Friday, September 26, 2014

By Any Other Name, It's Still The Same

Charles Hugh Smith pens an excellent blog called Of Two Minds. I copied and pasted his post from today because this guy is really smart and not enough people read his blog. I hope that you click on the link (HERE) and start following. He writes about the state of the economy because he is an Economist and studies that sort of thing. If you aren't interested in the state of the economy... well, I don't know what to say to that.

I think that reading this post (and Smith's blog) will be eye-opening to many of you. Some of you already know this stuff. I think it is important to understand what is really going on and not what the media wants you to believe is going on.  Yeah, they are two very different things.

If you didn't want to believe the Elites rules the economy on a Global basis, please rethink that. If you didn't want to believe that they use big business and the media to further their agenda, please rethink that. If you didn't want to believe that the US is as close to Rome as it ever was before it fell, please rethink that. If you think that our government (Democrat and Republican) exist to speak for the people, please rethink that.

If you truly want to understand how the economy runs... read this article and then let it soak in. The Elites continue to run the world, to the detriment of everyone else, because they go unchallenged. In fact, most people don't understand they exist. Knowledge is power. Let's all take a moment to get a little smarter.
Here is the post from Charles Hugh Smith:

What the Global Status Quo Optimizes: Protecting Elites and the Clerisy Class That Serves Them

The incestuous embrace of privilege and power by entrenched, socially isolated Elites characterizes failed states and brittle, doomed regimes throughout history.

Every system is optimized to serve a specific purpose. As noted in my recent essay What Metric Are We Optimizing For?, what the system optimizes is rarely explicitly stated.

Sometimes this results from not understanding the metric that the system is designed to optimize; but in other cases, explicitly describing what the system optimizes would trigger social instability.

The Status Quo around the world--from France to China to the U.S.--is optimized to protect its Elites and the sprawling Upper-Caste of academics, managers, think-tank toadies, technocrats, apparatchiks, functionaries, factotums, lackeys and apologists who serve the Elites, and are well-paid for enforcing the Status Quo on the disenfranchized castes below.

Demographer Joel Kotkin, author of the new book The New Class Conflict, has coined the word Clerisy to describe what I have been calling the Upper Caste:America's new class system.

Oligarchs are assisted in their control by what Kotkin calls the "clerisy" class — an amalgam of academics, media and government employees who play the role that medieval clergy once played in legitimizing the powerful, and in implementing their policies while quelling resistance from the masses. The clerisy isn't as rich as the oligarchs, but it does pretty well for itself and is compensated in part by status, its positions allowing even its lower-paid members to feel superior to the hoi polloi.

Because it doesn't have to work in competitive industries, the clerisy favors regulations, land-use rules and environmental restrictions that make things worse for businesses — especially the small "yeoman" businesses that traditionally sustained much of the middle class — thus further hollowing out the middle of the income distribution. But the lower classes, sustained by government handouts and by rhetoric from the clerisy, provide enough votes to keep the machine running, at least for a while.

This describes the Savior State perfectly: a centrally planned and controlled government that enforces its absolute control via force, legal regulations and the blandishments of complicity: there's billions of dollars in free money social welfare to buy the loyalty (or at least the passivity) of the disenfranchised and marginalized.

I have often written about the stagnation of social mobility and the rise of a neofeudal arrangement of social-economic strata:

America's Nine Classes: The New Class Hierarchy (April 29, 2014)
The Three-and-a-Half Class Society (October 22, 2012)
The New American Divide (January 25, 2012)
Why Reform Won't Work (February 7, 2013)
When Belief in the System Fades (March 12, 2008)

The political, corporate/financial and National Security State Elites represent a vanishingly thin layer of the American economy and society. America today is the nightmare scenario feared by James Madison and other Federalists: a covertly created monarchical (what I term neofeudal) empire much like the Roman Empire--a republic in name but in reality a highly centralized Empire operated for the benefit of tiny Elites who buy complicity of the masses with free bread and circuses.

The "Monarchical Federalists" Madison and Jefferson feared have indeed established a neofeudal, neocolonialist Empire.

In this context, it is interesting to note that fully 20% of all entitlements (tax credits, Medicare, Social Security, etc.) flows to the top 10%, 58% goes to middle-income households and 32% goes to the bottom 20%. The swag of bread and circuses is remarkably well-distributed, buying off every sector of the populace.

Behind the PR facade of democracy and free-market capitalism, a parasitic Aristocracy extracts income and wealth from a financially indentured class of serfs. This Aristocracy is composed of several Elites which are served by the Upper Caste of technocrats. These Elites and the Upper Caste serve each others interests, a social heirarchy that Hilton Root characterized as a "society divided into closed, self-regarding groups." The slow trickle of the "best and brightest" into the Upper Caste via Ivy League university admission is also a propaganda facade, as Ron Unz ably and exhaustively proves in The Myth of American Meritocracy How corrupt are Ivy League admissions?

The trick is enable just enough meritocracy to support the PR facade. The Ivy League has mastered that balancing act.

These Elites have few if any links to the social layers below. Charles Murray spoke to some aspects of this trend of financial/social Elitist isolation from the debt-serfs and worker-bee class below in Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, but the key dynamic that is outside Murray's sociological purview is the stark reality that the Elite class is devoid of any real feeling for or interest in the common good or public weal.

That is, not only have the key institutions of American governance and power lost the memory and mechanics of good governance, the Elites running the institutions have become an inbred neofeudal Aristocracy characterized by an unexamined (and thus deeply adolescent) sense of entitlement to the reins of power and control of the national income.

It's not just the institutions that have lost any conception of good governance-- the Aristocracy ruling the nation has lost all interest or recognition of the common good. This is of course not unique to America; the same disregard for the common good is at the root of all developed-world and developing-world failed states.

The incestuous embrace of privilege and power by entrenched, socially isolated Elites characterizes failed states and brittle, doomed regimes throughout history.This is what the Status Quo everywhere is optimized for: protecting those who have secured the wealth, perquisites and power by strangling competition, democracy and social mobility.

If you want to pinpoint the one dynamic pushing the global economy into not just a prolonged recession but a parallel period of massive social instability, look no farther than the social and financial stagnation that results from optimizing the system to benefit the Elites and the entrenched incumbents who protect them from competition and the dispossessed debt-serf classes below.


  1. I've always said the extreme wealthy has no clue how the rest of the country lives. They've completely lost touch, and that includes our government officials, because of course only a wealthy person can afford to run for office.
    The middle class knows we are being screwed. I wonder what would happen if the bottom part was cut off from support and just as screwed as the rest of us?

    1. Alex ~ This is a delicate balancing act for the Elites. It is key that people on every ladder of the social ladder remain just happy enough. Or not too miserable. If any class (as a whole) became miserable enough there would be a chain reaction of revolution. So, the Elites are going to make sure that everyone continues getting screwed just as much as they will tolerate.

  2. I think our founding fathers would be rolling in their graves if they could see the way our government is run!

  3. Yes, he writes a very thought provoking article.
    I do have great fear for the future of this country, for the dumbed-down people who show serfdom mentality. They show signs of wanting to return to the very conditions of being ruled by a monarchy. Early settlers sought freedom and broke away..... or did they really? For example, the Bush dynasty. Two down (and actually the grandfather always played both sides of wars) and two possibly coming up and who knows how many after that. That is a pretty good start on a monarchy, I would say. But the middle class clap their hands and say, yay, yay, yay as if there is a big difference between the patootie of an elephant or a donkey.
    Thank you for presenting this and I shall hop over to see his post.

    1. I think maybe people don't know their history well enough. Or on a personal level. I remember History class (in school) being all about memorizing dates and names and events, BUT it never felt all that personal to me. That is a shame. History is a living thing and should be taught that way. The only monarchy (or royals) we have now are figureheads (and celebrities). It all seems rather flashy and exciting. Ooh, Kate is pregnant again. Did you know??? The ruling classes (in days of old) played brutal games with one another to gain and keep control and only cared about their serfs insofar as they needed them.

      I guess not much has changed. We The Serfs still glorify the monarchy, such as it is.

  4. Divide and conquer is a tactic used to place the underlings against each other. Don't mess with the top layer but the two beneath can go at it. Education is a factor, and I think many educational facilities past secondary level get funding privately and from the government, hence they pick and choose however they want. Exclusion is a favorite way of cherry-picking. Money in to the uni's coffers and degree out. Economics and the money system go hand in hand with the huge impact that Marketing has in today's world. Heavy topic but it needs to be discussed.

    1. If the Elites keep the people invested in a "game" that they think they are controlling, they remain free to go about their business of ruling the world. So while we argue and vote for one party to "rule" or another.... meanwhile, the Elites move the pieces around on the chessboard... just like they've been doing for years. That divide and conquer strategy is working very well for them!

  5. It's alarming the discrepancy between CEO pay and the average worker. It's immoral and unsustainable. And now I'm depressed. :P

  6. Sigh. Sad to say, I can definitely see this pattern in my country. :-(

    1. I think everyone can see it in every country if they look. It's happening on a global level.

  7. ROBIN ~
    I have read Smith's blog from time to time and I think I may have even posted a comment on it once, but if so, it was so long back that I can't even remember the specific topic now. (It may have even been you who first pointed out his blog to me.)

    At any rate, he is saying things that I have also been saying in my own style for quite some time. I did not click on the older articles referenced here, but there was nothing in this particular article that I would disagree with. He clearly understands the mechanisms.

    The only thing I will add here (and just briefly because as you know I've delved into it in greater detail in the past) is that as factual as what Smith has stated is, this is still not really the core of the issue.

    The "Elites" or "Wizards Behind The Curtain" as I like to refer to them, have all the money they could possibly need or even want. They also have a stranglehold on the levers of control. They could perpetuate this current scenario indefinitely.

    So when you reach the level they have in terms of wealth and power, what becomes your animating objective? Just waking up to make more deals, more money, and gaining even more control is not enough, because it's just too easy at the level they occupy.

    And THAT'S when things turn "spiritual" and get really, Really, REALLY scary! As you know, the bottom line really isn't about wealth and control of business and various governments. It's about the ULTIMATE control - a genuine Global Government. And the really dirty little secret that even some of the Elites don't realize is that the End Game is solely about dark, spiritual power. It's about paving the way for that "ruler of this world", as The Holy Bible refers to our adversary.

    Getting back to Smith's article again just before I sign off...

    It's very interesting to study the economic theories and statements of Alan Greenspan before he became the Federal Reserve Chairman and contrast them with his economic theories, statements and actions after he became the Fed Chief. You can clearly see how these people like Greenspan get taken in and soul-purchased and change their tune 180-degrees. Very, very interesting. Did Greenspan know he was really working for "the ruler of this world"? I don't know. But I'm certain that those people who put him in power knew it.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. I am pretty sure that you pointed me in the direction of this site when you featured links to this one and Monkey Throw Dart. But... I could be wrong about that.

      And, yes, I agree about the End Game... but most people aren't going to accept that reality until they accept this one. And this one is tough to swallow. No one wants to see this and recognize the truth of it.

    2. GIRL WONDER ~
      You're right. Most people are far too frightened to face the truth for what it is. They prefer the Ostrich reaction: If I stick my head in the sand and don't look at it, it will just go away.

      Not a realistic approach to approaching reality!

      I was sure you had turned me onto the Charles Hugh Smith blog so I did a Googlevestigation and discovered that you DID reintroduce me to Smith's blog, a little over a year ago, and a month or two after SigToo introduced me to it:

      I score half a point for that. You get nuttin'.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

  8. People are too complacent. They just want their big screen tv, their atv, their football/baseball/nascar whathaveyou. A lot of people don't even vote and probably a lot more don't even pay attention to what's going on. I just watched a short piece on the Federal Reserve - talk about scary.

  9. I had a nicely worded comment yesterday afternoon, and then my internet service hiccupped, and it was gone. I'll try to revisit it.

    While I agree that there is a vast gap between senior business management and line employees, this is nothing new. I am not sure I trust our government (most people's proposed solution) to fix that.

    There were poor people back in the days chronicled in that book that our leaders seem to want to throw out along with the principles this country was founded on. There were rich people.

    People seem to spew bile if the wealthy are corporate leaders, but do not seem to mind when they are adults who chase a ball around a synthetic playing surface, or musicians who play a song or two between defiling groupies. Or even authors who sell a lot of books.

    That said, the People have bought into this. They take the government handouts, they buy their iPhone and iPad with retinal scans and big screen tv, and complain that they are poor.

    And our leaders and those behind them laugh.

    But not all wealthy people are in on the New World Order, and I truly believe in capitalism, which allows people to keep the rewards for their efforts.

    Couple that with Christian values (and many wealthy people do), and a lot is given back to the community.

    Do I have an easy answer?


    But I know that worrying about how much the next guy makes is also an old concept-it used to be called keeping up with the Joneses.

    I've never worried about what the next guy has. It's a no win scenario. And I do not begrudge the wealthy their wealth. That is not (in my opinion) the measure of a man-or woman.

    The End Game is a given, but not everyone of means is evil. Even if we cannot change the outcome, people would be happier if they stopped reviling the one percent.

    Some of them really are decent people. Pray for the others.

    And be happy with what you've got, because pretty soon, one way or the other, it's all going to be gone.

    We're only visiting this planet.

    Here ends my sermon. Anyone (besides Arlee Bird) know what guitarist I stole the "visiting this planet" quote from?


  10. Quick additional thought, Robin-I am probably reacting a little more to some of the comments than the intent of the post, so if I went way off on a tangent, I apologize.

    It was sticking in my craw, so I coughed that comment out like a hairball....


  11. Replies
    1. Oops.

      I was thinking it was Utopia but...


      ~ D-FensDogg

    2. Utopia did name an album Oops! Wrong Planet, and one song features the line I must be on the wrong planet, but this musician is a little more obscure....although I believe a few years back Arlee included one of his albums on a list in a blog hop post....if memory serves me, which it often does not.


    3. Yeah, I knew about 'Oops! Wrong Planet' and that's what I was mixing it up with (thus my double "oops".)

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

  12. It's scary how quickly things downward spiral, once the spiral starts. There's still time to catch it, but that's not always going to be the case. Knock on wood the spiral does a turnaround. I worry for my children and grandchild/ren.

  13. You'll hear no arguments here. It's just sad to me how little people are willing to do about it. The only ones who ever want to seem to "take action" are the people who are so engrossed in the "me vs them" battle that all they do is further hurt themselves. Yes, that's right, dear Republican, the Democrats are just a bunch of monsters who only strive to destroy the country while you are here to save it. Just like the Republicans are all monsters, who only strive to destroy the country while the heroic Democrats are here to save it. I mean, naturally an entire group of people would willfully destroy its own country... right?

  14. I am heading there now. As a citizens who puts all his hope and faith in our government, I can't wait!!!

  15. Couldn't agree more, Robin. It's a bit frightening to see the direction our country is heading. I'll have to check out his blog in more detail later. Thanks for highlighting it!

  16. When you compare the lifestyle of the "middle class" of the fifties to the same demographic today, there should be a sufficient number red flags to wake up all classes, but power and money create a pretty solid barrier for those in charge.

  17. No arguments here either.
    Gobs of money: never had it, never will. (I like to think that if I got a gob or two of money, I'd give (at least some of) it to charities that are near and dear to my heart.)

    I hope you're well, Robin.

  18. Interesting read and totally agreeable. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Thanks for helping me become a little wiser. Now the trick is in determining what to do next.



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