for the fact that they still had a tradition of small scale farming and kitchen gardening.
I remember seeing in Moscow, elderly babushkas selling their home jarred pickles on the sidewalk. No joke. You could get home butchered meat, fish that some dude caught himself. Potatoes dug by a hardy factory worker, recently unemployed. Watching a proud, strong people survive a country devastated by the oligarchs was fascinating.
The Russians just accepted that their government would always be corrupt. There is no Anglo-Saxon sense of fair play and transparency and high trust over there. Russians are part Asian hybrids, and what was lost was the Anglo-Saxon orderliness. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. What is gained is a reckless manliness (in a good way). Those guys are ready to fight. They have the mentality of old time barbarians.
So now we are going to experience what Russia experienced in the 1990’s, thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision. It will be interesting to see how the Anglo-Saxon core of this country reacts.
Anglo-Saxon America remembers a time of transparency and honest business; a country under control of small town conservative business owners who stewarded local resources and behaved with a modest sense of stewardship politics, rather than tribal chieftain Big Man politics of the oligarchs.
We were a small town country, and thus had a better sense of stewardship and limits on government. Old time USA government really did do less, and was happy with it. They believed in the wisdom of the ordinary citizens. If there was a natural disaster, private funds were raised for recovery.
The Oligarchs will attempt to preside over a defunded nanny state. Maximum control with minimum expenditure. But defunded and nanny state don’t play well together. They are antonyms, contradictions.
So the Oligarchy may turn out to be good for us precisely because it will be very inept rule. They will always try to do more with less; they will cut us loose, so to speak. They will not take responsibility for the survival of American citizens; we will have to look out for ourselves.
So Oligarchy will likely lead to ineffective government; a government that would like to over-regulate, but in fact can be bribed to go the other way. They won’t pay the government enough to make them less bribe-able.
There will be a gangland politics; the strongest gangs will bribe the government to do their bidding. The enemy will get a face.
White people will see gangland politics up close and personal, and adapt quickly to be the baddest gangsters themselves. Oligarchy will create its own worst nightmare. The ultimate shitting of the nest.
Most importantly, we will be forced to develop local economy, just to get a crust of bread to eat. The oligarchs will break the food system because they will neglect critical infrastructure until it breaks, or do something stupid that breaks the machine.
The oligarchs will not steward what we have right now, the abundance and the competence, into the future. They will screw it up, one way or another, unless the Deep State stops them. Putin was the Deep State rising up against the oligarchs. That could happen here too. The Deep State isn’t necessarily the good guys, but any circulation of the elites is good. Let them occupy themselves with fighting each other, and leave us alone!
This Robert Reich article is a very good heads up as to the implications of this latest SCOTUS decision regarding money in politics. This is going to hugely affect the culture of this country.
Worse is better for now!
If wealth and income weren’t already so concentrated in the hands of a few, the shameful “McCutcheon” decision by the five Republican appointees to the Supreme Court wouldn’t be as dangerous. But by taking “Citizen’s United” one step further and effectively eviscerating campaign finance laws, the Court has issued an invitation to oligarchy.
Almost limitless political donations coupled with America’s dramatically widening inequality create a vicious cycle in which the wealthy buy votes that lower their taxes, give them bailouts and subsidies, and deregulate their businesses – thereby making them even wealthier and capable of buying even more votes. Corruption breeds more corruption.
That the richest four hundred Americans now have more wealth than the poorest 150 million Americans put together, the wealthiest 1 percent own over 35 percent of the nation’s private assets, and 95 percent of all the economic gains since the start of the recovery in 2009 have gone to the top 1 percent — all of this is cause for worry, and not just because it means the middle class lacks the purchasing power necessary to get the economy out of first gear.
It is also worrisome because such great concentrations of wealth so readily compound themselves through politics, rigging the game in their favor and against everyone else. “McCutcheon” merely accelerates this vicious cycle.
As Thomas Piketty shows in his monumental “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” this was the pattern in advanced economies through much of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. And it is coming to be the pattern once again.
Picketty is pessimistic that much can be done to reverse it (his sweeping economic data suggest that slow growth will almost automatically concentrate great wealth in a relatively few hands). But he disregards the political upheavals and reforms that such wealth concentrations often inspire — such as America’s populist revolts of the 1890s followed by the progressive era, or the German socialist movement in the 1870s followed by Otto von Bismarck’s creation of the first welfare state.
In America of the late nineteenth century, the lackeys of robber barons literally deposited sacks of money on the desks of pliant legislators, prompting the great jurist Louis Brandeis to note that the nation had a choice: “We can have a democracy or we can have great wealth in the hands of a few,” he said. “But we cannot have both.”
Soon thereafter America made the choice. Public outrage gave birth to the nation’s first campaign finance laws, along with the first progressive income tax. The trusts were broken up and regulations imposed to bar impure food and drugs. Several states enacted America’s first labor protections, including the 40-hour workweek.The question is when do we reach another tipping point, and what happens then?
Robert Reich, one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. Time Magazine has named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written 13 books, including his latest best-seller, “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future;” “The Work of Nations,” which has been translated into 22 languages; and his newest, an e-book, “Beyond Outrage.” His syndicated columns, television appearances, and public radio commentaries reach millions of people each week. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, and Chairman of the citizen’s group Common Cause. His new movie “Inequality for All” is in Theaters. His widely-read blog can be found at http://www.robertreich.org.
MORE ROBERT REICH.