Even the pessimists got it wrong

The perception, the ‘ideal’ and… the reality. If democracy had teeth, the 1% would be quaking in their boots instead of laughing all the way to the bank.

David Robertson

This is one of those “you bunch of bastards” moments.

Moments that the people on the right don’t want you to have.

It’s not that I’m against people having lots of money, or even a disparity in wealth. I get by just fine on what I have. But money is power, and the amount of money in the top 20% – hell, the top 1% – is enough to bend society and democracy and markets and business and media. And that’s dangerous.

In other news, a picture!

Litoria Fallax

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About pendantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
This entry was posted in ... wait, what?, Capitalism, Communication, Core thought, Culture, Economics, Education, Fantasy, Phlyarology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Even the pessimists got it wrong

    • pendantry says:

      I think you know from reading my blog that I agree that democracy is flawed. Thanks for that link; I’ve heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect before but your link describes it well enough that I might now have a chance of remembering what it actually stands for…

      people are self-delusional when it comes to their own intellectual skills

      Combine that with the Tower of Babel that is the innerwebz, and it’s no wonder to me that homo fatuus brutus cannot be deterred from its current course.

      But then, perhaps I should take solace in the fact that the Dunning-Kruger effect implies that I, too, have no clue…


  1. ccgwebmaster says:

    Naive if anyone thinks peaceful means can change the status quo in this respect, however. The disparity between the perception and the reality is proof in itself of the effectiveness of the monkeys at the top of the socioeconomic pyramid at keeping everyone else suppressed. Lie to people enough and they believe it.


    • pendantry says:

      Agreed, the only way things will change is with much pain and hardship. A storm is coming; I hope your boat will be ready in time, though I fear safe harbours may be increasingly hard to find.


  2. owlbug says:

    The superior alternative to democracy is…

    I’m curious what this actually means. I’m middle class and probably always will be, and I think the stronger the middle class the better for stability of society. The lower rung is more likely to ascend to the middle than the top, so the higher the middle, the better off the lower, I think. But in a globalized world, is comparing wealth of Americans to Americans actually representative of the true story? Should we be comparing wealth of all peoples? I’d guess (my perception) is that Americans would do pretty good in that graph. I think we’re probably losing ground as a whole, but that is the cost of globalism.

    I’m not big on globalism. I like decentralized power. In America we have a lot of freedom to create fairly powerful decentralized communities. I think that would be a better expenditure of energy that fighting the top 1%.

    I also fight the top 1% by voting and supporting candidates of conscience, not pragmatism (though a little pragmatism can help a candidate of conscience engratiate himself with the majority). I love Ron Paul and I’m loving his pragmaticaly idealistic son, Rand.


    • pendantry says:

      The superior alternative to democracy is…

      Your implied question opens a can of worms. A ‘democracy’, to me, implies one person, one vote; but, more than that, everyone having an equal say. Though we have that — mostly — in the UK at least, what it ignores is that some ‘persons’ are more equal than others, by dint of their superior assets. And the video above highlights that, certainly in the US (and I strongly suspect that it is reflected in the UK too) the obscene inequality in the distribution of wealth means that a tiny fraction of the people have a massively disproportionate influence. But it’s worse still than that, as Gail (witsendnj) points out; if the people voting are misinformed, a democracy can never deliver anything other than mediocre government.

      It’s clear that the rut we’re in has no chance of being changed peacefully, as ccgwebmaster says above. Those in power have no incentive to change a system that keeps them at the helm; and they will fight tooth and nail to retain that control. In the UK only a couple of years ago we had a referendum to make a minor change to our voting system, and the games that were played, the half-truths and lies that were told, to pull the wool over the eyes of the voters simply beggar belief. Surprise, surprise: the end result was ‘no change’.


      • owlbug says:

        I think democracy might be considered a joke as great waves of people operate like a flock of birds and ride the larger current (taoism says be like water, so maybe us wave riders are right in the spiritual sense). Democracy is destined to fail as our leaders are controlled by the wealthy who truly control the world. But I still feel democracy and capitalism still empower free will and is only destined to fail because as a whole we fail at free will. The alternative… socialism? Fails. Communism? Fails. I think humanity is what fails, not necessarily democracy. Our human nature leads to abuse of power, and I think that is something that has repeated over and over.

        I think if you look at the top 1%, it is the globalists, those who basically drive the regulations of the world and basically operate above those regulations, in the foam of confusion and delay that only becomes thicker with the more wealth they stockpile. They are protected by nukes and their control of the status quo and the tasked herd.

        I don’t think fighting democracy is the right battle. The right battle is to fight ourselves. Fight for control of your daily life and your neighborhood, your soul, your mind. Enough neighborhoods can turn into a substantial voting block and a principled representative can batter the infinitely rich with influence that in democracy is still attainable through moral avenues. Multiple principled representatives are more powerful still. A lot of us rich countries still aren’t dictatorships.


        • pendantry says:

          I think we’re talking past each other. I only ‘fight democracy’ in terms of trying to raise awareness that the current implementation of it is flawed. As I said, I am all for the concept of ‘one person, one vote’, and decision and action by consensus, but although that’s what we’re told (and most believe) we have, it’s not reflected in the reality.

          You dismiss both socialism and communism with the single word ‘fails’. But where I feel we’re miscommunicating here is that, as with ‘democracy’, the labels don’t always do what they say on the tin. I believe that a successful human society must take elements from many different sources.

          While I agree with the sentiment of your last paragraph, and agree that it has much merit, I don’t think that the last sentence belongs with it. I think that the difference between a dictator and a plutocrat is a question of perception.


    • ccgwebmaster says:

      ” I’m middle class and probably always will be” – now that’s a rather dangerous assumption! While some people might be more secure than others in middle classdom, I think for many people it’s a lot easier than they think to come crashing out of it.

      “But in a globalized world, is comparing wealth of Americans to Americans actually representative of the true story? Should we be comparing wealth of all peoples?” – I think it’s actually more relevant than you might think at first. I will grant that in really poor countries people may typically lack things such as clean water or electricity – but you shouldn’t underestimate how much the poor in even developed countries can struggle for these things! It is by no means a utopia in the ranks of the poor and when it comes to possession of wealth – zero is zero in any society. Not being able to afford enough nutritionally adequate food, energy, the water bill, etc. are common factors to many nations.

      Drawing on examples for which I have personal experience – in Russia the average salary is $600 per month. The cost of living there is much lower and if you aggregate global data together you need to adjust for purchasing power/living costs or else far more people there seem poor compared to Americans. I have also encountered people online making in a day what the average person in their country makes in a month ($135 – a former Soviet bloc nation). On their income I am struggling to pay my bills – yet they can afford a big house and servants – who is richer?

      One constant I have seen in almost every society I have been exposed to or have discussed with a member from is the sickening gap between rich and poor and the absolute disregard the richer typically have for the poorer.

      When it comes to whining though – from anecdotal experience, I find wealthier people much worse. The sob stories I’ve listened to from other (in my eyes inconceivably rich) boat owners about how they lost however many hundred thousand dollars in property and had to sell one or two of their houses… or how they inherited over a million dollars and blew it all… poor people are much too accepting of their lot – unfortunately.

      For anyone who is comfortably secure in their middle classdom I can only suggest you learn what poverty really means (I suspect there is no substitute for direct experience, but nonetheless – try). It is far more likely that you are going to join the ranks of the desperately poor than the reverse.

      Furthermore if you don’t join their ranks, as their ranks swell and yours shrink – you are increasingly likely to be viewed as wealthy prey when things get really desperate. Those who are rich enough to be OK but not rich enough to have private armies and gated communities are ultimately the most vulnerable people in some respects.


      • pendantry says:

        Very well said.


      • owlbug says:

        When I re-read what I wrote I had the same thought. I’m more likely to be subject to a negative paradigm shift than to move much higher. But I still believe in fighting the good fight and that not all value can be measured in money and that the kingdom of the meek is not on earth. And I still believe, maybe naively, that we can change the world one person at a time.


  3. Great Reblog.. and yes its time that the world woke up to the reality of wealth distribution! and took a good look at those who are raking it all in and off whose backs they get rich!…
    Wishing you a good day pendantry


  4. jpgreenword says:

    Scary. And that’s where Canada is heading too. Nobody is worth 380x more than anyone. Period.


  5. Wyrd Smythe says:

    I think the Forefathers would be deeply ashamed of what the USA has become. They were highly intelligent, deeply educated men who understood all too well the foibles of humanity and tried to create a form of government that could withstand corruption and greed.

    They did a pretty good job, actually. The system worked well for almost 200 years. But at some point we began to devalue education and intelligence, and thus began our downfall. Today,… well, there are adult USAnians that can’t find Mexico on an unlabelled map of the world. Mexico!

    The sad irony is that this sort of corruption at the top is exactly why USAnians are so rabid about owning guns. The whole point to all that was insuring the ability to overthrow a government that had become corrupt. Which was exactly how the country was founded to begin with.

    Oh, we have fallen so far. It would seem that revolution or collapse are the only paths open anymore. It’s hard for me to believe we can continue to muddle our way though it, doped to the gills on Unreality TV, TWIT’r and all the other distraction fripperies.


  6. Alec Patrick says:

    Those with other backgrounds who demonstrate strong writing skills also may find jobs as writers. Writers who want to write about a particular topic may need formal training or experience related to that topic.


    • pendantry says:

      Thanks for your visit, and your comment, Alec. I’m not entirely sure how your point bears on the topic; but google translate claims that your blog is in Spanish, so perhaps we have a language barrier to overcome?


  7. Pingback: Even the pessimists got it wrong, revisited | Wibble

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