The Real Free Riders: the Neo-Feudal Rich

One of the interesting problems in economics and indeed in conflict, is the problem of free riders, those who exploit the economic system in their own self interest at the expense of everyone else. The Republicans think that the free riders are poor. As part of an on line debate I posted the following contribution on this subject.

Actually free riding was much less of a problem in the period 1950-1970 when the economy was doing well, before Nixon sabotaged it (his real crime beyond Watergate and saving China from Soviet nuclear attack in 1969 and then bargaining with China and getting nothing in return), the rich paid their taxes and they paid a lot, the education system was quite rigorous and not dumbed down, and there were plenty of highly productive jobs that people with only high school education could do and feel worthwhile, productive, like they earned their living and indeed they did. We built the inter-state highway system, funded deep scientific research and a lot of people born in the USA studied hard sciences, math and engineering.

When you re-shape a society so it is far more feudal, far more based on inherited and alum privilege, when you let the Casino Wall Street economy reshape the whole economy to pour money into non-value add croupier and attorney pockets, lo and behold you get people saying the poor are free riders…As if the real motive wasn’t to create a servant class the rich could lord it over and socio-pathically revel in the suffering of lesser beings to make their own somewhat warped selves feel better.

This is the other side of the mad society that Jung nails so well. It is in someone’s interests for society to be this mad. The madness did not come out of a clear blue sky, but was constructed by those who hated the New Deal for taking away their cheap servants and who have spent the last 75 years trying to find a way to undermine the New Deal and assert their inherited or usurped feudal power. Citizens United was just another step on the way along with the repeal of Glass Steagall, and the radical revision of tax rates for the rich under Reagan and Bush 2. Not a conspiracy so much as the rich just using their growing political power of corruption one step at a time….a bit more rich, a bit more political power to make them a bit more rich and buy a bit more political power ever since 1970…

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About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict Processes, Economic Conflict, US Political Conflict, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Real Free Riders: the Neo-Feudal Rich

  1. Toby Thaler says:

    Good short summary of our sorry current state of affairs. “Conspiracy” is a rather subjective word. In fact, if you look at the Powell Memo (one of those documents that the rich wish never got into the public domain), you could certainly come to the paranoid conclusion that the current slide into fascism is indeed the result of a conspiracy. See http://reclaimdemocracy.org/powell_memo_lewis/ but cf. http://prospect.org/article/legend-powell-memo

    Regardless, Powell himself authored corporatist decisions while on the Supreme Court bench, so whether or not his memo was the actual blueprint, the fact is that many of it’s proposals for “taking control” were in fact implemented. E.g., http://www.phibetaiota.net/2011/12/david-swanson-history-of-corporate-personhood-how-lewis-powell-us-chamber-of-commerce-bought-the-us-supreme-court/

  2. iwwveeper says:

    The free rider dilemma cuts in both directions. The neb-feudal rich have so concentrated their wealth and their political power that they reap benefits far in excess of what the contribute to society and to the commons. They are the very free riders that they so decry at the bottom of the ladder.

    The free rider problem is the reason Republicans and libertarians oppose government programs. According to Mitt Romney, 47% of us are free riders, sapping the nation of its vial bodily fluids.

    Liberals, progressives, and Democrats (the party having yet to earn the appellation “liberal” or “progressive”) have floundered in framing an adequate rebuttal.

    The free rider problem should be turned against them and framed exactly as they do against those they see as getting a free ride.

    • @wwveeper. Well put and yes I think reversing the free ride accusation is just and effective. I never did see any of the so called “makers” aka Romneyites working on auto assembly lines or any other value add business or public service or in the military.

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