in this video, Chris Hayes talks about the way elites and their clubs stick together vs even the people they ostensibly are there to serve (priests in Catholic Church vs their parishoners, or the government and corporations vs thier constituents and/or customers).
This is a good angle also for the financial system, and for a headlong dive into many of the messages of the Occupy movement. When Joseph Stiglitz wrote his “Of the 1% by the 1% and for the 1%” article in the early summer of 2011, I knew that something had taken hold. America was fixated on the Arab Spring, and it was more than just international curiosity. It was longing. It was a deep-seated question about our dreams for this country. And it was bubbling, ready to start boiling over come September. And the 1% have come to be identified as those who have been using their position to keep siphoning the rewards upward, to the extent that we now live in one of the least balanced Western developed nations. Less equal = Less “American”, not only in my definition, but in most people’s sense as to what is often couched as “What makes America great”. Because of that, “great” is blown away as an option. “Great” can remain only on the lips of the people who resist the facts of American economics, or with people who stubbornly hold to a notion that “we’ve always righted the ship”, and instead of actually working to root out the wrongs, use their optimism as a shield against seeing the extent of the problem in the first place.
The 1% (and yes, we can increase the accuracy of our claims that something is afoul in the 1% by sharpening the focus to the 1% of the 1%, but for the sake of brevity, we’ll stipulate that and use simply 1% as shorthand)…..the 1% have isolated themselves from the 99. (And I have listened to people in the upper regions of the 99, postulating that since they don’t know anybody actually being foreclosed upon, or homeless, that “it really isn’t all that bad”…..as if “that bad” is some far off designation against which we can compare ourselves and conclude “we’re not there yet”, and from “where I sit, we probably never will. Markets correct themselves. Banks recover. Governments adjust. It’ll all blow over. I actually heard that argument rather recently. It’s almost as if there is a resistance to “dire language” or “apocalyptic language”, and therefore its not serious enough to justify mass movements calling for radical change in our processes. The status quo has done a number on them. And this is just the kind of message the 1% want them to be getting and keeping them from being radicalized. There seems to be little awareness of how this will continue to wear us down almost imperceptibly like ocean tide which grabs just a little more shoreline debris and washes it out to sea (as more people fall beneath the poverty line, and more people in the upper regions find themselves perceiving more of those foreclosures, mounting medical costs that are still out of control (and STILL not being affected by ACA measures not slated to take effect until 2014). So this new alignment is teaching the “virtues” of this new system, training us to see the world immediately around us as the only one worth perpetuating.
This has been a 30 year process. Shares of GDP have increasingly been realized disproportionately at the top, while the rest of the country is left to fend with smaller and smaller chunks. It’s not felt at the top at all. Why would it? They’re experiencing record prosperity. This is the way things were meant to be (from their perspective) They find motivation in keeping the system going in just that direction. They have the money to pour into the think tanks and and the educational institutions, which in turn communicate a message that the system runs best when the smartest, brightest people (like them, backed up by their “success” at doing so) are the people in whose hands this system works best (which works well for them as well, since its the system they designed to send the production benefits disproportionately to the top). Citizens United is the Coup d’état for this meritocracy, for it provides for the unlimited, unaccountable domination of the communications systems by the financial elite, to allow them essentially free reign to propogate yet further into the American pysche the contaminated notions about American democracy that make the system , as Stiglitz so aptly put it : “Of the One Percent, By The One Percent, FOR the One Percent”.