Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,
Eventually the “flock of timid and industrious animals” changes their minds about how much exploitation by the few is acceptable.
You may have noticed the news flow beyond the hot war in Ukraine is largely focused on capital: financial capital (markets, liquidity, interest rates, commodities, central bank tightening, etc.) and political capital (geopolitical maneuvering, sanctions, revising energy and defense policies, etc.)
Notice who’s left out, unnoticed and invisible? The serfs, the bottom 90% who have been decapitalized in the developed world and exploited in the developing world for the past 45 years.
With capital ascendant, the vast majority of financial and political gains flowed to the top tier of speculative capital (banks and billionaires) while the purchasing power of labor (i.e. wages) has been in a 45-year descent. (See chart below)
This disemboweling of labor transferred $50 trillion from labor to capital in the U.S. alone. Financialization and globalization devalued labor and working-class assets such as savings and boosted leveraged speculative bets only available to financiers and corporations, for example, stock buybacks funded by the tsunami of free money for financiers unleashed by the Federal Reserve and other central banks. (See chart below)
Even though the corporate media gives it no notice, serf-expression will become increasingly consequential. No, serf-expression is not a typo for self-expression, the core doctrine of modernism. By serf-expression I mean the serf’s expression of what is no longer acceptable. Another term for this is cultural revolution. I address social and cultural revolutions in my new book, Global Crisis, National Renewal: A (Revolutionary) Grand Strategy for the United States.
Is a Cultural Revolution Brewing in America? (April 9, 2021)
When the serfs no longer believe in the divine right of banks and billionaires, then the concentration of economic and political power in the hands of the few will no longer be acceptable, regardless of the fawning rationalizations being offered by the toadies, sycophants, enforcers, apparatchiks, minions, lackeys and other apologists for a status quo that benefits the few at the expense of the many.
Serf expressions are not organized by centralized political parties; they are self-organizing revolts against a failed religion worshiping capital and a failed system of centralized authoritarianism and exploitation. Serf expressions arise without warning and cannot be controlled by centralized authoritarianism, as the revolution is in the sphere of values and what’s no longer acceptable, rather than in the sphere of politics.
Serf expressions will surprise a ruling order that reckoned the serfs would docilely accept any level of exploitation. Alexis De Tocqueville’s trenchant description from his classic book, Democracy in America (1840), comes to mind:
“The will is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided: men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy… it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes and stupefies a people, till the nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals.”
Eventually the “flock of timid and industrious animals” changes their minds about how much exploitation by the few is acceptable. Every repressive move by centralized authorities will only harden the resolve of the serfs that the divine right of banks and billionaires is false and the exploitation of the many for the benefit of the few is no longer acceptable.
The ruling elites’ vast army of well-paid toadies, sycophants, enforcers, apparatchiks, minions and lackeys are all quick to declare this is impossible. Let’s check back in ten years, in 2032, and see who’s right.
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