Monday, November 26, 2012

Plutocrats by Chrystia Freeland

An ancient Chinese curse was, "May you live in interesting times." Back then far eastern society was static, and so anything new was seen as frightening or evil, and was forbidden. But in the 21st Century new dynamic and transformational forces are at work in China. One of the reasons many wring their hands and turn on that boob tube is due to believing past opportunities have gone forever, thanks in part to increasing inequity of the playing field leveraged by the super rich, as outlined in HERE COME THE BLACK HELICOPTERS by Dick Morris (click on link for sample) and PLUTOCRATS by Chrystia Freeland. Her subtitled is "The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else." China is also examined, with the revelation that the richest members of their National People's Congress dwarfs what Romney has, while they sit on a massive national surplus instead of a national debt. This is a global story, not just an American one, but here the plutocrats influence both our political parties, and were behind the banking deregulation that led to the near collapse of the middle class, after which they alone rebounded. According to Freeland, it is not the top 1% that benefit most today, but the top .1% (over the bottom 99.9%.) The most wealth is going into ever fewer and fewer hands. Wherever they live, modern day robber barrons see themselves as global empire builders whose goal is to acquire power and influence while dodging taxation through numbered offshore accounts. Everyone knows the shenanigans that went on at Goldman Sachs and AIG before and after the 2008 collapse, but Freeland also reveals an internal memo at Citigroup which advised brokers to design portfolios around "international plutonomy" with the same reasoning that Russian oligarchs used to nationalize and acquire private land: the philosophy that the super rich can write their own rules--above the law--and that they deserve special praise and advantage for having acquired what they possess. The truth, of course, is that no one really "owns" anything, we're all just renting. (Remember Ozymandias?) Opportunity still exists to those who have the vision to see past obstacles and to use their imagination to find new solutions. Plutocrats is read on audio by Allyson Ryan. 

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