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Who Rules the World?

Who Rules the World?

Elites. They’re all over the news these days. But who are they and what do we know about them? An excellent new study, Who Rules the World? A Portrait of the Global Leadership Class, takes a systematic approach to answer these questions. At its heart lies a new database, the Global Leadership Project (GLP), which covers 145 nation-states and 38,085 ‘leaders’, each of whom is given biographical information. In total, the database has approximately 1.1 million data points. Academics at several leading institutions, John Gerring, Erzen Oncel, the late Kevin Morrison, and Daniel Pemstein, then sliced and diced this data to arrive at a compelling picture of today’s leadership elite.

Who Are Counted As The Global Elite?

They look at the country’s top political leader, the political executives, cabinet ministers, executive staff, party leaders, assembly leaders, supreme court justices, and members of parliaments. They also include unelected leaders such as monarchs, religious leaders, military leaders, junta leaders, CEOs of important companies, and NGO leaders.

So What Does the Typical Member of the Elite Look Like?

Male (81% of the total), married (91%), and on average 55 years old. They speak roughly two languages, with over one third speaking English. They are normally university educated with almost half educated in the West. Their most common degrees were in Economics/Business/Management or Law. The majority had white collar jobs or political backgrounds before entering the leadership elite. Typically, they earn thirteen times more than national average.

Chart 1: Education of Political Elites

What About the Leader at the Top?

The top political leaders tended to be older (on average 61), and more of them were male (92%) and could speak English (59%). They tend to be educated abroad, rather than domestically. Also, they are likely to have studied Economics/Business/Management (35%) more than any other subject (next is law at 17%). They are as likely to have political backgrounds as white collar backgrounds.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Political and Social Conflict Is Accelerating: Here’s Why

Political and Social Conflict Is Accelerating: Here’s Why

All the status quo “fixes” only hasten the collapse of the status quo.

That economic, social and political conflict is accelerating is self-evident. What’s open to debate are the core drivers of conflict / disorder /unraveling.

Here’s the core self-reinforcing dynamic in my view:

1. The status quo elites can no longer mask soaring costs of essentials nor soaring wealth / income inequality between the top .01% (Oligarchs), the top 9.99% who enrich the Oligarchs with their discretionary spending and technocratic/managerial labor, and the bottom 90% who are rapidly losing ground on all fronts: economic, social and political.

2. The elites’ “fixes” to the social / political conflicts unleashed by the rigged financial system and winner take most economic order are politically expedient, meaning they don’t actually address the sources of conflict, they merely paper them over with PR as a means of preserving the elites’ wealth and power.

3. The elites’ fundamental financial “fix” is to create trillions in newly issued currency and distribute it to the banks, financiers, super-wealthy families and global corporations– the top .01% Oligarchs.

4. This “fix” accelerates the asymmetric distribution of wealth by enabling the already-wealthy to buy more productive assets, fund stock buybacks, etc., while forcing the bottom 90% to borrow money from the Oligarchs to make ends meet: the rich get richer, the poor get more indebted.

5. The only possible output of these inputs (political expediency to preserve the elites’ wealth and power, the creation and distribution to the Oligarch class of trillions in new currency) is the acceleration of the very erosion that fueled social / political conflicts in the first place.

In effect, the elites’ “fixes” are accelerating the conflicts that will ultimately lead to their downfall.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Civil Unrest Is The New Normal Out There

Civil Unrest Is The New Normal Out There

This is getting ridiculous. Every few days another country blows up, as their citizens take to the streets with little warning and no apparent interest in a quick settlement. Here’s the first part of the “War…Civil Unrest” section of today’s DollarCollapse.com links list. As you can see the peasants have grabbed their pitchforks and besieged their betters on four continents over a wide range of issues, which implies that the stated cause in each case is just an excuse. 

DollarCollapse.com links list civil unrest

The real grievance is the sense that an unresponsive elite are sucking up all the available wealth, leaving the vast majority with (at best) zero upward mobility and at worst a return to the servitude their parents only recently escaped. To test the truth of this, watch what happens when a chastened government caves on the initial issue — and instead of heading back home the protesters ramp it up. 

Who even remembers what pulled France’s Yellow Vests into the streets? The Macron government has spent months apologizing and offering big new spending programs aimed at the protesters’ stated concerns. Yet today’s headline is about water cannons and flipped cars. Hong Kong repealed the law that ignited its riots back in June, yet today the story is protesters shooting police with arrows (!) and Chinese soldiers deploying to help “clean up the streets.” Uh huh. 

Why is this happening now? Because artificially easy money enriches the people who own the stocks, bonds and real estate that rise in value when interest rates go down. This expands the already painfully wide gap between rich and poor and turns the already high level of background resentment into a powder keg. Then it’s just a matter of a provocation. And there’s always another provocation coming.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peak Hubris

Peak Hubris

Illustration for John Milton’s Paradise Lost by Gustave Doré (1866) – Public Domain

“Hubris” is defined as rash and foolish pride, a dangerous overconfidence, manifested with arrogance.  The Deep State vaunts our “exceptionalism”, and since Reagan’s “City on a HIll” trope Americans have been assured by all succeeding Presidents that ours is the “indispensible nation”. The word describes the way America sells itself to the world, and has for generations.

The yawning cognitive gap between our nomenklatura’s relentless self-promotion and its pathetic history of botched, humiliating failures in every single act of Imperial overreach, demands examination.  Are we at Peak Hubris?  When exactly should the hubris of a vicious, lying, sloganeering criminal state be identified as what it is, a cover for unhinged stupidity?

Viz. the deranged, hysterical Democratic Party, a subsidiary of the Deep State, led–if that term applies–by a geriatric clutch of morally squalid throwbacks and vacuous nonentities, which has its Depends in a knot in the effort to blame the entire debacle of recent U.S. historic crime on the repulsive Yahoo squatting in the White House.  As Einstein observed, all explanations should be as simple as possible…but no simpler.

Of all the villainies attributed to Trump by Democrats and the Deep State–the Power Elite, Establishment, Ruling Clique, Permanent Unelected Government–the most egregious and only unforgivable one, is that his gross and vulgar bathos in Holy Office has exposed and profoundly embarrassed them, punching holes in their diligently crafted image.  The Masters of Disaster can’t tolerate open revelation of their evil, witness the methodical crushing of a roster of whistleblowers, among whom the most damning and brutally handled are Manning, Assange, and Snowden.  Two are jailed on bogus “charges” in peril of their lives, and Snowden is in exile, only free because the vengeful engine of American “justice” can’t nail him.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Fed’s Liquidity Response Is Too Little Too Late – But That Was Always The Plan…

The Fed’s Liquidity Response Is Too Little Too Late – But That Was Always The Plan…

The globalists and banking elites have been running the “order out of chaos” scam for a long time, centuries in fact. One thing that practice does is make people of otherwise average intelligence appear brilliant. One thing that organized conspiracy does is make a group of highly vulnerable criminals appear omnipotent and untouchable. Ultimately, it’s all about time. The globalists have had lots of time to tune and refine their methods for manipulating the collective psyche of the masses.

They make mistakes often, but as long as no one confronts them directly and removes these people from the equation, they simply set up shop elsewhere under a different name using different masks and continue their insidious work. As long society is still stricken with ignorance and assumes that such conspiracies are “impossible”, the elites have a free hand to victimize the population further. As long as academic idiots misinterpret Occam’s Razor and insist that the evidence of conspiracy does not matter because it does not fit with their narrow notion of “the simplest explanation”, they prop up the banking cartel and allow it to thrive.

On the positive side, I see an awakening taking place among a subset of the population which is savvy to the games of the globalists. I believe this subtle wave of analytical samurai has the elites worried; they realize that time for them is, for once in history, starting to run out. One day soon, they may find themselves the direct targets of a revolution, and they don’t like that idea.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Real Mind Control Works

How Real Mind Control Works

When people are confronted with the idea of “mind control” they often think of something out of television or film media; a lone prisoner tortured, chemically dazed and conditioned into a hollow zombie as his captors squeeze information from him or use him to complete a task he would not normally do or morally accept. And while there is actually some truth to this kind of Hollywood depiction, as is evidenced in the exposure of government programs like MK Ultra, the most insidious forms of mind control are far more subtle.

Governments and the elitists behind them do not necessarily need to physically cage, drug and brutalize people in order to influence how they behave. All they need to do is manage their perceptions, expectation and assumptions. This can be accomplished with large portions of the public, rather than one person at a time.

The elites have always been fascinated with the idea of mass hypnotism. In the 18th century Franz Mesmer was famous for entertaining European royalty with displays of what he called “animal magnetism”, which included what we now know as hypnosis of individuals and groups. Mesmerism has since become synonymous with the attempt to befuddle people and dictate their actions while in a kind of trance. Hypnotism is still a very active subject in psychiatric circles and the US government took avid interest in hypnotism as a weapon during their MK Ultra experiments in the 1950’s.

People involved in the field of hypnotism are quick to point out that a hypnotized person cannot be made to do something that goes against their code of ethics, but this is not exactly the whole story.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Strange Case Of Chrystia Freeland And The Failure Of The “Super Elite”

The Strange Case Of Chrystia Freeland And The Failure Of The “Super Elite”

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland has become a bit of a living parody of everything wrong with the detached technocratic neo-liberal order which has driven the world through 50 years of post-industrial decay. Now, two years into the Trump presidency, and five years into the growth of a new system shaped by the Russia-China alliance, the world has become a very different place from the one which Freeland and her controllers wish it to be.

Having been set up as a counterpart to the steely Hillary Clinton who was supposed to win the 2016 election, Freeland and her ilk have demonstrated their outdated thinking in everything they have set out to achieve since the 2014 coup in Ukraine. Certainly before that, everything seemed to be going smoothly enough for End of History disciples promoting a script that was supposed to culminate in a long-sought for “New World Order”.

The Script up until Now

Things were going especially well since the collapse of the Soviet system in the early 1990s. The collapse ushered in a unipolar world order with the European Union and NAFTA, followed soon thereafter by the World Trade Organization and the 1999 destruction of Glass-Steagall (1). The trans-Atlantic at last was converted into a cage of “post-sovereign nations” that no longer had actual control of their own powers of credit generation. Under NATO, even national militaries were subject to technocratic control. This cage was perfect for the governing elite “scientifically managing” from above while the little people bickered over their diminishing employment and standards of living from below.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Following in Rome’s Footsteps: Moral Decay, Rising Inequality

Following in Rome’s Footsteps: Moral Decay, Rising Inequality

Here is the moral decay of America’s ruling elites boiled down to a single word.

There are many reasons why Imperial Rome declined, but two primary causes that get relatively little attention are moral decay and soaring wealth inequality. The two are of course intimately connected: once the morals of the ruling Elites degrade, what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine, too.

I’ve previously covered two other key characteristics of an empire in terminal decline: complacency and intellectual sclerosis, what I have termed a failure of imagination.

Michael Grant described these causes of decline in his excellent account The Fall of the Roman Empire, a short book I have been recommending since 2009:There was no room at all, in these ways of thinking, for the novel, apocalyptic situation which had now arisen, a situation which needed solutions as radical as itself. (The Status Quo) attitude is a complacent acceptance of things as they are, without a single new idea.

This acceptance was accompanied by greatly excessive optimism about the present and future. Even when the end was only sixty years away, and the Empire was already crumbling fast, Rutilius continued to address the spirit of Rome with the same supreme assurance.

This blind adherence to the ideas of the past ranks high among the principal causes of the downfall of Rome. If you were sufficiently lulled by these traditional fictions, there was no call to take any practical first-aid measures at all.

A lengthier book by Adrian Goldsworthy How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower addresses the same issues from a slightly different perspective.

Glenn Stehle, commenting on a thread in the excellent website peakoilbarrel.com (operated by the estimable Ron Patterson) made a number of excellent points that I am taking the liberty of excerpting: (with thanks to correspondent Paul S.)

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How States/Empires Collapse in Four Easy Steps

How States/Empires Collapse in Four Easy Steps

The promises cannot be met, and so society decays into warring elites and competing constituencies.

There is a grand, majestic tragedy in the inevitable collapse of once-thriving states and empires: it all seemed so permanent at its peak, so godlike in its power, and then slowly but surely, too many grandiose, unrealistic promises were made to too many elites and constituencies, and then as growth decays to stagnation, the only way to maintain the status quo is to appear to meet all the promises by creating money out of thin air, i.e. debauching the currency.

This political expediency works most wonderfully for a time: people don’t realize the silver content of their coinage is being cut to near-zero, or there’s nothing holding up the value of their currency but trickery and vague allusions to past glory.

Trust in the state/empire’s currency suddenly collapses in a phase shift: all seems well until the moment the avalanche sweeps it all away.

It’s a simple progression: during the permanent-growth-is-our-birthright phase of self-reinforcing virtuous cycles, when everything is expanding rapidly–credit, resources, jobs, capital, profits, state tax revenues, etc.–promises are made to elites and constituencies that look easy to meet as the economy is projected to expand rapidly essentially forever.

But virtuous cycles decay to unvirtuous cycles of bureaucratic sclerosis and corruption, systemic friction, declining productivity and resource depletion, and the rise of parasitic elites who contribute nothing but skim plenty saps the surplus available for productive reinvestment.

Every elite under pressure to satisfy the demands of those who were over-promised in the good times reverts to the same two financial fixes: debt and currency debasement. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Poetic Justice For The Aristocracy

Poetic Justice For The Aristocracy

Two points about today’s political economy – and then a prediction involving Illinois:

Point One: What’s coming is poetic justice for the aristocracy. The wave of populism/socialism/proto-fascism that’s sweeping the US and Europe is a direct result of the breathtaking hubris of a ruling class that didn’t know when to quit stealing. 

While it is possible for societies dominated by a small group of rich/connected people to endure and even thrive, they can do so only if the 99% enjoys a rising standard of living and a certain amount of upward mobility. In other words, people will accept the existence of an entrenched elite as long as everyone else does a little better each year. 

Today that’s not the case. The current crop of aristocrats (Google “Davos World Economic Forum images” for faces to go with the concept) are now simply harvesting the wealth of their subjects without much thought for their own vulnerability. 

For an easy-to-grasp example of how this works, look at interest rates. Over the past couple of decades, the world’s central banks have been pushing rates lower in each cycle, impoverishing small savers and retirees who depend on income from bonds and bank accounts while enriching the already rich by raising the prices of stocks and real estate. The following two charts (from Charles Hugh Smith’s recent Who Killed The Middle Class?) illustrate the widening gap between the pay and assets of the haves and the used-to-haves. To put this in economist-speak, capital is gobbling up labor. 

wage gap poetic justice
wage to GDP poetic justice

So the coming political tsunami is bit of French Revolution-style poetic justice, since most of the resulting policy changes will be aimed – either explicitly or accidentally – at the 1%.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Three Concerns Hanging Over the Davos Elite

Three Concerns Hanging Over the Davos Elite

This week, the global elite descended private jets to their version of winter ski-camp – the lifestyles of the rich and powerful version.  The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) five-day annual networking extravaganza kicked off in the upscale ski resort town of Davos, Switzerland.

Every year, the powers-that-be join the WEF, select a theme, uniting some 3000 participants ranging from public office holders to private company executives to the few organizations that truly do help fix the world that they mess up.  This year’s theme is “Globalization 4.0”, or the digital revolution. The idea being, the potential tech take-over of jobs, and what wealthier countries are doing to lesser developed ones in the process.

While the topic might be focused on the future, the present is just as troubling, if not more so, than the future.   Such is the disconnect between real people and corporations.  That’s what the estimated 600,000 Swiss Franc membership to be a part of the WEF constellation gets you as a CEO at the Davos table.

Government leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro and Chinese Vice President, Wang Qishan are in attendance this week. Business leaders like Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and JPMorgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon will also take part in the festivities.

Yet, even though the various leaders will likely promote their achievements, what’s lurking behind the pristine snowcapped Alps, is a dark foreboding of a less secure world. Nearly every major forecast from around the world is projecting an economic slowdown. As one Bloomberg article reports, “companies are the most bearish since 2016 as economic data falls short of expectations and political risks mount amid an international trade war, U.S. government shutdown and Brexit.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Exceptional Nation Asserts Its Exceptionalism

The Exceptional Nation Asserts Its Exceptionalism

Washington has chosen a president for Venezuela.  I wonder if Trump saw the black humor in doing to Maduro what the Democrats and presstitutes are doing to him.

Few Latin American governments have ever had a government that represents the majority indigenous people or a president who was not of Spanish descent.  Chavez in Venezuela perhaps was the longest lasting indigenous leader.  His successor Maduro is also indigenous.

Indigenous Latin American leaders are unacceptable to Washington, because they tend to be reformers who represent their country’s people instead of American business and financial interests.  Consequently, when a Latin electorate elects a leader who will put them first, Washington overthrows the leader.  This is the history of US/Latin American relations.

In the 21st century alone Washington has overthrown the elected presidents of Honduras, Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela and overturned the independence of Ecuador that had provided asylum protection for Julian Assange.  Washington’s coup with the Spanish elite against Chavez in Venezuela initially succeeded.  Chavez was in captivity, but before he could be murdered the Venezuelan people and military forced his release.  

Chavez, either because he lacked the power to move against the traitorous Spanish elite or because he chose to display magnanimity, did not hold those responsible who participated in the coup against his life and Venezuelan sovereignty.  Washington’s agents, the Spanish elite,  were not arrested and retained their control over the media and the economy. Venezuela has substantial oil revenues, but they do not reach the government’s budget or protect the value of the currency.  I do not know who controls the Venezuelan oil, but it appears the revenues are being stolen. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Get Ready– they’re coming for your money

Get Ready– they’re coming for your money

Every so often throughout history, the peasants grab their pitchforks and come for the elite. It happens when the wealth gap grows too extreme… when people feel like they are getting left behind, with no opportunity to advance.

Central banks around the world have printed trillions of dollars over last decade, and pushed interest rates to zero, and sometimes below. And all of that stimulus went directly into the pockets of the wealthy.

Since 2009, the world’s billionaires more than DOUBLED their combined wealth. All the billionaires in the world had $3.4 trillion in 2009. By 2017, they amassed $8.9 trillion.

Mark Zuckerberg multiplied his wealth almost 20 times over, from $3 billion in 2009, to over $58 billion in 2019.

$8.9 trillion is a massive, almost incomprehensible amount of wealth.

But it really shouldn’t be that surprising if you think about it… these people are wealthy for a reason. Typically, they are pretty good at making money. And with the snowball effect, if you give them more time, they will probably make even more.

For the last ten years, we’ve seen a huge asset price inflation in everything from the stock market, to bonds and real estate, and even fine art and wine.

But if you’re a wage earner without assets, you’ve been left out. Wages andmedian household wealth have stagnated.

And this is a global issue…

The combined wealth of the poorest half of the world–3.8 billion people–fell by 11% just last year, according to Oxfam, a group working to alleviate poverty.

The New York Times claims the richest 8 people on the planet have more wealth than the poorest 3.8 billion.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Canada’s Forgotten Man: Energy Workers

Canada’s Forgotten Man: Energy Workers

All over the world, the forgotten man is rising up, reminding the ruling elite of his existence. Fed up with leaders catering to the whims of 0.05% of society, or instituting policies that impact their pocketbooks, the working folks of America, Italy, Brazil, and France are making sure their voices are heard in the political arena. This uncomfortable fact is sending shivers up and down their masters’ spines, including those in the Great White North.

Ivory Tower

For so long, Canadians were passive and apathetic about how they were treated by their rulers. They just drowned their sorrows of excessive taxation and abuse of the public purse in a Tim Hortons double-double and a plate of poutine. That’s just the way it is, they cried. There’s nothing to do, they grieved.

It is this level of arrogance that puts Trudeau and his minions out of touch with typical Canadians.

But then Prime Minister Justin Trudeau happened.

The trust fund baby is a man who continually talks down to those who are not like him. By encouraging young people to use “peoplekind,” openly wishing that Ottawa would embrace a Chinese-style government, and suggesting citizens with real concerns about Syrian migrants are racist, Trudeau has begun to light the populist spark from British Columbia to Newfoundland.

To truly comprehend the left’s disdain for blue-collar Canadians who do not accept the premises of leftist dogma, you will need to travel to Calgary, Alberta. At a recent demonstration of energy workers, Liberal Mayor Naheed Nenshi treated the crowd like kindergarteners:

“Well, for those of you who are saying, ‘No I don’t believe in climate change,’ good luck changing hearts and minds because we have to be able to say that there is no difference between standing up for the economy and standing up for the environment.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Mock Democracy

The Mock Democracy

The citizens are disenfranchised and conditioned to be politically apathetic consumers. In recent decades, democracy has been replaced by the illusion of democracy. New forms of organization of power and psychological methods for manipulation of our consciousness protect the powerful against the risks of democratic empowerment and strengthen their position.

Democracy and freedom. Two words that are charged with unheard-of social promises and that can release tremendous energies of change to achieve them. Today, hardly more than a shadow remains of the hopes originally associated with them. What happened? Never before have two words, to which such passionate hopes were attached, been emptied of their original meaning in such a socially far-reaching way. They have been falsified, abused, and turned against those whose thoughts and actions are inspired by them.

Democracy today really means an elected oligarchy of economic and political elites, in which central areas of society, especially the economy, are fundamentally removed from any democratic control and accountability; at the same time, large parts of the social organization of our own life lie outside the democratic sphere. And freedom today means above all the freedom of the economically powerful.

With this Orwellian reinterpretation, these two words now have a special place in the endless dictionary of falsified words throughout history. With the poisoning of these two words, our hopes for a more humane society and a containment of violent ways of solving things are confused, clouded, broken and almost wiped out from the collective memory. The loss of the civilizing dreams associated with these two concepts makes it hard for us today to politically articulate an attractive, decent alternative to the prevailing power relations, or even worse, think of any at all.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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