It’s the Age of Money—Not the Information Age
It’s not really the Information Age. Surely it’s not if you have to “pay to play” everywhere you go—even at home. The average family pays about $3000 a year for their digital equipment: cable, internet, and wireless phone plans Some get left out.
In Manhattan, NY, only 25% of the households can afford to drive a car. That’s because parking costs between $550 and a quarter-million bucks a month. Worse yet, young adults are skipping college because of the high costs. But things are tightening up everywhere for everyone.
The Age of Money
THE HEAT IN ON
The tightness of money had driven some folks crazy—and to drugs. People can’t even let their kids play outside unsupervised. It’s too dangerous. So they have to buy them expensive digital toys to play with at home. The kids, of course, are mostly gaming on tablet and smart phones, which have little educational value.
Everywhere, on the street and in the mansions, it’s the Age of Money. Think of it: Just 85 of the world’s 1426 billionaires own as much as half the people on the Earth. Small wonder that the rest of us feel pinched for cash.
HISTORY IS REPEATING ITSELF
This is like history repeating itself. Not that long ago, in the Middle Ages, the wealthy owned nearly everything. The Industrial Revolution changed that. Laws were enacted allowing people in some countries to own their own land.
Yet even America got off to a slow start. White indentured servants were the first slaves. They went into servitude in order to gain passage from abroad. They worked for rich farmers and the Governors, who were granted large tracks of land by various European kings.
You might say it’s all changed. People have all kinds of electric gadgets and big screen TVs. But the majority of people get no further than sending funny photos, watching movies, or viewing pornography. And the news is often manufactured for sensationalism.
So ask yourself, how can you learn to think critically if you’re using just two thumbs to transmit your thoughts? How do you write an essay if your keyboarding skills are limited to “hunt and peck.” So much for the Information Age.
You may think this is a Leftist approach to modern American history. Yet truthfully, what you—yourself—are probably roused up about is what most Americans are feeling—the Squeeze.
Tight money. You’re feeling it, right?
Think about it for a moment. Of all the new money generated by the American economy since the 2007 Great Recession, 90% of the new cash went to the people in the top 10% income bracket.
The Republicans blame the Squeeze on government support for lazy poor people. The Democrats blame it on rich, greedy people. Yet even the rich Americans are feeling squeezed. That’s because the 1400 billionaires in the world are in a battle against each other. They feel compelled to seize more money and property from the globalized economy and each other—and from you.
"I love money!"
THE ENTITLED WEALTHY
The majority of wealthy people feel they are entitled to their money and yours money, too. That's because a large sum of money and property carries an attitude with it. Many of the wealthy have the attitude of feudal lords who owned everything. And the wealthy folks, in guarded interviews, regard regular folks as merely laborers to do the work in a globalized money-making machine.
It’s been said that 150 million Americans are supposed to be scofflaws leaching off the U.S. government. They supposedly suck the U.S. Treasury dry, supported by Food Stamps and welfare. Yet, just 6 of the Walmart family billionaires take in more money and own more property that almost all those people—a sum that is between 28% and 48% of what the population of America owns (with off-shore hidden accounts, no one knows the true figure). So, who is really sucking the system dry?
Think about this on a worldwide scale with 1400 billionaires. They’re constantly leveraging their money to make a quick buck. Just 85 of those billionaires suck the world economy for more than what three-and-a-half billion people take in.
Despite having so much political power, wealthy Americans are becoming anxious, too. Occupy Wall Street scared some of them. Obama’s call for a $10.10 minimum put others on edge. The fear is that this will turn into a progressive movement for better wages. So some of the wealthy are on the offensive to protect what they have.
PROTECTING UPPER CLASS PROPERTY
Interestingly, this battle to control everything by the wealthy is backed by security agents and private armies. There are 2 private security agents in America on the beat for every government police officer. It’s all about protecting the lives and property of the wealthy.
It is also why the largest private army in the world is based in America. Called Academi (also called Xe and Blackwater), it is based on 7,000 acres in North Carolina and trains 40,000 people each year. Armed with the latest weapons—and trained like special ops—Xe is ready to go anywhere to protect the property of the wealthy. For example, after Hurricane Katrina, the fighters from this private army were in New Orleans protecting the property of wealthy corporations.
Remember also that the wealthy do not have any interest in the success of small businesses. It’s not their property.. This is why Wall Street was bailed out of the Great Recession but small businesses were not. Also keep in mind that the unemployment this created forced wages to stay low in many areas of the economy.
MAYBE IT’S TIME FOR BETTER WAGES
If you are like the average American family, you lost 40% of your family’s wealth from 2007 to 2010 during Great Recession. Lucky folks have gained most of that loss back. That’s not a result in increased wages. Middle-class families are not earning any more in real buying power than they made in 1967. The recapturing of worth, rather, is because housing prices and stock values are on the rise.
Blame whoever you will for the lack of growth in wages. Life will still go on. Remember that in the Age of Money, you are only being paid the minimum amount that will sustain you. You are not paid according to what your contribution is worth. So take a few deep breaths and get used to it. Then start thinking more about what your work is worth.
Meanwhile, stop blaming the government, the wealthy, or the poor for your feeling of being squeezed. It is the whole worldwide money system that is squeezing you. And that makes money the focus of nearly everything.
YOU AND THE SQUEEZE
Keep in mind what they teach in Masters of Business Administration programs. Pretend the company is in a crisis Then argue that the workers have to work harder. Workers are laid off and others are expected to pick up the slack. It often means people skipping breaks or donating their own time.
This is kind of like teachers having to buy their own classroom supplies on a gigantic scale. It’s a crisis workers are told. Once started, these fake crises never end and you cannot change that. Try to find another job if you’re in this situation.
Remember also that politicians use this strategy too—make everything look like a crises.
If you want to change the squeeze of the Age of Money, you cannot do much alone—except for calming down. And after a good laugh—or cry—you might join an organization that puts pressure on Wall Street, the federal and state governments, as well as the Democratic and the Republican Parties. Any organized resistance will eventually help people worldwide to get back on track to having decent wages.
Be sure to find your own space. That is somewhere you can be above the fray. This is place where you can breathe deep and enjoy your gains rather than think about your losses. Even if your space is simply in your car while you wait in line in the drive thru.
And if you’re happy with the system, it’s OK to dream about making your first million. Use what you’ve got. After all, it’s the reign of capitalism in The Age of Money!
I thank Graydon Carter, Editor of Vanity Fair (100 Years of Attitude, Oct. 2113, p 126), for this idea of the Age of Money. Masterful, that Graydon.
The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that millionaires can contribute up to $3.5 million to Congressional candidates in the upcoming 2014 elections. Now millionaires do not have to hide behind anonymous dark money organizations to that hide their identity. Those organizations spent $400 million on the 2012 election. But it's all legal now, so they don't have any reason to hide what they're doing--manipulating elections.
Senator Charles Schumer (D/NY) said about the Supreme Court ruling: "It's a decision that advantages the very wealthy over everybody else."