The lazy man’s empire
The trade empires were the lazy man’s empire. They acknowledged no responsibility for the people under them. All the benefits of empire were delivered directly into the ruler’s hands with none of the former trouble or effort. All the old Machiavellian difficulties of how to hold an empire were resolved as there was no need to hold it. The powerful could lay claim to a property and profit from it instantly. Noblesse oblige, never a popular idea among dictators, was replaced by the idea that the formerly childlike citizens had personal responsibility and responsibility meant accepting corporate slavery. There was no need to justify corporate rule as the trade economy ruled for it. Even the rulers were abstracted away behind corporate names. Their was no need to justify their privilege as wealth was its own justification. Rebellions were subverted by convincing the people to compete with each other for trade dominance instead.
Dissociation gave the promise of free will and autonomy to those who had lost it. For those who remembered, it gave the promise of autonomous nations which could hold power without imperial occupation. For those who had long forgotten their tribal autonomy, it gave the promise of freedom from the child-like subservience of imperial citizens. For those persecuted by their own society, it gave freedom from social approval. People and nations no longer needed the approval or agreement of their government or neighbours for anything. They didn’t even need to know their neighbours. They just needed to sell them something and they would have all the dissociated approval they needed to survive, maybe even to build an empire of their own.
The trade economy promised that slavery could be abolished as work could be freely accepted or refused and those who worked hardest or best would receive the greatest reward. By making autonomy and social acceptance available only with currency and currency available to the lower classes only through jobs, the merchant class was able to equate slavery with freedom. Instead of managing a lower class of slaves who demanded freedom, they gave the lower class their freedom and convinced them to demand slavery. People who would never argue that slaves were better off under slavery as they had food and housing would spend the next centuries arguing exactly that for wage slavery.
The dismantling of society left lifegivers and caregivers isolated, overworked, despised and exhausted. They were told that dissociation was there to help them. You don’t have to look after dependents, they are better off in institutions, the authorities said. Dependency became a product for corporations to profit from and caregivers were given the freedom to be enslaved by corporations.
Stratification of society encouraged everyone to concern themselves only with the needs of their own ingroup, isolating those in greatest need from any social assistance from those with the power to assist. Any type of bigotry and sectarianism to prevent empathy with others was encouraged and promoted and ingroup loyalty was expected and rewarded. Entrenched group narcissism ensured that any dissatisfaction with the paradigm could easily be diverted into hostility towards a competing outgroup. The trade economy acquired the status of a religion with greater virtue assigned to those who succeeded the most and vilification for those who failed. The trade economy was presented as the only possible economy and any reality which negated that was erased from view like caregiving or declared illegal like potlatches.
The very poor are not free to reject work and in some cases it is impossible to distinguish the conditions from slavery. Instead of empires ripping out people’s hearts to sacrifice to gods, we have people voluntarily selling their organs and blood to the powerful in order to survive, or being attacked by others who wish to sell their organs. Peter Thiel can buy the blood of the young legally[cite]. West African politicians can buy amulets made from the young with impunity[cite]. Those who thrived in the trade economy did not turn out to have any greater merit, only greater proximity to power and less social obligations. Freedom to act without concern for social obligations created a system designed for the promotion of sociopaths.
Dissociation was a corporate strategy to prevent solidarity among societies and to exploit dependency as a means for states and corporations to control others. The dissociated structure established has allowed everyone else to exploit it in the same way. Any gang or terrorist state is now equally capable of controlling dissociated populations by controlling the hospitals, media, food distribution and all other institutions of centralized and dissociated societies. Stateless gangs around the world have noticed the ease with which dissociated people can have their dependency exploited and be manipulated by the gangs who control the structures of society and currency. Gang members are attracted to the family aspect of belonging. The ingroup loyalty and the outgroup violence are the same that all were encouraged to cultivate in support of the state endorsed trade economy. The anti-societies of today, typical of lawless towns during gold rushes or other migrations where large groups of people assembled with no established societal rules, have become the norm across entire states and regions.
The dissociated approval brought by currency was also dissociated authority and dictatorship every bit as cruel but less accountable than the former empires. The dissociation which looked so much like freedom was just sociopathy, the individualism was isolation and impotence. The equality under a trade empire was no equality at all, as any egalitarian system imposed on unequal populations must result in tyranny by those the system was designed for. For many years those who refused to let go of the trade economy dream have insisted the tyrants were there by personal merit, not design, and punished those who failed to excel by insisting they were defective and attempting to reform them. Those who failed to excel also refused to give up on the dream and just demanded it be modified to let them in, giving rise to an endless succession of reformers demanding their rights to succeed in a sociopathic system of oppression.
Economists have replaced philosophers, banks have replaced churches, searching for profit has replaced searching for knowledge. People have been reduced to human composters who live, consume and die. The artisans have not won, or the athletes, the philosophers, the caregivers, the artists or even the warriors. The parasites have won.
The trade economy is a ponzi scheme however, and the longer it is in place the more its true nature becomes apparent. The centripetal force which draws everyone to the scheme pushes those already on the top ever higher while those on the bottom fall farther and farther out of reach. As those on the top are standing on nothing more than an illusion, the trade economy must collapse like all ponzi schemes.
Excerpted from Autonomy, Diversity, Society. Citations will be transferred when I get a minute.