Regardless of the redefinition of many political words into the latest Orwellian double speak, the real and unchangeable definition of a democracy is one in which the citizens freely elect members of the various branches of government to govern the nation through debate, deliberation and consensus in accordance with overarching principles established in a constitution forged by such citizens voluntarily acting together in the greater interest of all. Risking overstatement of the obvious, democracy is based upon the fundamental concept of self governance, realized through free and fair elections of representatives who serve at the pleasure of the people and who reflect equivalent percentages of numbers, values and opinions of the nation’s voting citizenry, which vote is denied to none. Without self governance, the subsequent benchmarks of democracy are invalid; freedom, equality, justice, civil rights, pursuit of happiness, "of the people, by the people and for the people"; its all smoke and mirrors without a secure guarantee that the people have a right to self governance by freely electing their representatives. Most people understand this set of ideas.In spite of that ideal, the current US election system is nothing but a charade that serves to convince only those who already accept without question, i.e. believe, that a democracy exists. Unfortunately, the number of true believers appears to be the majority, thanks in large part to the psycho manipulation that has been discovered possible with modern audio visual media. This recurring ritual is a thinly veiled cover for what is tantamount to corporate selection of the pool of possible contestants in this rigged sport. Each election cycle we suffer the spectacle of molding public opinion to suit the current pre-determined cast of characters being rolled into the next phase of ‘self governance’. To ensure their success in the opinion polls and in addition to the multi-billion dollar election media machine that spews propaganda like a coal factory belches smoke, they have a host of other implements of election manipulation at their disposal. These include, to name a few:
electronic eavesdropping on the opposition with the most modern of technical wizardry, now within a legal framework grace á recent legislation characteristically supported by both parties
disqualification of eligible voters in selected key states as documented extensively during the elections of 2000 and 2004
swift-boating and other media blitzes conducted by apparent ‘independent interest group’s’ or similar nefarious organizations usually with direct fiscal support of the corporate interests who benefit from their political action
outright manipulation of computer tabulated votes as has been tirelessly and undeniably documented by several individuals and groups who deserve our attention and generous gratitude
Justice Department officials that believe justice is partisan and who are not afraid to arrest their opponents in a style chillingly reminiscent of the ‘banana republics’ of the old CIA days in Central and South America
voter intimidation for those who have any fear of law or immigration enforcement at the voting stations
and only god knows what else.
After all, woe betide whomever interferes with a mega trillion dollar capital generating machine backed up by the most sophisticated military, population control and surveillance systems the human race has ever known. That is not self governance in any language. As many people already recognize, the US election charade is where politicians are bought, sold, bartered and, in some cases, buried, all in accordance with an agenda that is largely hidden from public scrutiny. And with the loss of free elections the rest of that blabber about democracy is irrelevant. There is no democracy without free and fair elections. The free market has suffered a similar and corollary, although more complex, set of circumstances. Thanks to Nobel prize winning ‘free’-conomist, Milton Freidman, the corporate hooligans were able to double speak their way into a robber baron market where the idea that ‘survival of the fittest’ and ‘monetary might is right’, somehow serves the greatest interest of the largest group of people.Trickle down economics, voodoo economics, supply-side economics are all terms that have been attributed to these types of theories; theories by the rich and wealthy that support the rich and wealthy. This linguistic sleight-of-hand occurred because of the multiple meanings of the word ‘free’. In a strictly economic sense, i.e. the meaning imputed by Adam Smith and supported by every valid economic theory since, the free market refers to a technical set of market conditions wherein the underlying factors result in a highly competitive market. Only a complete ignoramus idiot would argue otherwise. It was recognized by Adam Smith and is common accepted economic theory (Econ101) that in order to have a valid free market economy the market must be competitive and ‘free’ to operate without the distorting influence of monopoly and other factors that pervert its purpose and disfigure its mathematical beauty. In modern theory, as taught in university curriculums throughout the US and the world, monopolies and oligarchies (another technical term that, for the sake of its effect on our market and democracy, means ‘monopolies’) and similar supply constraints are aberrations that adversely affect the competitive mechanism of the ‘free market’.
To say that monopoly and oligopoly adversely affect competition is a gross understatement that obscures the truth. Oligopolies are marketplace monsters, black holes in the economic systems where they operate, sucking in all essential resources and ownership with a giant whooshing sound, annihilating all who dare come into their path. In economic terms oligopolies destroy the only valid reason for having a free market. An oligopolistic market is the antithesis of a free market. The famous picture of the supply and demand curves neatly intersecting at the optimal point on the picture graph (called ‘equilibrium’) where the greatest good is achieved for the greatness number of people, like all else, falls victim to the fatal gravitational pull of oligopolies. Based on straightforward and accepted mathematical proof and the same economic definitions used by the corporate neo-theorists, our system is no longer even capable of supporting the ideal that our so-called ‘free’ market economy provides the greatest good and value to the largest group of people. Instead it produces and distributes the greatest amount of goods and services to the very uppermost echelon of international oligarchs and other market power brokers and magnates, where it is horded.
Friedman’s theories falsely re-defined these fundamental elements that are an absolute and inviolable necessity for a healthy free market economy to properly operate. His contribution can be likened to de-coupling the engine from the rest of the train. The engine and train keep going for quite awhile but a great disparity emerges wherein the runaway engine far out distances the cars hauling the train’s occupants. The passenger cars continue on from the momentum of the prior economy for quite some distance. Those in the engine car think the whole thing is marvelous. They laugh at the have-nots and proclaim their divine right to the riches that are produced by others. The passengers eventually wake up long after it is too late to do anything to prevent the heist. Because of a general lack of understanding of these basic economic principles, many on the left erroneously believe that the free market does not work. On the contrary, the free market works very well indeed. However, under cover of the new economic theory, aided by a corporate oligarchic media that practices advanced psycho manipulation techniques, repeatedly and incessantly propagated from the lap dog media pulpit, the free market has been hijacked by a bunch of monopolistic private corporations, oligarchs, who happen to control or contaminate our essential resources. The only justification for a true free market is that it delivers democratic style self-governing citizens the fairest and most efficient method possible of producing, distributing and consuming goods and services, resulting in the ‘greatest good’. Without that, there is no reason to have a free market in the first place.
In the US, the true free market has long ceased to exist. We are witnessing first hand the lion’s share of resources, wealth, money, property and ownership flowing down the monopoly vortex into the hands of a few oligarchs, just like in post-‘communist’ Russia. In this very un-free market, competition only occurs in the marginal labor intensive industries. By redefining and perverting the word free in ‘free market’ to mean free to do whatever one can or wants to do, more akin to the definition of democratic ‘freedoms’ ostensibly guaranteed under the Constitution, only without any restraints to protect the rights of others, the neo-conservative and neo-liberal politicians, at the behest of their corporate sponsors, were able to pull over a fast one on the rest of us. Disguised in pseudo economic theory, the neo blabber becomes a very seductive psycho manipulator. Following the strict orders of their donor-masters, and under the guise of the neo-lingo legerdemain, our elected representatives reversed critical legislation that protected us from unfair manipulation of the free markets forces, such as Taft-Hartley Act and other anti-monopoly laws. Worse, they changed the overall direction of this legislation, masked in Freidman’s new justification, passing pro-corporate laws that enhance and nurture concentration of capital in a highly non-competitive and monopolistic manner. This has been exacerbated by manufacturing techniques that tend to undermine the law of diminishing returns on the supply side of the equation. Altogether the result is a so-called free market that is only free to the extent that the oligarchs are free to manipulate the market forces to their own whimsical and selfish ends.
Naturally this uneven playing field has diverted all the resources to those oligarchs who control essential markets, such as oil and natural gas, military technologies, media, food, metals, health, banking, insurance, energy, to name a few. Oligarchic control of these markets, in turn, allows oligarchic control in other markets and, with far greater and more sinister consequences, in other structures within our democratic society. Perhaps we do not see the word monopoly for what it really is because of the silly children’s game or perhaps because our cultural imperative favors the winner, regardless of the methods he or she may have used to extract their victory. For whatever reason, we do not recognize oligopolies and monopolies for the extremely dangerous and evil organizations they truly can be and usually are. Today’s oligopolies pose the greatest danger to modern civilization that we have ever faced in our modern age and possibly the greatest threat to humanity ever seen. Hidden from observation, operating in secret, these entities have at their disposal a vast array of the most powerful arsenal of means, methods and tools that humans have ever invented. This mixture is volatile and often fatal. It perverts the famous supply and demand curves off the charts.
We wander far from free market theories into unsafe territory, where mega profits, similar to the recent years of Exxon Mobil, are common. Mega profits allow the oligarchs to take over, among other markets, the capital market. In turn, they can manipulate almost any other market they choose. We have been on this path for the last thirty years, since Reagan, also working on behalf of the same corporate donors, deregulated our markets. The last thirty years of Wall Street financial news mirrors the ceaseless mergers and consolidations. It took all this time to consolidate ownership of the world’s resources into the hands of a very few individuals, aided all along the way with a new age Freidmanesque rationale that fooled even the best. The concurrent loss of our free market system to a small group of oligarchs and loss of our democratic system of free and fair elections to those same oligarchs is no coincidence. Under the circumstances, the oligarchs simply cannot allow the outcome of popular elections to determine the fate of their vast holdings. They detest democracy. South and Central America are testament to this penchant. The US is just the latest in their conquest. They simply have to control the politicians as well as the markets. Too much is at stake to allow common people to determine their own fate. It’s a no brainer. They even come up with phrases to extol their lust for power such as; "Managing the bewildered masses is the responsibility of the few rich and mighty, who must bear this burden for the sake of humanity," and similar such self indulgent pseudo justifications.
Driven by the dynamic to protect their profits, these oligarchs now have gained control of our government. Their methods are too numerous, too inventive and too flexible to prevent or reign in using the institutions of democracy that we have created. Their resources are far too massive to counter. Without the ability to restrain these forces our society is evolving into a totally new economic reality where the middle class will be a very small segment, a thin layer in between the very rich and the utterly miserable, as is common in the rest of the world. This paradigm has persisted throughout all history as civilizations have tried to remain viable but instead have crumbled from internal political corruption into a cycle of rich versus poor. The rich coalesce into a small minority of powerful individuals who rule through various forms of governing methods, sometimes outright dictatorship, but in the modern era where more discretion is required, through phony ‘democratic’ puppet style governments, backed by strong militaries. We are witnessing our own modern day version of the collapse of the free market and true democratic systems our forbearers fought so hard to establish. The reason that both our political and economic systems can legitimately be defined as oligarchic is that the values of the oligarchs are represented in both structures. One has virtually caused the other.
Prior to the twentieth century no one studied economics or political science apart from one another. The two were considered inseparable and were taught together as political economics throughout the universities of Europe and the US. The two are so intricately interpdependent that they cannot be separated without one or the other or both losing meaning. In the early part of the twentieth century, after witnessing what this association can do to motivate the thinking and actions of the working class in Europe, the US owning class pressured US educational universities and institutions to separate political economy into two separate and safer subjects, economics and political science. Under this false segregation, the economist is supposed to be totally objective with respect to economic consequences of political policies. In other words, they are not supposed to care if people starve and die, only describe it in economic terms. Hopefully reality will eventually dictate that economics since politics are inextricably intertwined they cannot remain separated in practice, discussion or solution.