Offered Without Comment 02

Posted: December 12, 2019 in Conspiracy, Corporatism, Culture, Economics, Outrage, Politics
Tags: , , , , ,

From They Rule: The 1% vs. Democracy (2014) by Paul Street, which I’m just starting to read:

The contemporary United States, I find in this volume, is neither a dictatorship nor a democracy. It is something in between or perhaps different altogether: a corporate-managed state-capitalist pseudo-democracy that sells the narrow interests of the wealthy business and financial elite as the public interest, closes off critical and independent thought, and subjects culture, politics, policy, institutions, the environment, daily life, and individual minds to the often hidden and unseen authoritarian dictates of money and profit. It is a corporate and financial plutocracy whose managers generally prefer to rule through outwardly democratic and noncoercive means since leading American corporations and their servants have worked effectively at draining and disabling democracy’s radical and progressive potential by propagandizing, dulling, pacifying, deadening, overextending, overstressing, atomizing, and demobilizing the citizenry. At the same time, American state and capitalist elites remain ready, willing, and able to maintain their power with the help from ever more sinister and sophisticated methods and tools of repression brutality, and coercive control.

  1. Greg Knepp says:

    I like the moniker ‘Corporatism’; those in control are the major stockholders of the most powerful corporations. Much like the bishops and cardinals of the Middle Ages, the kings, dukes and barons of the Royal Era, and the presidents, prime ministers and senators of the rather brief Republic Era (naturally there have been significant overlaps in these eras, and a few have come and gone on more than one occasion) they often rule with an iron fist in a velvet glove.

    It was the Industrial Revolution that inevitably jettisoned Corporatism into the driver’s seat of virtually all social, cultural, economic and political goings-on in the modern world. Historically, if you want to know what the dominant institution of any given society was, look at the skyscrapers – the skyscrapers tell all.

    • Brutus says:

      Thanks for your comment. I dunno that major stockholders have greater influence and decision-making power than owners and boards of directors, but they’re all pointed in the same direction, which is consolidation, maintenance, and expansion of the principal corporate objective: profit.

      My blog has a considerable number of posts about skyscrapers, mostly as examples of techno-narcissism. Late-comers to the party (e.g., the United Arab Emirates and China) demonstrate perhaps the most distorted embrace of the skyscraper impulse — an expression of overweening capitalist exuberance — outside their birthplace in the U.S.

      • Greg Knepp says:

        I use the word ‘skyscraper’ in a general sense. Abram constructed crude stone towers on ‘high places’ in his domain in order to intimidate potential interlopers: “If I have the resources and manpower to build this otherwise useless edifice, just think of the short work I will make of your puny ass should you decide to trespass on my turf.” The pyramids and obalisks of Egypt served much the same purpose, as did the ziggurats of Mesopotamia…Even God was sufficiently impressed: “If these Babylonian misanthropes can build a structure on this scale, shall anything be beyond them?” (Tower of Babel – Genesis)

        The Greeks and Romans built monumental structures – as grand as their technologies and resources would allow – on the ‘high places’ of their cities. Eventually, when secular power acceded to the growing influence of religion, construction of towering Romanesque, then Gothic cathedrals commenced. The mind beggars at these colossal projects, completed in Europe’s otherwise impoverished and backward societies. Gaudy, turreted castles looming over the landscape soon accompanied the golden age of kings and dukes – structures that, in many cases, were far taller than necessity might have dictated. Such is the nature of centralized power, no matter its form.

        The resurgence of secularism resurrected the bold motifs of the Greco-Roman era (neoclassicism) only on a larger scale. Governments became powerful enough to toy with the ideals of republican formats, support education and the arts, and engage in massive public works projects. For example; the capitol building in Washington DC was so huge and ostentatious, that, when a delegation of Plains Indian chiefs visited the nations capital in the 1880’s they were so dumbfounded by the spectacle of the capitol building itself that they immediately gave up any illusions of bucking the new order established by the ‘white fathers’. It was Abram’s rock pile on steroids!

        Today’s metal and glass corporate towers are merely more of the same – new technologies, different masters. But pretty much sung to the same old tune – “mine is bigger than yours”.
        Be they rock piles, totem poles, pyramids, stacked pagodas, pointy-turreted castles, cathedrals, monuments or modern office towers…follow the skyscraper trail – it’s a hoot!

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