We like to think of ourselves (and “ourselves”, generally speaking, is the subject that occupies most of our attention during our waking hours and possibly at other times too) as being “free” persons. Free men, free women. Living free. The Masters of our own destiny and fortune. But in reality, I maintain, nothing could be further from the truth and, as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is reputed to have said, – “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free’“.
We are all ‘owned’. You are ‘owned’. I am ‘owned’. Which brings up the questions – “Who owns us?” and “How did we become ‘owned’?” These things, and potentially related issues, I will try to rationally discuss further here – owners, time, and my limited attention span, permitting. This will not be a treatise on the subject – just some food for thought. I hasten to say that I am no expert on ‘owners’ and the ‘owned’, so you may take what I say as you will, and you would be well advised to do the same from many other sources.
In a recent article I mentioned the danger of humanity becoming a ‘slave race’. Well, in a very real way that is what we already are. We come into the world already owned and we leave it in the same way – if only as a statistic on the books. We are, in general terms, born into a family which may form part of a community (ethnically, religiously or along some similar demarcation lines), resident in a city or some other form of local authority, which may be part of a federated state system, in turn governed by a national authority, perhaps also by a geographical supra-national body and on top of that, subject to rules through affiliated global entities. And this list of governances is certainly not exhaustive.
Furthermore, governments in particular but also other organisations, some of which weild great power within our social structures, would also have behind them other hidden structures whose job it is to ensure the continued well-being of the organisation they support. In terms of governments, possibly at all levels but certainly at State or National level, these hidden structures would be the bureaucracy that ensures governments generally get things right and don’t overstep their authority. The bureaucracy ofetn contains some very powerful and influential figures from the national establishment. Supposedly straight up and down people but, like anyone else, subject to baser instincts and weaknesses. It is generally recognised that governments, also in particular, but leaders at all levels are basically insecure and malleable people (folk with less than objective views and valid subjects for coersion and bribery). That is part of life.
You wouldn’t be up there if you weren’t willing to do what is necessary to get ahead and achieve, by whatever means, your own or other’s objectives. You wouldn’t admit that of course, under any circumstances. And you may, initially at least, consider yourself an honest and upright person – with weaknesses. Whether you have previously explored those weaknesses or not. And that is where the lobbyists and other influencers step into the ring.
Moving on, there are many other relationships to which we regularly submit, such as education, employment, voluntary organisations, clubs, sports, military, law enforcement, judicial, social, recreational. All of these ties represent a hierarchy of authority, some voluntary, some implied, some legislated, some perhaps even coerced, but all of them with rules and codes of behaviour to which we are expected to adhere. There is no ‘freedom society’ we can join that allows us to do anything we like – unless we create it by living exclusively on an island, self sufficiently provisioned with all our needs, for ever, and which no-one else knows about and is impossible to find. Like, such a thing actually exists, anywhere on, in, or under this planet. All the rest of us, which means all of us, including those who think they are ‘owners’ even if they operate at the pinnacle of the pyramid, are ‘owned’ and subject to the rules, ambitions, rewards, punishments, moods, quirks and fetishes enjoyed and enforceable by any of the levels of the hierarchy to which we are and wish to remain (not always optional) a member. If you don’t believe me just try breaking a few of the rules, codes or conditions of some of them. You will soon discover whether you are owned or not.
Of course I am not saying that all, or even any of these ownerships are malevolent, whether intentionally or not. Many of them are there for good reason and we may safely accept the impositions on our liberty they demand, even though justice is not always served, unwarranted expulsions or exclusions are made or financial or physical losses are suffered through misjudgement. Such is life. But there are other situations. Possibly more dark and devious in nature. Of that I think there is no doubt.
Any hierarchical system where there are upstream and downstream connections and a regime of greed or other malcontent that leads to a scurrying to maintain or raise ‘position’ within the hierarchy (and isn’t human nature all about those things?), there will always be those who seek to take such advantage as they can, by whatever means they can leverage. And even among those at the top of the heap (and we will talk about that and how they got there shortly), who must struggle and fight to maintain their position and, of all people, ensure that general conditions are engineered to best see to the continuance of the status quo (perhaps even across generational boundaries) are not bound, by necessity or tradition, to do that by nefarious means. Though there are others with far less scruples around such matters.
How did this situation come about and by what means do some hold and control the lives of others, seemingly in the palms of their hands? Others who are naturally disinclined and unwilling to be ‘controlled’. It’s a simple answer, they have the power, and the seat of their power is wealth. Wealth is power. They can buy and sell at their whim – within the confines of the influence their wealth provides – and if that is not sufficient to sate their ambition they can scrabble and cheat and steal and cut others down to gain a higher position in the hierarchy.
That is how historically this has come about. Wealth being accumulated by conquest and passed on often through bloodlines across sometimes many generations, the local pinnacle of which has often been hereditory heads of state who wielded absolute power, often benefactorily for the peoples they ruled (at least that is what the record states – but it is neartly always those at the top who get to record history, the defeated and the lowly having no lasting voice). And there are other premier families forming aristocratic societies, which have in modern times mostly taken a back seat away from the limelight of modern life – influencing from the sidelines as it were – also retaining their heads.
For the past century or so, there has also been a fast-track to gaining wealth and influence, producing what has been termed the nouveau riche or those with ‘new money’ gained through commercial, speculative or entrepreneurial endeavours and catapulting some individuals stratospherically into positions of great power and influence in modern society. I don’t need to name them – there are too many anyway and such a list would inevitably be incomplete. Thgey are able to buy and influence government strategy at all levels along with more beneficial trading conditions for their own enterprises. They can also afford to throw money around to give an appearance of altruism and a disposition to caring for the world’s now growing list of dilemmas. Some may be truly altruistic, perhaps, but generally speaking when the super-rich (or those similarly endowed at any other level of influence) provide funds for any project in the public or not-so-public domains, the only or predominant underlying reason is to make more money for themselves, thus ensuring their elevated position within the hierarchy of global influence and, by doing so, maintaining their ‘ownership’ of everything and everybody within that world.
I think I need not say any more on that. If you have never considered these things before, please do so now, and see if you do not come to the same conclusion. My intention is not to impose my views on the reader but to get them thinking. And if that is the only success I achieve, then it will be worthwhile.
What I really want to talk about is the apparent inevitableness of this situation. Are we trapped in a vile system such as I have painted here? Is there no way out? Is anyone ever going to ask us for our opinion on the steering of global effort or any lesser issue? Will we ever get the kind of representation on any governing level that is real and true and unbiased and uncorrupted by external influence? Are the ‘owners’ invulnerable, unassailable, immune, unvanquishable? Are we subject to their tyranny or possibly misdirected altruism for ever – or for as long as we last anyway?
I would argue that both they are not and we are not either. And not just because none of us may be here for much longer – although that is a realistic consideration.
Talking about this recently, it was mentioned to me that I don’t give sufficient credit to the savviness (is that a word?) of these people and/or entities.
Perhaps I should have mentioned earlier that they not only operate by themselves but because of the size of global influence required today they are also organised in various formats. Consider the WEF and its annual Davos meeting as an example. That is not a government forum. It’s a place where the world’s ‘owners’ meet. Oh, they have various national leaders as guest speakers, but that is just a front. The WEF’s mission is cited as “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas”. Did you get that? “Shape global, regional, and industry agendas”. That is their whole intent. Did you see yourself mentioned anywhere in there? This is all about making money. But not for you. And that is just one of the ways in which they work together.
Another way they work together is by building the huge corporate structures that dominate life on the whole planet today. Not necessarily monopolising particular fields but each having their own particular specialisation within those fields and meshing together in ways that circumvent and control, with the ultimate aim of total control, the whole market structure with the power to influence consumer needs and manipulate government policy. I don’t think I need to say much about that. We all know it happens, even if only anecdotally. There is one great danger that I foresee in this, apart from the obvious one that you and I may lose all control of our own decision making process and ending up simply being spoon-fed in all aspects of life with whatever the corporates dish up on our plates, the cost of which will automatically be deducted from our credit accounts (provided by the corporates in return for meaningless labour or perhaps no reason at all as a basic living wage), at whatever the price markup will ensure their continued existence and dominance – which goes hand in hand with the one great danger I mentioned, of the disintegration and removal of any form of government other than the corporate empire. Those other forms (which we currently recognise as government) having become an unnecessary burden on what then remains perhaps labelled unfairly as ‘society’, along with all their enforcement branches (military, security, judicial, custodial, spooks) – many of which will be recruited into the empire’s service to keep us in line. Well, at least I suspect this is what the ‘owners’ dream about at night and also in their waking moments.
Can we stop them?
I asked the question earlier as to whether these high-flying rogues (you do see them as rogues, don’t you? Not persons to look up to, or perhaps some day emulate?) can be stopped? We endure them at present, mostly passively. And they both rely on and encourage, in fact actively work towards increasing, that passivity with various rewards to the faithful, obedient, and lacking in will-power, which is a subject I don’t have time or space to go into here. They know we can’t self-organise to defeat them and really have no inclination to do that anyway. We basically like being spoon-fed. Until maybe at some point the degrees of comfort become outweighed by the degrees of stress, pain and discomfort we are asked to bear or we make some effort to effect an overthrow and we get beaten down and once again put in our place.
Is there some other way?
What do I mean by they are not invulnerable etc. and we are not doomed to suffer under their dictates? Earlier I said that all of us are ‘owned’ because we have dependencies on other things – people, products and politicians, to mention a few – and that also includes those who think they are ‘owners’. How so? Well, think about it. What are the owners dependent on? The only enduring power they have, apart from any ‘Doomsday Capability’ they may wish to hold over us in any classical ‘Masters of the Universe’ thought bubble, is the influence they can generate through their accumulated wealth. Money – or its equivalent. So where do they get their money from? From you and me, of course. From us. So really, they are dependent on us. No ‘us’ = No (wealth + influence). They are dependent on us. They need us. Without us they are nothing. We ‘own’ them. And, of course they, being the one percent of the one percent, are vastly outnumbered by us. Although as I have said many times, and more recently expressed in an email – “we do not have the wit or the will to collegially organise ourselves – nor will we ever – to effect needed change as a group.” So, they could virtually ignore us as an existential threat. But that may not matter, as I shall reason shortly.
But… couldn’t they still get by without us? With their wealth they could just party every day, couldn’t they? Well… yes, but – apart from the loneliness of their existence and nothing with which to quench their thirst for ambitious endeavours, they would soon go crazy – and who would organise the parties? And what happens when all the food and booze runs out? These people have probably never done a day’s work in their lives, or even if they had it probably did not consist of making anything or cleaning anything up or fixing anything. They’d soon be totally lost.
OK, fun thoughts aside, of what does their wealth consist? Money, primarily and ownership of land and other more stable wealth creating assets. But it all boils down to money. What is money? Is money real? Does money have a value in itself?
It is right about here, having with some effort gotten to this stage in the piece, and this is probably one of the longest pieces I have ever put together, that my attention span and subject interest begin to falter and dissipate. I could just drop this here and leave it hanging along with all the other unfinished articles in my draft post list. Can I muster the will to continue? I know, I will just outline what I wanted to say, and then try to fill in the blanks.
Money is not real. Most global wealth does not actually exist other than in computer storage, displayed when we want to check on it in pixels on some device screen. It has no backing or solidity. It is a figment of our imaginations, and that is why there is so much of it. We (or some economist or the ‘owners’, too clever for their own good) imagined it into existence.
The imagined amount of wealth in the world is: $360 trillion – half of which is owned by millionaires or higher (Not sure if that is US, AU or Monopoly Money)
The amount of debt (imaginary money, often owed by imaginary entities for imaginary reasons) in the world is: US$253 trillion – I have nothing to say
The total amount of global held assets (the things that you and everybody else together own) in the world is: IT DOESN’T MATTER (they are valued in imaginary money) I have seen a figure of $1.2 quadrillion (1,200 triilion) – but it is impossible to calculate and an entire waste of effort to attempt to do so.
The real, solid, backed by value, amount of money in the world is: US$5 trillion of coinage and notes – all other money acoutrements being entirely imaginary (even gold at $7.8 trilion because what is not privately owned is supposed to be backing all that coinage and notes – otherwise they are worthless)
Now, I’m not sure how these people actually define ‘wealth’ but let’s assume that wealth does not include such things as assets or debt. We can then see that the $5 trillion of real money (if you even consider that to be ‘real’) has been leveraged (I think that is the term used) into a colossal $1.83 quadrillion.
And this is the system that we as individuals and a captive consumer base, simply by living and buying and selling (with imaginary money) keep alive, without a care in the world other than how we are going to keep on doing that – to the delight of those who think they ‘own’ us.
And, by the way, are you going to give up your share of global assets to bail out the global financial system when it crashes?
This system is so precarious, so unbalanced, so airy-fairy, so ephemeral (not based in reality), so top heavy, that it is sure to fail, crash and burn at some point. We cannot help that process along, or at least not unless suddenly get wise enough to stop enjoying the somnolistic ride and cease our spending on the ‘owners’ goodies, which is something I have already made clear I think is entirely unlikely. So we must wait, those of us who care, hoping that the system will fail soon, and end the interminable progress of this nightmare we have jointly created. That is the one get-out clause we really have.
We may not have to wait for long now.
I have repeatedly said for more than a year, for several years now, that 2020 is the time for it to happen – or at least to begin. Formidable changeis on the wind. COVID-19 is just the beginning. Rest assured, nothing will ever be the same again. The economies of one nation after another will soon collapse. It may be a domino effect and soon topple all or it may be a slow decline. But the one, perhaps the only thing I take as a comfort from that, is that the ‘owners’ will not be able to rebuild their empires. We all, a much reduced all, all that are left, will be far too busy readjusting to the new reality and a new way of life.
Ok. I’m done now, for better or worse, and I can’t even bring myself to read it through to see what I said – or it will never be finished. I hope it makes some sort of sense.
I hope it may make you want to break free and live free, however that pans out to be.