Is Resistance Futile? Thought Control

October 20th, 2012
in Op Ed, syndication

Written by Derryl Hermanutz

funnel-knowledgeSMALLThis is the second article with the same question in the title.  The first is Is Resistance Futile?  The Corporate-Government Complex

A specific area not discussed in the previous article involves control of public thinking.  The most powerful insulation against change that corporations possess is not their wealth or economic dominance but their ownership and control of the mass media of propaganda dissemination. Americans are not alone in having been brainwashed into believing in the consumerist paradise and political theater that TV advertising and 'news' preaches non-stop 24/7/365.

Follow up:

Blubbering Consumers of Advertised Claptrap

These pervasive influences are spinning a “worldview” into the minds of the people who are subjected to them.  Schumacher writes in the aforementioned (previous article) “Small is Beautiful”,

“…no system or machinery or economic doctrine or theory stands on its own feet: it is invariably built on a metaphysical foundation, that is to say, upon man’s basic outlook on life, its meaning and its purpose.”

In the 20th century corporatist propaganda has transformed the people of Western civilization from morally guided citizens of Christian nations into blubbering consumers of advertised claptrap.

In an 11 October 2012 weblog titled, “The Pursuit of Happiness and the Sociopathology of Prosperity”, Charles Hugh Smith argues he would suggest that:

“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have been distilled into a sociopathology of consumption and unrealistic expectations of ‘prosperity’ that do not lead to happiness or well-being.”

Like all such “memes”, Smith’s observations only become “self-evidently obvious” to the rest of us AFTER somebody like Smith first sees them clearly and carefully defines and describes them and makes conscious and explicit what had been unconscious and implicit.

Profit Seeking Devolves into Kleptocray

Corporatism is driven by profit-seeking, which has now devolved to kleptocracy in the “advanced” nations.  It used to be that “the company” earned profits and avoided taxation by reinvesting the profits in the home market, which investment provided work and became the “incomes” for millions of employees and suppliers.  Now it is “the management” that takes the profits, as plutocrat income has been de-taxed and investment has become taxed, as James K. Galbraith explains in his 2008 book, “The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberal Should Too”.  Galbraith continues,

“As my father, John Kenneth Galbraith, argued throughout his long career, an economics of the real world requires an altogether different point of departure (*than the orthodoxies of neoclassical economic dogma).  In the real world, the autonomous individual is not the active agent who matters most.  The business enterprise, the company, the corporation is.  And companies do everything they can to take advantage of human changeability.  They seek to control markets, even to replace them altogether.  And often they succeed. …The actual world therefore cannot be what a conservative means by a ‘free-market system’.  …(The actual system) merely reproduces, in conditions of comparative but far from complete disorder, the phenomena of planning, rationing, queuing, indoctrination, and control that characterize unfree systems.  …So who is ‘market freedom’ for?  It is the freedom of what my father called ‘The Planning System’.  It is a real, practical, secure, and highly valued form of freedom.  But it is a freedom for business alone, and even less than that: it is a freedom for stable large corporations with substantial political power, for only such businesses can muster the power to exercise that freedom in the fullest…”

The God of Consumerism

The formerly “Christian” values system of the West preached by the “Bible thumping” Church has been replaced with a “consumerist” values system broadcast by a propaganda pumping mass media.  All that counts now is “having stuff”.  It doesn’t matter how much impossible debt you incur to ‘get’ that stuff.  Your social status and ‘moral value’ depends on your appearing to be favored by the God of consumerism who bestows SUVs and McMansions upon the blessed.  It doesn’t matter that you “stole” your billions.  Simply “being” rich is more than sufficient ‘evidence’ that you are a worthy and well-rewarded servant of the god.  Martin Luther sought “signs of election” that God would supposedly show to those who number among the righteous.  Today the only sign of election that is recognized is the possession of obscene wealth.

Manufacturing Public Opinion

The corporate mass media tell the people how to feel and what to think. Do you get your financial, economic and international "news" from television or mass circulation newspapers? If so you are almost certainly receiving pure spin with little if any relationship to the underlying truth about the issues that are being 'reported'. During the 20th century Edward Bernays and, after WWII, the spin makers of Madison Avenue, perfected their psychologically subtle skill of "manufacturing public opinion". Virtually everything you see or read in mass media has been expertly constructed to blind you to reality and induce you to feel and believe what the corporatists hired the spin masters to make you feel and believe.

If you credulously believe what you see, hear and read on mass media then the contents of your mind are not "facts of reality".  They are manufactured propaganda professionally installed in your brain to manipulate you. Bernays' radical innovation was to propagandize the media, not the public, because then the media would BELIEVE in the illusions they were peddling to the public and the media would devote their considerable persuasive skills to convincing us of the same manufactured 'news events' that had already convinced themselves.

The Facts of an Issue

And their success is magnificently complete. Or else try to have a "rational" debate with somebody whose "information" on the topic comes from mass media (or who believes the neoclassical pablum they were fed in university economics courses). It will be impossible to get a rational debate even started because you will never be able to agree on the basic facts of the issue.

One will say the economy is getting better. The other will say it is getting worse. One will say corporations are a root cause of the problem and government regulation is the solution. The other will say government is the problem and "free markets" are the solution. One argues that corporations are oligopoly controllers of industry and politics and their socioeconomically defective governing of the economy is the problem, not the solution. The other maintains that just because they are private for profit businesses rather than elected governments, corporations are free market participants suffering brutal competition and oppressive government regulation and are not centrally planned "governments'" in their own right.  One accuses corporations of usurping government functions and violating human socioeconomic and public property rights.  The other accuses government of usurping private functions and violating private property rights.

One says money creation and allocation by private finance is the real power in the world that needs to be transparent and constrained.  The other says pork-allocating government is the real power in the world that needs to be transparent and constrained and private finance is already ‘governed’ by market forces.

One asks why corporate managers, especially bank CEOs, pay themselves $10s and $100s of millions of personal income even as the company they are managing is being ground into insolvent bankruptcy. Doesn't "market discipline" reward profitable behavior and punish losers?  Walking away from the smoldering ruin of a failed bank with a personal $100 million fortune is hardly ‘punishment’.  The other argues you have to pay to attract 'talent'. Talent at robbing their employer and defrauding shareholders and bankrupting their company and corrupting governments so that failed corporations are bailed out by taxpayers, I suppose is the kind of corporate management 'talent' they refer to in our current era of rampant kleptocracy.

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  1. Don says :

    Wow. Wasn't expecting this from an economic blog--which I've only recently started reading. Basically you're right.

  2. Derryl Hermanutz says :

    Thanks Don, I think (:
    As an investor it is critical to understand the big picture, the macro economy. To "understand" you have to have a "theory" of the macro economy, a mental picture of its components and forces and how they work. The "mainstream" big picture is provided by neoclassical economic models that don't include money and the financial system but model the economy as if we are in a barter system where the money merely represents the real economic wealth that is being produced and "traded". In fact we do not "produce and trade stuff", exchanging economic value for economic value. We "buy and sell stuff", for money. And money is a "creation", not a "production", so money is in no way a "natural" product of people's economic efforts. Money is a completely human artifact.

    Neoclassical theory implicitly assumes that the economy is using a commodity money like gold and that the cost of production of the money and the relative supply and demand of gold and other trade goods determines their relative price. So it sees "inflation" as an excess supply of gold/money chasing an inadequate supply of trade goods, and assumes that the excess supply of money is simply a natural economic imbalance caused by a large gold discovery or some large reduction of trade goods supply, which imbalance will be quite quickly rebalanced as the high money price of trade goods induces the production of additional supply.

    But this has never been the core dynamic, even in the gold standard era, because it has always been the case that banks "create" all or almost all of the money we use via their money-creating privilege of "fractional reserve banking". Bankers, not markets, create and allocate our money, and so play the lion's role in determining the economic structures that will develop and the consequent income and wealth distributions.

    Neoclassical theory completely ignores banks and the money system, and is therefore blind to the development of rising imbalances between debt owed by some parties and savings/wealth held by other parties. So the economics profession, blinded by their adherence to neoclassical orthodoxy, did not see the real estate bubble being inflated by banks creating mortgage money, and were blissfully unaware that this period of "Ponzi finance" would inevitably end in a "Minsky moment" where participants ceased borrowing (and lending) new money to fuel never-ending real estate inflation, which would cause inflated real estate prices to deflate, and would render insolvent all the banking system balance sheets that held that real estate as their "assets".

    Largely due to the operation of money-creating private banking, our economies are more "controlled" than "free". So an investor who has been bamboozled into believing in "our free market economy" is going to find himself as blind as the economics profession to the real economic dynamics that are at work in the world. Investor ignorance benefits the plutocrats who are pulling the strings and collecting all the money that deceived investors are losing all the time. "The rich get richer" because they do not believe in the propaganda they are pumping. That is done to convince other investors to place their bets in the rigged game.

    And monetary ignorance combined with misplaced belief in "free markets", when real markets are anything but free, induces voters to support plutocrats who preach that "government is the problem" so that we will help them tear down our only bulwark against economic government by private oligopolists. The alternative to democratic government is not "freedom", as all those libertarians have been deceived to believe.

    The real alternative to democratic rule is undemocratic rule, plutocracy, rule by the rich. We humans are not such an advanced and enlightened species that we can live peacefully without some form of government. Strong and motivated individuals will form gangs to tyrannize the "peaceful and prosperous" innocents who think they can enjoy the good life unmolested by bad men. And as soon as the libertarians get together and form or hire private security forces to protect them against gangsters, those libertarians have abandoned "individual liberty" and have combined their forces into a collectivist "government".

    If we don't have an accurate big picture of reality in our minds we are blind and helpless fodder for fleecing. The academic discipline of macroeconomics has been systematically misinformed and has systematically misinformed policy makers and the public. So my article about mind control is highly relevant in a website dedicated to providing accurate facts and statistics and intelligent analysis to help investors make rational and informed decisions. "Mainstream" sources of this kind of 'information' are actually the main source of "mis-information". If we want to avoid being fleeced, we have to be aware of who is holding the sheers.

  3. Don says :

    Thank you for your reply.
    I'm not surprised at what you say, as I've done some research and found that the general public has some very misguided ideas about some recent and important events. Instead what is believed can only be called "propaganda."
    To step outside of politics/economics, and to point to how pervasive this bizarre type of misinformation is, I've found the same sort of propaganda in the health field-- completely contrary to my expectations and beliefs. For vaccines, for example, see



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