2017.06.10 Tickling the Cat's Whiskers
Reading Ellen Brown's recent essay about "How to Fund a Universal Basic Income Without Increasing Taxes or Inflation ," I was struck not only (once again) by how difficult it is for me to follow any kind of economic argument but also, to my surprise, with an idea that seemed worth making into an article.
I have tried to find a catchy expression for it but all I can come up with is jiujitsu, which is not really accurate because what I have in mind does not involve pain for the opponent, or even his ultimate defeat -- though that would be a possible long-term outcome, perhaps at some time in the future when the word "defeat" will no longer be appropriate.
That will be about the same time the class struggle comes to an end and the difference between the proletariat and the ruling class has disappeared. In other words, don't hold your breath.
I suggested to Ellen Brown that if she could convince the ruling class, the wealthy, that they would be no less or even better off if her plan were implemented, it might have a chance.
That's it, in a nutshell, but it won't be as easy as it sounds. Sure, to a normal brain it makes sense. The rich need us, after all, to make stuff, fix stuff, clean stuff, grow stuff, etc., in short, to survive themselves, and allow civilization to function and progress. And they need the same healthy environment that we do. So if they thought they could help themselves by saving the world instead of destroying it, then certainly, one would think, they would help us do so.
Unfortunately this is not the case. Current (and past) events make this clear. The powers-that-be have obviously been convinced that nuclear war is survivable, that global warming is a myth, that environmental disaster is not inevitable even if we do nothing. These are people who believe in miracles, like those who believe in the miracles that must have occurred if the official story of 9/11 is true (see here).
The arguments against nuclear war and environmental destruction have been made. The facts are in, and have been for a long time. (Ditto for 9/11, but I'll leave that aside.) Let's face it, we are dealing with idiots: rich, powerful, and -- make no mistake -- often well-educated idiots, who believe in miracles. There is no correlation between power, or education, and common sense, unless it is inverse. The idiot elite will blow us all up and/or make the planet uninhabitable before they will relinquish one cent of their fortunes or a fraction of their power over us. That's just the way it is.
Something else is needed.
My mother used to say you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. I prefer to just swat them, but here is where the analogy fails. A fly swatter is no good against the most power military force ever assembled. Now about that honey. Here it is:
"Sustainable wealth! Come and get it! Here's how to stay wealthy and powerful and keep the planet from being blown up and/or flooded/poisoned/starved or otherwise devastated. Stay on top of a world that can actually continue to exist!"
This will resonate, not because it makes sense but because it appeals to greed. Even the most stupid of the rich and powerful could not resist having their cake and eating it too, in a world that would be not that different from today except that there would be no war, no threat of war, and less (dare I say no?) poverty.
I feel confident that really smart people who understand economics, like Ellen Brown and Michael Hudson, could make this idea credible.
But they would face obstacles. First of all, from within their own ranks, not only Marxists but also "leftists" and "progressives" of all stripes would denounce them for "selling out." Why, it doesn't even sound good. "The rich get richer, or stay rich, and the poor get richer too? What kind of music does that make? There can be no win-win solution to the class struggle. One of us must die!
The military-industrial-intelligence complex would also choke with indignation at being asked to reverse their priorities, to replace the threat of war with the threat of environmental extinction.
More honey is needed. Someone like Ellen Brown will have to disguise herself or find a secret ally in one of the think tanks, the CIA, the CFR, the Bilderbergers, Skull and Bones, the New York Times boardroom, or wherever, and whisper it in somebody's ear, maybe at a cocktail party. This will require some finesse, because the targeted idiot will need to believe it is his or her own idea, but it should be doable, given that wealth and power and arrogance are usually found together.
Let them think they are pulling a(nother) big one over on us. Chuckle, chuckle: "Heh, heh, the peons actually think we're helping them, but we're helping ourselves! Ain't we the cat's whiskers!"
And with the clinking of their martini glasses we'll be off and running, right under them -- yes, still under them but still running, toward a better world. To me that sounds better than waiting for a global revolution of the working class while the doomsday clock is ticking louder every day. I say, the revolution can wait. I prefer to survive. I'd rather be spit on by Trotskyists than incinerated, drowned, poisoned, asphyxiated, etc., or survive with only cockroaches as comrades.