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The global rot of billionaires

The list of things that make American deplorables so deplorable is very long — racism, vile religion, anti-intellectualism, appalling ignorance, love of propaganda, and tolerance for violence, to name a few. But one of the worst vices — taught by their sorry politics as well as their sorry religion — is the glorification of the rich.

Sometimes I think that the state of the world today is best understood not by looking at the competing interests and activities of states (the U.S., Russia, China, Germany, etc.), but rather by looking at the competing interests and activities of global oligarchs. Our media, out of long habit, focuses its attention on states and their doings, while the doings of oligarchs fly under the radar.

The media do report on the doings of billionaire oligarchs, but in a piecemeal way. The media ignore, or cannot see, the larger pattern of how billionaire oligarchs now have the world by the throat and have tapped the power of the state to amplify the power of their money. (See links below.)

The key to understanding Trump is to understand that the global oligarchy, with which Trump is criminally entangled, intends to loot the United States the same way they have looted (and continue to loot) Russia, China, Africa, Latin America, and many smaller states such as North Korea and the Czech Republic. The test for the United States is whether the rule of law will be able to slow this process of looting, which has been going on since the Reagan administration. There is nothing new in Trump’s politics. It’s just that Trump is more flagrant. His intent is more transparent. He is rather obviously a tool of global oligarchs, for reasons that the Mueller investigation will surely expose. The Republican Party has gone along with Trump because the Republican Party has been working for years (though with disguised intentions) to loot the American commons, to weaken the American democracy, and to hand the country over to the oligarchy. Billionaires have learned an incredible new trick: How to masquerade as populists, which the ugliness of right-wing politics and the stupidity of the deplorables have made possible.

The question is whether democracies can muster the power to rid themselves of these billionaire parasites and their corruption. The solution is easy to describe, but much harder to actually do. The solution is to use the existing power of states to put billionaires in prison when they break the law, and then to tax them into the dirt.

As for the deplorables, I’m afraid they’ll never get it. They’ll probably continue to glorify the rich who are eating them alive, while blaming dark-skinned people, whose poverty and powerlessness they are destined to increasingly share if billionaires continue to get away with looting and murder.

Here are just a few reports on the doings of global billionaires:

Czech Republic: The New York Times: Scandal Around Billionaire Prime Minister Leaves Czechs in Limbo. What Andrej Babis is doing to the Czech Republic is remarkably similar to what Donald Trump is doing to the U.S.

Venezuela: The New York Times: Jets, Horses and Bribes: How a Venezuelan Official Became a Billionaire as His Country Crumbled. This is about how an oligarch family sucked up the assets of the Venezuelan people, Russian style.

China: The Guardian: Guo Wengui, the maverick Chinese billionaire who threatens to crash Xi’s party. This is about competing billionaire oligarchs in China. China is run by billionaire oligarchs.

North Korea: The Sun: Where does billionaire Kim Jong-un get all his money to spend on luxuries such as superyachts, top quality champagne and his favourite Swiss cheese? North Korea is just one country of many that is controlled by damned-fool oligarchs.

Africa: Quartz: There may now be more billionaires in Africa than in Latin America. Competing billionaires are sucking all the wealth out of Africa, while the people of Africa are increasingly impoverished.

Russia: The Irish Times: Oligarchs and ‘unexplained wealth’: London’s rich Russians. Russia, of course, is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. It’s a country run by oligarchs, for oligarchs.

Saudi Arabia: The New York Times: Saudi Arabia Arrests 11 Princes, Including Billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal. There is some sort of power struggle going on among the billionaires of Saudi Arabia, where Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has shown that, like billionaire oligarchs everywhere, he can get away with murder.

The United States: The American Prospect: The Trump Presidency: Oligarchs, Billionaires, Corporations, and Porn Stars. To quote from the article: “But the hate is not the point of this presidency. It’s a tool for protecting the massive looting of the public commons currently under way, and most importantly, the shady network of Russian oligarchs, U.S. billionaires, Kremlin cronies, hapless lawyers, and privately held corporations that brought Donald J. Trump to power. The U.S. billionaires and privately held corporations are in it for the looting.”

One Comment

  1. Dan wrote:

    I think the real problem is that the idea of economic justice is now bounded within what is considered economic justice within capitalism, which, as much as we’d like to pretend it’s an American system, it’s really that of the world. Any idea of class struggle from a Marxist perspective is lost in the rhetoric of liberals and misunderstood by conservatives.

    Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

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