a curious Yankee in Europe's court

blog about living in Europe, and Italy

The superrich and robbery in plain sight (“Winner-Take-All Politics”)

Posted on the May 25th, 2011

A Book Review


That the superrich across the globe are in the process of stealing most of the world’s wealth and resources from the rest of us is by now common knowledge among those who aren’t persisting in turning a blind eye. That superrich defined is the top 1 percent approximately (or 0.01 percent more accurately).

But for those who still don’t know about this mindboggling raid on the human planet and its population, I hope you will take a look at two recent sources of information that describe the process chapter and verse.

The first, thoroughly documented and alarming, is the book “Winner-Take-All Politics” – the authors are two political science professors in American universities (Yale and UC Berkeley), Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson.

As an example of what they are writing about, here’s a 1954 quote they cite from President Dwight Eisenhower (Republican):

Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H.L. Hunt…, a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.

Unfortunately, as Hacker and Pierson demonstrate over and over in their book, Eisenhower was wrong about his central point. One of the two US major political parties (and the other one also to a huge extent) is persisting in doing just what he described as impossible, and that party is very much still part of political history in the making.

A second source of information about the superrich and their grand theft of all there is to have is a recent article in the UK’s Guardian“Anxiety keeps the super-rich safe from middle-class rage” by Peter Wilby (May 18, 2011).

Excerpt:

That is the most important point about what has happened to incomes in Britain and America during the neoliberal era: the very rich are soaring ahead, leaving behind not only manual workers – now a diminishing minority – but also the middle-class masses, including doctors, teachers, academics, solicitors, architects, Whitehall civil servants and, indeed, many CEOs who don’t run FTSE 100 companies, to say nothing of the marketing, purchasing, personnel, sales and production executives below them.

Neither Hacker and Pierson in their book nor Wilby in his Guardian article play favorites with political labels. The superrich driving this ruthless and barbaric raid on the planet and their fellow human beings evidently don’t care whether you call yourself a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Socialist, Communist, Anarchist or general apolitical layabout. To paraphrase the pop song, they just want your money, honey, they don’t need your love.

Again, I highly recommend reading these two exposès. What you choose to do once you are aware of the real state of affairs is, of course, your choice. But this is not the time to stand silently by on the sidelines.

 

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