Wow. Speak about telling it like it is.
(1) Don’t read this column if you have a heart condition.
(2) Don’t read it unless you’re willing to be responsible for having your feathers ruffled in every possible direction (i.e., your core issues being triggered). It concerns what I call “business Darwinism.”
(3) After reading it, read my article, “Basic Third-Dimensional Illusion: Separate Selves Struggling for Survival amid Seeming Scarcity,” May 17, 2020, here.
(4) What Smith says here vis-a-vis America could be said about most “modern” economies.
(5) People are not “evil.” Behavior can be evil. Take what you agree with from this article and leave the rest.
What the Pandemic Revealed: a Morally Bankrupt Culture
Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds.com, May 12, 2020
Monopolies, quasi-monopolies and cartels are inherently exploitive and thus evil.
What was “normal” for the past two decades was to turn a blind eye to the moral and financial bankruptcy of the American culture, the rot at the heart of its social, political and economic orders. The pandemic has shredded the putrid facade and revealed the rot, much to the dismay of the multitude of minions tasked with sanitizing the rot behind narratives promoting the normalization of predation, fraud and exploitation.
What’s been absolutely verboten is to call legalized pillage and predation what they really are: evil. We’ve normalized exploitation and predation by the usual means: denial, legal justifications, making excuses for the predators and the system that defends predation, and by erasing the memory of a time when moral bankruptcy, predation and institutionalized fraud were not yet normalized.
People have always been self-absorbed and greedy, so goes the excuse; or, greed is good because that’s the magic of the invisible hand at work.
By stripping fraud and predation of moral consequence, we’ve covered the putrid rot with a thoroughly modern amorality which we can summarize as anything goes and winner takes all. Monopoly, quasi-monopoly and cartels (i.e. Warren Buffett’s entire portfolio) are presented as the natural order of things rather than an evil construct of predation and exploitation that benefits the few at the expense of the many.
Nothing outrages the apologists and the lackeys enriching themselves in the dens of thieves more than accusations of evil, or indeed, anything smacking of moral standards or judgments. Anything goes not just for individual choices, but for capital’s choices as well, and so it’s simply not PC to question the morality of capital’s predations.
As for winner takes all, this legalized looting is presented as a form of economic Darwinism that is nothing but the healthy manifestation of a free market. This is the Devil’s handiwork, of course, presenting legalized looting that only benefits the few as the inevitable result of open markets.
The greater the outrage of the technocrats and monopolists at being called what they are–evil–the greater the confirmation that the accusation is spot-on. The predators, looters and exploiters must strip away any moral assessment of their actions, as even the smallest shred of moral or karmic justice threatens their empires. And so economics has been reduced to bloodless quantifications of profits, costs and sales and obfuscatory mathematics designed to drain the risk of moral consequences from the parasitic pillage.
The greatest monopolist of early modern capitalism, John D. Rockefeller, struggled his entire life to reconcile his Christian values with the evils of his monopoly. He never fully succeeded, of course, ultimately using self-serving justifications of the “good” he’d done by stabilizing erratic markets and selling predictably priced oil products to the public (at prices fixed by his monopoly).
In effect, Rockefeller was praising the model of a public utility: an entity that is regulated to serve the public with essential products and services at a fair and stable price.
This is why I’ve proposed turning Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Amazon, et al. into public utilities via regulations that make it illegal to 1) collect users’ data and 2) sell the data. Each quasi-monopoly should be broken into competing pieces that cannot buy other pieces or pieces of other quasi-monopolies, or buy back their own shares.
Monopolies and cartels are evil because they are exploitive by their very nature. This is why the political system imposed anti-trust legislation in the early 20th century. And this is why technocrat apologists spew endless sophistries aimed at persuading us that these Big Tech monopolies aren’t actually monopolies and therefore anti-trust doesn’t apply to them. Their frantic efforts only confirm the truth: Big Tech monopolies are in fact monopolies, and therefore they are evil.
Public utilities are ultimately accountable to voters and taxpayers. Predatory private monopolies are only accountable to their predatory, parasitic owners, a truth that their immense armies of technocrat apologists, lackeys and apparatchiks attempt to obscure.
Monopolies, quasi-monopolies and cartels are inherently exploitive and thus evil, and so everyone profiting from these evils is also evil. Yes, “shareholder value” derived from monopolies, quasi-monopolies and cartels is evil. No denial, no excuses. The karmic consequences– let’s call them moral dividends–are being readied for delivery. Professing ignorance or sainthood won’t stop or even delay the delivery. The Devil is chuckling at your deliciously ironic (now long departed) slogan, “don’t be evil.”
Dear shareholders and monopolists: the banquet of consequences is being served. Don’t choke on the cold serving of karma.