Rule By The Rich

“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.” [quoting from retired businessman Jack Santa Barbara]

Republicans and especially Tea Partiers are now also advocating for privatizing whole government agencies, even those providing welfare services, for example. It represents a very profound shift in corporate/state/oligarch strategy, and is potentially much more pervasive and dangerous. All of it has been made necessary by the reality of declining resources and the stunted growth potential of the usual means of wealth expansion. Through campaign contributions, this class of super-rich already “owns” many of the U.S. state houses and legislatures, the House of Representatives, and, as we said, an alarming number of U.S. senators. The election of 2012 has a fair chance to also bring them control of the Senate, and quite conceivably the presidency. If so, we should probably start calling it neofeudalism. A privatized country.

Jerry Mander

— via jhnbrssndn

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