Few would argue that humanity and the planet are in dire straits. Ask someone, around my age, about the state of the world today and their response would be something like:
“Here I am, breaking my body and burdening my mind to eke out a living, in a rigged economy, on a dying planet.”
Dramatic, as we tend to be, but how divorced from reality?
Older people dismiss younger generations as lazy, selfish, foolish or weak while they themselves remain ignorant of the systemic issues (1, 2, 3, 4) young people face; issues that are exacerbated by the digital age we live in (1, 2).
Likewise, it is remarkable how desensitized we’ve become to phenomenon such as endless war, homelessness, hunger and poverty. Many have accepted this as normal; it is not normal. The truth is that much suffering is structural, man-made and the consequences of greed.
The perpetrator is a globe-spanning neoliberal hegemony; a self-perpetuating, omnicidal and extractive system presided over by the extremely wealthy. It is a society that is arranged around the flow of capital; a system set up to assign power to wealth, elevate and reward sociopathy and prioritize profits over humanity and nature. We have extreme poverty on one end to maintain grotesque wealth on the other.
Elites sit atop an inhumane economic caste system, an exploitative hierarchy designed to amass wealth and concentrate power. We witness its devastating consequences: war, poverty, hunger, homelessness, debt, sickness, mental illness, climate change, police and state aggression.
We’re blinded to it by fabricated signs of progress and evolution, by identity politics, fiat money economies, marketing, public relations and propaganda, consumerism, lifestyle and performance fetishes, and our demanding individual rat races.
People are exhausted. People are afraid. People are poor. People are hungry. People are sick. People are dying.
So, who thrives while the masses suffer? Who benefits as many lack? Who is comfortable in universal discomfort?
The rich men.
Peter Phillips, in his book Giants: The Global Power Elite, uses a more sophisticated term than “rich men”: The Transnational Capitalist Class (TCC). George Orwell referred to them as the moneyed class.
Members of the TCC, or moneyed class, are tremendous power brokers, wielding undue influence granted by unelected power derived from ill-gotten wealth. Each day, their machinations, their arrangements and re-arrangements of society, widens the gap between us and them.
Global Capitalism, under which we are all subjects, is their enrichment scheme; it is the consolidation of wealth and power under the command of the TCC. What’s the harm though, of a minuscule minority owning and controlling everything?
According to Phillips, “This concentration of protected wealth leads to a crisis of humanity, whereby poverty, war, starvation, mass alienation, media propaganda, and environmental devastation are reaching a species-level threat.”
In other words, this status quo has disastrous humanitarian and ecological consequences. The resulting architecture – the society we inhabit – is an immoral, unjust, patriarchal and racist system; a system that locks out, burdens, hurts and kills the majority.
Read Giants to glimpse the vast machinery. It circles the macrosymbiosis between billionaires, corporations, politicians, Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), militaries, intelligence agencies, technology companies, financial behemoths and the media. The book details how they function in tandem to sustain an empire with an insatiable lust for capital, how the ruling class are willing to bleed humanity and the planet dry for profit.
Capital dictating policy inevitably leads to inequality and strife. It is not a practice regulated by ethics or governed by morality, but rather one driven by greed. It engenders an oligarchy; oligarchs consolidate power enough to endlessly amass, and then insulate their fortunes, hoarding precious and finite resources. To acquire and sustain obscene wealth necessitates exploitation and manipulation; the costs are the dignity and lives of many millions.
In The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius, Orwell wrote, “Inevitably, because of their position and upbringing, the ruling class are fighting for their own privileges, which cannot possibly be reconciled with the public interest.”
This piecemeal essay is about the rich men at the top, and what they sit on top of. How, on principle, and in reality, they are wicked. My opinion, laid out in brief, is that the ruling class did not earn their opulence, status or privilege; humanity pays for it in blood, sweat and tears.
Billionaires do not deserve our adoration, admiration or sympathy. Billionaires are parasitic psychopaths.
The next part is Inconvenient Truths.