All boats rise in a rising tide? Really?

The haves want the have-nots to believe sharing wealth is not a zero-sum game.

The mantra:  All boats rise in a rising tide.

But that’s not the way things are working out, eh?  The wealthy get wealthier and the poor get poorer.  Certainly on a planetary scale, with human population increasing globally at about 1.11% annually, there is a rapidly swelling underclass who have no concept, much less any chance of sharing in the vast quantities of goods, services, opportunities, and resources churned out by our great engines of economic and technological development.

The same is also becoming more and more true here in America, with wealth inequality increasing astronomically over the past several decades, vastly accelerating after the crash of 2008 crippled the middle class, further sunk the lower class, decimated savings and home equity, destroyed jobs and job security, and plunged already indebted average citizens into even greater debt. True, the rich did same somewhat of a hit as a result of the 2008 financial crisis, but predictably bounced back with a vengeance. 95% of the wealth generated in the slow but steady economic recovery over the past eight years went to the top 1%. In 2016 alone, the world’s rich elite increased their wealth by $237 billion.

In terms of our boat analogy . . .

I suggest we regular folks buy life jackets.

Because as the luxury liners supported by the subservient ship of state rise to even greater heights of opulence for the already wealthy and privileged, our fragile boats will be swamped in the wake of their showy extravagance and wasteful wanton affluence.

The rich and powerful have never made much of a secret of their disdain for regular folks. But as long as America citizens remain incurably detached from the reality of their lot, when the ravenous kleptocrats of the Trump administration rev up their feeding frenzy beyond anything ever before witnessed in the history of the world, everyday Americans probably won’t have to worry about being put in cages or internment camps — of course, the prisons will be kept bulging in our for-profit prison system but that’s business as usual. In their callous indifference and Machiavellian marginalization of the less fortunate, the wealthy if nothing else are coldly efficient. Extermination by war or disease or relentless grinding poverty are the time-honored and road-tested methods for effortlessly “draining the swamp” of unwanted creatures like you and I.  The wealthy don’t need to ponder and won’t even flinch at the inevitable carnage.  They won’t even notice.  Their evening wear won’t even get soiled or their reputations sullied by the noxious clouds of incinerated souls and destroyed lives, families, communities, and even whole nations, as poverty, war, chaos and human neglect on every front stampedes the unprivileged — the slobbering masses — into the abyss of sociopathic excess.

There are no pangs of conscience for those who don’t have one.

Wealth is a zero-sum game.  That’s true regardless of how much wealth exists in the world. If someone has something, then everyone else does not have it.  We can make more of that something but capitalism — especially its grotesquely virulent current iteration, neoliberal capitalism — is built on want and shortage, thus quite by design there will never be enough of that something for everyone to benefit equitably.  Recent history is all the evidence we need for this: while it’s true that since the dawn of the industrial revolution the engines of progress have mounted bigger piles of everything, it is also apparent that those piles have ended up in fewer hands.

In what may be the most astonishing, outrageous and incomprehensible economic statistic I’ve experienced in my lifetime, Oxfam just released a study of global wealth distribution which offered this gem:  Eight individuals now own as much wealth as the bottom 3.7 billion people on the planet.  Or presented another way:  The top .000000107% of the world population have as much wealth as the bottom 50%.

Under these conditions, as the tide rises a handful of luxurious and unsinkable yachts inch closer to God and millions of sunken hulls rot at even greater depths in the dark void at the bottom.

Does any sane person really think it can continue to go on like this?

Are there enough sane people around to make a difference?

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  • George Polley

    Hopefully there are enough sane people to make a difference, John. Who knows, maybe The Donald will bring them forth before the entire planet sinks in the quicksand of unrepentant greed. This is not the kind of world I wish for my four children, ten grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. I shudder at the consequences of doing nothing, or not enough.

  • larm007

    Your writing is insightful and well done. I post all your articles on social media and email to friends who are politically conscious. Thanks for your noble efforts.

    • Thanks for your kind words. I get a lot of comments at the political news sites where I post but not many here. Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to myself. So your reading and sharing is deeply appreciated.

      • larm007

        I’ve noted the ‘not many’ comments and am surprised…and disheartened, as I suspect you might be as well. With the daily news, independent journalism articles, etc., I get quite disheartened as well (not to mention comments from Trump fans that are SO out of touch) (I’m being kind)..But I digress. My response to criticism that I just shouldn’t read the articles and books that make my blood boil, is that “I would remain largely uninformed and become part of the problem that I see in the uninformed, or truth denying, masses. That said, I speculate that the working class and the poor spend so much time just working to make ends meet, the only time they have for news just gives them sound bites on the pitiful one-sided MSM reporting, repetitive statements like “we’re the greatest country in the world”, “our democracy is hacked Russia” (with no mention of our own shenanigans). I have been an avid fan of Greg Palast since the Florida 2000 election. Took an attorney friend to see Palast’s “The greatest Democracy Money Can Buy” and his comment was “That was interesting”. Waking up this somnolent society is an arduous process. Another attorney I know said “I’ve got mine, let them get theirs”. I was stunned.

        Wrote you a while back that I read The Peace Dividend (5 stars 🙂 ). I look forward now to reading more of your books.

        What political news sites do you post on?

        • “I speculate that the working class and the poor spend so much time just working to make ends meet, the only time they have for news just gives them sound bites on the pitiful one-sided MSM reporting …” sums up my view as well. I don’t judge people. I remember periods in my own like when I was “concerned” but not concerned enough to be active, to dig in and participate in reforming the system.

          Greg Palast has courageously performed a great service with his work. I’ve been anxiously waiting for this new movie but have been too busy to watch it. He works hard, gets at the truth, pulls no punches. I admire the man.

          I’ve written two other non-fiction political books, one political drama — An Unlikely Truth — which birthed the candidate contract strategy, out of which then grew the Peace Dividend concept. I thought by making it “a story”, my idea of using a contract — I merely called it a pledge back then — would make it easier to grasp what I consider a pretty weird idea, at least an idea that’s unprecedented in our electoral arena. The other seven books I’ve written are pure fiction, though they occasionally contain some political side comments. I just can’t keep politics from creeping in.

          I mainly publish at OpEdNews, sometimes in The Greanville Post, rarely but very successfully in the Russia Insider. I’ve seen my articles aggregated at other sites but that’s just them picking up on something I’ve written and running it, not my actively publishing for a magazine.

          I do what I can, try not to let any of it get to me. Why should anyone pay attention to me? I’m some expat living in Japan with funny hair. The only reason I can think anyone would want to read my articles is they make sense and point to making the world a better place. That doesn’t sell products, make people more beautiful and sexy, offer a quick formula for getting rich, or make the neighbor stop playing loud music after midnight. Why would anyone care?