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George Washington: Will We Have to Wait for a 21st Century Peasants’ Revolt Before Seeing Any Real Change?

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While everyone from Tony Blair to Nouriel Roubini is debating whether or not bankers should be hung, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg provide some fascinating historical context.

The journal’s Jason Zweig reports:

Financial criminals throughout history have been beaten, tortured and even put to death, with little evidence that severe punishments have consistently deterred people from misconduct that could make them rich.

The history of drastic punishment for financial crimes may be nearly as old as wealth itself.

The Code of Hammurabi, more than 3,700 years ago, stipulated that any Mesopotamian who violated the terms of a financial contract – including the futures contracts that were commonly used in commodities trading in Babylon – “shall be put to death as a thief.” The severe penalty doesn’t seem to have eradicated such cheating, however.

In medieval Catalonia, a banker who went bust wasn’t merely humiliated by town criers who declaimed his failure in public squares throughout the land; he had to live on nothing but bread and water until he paid off his depositors in full. If, after a year, he was unable to repay, he would be executed – as in the case of banker Francesch Castello, who was beheaded in 1360. Bankers who lied about their books could also be subject to the death penalty.

In Florence during the Renaissance, the Arte del Cambio – the guild of mercantile money-changers who facilitated the city’s international trade – made the cheating of clients punishable by torture. Rule 70 of the guild’s statutes stipulated that any member caught in unethical conduct could be disciplined on the rack “or other corrective instruments” at the headquarters of the guild.

But financial crimes weren’t merely punished; they were stigmatized. Dante’s Inferno is populated largely with financial sinners, each category with its own distinctive punishment: misers who roll giant weights pointlessly back and forth with their chests, thieves festooned with snakes and lizards, usurers draped with purses they can’t reach, even forecasters whose heads are wrenched around backward to symbolize their inability to see what is in front of them.

Counterfeiting and forgery, as the historian Marvin Becker noted in 1976, “were much less prevalent in Florence during the second half of the fourteenth century than in Tuscany during the twentieth century” and “the bankruptcy rate stood at approximately one-half [the modern rate].”

In England, counterfeiting was punishable by death starting in the 14th century, and altering the coinage was declared a form of high treason by 1562.

In the 17th century, the British state cracked down ferociously on counterfeiters and “coin-clippers” (who snipped shards of metal off coins, yielding scraps they could later melt down or resell). The offenders were thrown into London’s notorious Newgate prison. The lucky ones, after being dragged on planks through sewage-filled streets, were hanged. Others were smeared with tar from head to toe, tied or shackled to a stake, and then burned to death.

The British government was so determined to stamp out these financial crimes that it put Sir Isaac Newton on the case. Appointed as warden of the Royal Mint in 1696, Newton promptly began uncovering those who violated the financial laws of the nation with the same passion he brought to discovering the physical laws of the universe.

The great scientist was tireless and merciless. Newton went undercover, donning disguises to prowl through prisons, taverns and other dens of iniquity in search of financial fraud. He had suspects brought to the Mint, often by force, and interrogated them himself. In a year and a half, says historian Carl Wennerlind, Newton grilled 200 suspects, “employing means that sometimes bordered on torture.”

When one counterfeiter begged Newton to save him from the gallows – “O dear Sr no body can save me but you O God my God I shall be murderd unless you save me O I hope God will move your heart with mercy and pitty to do this thing for me” – Newton coldly refused.

The counterfeiter was hanged two weeks later.

Until at least the early 19th century, it remained commonplace for counterfeiters and forgers to be put to death; between 1792 and 1829, for example, notes Wennerlind, 618 people were convicted of counterfeiting British paper currency, and most of them were hanged. Many were women.

Bloomberg provides details of one “peasant revolt” stemming from a Libor-like currency manipulation scheme:

During the “Good Parliament” of 1376, public discontent over [manipulation of currency exchange rates similar to the current Libor scandal] came to a head. The Commons, represented by the speaker, Peter de la Mare, accused leading members of the royal court of abusing their position to profit from public funds.

A particular target was the London financier Richard Lyons ….

Initially the government bowed to public pressure. Lyons was imprisoned in the Tower of London and his properties and wealth were confiscated. Other leading courtiers implicated in these abuses, such as Latimer and the king’s mistress, Alice Perrers, were banished from court.

Once parliament had dissolved and the public outcry had died down, however, the king’s eldest son, John of Gaunt, acted to reverse the verdicts of the Good Parliament. Latimer and Perrers soon reappeared at the king’s side and Lyons was released from the Tower and recovered his wealth, while the “whistleblower” de la Mare was thrown in jail. The government also sought to appease the wealthy knights and merchants that dominated parliament by imposing a new, regressive form of taxation, a poll tax paid by everyone rather than a tax levied on goods. This effectively passed the burden of royal finance down to the peasantry.

It seemed as though everything had returned to business as normal and Lyons appeared to have gotten away with it. In 1381, however, simmering discontent over continuing suspicions of government corruption and the poll tax contributed to a massive popular uprising, the Peasants’ Revolt, during which leading government ministers, including Simon of Sudbury (the chancellor and archbishop of Canterbury) and Robert Hales (the treasurer) were executed by the rebels. This time, Lyons did not escape; he was singled out, dragged from his house and beheaded in the street.

If the King had followed the rule of law – and kept Lyons and the boys in jail – everything would have calmed down. The monarchy – just like the present-day government – chose to ignore the rule of law, and protect the thieves and punish the whistleblowers.

We have argued for years that the best way to avoid violence is to reinstate the rule of law.

The Bloomberg article – written by a professor of the history of finance and a professor of finance at the ICMA Centre, Henley Business School, University of Reading – ends on a similar note:

The question now is whether public outrage at the Libor scandal and other financial misdeeds will lead to fundamental reforms of the financial sector — such as the separation of retail and investment banking or legislation to regulate the “bonus culture” — or just more cosmetic changes that fail to address the structural issues.

Will we have to wait for a 21st century peasants’ revolt before seeing any real change?

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123 comments

  1. Francois T

    ” little evidence that severe punishments have consistently deterred people from misconduct that could make them rich.”

    Wanna bet the rate of bad behaviors was way down during periods of harsh punishment?

    That is exactly the idea, isn’t it? Greed will never go away, but punishment sure help in controlling the wort excesses of it.

    1. nonclassical

      repubLIEcons calling for “austerity”…

      dems perpetrating “quantitative easing”=stimulus

      ..while the entire world is calling for ACCOUNTABILITY…

      powers that be contrast “austerity” vs. “stimulus”=no accountability..

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Yes indeed, Francois. GW writes “The severe [death] penalty doesn’t seem to have eradicated such cheating, however.”

      But shouldn’t we at least give it a try for the first time in US history? Well okay, if not public beheadings with mandatory attendance, then how about simple imprisonment at Club Fed? Does Holder’s Ministry of Justice want to even attempt the most timid deterrence, before the point of no return, when the public square is filled with riotous bloodlust and we descend into a reign of terror?

      1. skippy

        I’d be happy just to confine them all to Dubai, with zero ability to communicate out side its boundary’s.

        Skippy… nice too see you around.

      2. hermanas

        Public hangings halted, were too popular.
        Mussilini may have been the last (P.O.)to be held accountatble. The pictures are not pretty.

  2. F. Beard

    The banks made a lot of bad loans and are condemned for that. Yet with bank lending “loans create deposits.” Is it any wonder then that that privilege is abused?

    The banking system has a virtual monopoly on money storage due to government deposit insurance. Without that government backed monopoly, the banks would have far less “other people’s money” to play with. But people can’t be expected to use the mattress or home safes so monetarily sovereign governments themselves should provide risk-free fiat and storage services that make NO loans and pay NO interest.

  3. Susan the other

    We’d have to spank every central bank and all the central bankers, all the secretaries of the treasuries, all of the oh-so-innocent presidents and prime ministers, all of the taxing authorities and all of (in the US) Congress for their stupidity and/or corruption… And, oh yes, all the bankers, investment bankers, money funds and hedge funds… Better to just pass a quick law wiping the slate clean and starting over. The sooner the better.

    1. F. Beard

      Yep. It’s really in everyone’s interest that we bailout the entire population and start over.

      All this fuss over mere electronic bookkeeping entries!

          1. skippy

            I have traveled widely and read of many cultures, bygone and present, east to west and up and down. The one glaring fact I find through out – is – bullshite begets collapse, sooner or later, leveraged or not.

            The Universe set the rules and not us, lest we forget, and were only starting to peal back the cover of that book. So dally with assumptions from folks that knew not better and seal the fate of many, because it makes you feel wanted by some creator or fills in the blanks.

            Becuase every time I peel back a bit more of the injected stupidity of lies upon lies, gifted by those that without introspect, unmeasured. I become more free to discern the magnificence around me, unencumbered by antiquity’s folly, armchair thunkit.

            In my research, those the put the wealth of the environment first and utmost, fared better and longer than those that marveled in their accomplishments against it, until they met the latter. As IOTBP/Warren says, and I agree, everything is on loan from the Universe and it will come to collect and it will be morte. This is not a bad thing, but, a thing that has eons of practice, the fossil record is its tale.

            So before we go and smash the joint, maybe we should kick back and examine the record for a bit. Divine its meanings before we march off the cliff, to the tune of our own accomplishments, leveraging ourselves out the wazoo in the name of the unfathomable construct of our own uninformed minds. The assiduity of believers is quite unnerving given the track record and all…. methinks, so much wicked pathology involved regardless of intent. For all the decent sort that apply its softer meanings, it only takes a few malefactors to completely undue, nay, overwhelm that visage. Its all around you, how can you deny the damage done, past, present and into the foreseeable future?

            Skippy… Personally I want to learn and not to be stupefied, its all in the history Khan, irrevocably.

    2. John Regan

      You’re right that this is a problem for the law, but it can’t be a “quick” law; it has to be a constitutional amendment:

      http://strikelawyer.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/saving-the-world-revised-edition-part-i/

      http://strikelawyer.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/saving-the-world-revised-edition-part-ii/

      http://strikelawyer.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/saving-the-world-revised-edition-part-iii/

      There’s a lot you have to think about before you go around canceling debt. Not as simple as it seems.

  4. Robin Hood

    Here are some good resources for studying up on peasent revolts, kings, earls, knights and other nobility. In the early days, bankers were known as “Jews”. But as things progressed the catholic church seemed to lighten up on it’s it no-usery rules so Christians could be bankers too.

    These are historical fiction – so they are not wholly true – unlike real history – but they are more fun and the writers are better.

    Neal Stephenson – “The Baroque Cycle’ series- covers the late 1600s and has lots about Newton, the Royal Society, and the state of finance and markets in britain and europe at that time. Also covers just about everything else, including sex.

    Ken Follet- “Pillars of the Earth” and “World Without End”

    12th century with kings, earls, knights, monks, bishops – and peasents and serfs supporting the whole lot.

    Caveat: The worst thing the peasents had to fight was a knight on his warhorse. Check out the US military before gauging your chances.

    1. ambrit

      Dear Sir Robin;
      And the military is made up of what now? Ordinary men and women. Don’t forget how many ‘regieme changes’ have started with junior officers and rankers.

      1. nonclassical

        …which MAY be reason enough for pols to continue to imbibe military industrial congressional complex…

    2. PQuincy

      Please don’t forget the Swiss Peasants’ War of 1653 — triggered directly by a fraudulent devaluation of bad coinage in which insiders got advance notice, and could exchange their bad coins for bad, whereas the rural population (much of it heavily leveraged by loans taken out to produce military supplies, especially horses, for the Thirty Year War) were left holding the bad coin while now owing taxes and dues in good coin. The subsequent rebellion spread across the Swiss midlands, uniting peasants in a program of creating a “peasant parliament” to counterbalance the “lords’ parliament” at the Swiss Diet. Although the magistrates involved were bitterly divided over religious difference (and would fight another civil war in 1656 over religious issues), they handily united, Catholics and Swiss Reformed working hand in glove, to defeat the peasants. After agreeing to a truce and amnesty, they disarmed the peasants and revoked the amnesty, after which they tortured the peasant leaders to death.

      And yes, the magistrates in Lucerne, Zurich, Basel and Berne were actually banksters, since they used urban surpluses as the capital base for extensive international lending, to their private profit and the profit of the urban oligarchies.

      It never changes….

  5. sd

    A reminder that one of the identifying trait of sociopaths is that they feel no fear. Hence, they exhibit reckless behavior. The threat of penalties – including execution – have little to no effect on stopping their behavior.

    1. Capo Regime

      Well its the old saw. Does say execution deter another criminal? As mencken wisely pointed out, who cares at least you are rid of one and provide the non criminals realise there is justice on this earth. Punishment or exile or better yet asset seizures will please the public and turn funds over to some positive use.

      1. ohmyheck

        I’m with Mencken. Oh, and “Off With Their Heads!” (Hey, somebody had to say it…..)

      2. Heretic

        I strongly agree with your statement. I would add that without justice , the ordinary people will feel anger and resentment and cynicism toward the state, and this culminates in either revolution, or it cultivates a culture of corruption and distrust between the people and the government and among the people themselves, which leads to a breakdown of the nation.

        Unfortunately, our present elites have instead pursued a policy of obfuscation (the multi-thousand pages of regulation in Dodd-frank), PR management ( Obama’s appearance of concern and sympathy for the 99%), and distraction (the petty bickering among the parties, the appearance of the crazies of the tea party, the re-appearance of cultural wedge issues, such as recent statements from a chicken sandwich company) over any substantial changes.

    2. Capo Regime

      One wonders if sociopathy is like a talent for racketball or canning yams. You have to have the opportunity and context for sociopathy to manifest itself. If being a sociopath is expensive and perhaps painful–and people with such traits are discriminated against it will surely not disapear but there will be fewer opportunities for sociopaths to have career advancement.

      1. sd

        There is some study that believes that sociopathology results from a physical deformity in the brain. It is not learned behavior.

        Sociopaths only desire is to get what they want. As a result, they can learn behavior that helps them to avoid discovery but they are incapable of change. Ever.

        In fact, the only way to successfully deal with a sociopath is to avoid all contact with them.

        1. PunchnRun

          This may be confusing the sociopath with the psychopath. Both terms get used rather loosely but they are not the same. The sociopath is characterized by lack of empathy and is often associated with less than ideal childhood experiences. The psychopath appears to be mis-wired to associate violence with pleasure, I don’t think there is correlation with early experience. Psychopathic behavior patterns often show up at very young age (3 yrs), with extraordinarily vicious acts like animal torture. The sociopath seems to be amenable to changing behavior in response to treatment. The psychopath just learns better to mimic normal behavior.

          The reference to physical differences leads me to believe that the prior post is describing the psychopath, and not the sociopath.

          Interesting that this was the subject of a column in my local paper by a retired clinical professor, references on request.

        2. Diogenes

          IMO empathy is genetic and a scale that ranges brom white to black with every degree of gray between.

        3. ohmyheck

          Thomas Sheridan has declared war on Psychopaths. He has written two books, “Puzzling People” and “Defeated Demons” and yes, he also says that their brains aren’t functioning. He claims that the fucntioning parts in them are the mammalian/reptilian parts. Linky: http://thomassheridanarts.blogspot.com/search/label/Psychopaths
          This is a VERY interesting image, as well as what he writes.
          He is making it his life’s work to wake humanity up to become aware of this type of predator, to stop enabling them, and to do whatever it takes to remove them from the rest of the human population. I could not agree more.

    3. ex-PFC Chuck

      As I learned while reading The Sociopath Next Door – The Ruthless Versus The Rest Of Us (http://amzn.to/T8Zc7J), sociopathy can now be detected by brain scans. Author Martha Stout asserts that the “empathy section” of the brain simply does not light up in a bout 4% of the population. In the US of A that works out to in excess of 12 million people.

      1. sd

        And there in lies the problem – generally speaking, societies should be protected from sociopaths. However, it is the sociopaths who ruthlessly seize the power.

        Think about it – Glass Steagall was really about protecting society from the sociopaths. It can not be a coincidence that a sociopath helped roll it back – Bill Clinton.

        Sociopaths are charming and manipulative and get what they want to the detriment of the rest of us. Executing them will not change this dynamic. In fact, they will take charge of the chopping block.

        1. Say NO to bullies

          No, we should elect Gov. Martin O’Malley as President in “4 whore years”, so he can legalize “same sociopath marriages”.

          Guaranteed to solve the problem in one generation.

  6. JustJokes

    Can’t forget to consider that each corrupt banker that is hung is one less crook on the streets and one less crook bribing the politicians.

    Then we execute some politicians, but only those from death-penalty states, and that’s a few more $billions saved.

    Just a thought…

  7. nonclassical

    TRUTH involves the FACT that somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 of Americans actually, physically, had anything to do with supporting Washington…it was FRENCH aide, sealing off ports, which allowed Washington victory, in the end..
    (historical accuracy)

    1. Capo Regime

      Yes–nobody to help the U.S. now. Help ourselves? We are mostly broke, overweight, pre-diabetic and a fourth of us on anti-depresants. A good portion holding out to become rich and oppressors themselves. There will be no revolt or any meaningful change. The folks who put up with prohibition, mccarthyism, welfare reform, deregulation, zero down ninja mortgages, pink slime, crappy schools will happily eat cheese doodles and watch TV and become energized by voting for Obama or Romney and thats that…

      1. citalopram

        Anti depressants don’t prevent aggression. Usually the aggressives get a nice dose of anti-psychotics to help with that.

        1. Externality

          They do, OTOH, promote indifference. From Psychiatric Times:

          Alcohol will produce inebriation in a person with schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, or someone with no psychiatric diagnosis. Analogously, SSRIs typically affect individuals in ways that are not specific to diagnosis. What is that effect?

          The most frequent description that I have heard from my patients is “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” or “What’s the big deal?” It is this calm that I believe is a unique blessing of SSRIs. It means relief from worry, relief from the feeling that something is missing, something needs to be done, something needs to be fixed, “my makeup isn’t right,” “the sky is falling,” “I won’t be able to pay my bills,” “I’m not smart enough,” “I won’t be able to tolerate the loneliness if I leave my lover” (even if he/she is abusive).

          SSRIs supply, if not always happiness, a nice contented feeling that all is well and will be well. They can allow parents to be able to play with their children more, fret less over the details, appreciate what is, actually want to do the proverbial modern mantra, stop and smell the roses.

          According to this theory it is the “well, whatever” feeling, emotional blunting, that is so useful in the great variety of different syndromes. Thus, for a person with anorexia nervosa to react with “well, whatever” after they have gained a pound or two is to get at the heart of the problem. . . . Similarly, a depressed person’s preoccupation with the hopelessness of their situation, the gravity of their errors and defects, the inadequacy of their decisions, and so forth will be enormously relieved to regain a less negative perspective.

          http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/mdd/content/article/10168/2055333

          1. ohmyheck

            That is an interesting observation from PT.

            The Psychiatric Times….wrote this as well. (I post a link to a copy of an article, as I am not a member of PT.)

            http://psychopathfree.com/showthread.php?1222-Surprising-article-on-so-called-quot-professional-medical-community-quot-website

            This appears to be propoganda for and enabling of Psychopaths, imo. I found this (copied) article from PT to be outrageous and pathetic. “Poor, poor Psyhcopaths!”

            When perusing PT, through your link, I also found an article titled, “Narcissistic Personality Disorder-Re-Thinking What We know”. Since I don’t have access to it, I cannot comment. I hope it claims that Narcissists are not much different than sociopaths. I do believe that Narcissists, as opposed to Psychopaths, are created from a personality’s response to some deep pain, where as Psychopaths are born.
            Narcissism is just about the least effective, and most offensive ways to deal with that pain. Other human beings are able to develope better mechanisms to transcend the same deep pain, and hopefully grow and become functional, compassionate people.

  8. polistra

    Dangerous nonsense.

    There’s plenty of evidence that punishing speculators keeps speculators under control.

    British PM Walpole, 1721.

    FDR, 1936.

    In each case, BUBBLES STOPPED after the rules were enforced. There were still lots of ups and downs, but ups and downs are a necessary part of capitalism.

    And we know only too well what happened when FDR’s rules were removed in 1999.

    1. F. Beard

      but ups and downs are a necessary part of capitalism. polistra

      No they are not! Not nation or worldwide ups and downs.

      The money SYSTEM itself is crooked. That won’t be fixed with a personnel change.

      Google “famous banking quotes.” This problem is centuries old.

  9. Middle Seaman

    Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the comments above tend to deal with the bankers but not with a “peasants revolt.”

    Of all democracies I am familiar with, the American is the most docile. OWS failed so far, mainly in my opinion, because they were about their process more than for revolt. Our labor movement is by far the weakest. The only real actions were taken after WWI by the Bonus Army March and violent clashes in the 19th century. The only forceful opposition to the government came from individual extremists.

    Our White poor vote Republican and are distinctly for abusing themselves without even noticing the absurdity involved.

    Peasants Revolt? Not soon.

    1. citalopram

      I would agree.

      Two hundred and thirty-six years to produce the finest fattened specimen of American sheep the world has ever seen. They won’t run, they won’t hide; they stay in place consuming everything before them.

    2. neo-realist

      Many white suburban middle class people lucky enough to not lose their jobs in the economic downturn also vote republican: They believe the repubs best protect their tax money against big government and lazy dark skinned people who want to live on welfare.

      1. Capo Regime

        Yes, they vote for those bad republicans and not those honest and helpful democrats. yeah, if they vote for democrats all their troubles will go away…..Amazing–people still think it makes a difference to vote and that party differences matter.

    3. Clara

      The peasants will need to understand they are peasants first.

      Most people think “other people” are peasants.

      1. Kyrie Eleison

        I could insert the obligatory Goethe quote here, but I’m sure you’ve all read it before.

        1. ohmyheck

          What? This one?

          “A really great talent finds its happiness in ‘execution”.”

          LOL!…and…”Off With Their Heads!”

        2. ohmyheck

          What? This one?

          “A really great talent finds its happiness in ‘execution’.”

          LOL!…and…”Off With Their Heads!”

    4. Yves Smith

      Don’t underestimate the impact of – no exaggeration – of over 100 years of anti-labor, pro business propaganda. The US public has been the sustained object of the most extended propaganda operation in the history of man. Nothing remotely comparable in duration or intensity in any other advanced economy. Read Alex Carey’s Taking the Risk Out of Democracy for details.

      1. Kyrie Eleison

        I wholeheartedly agree, the doc film “The Century of the Self” is a good watch which helps explain how effective and sinister the poison has done its work.

        1. nonclassical

          …followed by “The Trap”…sequel…and leading to “The Power of Nightmares”..
          all by Adam Curtis…which may be that to which Yves is referring…

      2. Enslavedlikeme

        * Stop buying the pretty faces.

        1. Vote OBAMA OUT this November. (He fooled everyone)

        2. Vote ROMNEY OUT in four years. (He’s fooling no one)

        3. Get your friends, enemies, brothers and sisters up off their asses, away from the Boobtube, and actively fight for 8 year term limits for ALL local and nationally elected officials. Getting rid of these enablers is the key.

        A simple plan for all levels of “We the People” and THE ONLY WAY to make an immediate Non-Violent impact.

        Get rid of these enablers or you’ll surely be, despised for generations for making “we the sheeple” … Enslavedlikeme

    5. Jagger

      The democratic party has lost the poor young to middle aged white male because the democratic party is now identified, rightly or wrongly, as the black, gay, atheist party. Regardless of policy, the young white male simply does not identify with the democratic party regardless of economic policy. Although personally I see little to no difference between the parties when it comes to economic or international policy. So cultural and identity issues are the only real differences if you decide a vote actually makes any significant difference.

      1. nonclassical

        I call bushit…the democratic party has lost it’s constituency to the exact degree
        corporate “Democratic Leadership Council” has taken it over, leading to bushbamashit…

    6. John Regan

      It simmers and then boils over. It seems to come out of nowhere, but later we look at the situation and it seems obvious that it was coming all along.

      US is no different than anywhere else.

    7. econ

      Irony strikes again at the body politic in Amurica. Constitution Amendment #2 interpreted allowing the citizen to bear arms to overthrow government that is not acting for the citizens…meanwhile they use the arms on their own fellow citizens.

  10. charles leseau

    I think this is almost certainly one of those cases where the “doomed to repeat history” thing just might be wrong, at least for the forseeable future.

    Previous historical regimes did not have anything like the media and opinion-crafting apparatus available to the modern elite, and it goes way beyond talking points or even specifically political questions, into the very culture itself, which is constantly sold in every possible medium in such a way as to make people willingly stereotype themselves according to predefined consumer templates. Even as children we know how brutally any children are treated who are “different.” We know agencies and organization have been subject to infiltration and capture, but to a great extent the entire society has been too.

    The capacity for the conservative to bend his characterizations here and there depending on the circumstance allows for a great deal of confusion as well. Thus, the supposed “strict constitutionalist” of yesterday sees no problem supporting the abolition of the US Postal Service today. Thus, the “trickle down” arguments of yesterday have all but vanished now, replaced by brazen arguments that most people deserve absolutely nothing if their job is deemed a lesser one. Thus, having a million a year income is not rich, but some poor kid who has no prospects but has a $300 iPod is obviously doing great and has nothing to complain about. Thus, the treehugging french surrender monkey wimps against the Iraq war (us) are now compared to Stalinist thugs intent on bloodshed. Thus, the believer in “freedom” and “small government” proves himself again and again nothing but a pure and very frightening authoritarian in any hundred ways. There are so many of these things.

    People talk about them “moving the goalposts ever rightward,” but it’s so much more than that. It’s a game of incredible distraction on an enormous scale, and it works.

  11. DavidP

    A fantasy, what if we are watching(observing)evolution. What if sociapathic behavior is simply an observable distinct difference within our species. If so then one might postulate there may come a time when we may face a conflict with both. What if like many examples of species differentiation in evolutionary history one will dominate? I don’t pretent to know far from it but what if?

  12. REader09

    “Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle, and the Low. They have been subdivided in many ways, they have borne countless different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their attitude towards one another, have varied from age to age: but the essential structure of society has never altered. Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibnum, however far it is pushed one way or the other.

    The aims of these three groups are entirely irreconcilable. The aim of the High is to remain where they are. The aim of the Middle is to change places with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim — for it is an abiding characteristic of the Low that they are too much crushed by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscious of anything outside their daily lives — is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall be equal. Thus throughout history a struggle which is the same in its main outlines recurs over and over again. For long periods the High seem to be securely in power, but sooner or later there always comes a moment when they lose either their belief in themselves or their capacity to govern efficiently, or both. They are then overthrown by the Middle, who enlist the Low on their side by pretending to them that they are fighting for liberty and justice. As soon as they have reached their objective, the Middle thrust the Low back into their old position of servitude, and themselves become the High. Presently a new Middle group splits off from one of the other groups, or from both of them, and the struggle begins over again. Of the three groups, only the Low are never even temporarily successful in achieving their aims. It would be an exaggeration to say that throughout history there has been no progress of a material kind. Even today, in a period of decline, the average human being is physically better off than he was a few centuries ago. But no advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimetre nearer. From the point of view of the Low, no historic change has ever meant much more than a change in the name of their masters.”

    - Geroge Orwell (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four.

    1. Jack M. Hoff

      True enough, Every ones divided then subdivided. Even here on NC, Yves refers to the upper half of her readers. I don’t see any hope for any revolts, excepting individual efforts, with the policy of divide and conquer so in place.

      1. nonclassical

        knowing what was coming, an awfully lot of Germans moved away…our Dad was fortunate (Physics) to experience such professorial experience…German prof who moved to states..

    2. SidFinster

      Yea, verily. Dorm room fantasies aside, revolutions don’t happen when the 1% are united, as they will do whatever it takes to hang onto power. Revolutions happen when the 1% lose confidence, are divided amongst themselves, or just fighting amongst themselves over how to divide the loot.

      1. Heretic

        What about the successful work of Gandhi and Martin Luther King? I would add that Nelson Mandela was also successful. And how about the quiet coup in Chile, where Pinochet was quietly undermined by the forces of justice in Chile. And of course there is this whole ‘Arab Spring’ thingy.. All though the verdict is not complete yet.

        It takes time for a nation to stew before it is ready fr revolution. There are also motivated individuals who arise because of tr injustices, and they motivate and organize other supporters, until they reach a critical mass an the right circumstances and the right historical trigger to start either a major reformation or revolution.

    3. JEHR

      There was a brief period in the fifties and sixties where there was widespread opportunity to go from the lowest class to the middle class via education. My mother was one of eight children in a very poor family with no father. They often went without food and lived in a shack. She only achieved a Grade 8 education but she made the best of that education because she was very smart. Her children (again with no father around) were able to go to University (through scholarships for good marks) and obtained well-paying jobs. Now the children of those chilren today are faced with elites that no longer want to make the lot of the poor better and I fear the worst in the near future. It took only about three generations to come full circle with Orwell’s societal divisions.

      Of course, the environment itself may solve this problem when the planet heats up a few more degrees!

    4. Calgacus

      But no advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimetre nearer.

      Defeatist, wrong & singularly inapposite at the time he wrote. In the USA, the FDR era is a counterexample. The US Civil War? The welfare state in Europe, in his own country, the NHS in particular?

      The next few decades across the world? Brought enough advance in wealth that the bottom actually started getting more.

      But then the empire, which had been biding its time, gathering its strength, struck back.

  13. Lune

    “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

    –Frederick Douglass

      1. Aquifer

        Frankly, I don’t find that so much sad as encouraging – if there are limits as to what tyrants can get away with and if those limits are defined by what the oppressed will tolerate, then it seems to me the way to minimize the oppression is for the oppressed to refuse to tolerate it …

  14. abelenkpe

    If there is another crisis similar to 2008 then we’ll see which path is taken. Until then we’re in a holding pattern.

  15. Tom Crowl

    The really scary thing is to imagine NOT having a peasants revolt!

    Could opinion manipulation become so effective… and our belief (false,btw) that we are impotent against organized forces become so embedded that we passively accept not only financial servitude but political impotence?

    Deception is an inherent human trait… and TPTB are spending a lot more time developing techniques and technologies for that… than they are trying to develop similar methods to nurture rational skepticism and independent thinking amongst the citizenry.

    And unless we solve that problem… really a problem of maintaining trust with scale in a heterogeneous society… we don’t have a chance of escaping this cycle…

    Issues in Scaling Civlization: The Monsters-from-the-Id Dilemma

    1. enouf


      Deception is an inherent human trait… and TPTB are spending a lot more time developing techniques and technologies for that…

      You better believe it .. it’s only going to get much much worse; literal mind/crowd control (invoking various emotional responses) through use of EMF, etc

      http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/82304

      Guns and Butter
      Wednesday, 11 July 2012

      “The Coup of 2012″ with Frank Morales.

      The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act; the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act; the 1971 Non-Detention Act; the Crisis of Democracy Report issued by the Trilateral Commission; US Army Field Manual 19-15 Civil Disturbance Operations; the 1995 Independent Task Force On Non-Lethal Weapons Report of the CFR; the 2012 Department of Defense Non-Lethal Weapons Human Effects Characterization; The Electromagnetic Spectrum In Low Intensity Conflict; the 1992 Weapons Transfer Agreements.

      Pay close attention to the information presented about the bolded text above.

      Love

      p.s. one can also seek out this Document;
      Dunlap, Charles J., Jr. — The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012.pdf
      (I know some torrents have the show, the files (PDF and txt), etc all in one pkg)

    2. nonclassical

      ..considering Adam Curtis-”The Power of Nightmares”=BBC documentary discloses there IS NO “al-Qaeda”, yet PBS today uses the term 4-5 times an hour in new stories to keep ameri”K”ans afraid…

  16. Paul Walker

    The noteworthy differences in the structure of global societal/financial interaction between historical references and today’s reality leads this observer to conclude any such revolt will not spring forth from the peasantry. Rather, the wellspring of such action will be found in the very deep pool known broadly as the professions and those who populate them which are vastly different in broad sophistication and capabilities than any such sized segment of broad society previously.

    1. JTFaraday

      I don’t want to be too nasty, but it sure does look like the current criminal class and its political enablers are being drawn from your sophisticated “professional” classes.

      If something different is supposed to be generated out of these same professional classes, what is the differentiating factor that would lead a critical mass of these people to some other end?

      1. Heretic

        JTF…. What you say is true, but incomplete. Good people with strong sense of conscience and duty also come from the professional class, such as Bill Black and Yves….

        Perhaps this is why non-violent actions have the best chance for successful revolutions…they galvanize prick the consciences of all persons observing, and can cause elements of the elite to split against themselves.

        1. JTFaraday

          I didn’t say it wasn’t possible. After all, we do have “the elitist John Adams” as one of the nation’s premier revolutionaries.

          But you still didn’t answer my question about what distinguishing factor(s) might produce such a split in the professional classes that are today producing criminals and political enablers at an astounding rate.

          1. Paul Walker

            Criminals have always been created at astounding rates whenever money and power are able to reside and nurture in shadow. Nothing new there. What is new is the capacity of ever greater portions of society to get past the mumbo jumbo of what once where largely closed professions and recognize the crap as crap. This is the secret sauce that isolates and exposes systemic rot which further brings these actions to light and provides the action to separate the hard core from the hangers-on.

      2. Paul Walker

        I don’t want to be too nasty, but it sure does look like the current criminal class and its political enablers are being drawn from your sophisticated “professional” classes.

        Without question, as are their opposition. No segment of society operates in isolation either from other professions, political-religious-tribal structures or geographically.

        A terrific example can be found in Libor. One group of professionals sought to enhance their stocks of Bollinger by drawing the window shades of transparency while another seeks to raise the knowledge base throughout society through increasing transparency of the linkages between these aspects of financial markets, monetary policy and various aspects of human society. The multiplicity of debate within and between professions is happening on a global basis regardless of traditional social channeling effects. If all the professionals involved were monolithic then there would be no debate as the whole of social interaction would be moving in lock step by protecting past conduct, enabling current conduct and furthering its advance in future.

        1. JTFaraday

          “If all the professionals involved were monolithic then there would be no debate as the whole of social interaction would be moving in lock step by protecting past conduct, enabling current conduct and furthering its advance in future.”

          All the expert discussion about which you seem so positive has been wholly a part of that enabling process.

          It is the “Kabuki theater” that allows the “informed professional” to think it’s possible the process will brought up short and convinces the informed citizen that the profession still has some credibility.

          Thus, not surprisingly “protecting past conduct, enabling current conduct and furthering its advance” is exactly what we see to date.

          And this is what we see despite the fact that the snakes occasionally slither up out of the gutter, testify in front of governments, are looked over by journalists, etc.

          So, once again: What are the factor(s) that will promote this split within “the professional class(es)”– that are producing the criminal class and its political enablers– that is hypothesized but which has not occurred?

  17. Schofield

    We would appear to have forgotten that human nature is ambivalent and the best sanction against abuse of power is prevention.

  18. Max424

    Yes, it is more than improbable that We the Sheeple will storm the barricades anytime soon. Let’s face it, the only thing we know how to do besides mill, much and say baaaa, is to say baaa, munch and mill.

    Now, if sheeple leaders emerged, let’s say tough, smart ethical herding dogs with a barricade storming plan, we might make it to the barricades, but the reality is, we’d be mowed down en masse and mid-leap by the hardware aligned against us.

    En masse. It a lovely visage. Millions of disgruntled sheeple leaping over the barricades to their noble deaths. But we’d never even get that far. Right? Let’s face it, the software aligned against us is more powerful than the hardware.

    The software has made us sick and fat from prescription drugs and overgrazing. The software insures that we no longer sing baaa in chorus, we baaa now in isolation. And when we mill, which the ingenious software allows, by design, we mill aimlessly, in places like strip malls, stadiums, office parks and traffic jams.

    So when the sheeple herding dogs came to round us up, to organize us for the march, and the storming, to their disappointment, they would encounter mostly half-dead sheeple without a purpose, too weak of body and spirit to march, let alone storm and die.

    That’s the good news. At least as sheeple we are alive. The bad news is, there is time element involved, as in, time is running out, quickly, not just for We the Sheeple, but for our tormentors.

    Peak oil and global warming cares not whether you are a sheeple or a tormentor. It will destroy you both. And the destructive elements of PO & GW can only be arrested via intelligent human cooperation. And clearly, the evidence is mounting, the last thing that will ever occur on this planet, is human cooperation, intelligent or otherwise.

    1. different clue

      Well then, can the sheeple at least learn to be bad little sheeple and grow rusty brillo instead of wool?

  19. MarioPa75

    It’s a well done provocation-inflamatory post, no doubt, with an appropriate rethorical question ending it.

    Now please let’s consider the following:

    1. regulations aren’t panacea-one-time-fix-all solutions (such things seldom exist,if ever) evidence: Glass Steagal was shelved without neither riots nor victory parades in the streets;

    2. yet Glass Steagal was among the closest to a one-shot-fix-all-regulation we had and it “worked” to an extent, evidence: much, much was done in order to weaken/repeal it;

    3. hence regulations are to be understood as _one_ tool in a set of tools we may have, as they unfortunately suffer from the thousand years old “quis custodiet ipsos custodes” problem – in other words, if the driver is asleep at the wheel, or being paid to crash, no amount of driving rules will suffice;

    4. the next problem is figuring out how to make regulation enforcement less dependant on the will of the regulators/enforcers (physical persons), in order to prevent negative externalities – aka “unwanted negative effects” – on people/countries that are bearing the brunt of the crisis (the almost innocents).

    How to do that effectively, that I don’t know.

  20. tiger

    This is so sad… especially on a Saturday night. I don’t think I’m the only one who sometimes says “maybe we’ll just lose this fight” yet despite the logic of that option, we must do everything we can to fight on…

    The sheeple have woken up partially, now it’s time to wake up the rest…

  21. MichaelC

    Will we have to wait for a 21st century peasants’ revolt before seeing any real change?

    If the peasant revolt takes the form of an overwhelming clamoring from the voting peasantry in the 2012 election cycle to demand that regulators and prosecutors demand enforcement of existing law, I’m all for it.

    Occupy could accomplish this easily ifthey realize that this should be the unifying message for the movement.

    Apply existing law, penalize the banksters who brought this on, then move on to achieve particular Occupy objectives against a weakened plutocracy, and a democratic presidency beholden to their support.

    There is no will by either party to enforce the law. That will not change until the voters demand it. Rommney’s supporters will never demand it.

    1. ohmyheck

      And Obama’s supporters haven’t either. They have simply made excuse after excuse for his administration’s abuse of power and defection to Neoliberalism.

      Now what? Obomney/Robama 2012…woot.

  22. gepay

    There was a successful slave revolution in Haiti. The slaves were a very diverse group of many, many, tribal types from Africa speaking different languages. The slavery of the sugar plantations was possibly the worst slavery, ever. It was thought to be cheaper to buy new slaves than to take care of the ones they had. The Spanish had invaded, taking advantage of the French revolution. The revolting slaves fought with the Spanish as they hated the French. Sonothax from the French Revolutionary government set the slaves free as the British saw a chance to gain what was then the pearl of the Antilles. They sent 50,ooo troops. L’overture defeated them. Then Napoleon sent 50,000 troops to try to regain the island. The slaves defeated them. It took 13 years of the most brutal sort of warfare. Later the French extracted what would today be tens of billions by threatening invasion. While the New Englander Adams said Haiti’s money was as good as anybody’s, Thomas Jefferson imposed an embargo on Haiti that lasted for decades or so The US refused to officially recognize Haiti until 1862. France and Spain also had embargos on Haiti.
    So as the citizens of Egypt are finding out. Throwing out the current ruler is just the first step to any kind of real change for the better.
    It will be no different for us. The system we have now is broken. There is no rule of law that applies to all.
    There is a Spanish proverb, “the law is like a spider web. It catches flies but the hawks go free.”
    The question is as Lenin said, “what to do?, what to do?”

    1. SidFinster

      N.G. Chernyshevskii asked “What to do?”

      Somewhat later, V.I. Lenin said “What to do.”

    2. SidFinster

      N.b. Haiti is an interesting case. Although malaria and yellow fever defeated the French almost as much as the slaves did, Haiti remains the only example of a slave revolt leading to formation of a state in modern history.

  23. Wyndtunnel

    My guess is that disease will once again act as the great equalizer it always proves to be. The combined effect of Americans executing their “freedom” to not immunize their children and the eventual collapse of healthcare if current trends are maintained will see to it.

  24. The Gizmo51

    Oh boy, where do I start? Public employees of public services such as teachers, police, fire fighters, and city workers repairing potholes, don’t make too much money, if any, for the 1%. This is usually taxpayer money paying people to benefit people that pay taxes(kind of a circular money flow within the public sector), doesn’t benefit the 1% at all. The 1% don’t use public roads, bridges, and public transportation, along with the education system and other public services. (Senator Kennedy used to fly in his private jet to and from the senate.) Do you actually think mitt would wait at the DMV for hours to renew his driver’s license or wait in an ER for his turn to be seen by a doctor? So, in order to gain more money and power there is no need for public services as they don’t service the 1%. The 1%, as they gain political power, are decimating the public sector and eventually it will simply “disappear”. The unbelievable part is that the average taxpayer agrees with the 1% that public employees are the problem by being paid too much and have too many benefits sucking up the money and benefits from the average private citizen causing and contributing the financial, deficits, and economic and jobs crisis. The mess, was in fact, created and perpetrated upon the 99% in order to gain more power and money and the process becomes self sustaining: The more the 1% takes the more it can take. An example is housing. Your house “lost” about 30-40% in value (but only if you sell do you realize the loss) the 1% has no intention of selling, they are buying and accumulating wealth at bargain prices. There is a purpose to their madness as they grow wealth at the 99% expense..

  25. David Lentini

    “While everyone from Tony Blair to Nouriel Roubini is debating whether or not bankers should be hung . . . .”

    I think you mean “hanged”, unless you’re thinking of turning this subject into an HBO comedy.

  26. dbak

    In the past it was fairly easy to beat down revolts. You simply isolated the the areas of discontent. With the primitive means of communication available the general populace was largely unaware of what was happening. Even so revolutions still happened but they were not well organized and were hijacked by extremists.In both the French and Russian examples this was plainly evident. Unfortunately we still see simular trends in the middle east events. Nevertheless modern communications have helped to fuel the revolutionary fever. Could it happen in this country? Never say never.

    1. Stratos

      I am convinced that revolution will occur in this country. For many years, I’d hoped that US citizens would organize themselves and stop the downward slide. They instead gave into fear and individualistic acts of anxiety, apathy and desperation.

      Many citizens, saw their fellows slide into oblivion and declared that “those people” (fill in the blank) deserved their fate because they were stupid, lazy, sported “bad behaviors” or “felt entitled”. They refused to see the rot in the system because they were too busy blaming the earliest victims of the structural adustment programs that the One Percent set into motion 35 years ago.

      Meanwhile, the government started building a repressive spy, police and prison regime to control dissent and eliminate even the hint of revolution. The population was told that this was being done because of their incessant wars on drugs, crime, gangs and terror. The real objective was enduring control of the American population. This buildup of the repressive state is nearly complete and will commence full operation soon with the deployment of spy drones in US airspace.

      Yet, Elites and governments always forget that anything built can be defeated by an enraged and determined population. What is most interesting is that the One Percent and their enforcers can’t seem to stop themselves. They keep pushing and pushing the population. It may take years to come to head but revolution is pretty much inevitable—and it will be very ugly indeed!

  27. briansays

    Sunday words from Rev. Jesse

    There are two nations in the US, growing more and more apart.

    The comfortable well-to-do are attempting to ignore the deepening plight of the majority of Americans, based on dodgy economic principles, pure unadulerated greed, self-serving rationalization, a false history of the widespread economic fraud, and a generally apathetic numbness towards the suffering of others that appears to be fully sociopathic.

    The poor are merely a calculation in the struggle for the greatest share of the dwindling power and wealth of a declining Empire. We are not quite there yet, but it will not take much to push things too far. Austerity applied with a whip hand and a disdain for justice and genuine reform would do it.

    This callous arrogance and brutality is nothing new to the one third of the world that has been repeatedly ‘saved’ by the Pax Americana in its benevolent self-delusions.

    The blowback that is coming at home and abroad is going to blow like a hurricane.

    And the elite in America will recoil with horror and surprise, and will not understand it. Or at least, will pretend not to understand it, once again. And will blame it on envy, and try to hold on even harder to the status quo in a battle that, in their childish lack of real world perspective, they think they can win. After all, they are ‘winners.’ And they are just itching for yet another war.

    There may be blood. Quite a bit of it. But there will almost certainly be a holocaust of the vanities.

  28. briansays

    cont.

    Without serious reform, no amount of stimulus will correct the problems that are plaguing America. The parasites of Wall Street will pounce on any additional liquidity supplied by the Fed.

    The trillions that have been spent bailing out the wealthy and subsidizing their greed are a scandal of the first order. And yet all they can say is ‘more.’

    The callous ugliness of many in this nation is of concern. They are encouraged to say outrageous things, and feel justified in taking outageously harsh, anti-human positions. And they are proud of it, having given themselves over completely to greed and hate and pride.

    And they will be called to account. God will not be tolerant of such arrogance.

    “And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. 11 The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their worldly things.” James 1:10-11

  29. Anon

    Wat Tyler, leader of the 1381 Peasants’ Revolt in London, did his thing not far from where I live. This is affixed to the wall of the wealthy monastery (subsequently rebuilt) he totalled:

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/london-remembers/images/big/45627.jpg?1319380709

    Some centuries later, a leader of another peasants’ revolt, a marginally more successful one this time, which eventually went global, also came to roost in the same area, and edited his revolutionary newspaper, The Spark, from there:

    http://plungingintohistory.com/ir-area-historyandpolitics

    The spark this time round will come – even though we do not know exactly where yet.

    Those at the top, who have perpetrated global economic disaster through their extremist, limitless venality and lies, have every reason to be worried.

  30. Bernard

    the changes in teh weather, Global warming, as we have today with our drought situation, will make the changes happen quicker. the Middle class will only belatedly realized they can’t get “Rich” too. the Poor have always been the “scapegoat” as teh Blacks are today used to scare Whites into The Repubican Scam.

    The Weather will do what the forces of good have never done, equalize the outcomes. but then it will be too late. the greed that is used to pit one against the other, aka the Lord of the Flies, is the only commonality we all share. as long as some use excuses for absolving the Elites for pitting us against one another, the Psychopaths, not sociopaths continue to run the Asylum.

    Greed and the power to get over the other is what keeps the Elites in power. no God will ever arise other then the Weather God to stop the likes of Obama, Rmoney, Bush et al. Naivete is such a wonderful human trait. the Elites have used it here in America for years.

    Madame De Farge wrote down the names of those destined for the guillotine, in America that will be Global Warming. whether the Republicans ever pay a price for their avarice is not something i’d bet on. Money will sell you/us everytime. but as i have heard, when all the food and water has been destroyed or polluted, eating money will be all the rich have.

    1. Anon

      What a perverted worldview you have.

      We share generosity, intelligence, love. All of these are worth more than money.

      The ‘golden thread’ of them sometimes gets lost, but not all of us subscribe to picture of human life that is fallen. Oppression is real, and comes from the greediest, from the elites. They choose not to share, and impose rules on the rest of us that prevent it.

      Why no collective insurance pool for healthcare? Really, why not?

      To protect the profits of Mary Tolan, who wants to be in the emergency room, extracting money from the bank account of a woman suffering a vaginal haemorrhage? Who on earth do you know that would behave like that, make that a core tenet of their business model?

      I do not understand, nor do I want to, the motivations of Jamie Dimon, Chuck Prince, Tolan, or whoever.

      I just know they are wrong, and we need to stop them, because enough is enough.

  31. Jim

    There is plenty of evidence that Big Capital and Big Government and their elites (owners of real capital and cultural capital–the professional classes) have pretty much run things for the past 125 years (see writings of Balogh for example).

    What is most amazing to me is that the partial hegemony of the professional classes is so complete that they are not normally included as part of the contemporary structure of power(only real capital is seen as running things).

    I would argue, that up to this point, most calls for reform, only embed the professional classes even more into our contemporary structure of power.

    ‘Most ambitious intellectuals/professionals are still comfortable with the potential upward mobility their credentials offer them–choosing to align themselves with more populist sentiment at a local level is presently seen as dangerous to their careers. Many may be calculating the chances of gaining a national power position through professional organizations and
    State agencies of various sorts, is the smartest choice for now.

  32. Kathi Berke

    Pitch to Studio Head:

    Sir Isaac Newton as Torquemada, Inspector Javert & Sherlock Holmes all in one faces off against poor tormented speculators

    I see the guy from Saw I, II, III etc. as the lead. Robert Pattinson (from Twilight Saga) as hunted multi-billionaire.

    Hmm, that’s Cronenberg’s new movie Cosmopolis?

    Bring back Patrick Bateman.

  33. Aquifer

    Hmmm, it does appear that instead of “real change” we have been getting “change we can believe in”, meaning no change as it appears we don’t believe in anything anymore …

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