Friday, April 04, 2008

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? part 3

Arthur Jensen: You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it!! Is that clear?! You think you've merely stopped a business deal. That is not the case. The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity! It is ecological balance! You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immanent, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multi-national dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, Reichmarks, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and YOU WILL ATONE! Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state -- Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there's no war or famine, oppression or brutality -- one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock…
all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom… amused.

Excerpted from the 1976 film “Network”: Ned Beatty as Arthur Jensen berating Peter Finch as Howard Beale.

Where will it end?
I’ve never thought the Rome analogy entirely applied to the United States. If only because the rest of the world has never been completely under US sovereignty, the cold war itself was at best the era of “two Romes”. Neither has collapsed, despite the fall of Stalinist Communism, Russia is still a world power and one of the world’s “emerging” economies at the same time. Yet I can still see the point.

What does exporting jobs and manufacturing contracts overseas -while keeping civil rights, labor rights and all safety standards stateside- have to do with Globalism?
Just as free market capitalism actually means oligarchy, Globalism actually means shifting everything you can’t make a buck on legally, to some off-shore faraway place where you can defy all parameters for fair business and labor practices, and essentially laugh at the unions and tell the working mothers of America to “go suck a dick”.
You know what I mean, that real profitable stuff like: child laborers for Nike, lead-based paints for Hasbro toys, and a slew of other throwbacks to the days of Carnegie and Fricke like 18 hour work days, insufficient light and food, indentured labor owing more than they make to on site company stores operated by their “employers”… Don’t you see how that all makes the world flatter?! More egalitarian?!! More competitive?!!!

Thomas Friedman is a fucking douche bag.
This is not what Adam Smith had in mind.

We elect the rich, the corporate leaders; so we get what we deserve.
While no one would argue that putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop is a sound strategy, it seems perfectly acceptable to make the fox “president” of the chicken coop.
“I mean come on; he’s their president, why would the fox do anything to harm the chickens?”
The answer is not because the fox is hungry or greedy… the answer is:
“because he can, stupid”.
The elites have figured out that a manipulated perception of reality is reality: thusly our media, our newspapers, our beloved Fourth estate is also hopelessly fucked. The watchers not only watch us, they own the only institutional means by which they can be observed and held accountable.

“Where will it end?” I asked at the start of this third and final post on the modern horrors of blindingly trusting our guardians. The answer is… it never ends. The empowered rich who achieve government office always have that strange way of asking, “we the people”, who they supposedly represent, to be patient for the things nobody should wait for: e.g. shelter (Hurricane Katrina victims are still in trailers and Bear Stearns is bailed out while millions of Americans are losing their homes thanks in large part to their failed dealings).
The elites must ask us to be patient for these things because they benefit directly from those needs: from their prolongation, and the promise of the resolution of those needs, whether they allow themselves to consciously recognize it or not.
Why help someone, if you can only make profits off of their need? The answer is you don’t. You capitalize on misery and misfortune; maybe even create a problem or two that only you have the solution to. Charge accordingly, hit the dumb bastards with a high APR if they can’t pay outright, always encourage financing.
Why do we still trust the rich, vote them into office and ask them to watch over us, over our government, over our very lives?
If it’s hard to see, that’s because “it’s twilight in America” and the AAA has always said the worst accidents happen at dusk.

Who watches the watchers?

Now, I don’t know anymore… and nobody’ll tell me.


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