Basically this is what happened in america. The rise of corporations (entities made up of individuals which legally have different rights and liabilities than the individuals that make them up and usually exist exclusively for the purpose of making money) created a culture of “more”. Where the only goal in the corporate world was to make more money – that was the only measure of success. So corporations get bigger and bigger, then merge with other big corporations to become super-corporations and so on, and as all of this is happening the wealth of the lower and middle class is siphoned away, which is bad for everybody because without money they can’t buy products and services and companies fail, unemployment rises etc – money in working peoples’ hands is the oil that keeps the american economic engine from seizing up into solid block of rusted steel. But good old fashioned american ingenuity found a way around this – credit cards. Instead of corporations just naturally collapsing and small businesses picking up the pieces, they kept growing by getting people to buy things they can’t afford by offering them to them for free*.
*In reality you’re just buying something you don’t need and paying interest on it. So now working people are double-screwed but corporations are still expanding and doing fine. But as more and more wealth is in fewer and fewer hands there isn’t much to do to make more money and get a fatter slice of the pie – so corporations start cannibalizing each other. This was romney’s specialty, making money off of hurting businesses, buying them with money borrowed against a corporation with no liability then breaking the company down, selling it for parts and leaving the corporation on the hook for the loan (yes, this is actually legal thanks to the influence of corporate money in politics). Leveraged buyouts and corporate takeovers galore until the water is red with the blood of a million employees.
But now that virtually all the wealth is consolidated to the upper 20% of the country (which controls 93% of the wealth in the country, more than half of which the top 1% controls) the carcass that was the american people is picked pretty clean. With only 7 percent of the nation’s wealth in the hands of 80 percent of it’s citizens, most of whom are living hand to mouth and are neck deep in debt already and can’t really be squeezed any more, what are corporations to do? Their board members have to keep increasing their stock value they will get fired, so where do we go from here? Well, there’s lots of money in the retirement account, lets ask congress if we can loot that indirectly by gambling it away on the stock market, keeping the winnings for ourselves and leaving our employees high and dry when we bet on the wrong horse. We can? Great, thanks congress, we knew we could count on you! And while we’re at it can we take out life insurance policies against our employees without their knowledge or consent? Thanks again congress :: kiss ::
Oh and while we’re de-regulating mind if we get rid of the regulations put in place after the great depression which prohibit financial institutions from being regular banks and investment banks at the same time so that when investment banks go under they don’t take peoples’ life savings with them? Again, thanks so much congress we appreciate it. And hey lets just invent money out of thin air without building anything or providing any service by having computer programs make billions of “micro-transactions” in accordance with regular market fluctuations so we can siphon tens of billions of dollars out of the economy. And while we’re at it lets turn mortgages into a commodity so we can compete to see who can generate the most bad mortgages, then get them rated high quality, pretend they’re worth more than toilet paper and sell them to other banks and foreign companies.
And while we’re engaging in a perpetual orgy of sickening greed and destroying the greatest nation in the world, lets blame the poor in order to justify doing to america what we did to rival corporations – breaking it down and selling it for parts. Starting with the “privatization” of social security (in other words getting the social security money which we can then also ::woops:: lose on bad investments after making a fortune) and trade in programs that feed the tens of millions of now outright starving americans, disabled, elderly, unemployed, homeless etc for a nice tax cut for ourselves. Then fly in our private jets over the smoldering ashes to our offshore bank accounts and live happily ever after.
So how do we get out of this mess? Take away the special privileges of big corporations, strictly regulate the financial sector (beginning with the outlawing of many harmful practices), bolster support in both tax policy and investments for the poor and middle class and before you do any of that, publicly fund all elections and outlaw all campaign contributions so that every candidate has an equal voice and there is absolutely no benefit to be gained by any candidate by sucking corporate america’s dick.
Oh, and it might help to vote for the guy who’s never lived in a mansion and seems to give a shit about people who don’t have private jets.