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The Death of Capital: What’s Really Behind Thomas Piketty’s Economic Zeitgeist

McKIllopAndrew McKillop
21st Century Wire

If you’ve watched the news this week, you may have noticed it. They are calling it the ‘book of the century’.

But one wonders why this particular book is being hyped to the heavens. Could it be there is a deeper story here, or a subtle hint lurking behind the the wonderfully written reviews?

Elite Psychosis – Again

Rather predictably, the elite-serving glove puppet media has decided it’s right and good at this time to wheel on its handpicked, most obedient and servile journalists to opine ad nauseam about Thomas Piketty’s new book Capital in the 21st Century. This coincides with David Stockman’s almost triumphant declaration of Greenspan-and-Bernanke’s come-uppance ‘Truth Moment’ (Yes, America’s housing fiasco is on you, Alan Greenspan).

All this points to uncomfortable truth that another 2008 crisis is not only possible, it is probably overdue.

Piketty contrasts the Victorian era of extreme and massive income equality with exactly the same thing today, finding that the only difference is that in the times of Thorsten Veblen the rich could pass on almost all their ill gotten-gains to their offspring, and perpetuate what’s popularly known as capitalism. Today, they have to share too much of it with Big Government, which of course dilapidates these gotten-gains and (terribly, unfortunately) economic growth bombs down to oblivion.

Capital and growth are the bedrocks of our latter-day society and mass culture. Piketty’s revision of 21st century economic thinking certainly will embolden those who insist on crowing endlessly about the nefarious ‘1%’ (and sneer at me because I travel via private jet), but if they don’t know what’s really happening below the surface, then 1% abstract concept doesn’t really mean a whole lot. One thing we can all agree on right now though, is that we are knee-deep into the ‘Century of Oligharchs’, where creative financial casinos and property speculators have concentrated capital into an ever narrower band of society, which has reverted our so-called progressive democracies back to something akin to late 19th century France.

A Kinder, Gentler Bail-in

A cynic might say that Piketty is only giving a nice face to the IMF’s utopian vision of taxing your personal savings and of course, increase taxes everywhere.

First though, the Masters of the Coin must soften us up to the idea. The new IMF game is to exclaim, “But income in-equality is massive, and to Help the Peepul we will tax wealth!”, but the real problem is systematic and highly institutionalised and more importantly – is out of control. It’s pedal to the metal debt growth, pumped up by Big Guv to fund their pals with corporate welfare in the crony corporations.

Once they got a quick cull of so-called ‘wealth’ (meaning your savings, pensions etc), this will then be blown away instantly to keep the Debt Bubble blowing in the wind.

Yes, of course it has to collapse one day, but the elite hope is it won’t be today.

Social Darwinism

The Victorian era-focus of Piketty is obligatory. In a very, very short period following the shock discovery in 1859, thanks to Charles Darwin who boosted man’s self esteem by claiming that humans are descended from apes and therefore also from reptiles, vertebrate fish, invertebrates – and even from bacteria, Herbert Spencer had managed to cobble together his “Social Darwinism” theory, to massive applause from the elite.

LOOK DOWN, LOOK DOWN: The ‘job for life’ is dead, and steady work is already hard to come by for many (Image via RocknRollGhaost.com)

According the followers of Social Darwinism, Victorian middle class English society was descended, or rather ascended from the hapless “prolos” or animal-like proletariat too stupid to know about derivatives and FX trading. Worthless zombies, they were good for working the factories of David Ricardo, extracting capital from “comparative advantage”, and above all from the ability of paying floor worker persons approximately 100-times less than the ‘Captains of Industry’ up in head office. Their worth premium is raised to 1000 times less when we take into account the late unlamented (to me anyway) Steve Jobs, or the unhappily still-present Bill Gates, and the post-2010 clones and clowns of latterday capitalism, and those marvelously absurd, reheated dotcom boomers like the charlatan inventors of intrinsically worthless cloud hangouts like Whats App and Facebook.

To be sure, if you pay a person 1000 times less than another, the Born Losers have to crawl in poverty. That goes without saying, and author Piketty only skims the surface of that particular part of the bad deal.

Ethics and social philosophy, and any other moral dimensions of this scenario are of course usually avoided, for fear they would ruin the “scientific economics” chart displays and the pompous gurgling of men like Larry Summers, or Robert Rubin. However, critics and commentators, usually outside the glove puppet media, have underscored the role and importance of “honest money” and “hard money”, and its opposite, dishonest money in trashing capitalism. There is something inherently dishonest in fractional reserve banking – which is, in fact, a simple confidence trick.

Bizniss is bizniss however, and the Victorian elite of England sincerely wanted to feel morally righteous, to feel genuine pleasure and pride seeing their fellow citizens in the gutter, suffering repeated cholera epidemics in coal-smeared mega cities like Manchester and London. Old Herbert Spencer supplied them a nice line of lies and illusions.

By a happy coincidence, English capitalist imperialism soon enabled massive supplies of Chinese and Asian opium to be imported, to further befuddle the Hapless Prolos of Britain, as the English imperial onslaught sucked in new capital from China.

To be sure, the English airily “forgot all about it”, possibly helped by prolonged drug dependence, but the Chinese did not. The Opium War has an enduring meaning you see, to the Chinese.

Marx and Engels, for all their faults, at least explained that the capitalist predator class (once it has sucked all it can from its home-base population) wouldl move on to Imperialism and try the same dirty trick on foreign nations and peoples. In do doing, they stacked up blow-back for later on. Today we have a minute-by-minute grope forward of Western neo-Imperialism in the Ukraine crisis, facing down a “KGB-ruled Russia”, but trying the same neo-Imperialist trick against nuclear-armed China or India may run on a lot shorter time fuze. Enduring resentment against Western capitalist imperialism is intense, especially for China and India.

To be sure, capitalism relies heavily on tricks and chance discoveries (called “innovation”) to stumble along, enriching the Nice People and trashing the Born Losers in the gutter. In particular, for at least 100 years, but with antecedents tracing back to John Law’s “financial miracle” in the France of 1715, followed by the total collapse of his dirty and fundamentally dishonest scam – we have the moral dimension and question of honest money.

The Ruling Class Needs War

Dishonest money has its direct counterpart and dark twin in the urge for war.

As slef-appointed rightful rulers of their planetary fifedom, western oligarchs dream and muse about many things. If “Vlad the Vampire” Putin can be unhinged, or even killed by Western subterfuge, like Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi, then enormous riches could befall to the ‘Good and the Brave’. On the back of liberated Russian natural resources, the money printing presses can whirr even more frenetically.

You can find that warm and progressive message embedded in almost black-and-white print everywhere now, in the elite glove puppet media of today.

The basic problem is that Piketty’s “dilution of capital” is an inevitable process. Since the probable last or definitive crisis of modern capitalism, in 2008, economic growth was and is the first collateral victim. Ergo war is necessary – the elite glove puppet media will tell you so!

Dishonest money was firstly necessary to preserve the Victorian capitalist model of society and culture featuring grotesque social inequality, and secondly was the harbinger and financial driving force behind every imperial war. In moral intellectual or conceptual terms, nothing at all has changed for our elites since Victorian times. However, industrial and technological innovation have also, very unfortunately, democratized nuclear weapons as well as other weapons. Very unfortunate, in particular, for atavistic morons admiring Victorian capitalism. Countries like China and India can hit back very, very hard, today.

For our elites, while they are still there at the helm of the Ship of State, the situation is in fact really simple. You really do have the choice even if you do not want to admit it! Not admitting there is an alternative, or insisting that ‘there is no alternative to our ruling edicts’ is absolutely critical to the elite. Their herd schizophrenia probably helps explain this decreped old paradigm.

Hassan Sabah (1034-1124), also called the Wise Man of the Mountain, in today’s Syria, edicted ‘the doctrine of assassination’. His argument was that the assassination of one Warlord poised to start an epic battle, will avoid the useless death of 10,000 men.

Junking the Victorian-minded neo-capitalist elite in the gutter, where they belong, will do the same.

READ MORE BY THIS AUTHOR AT: 21st Century Wire McKillop Files



Get Your Copy of New Dawn Magazine #203 - Mar-Apr Issue
Get Your Copy of New Dawn Magazine #203 - Mar-Apr Issue