We all love a winner, someone or team that dominates all competition and rises above the rest to become a champion. The Queen song, "We are the Champions", comes to mind. Something seems to be built into our collective DNA that seeks out a champion, or even a God or Goddess to whom we render our worship and unquestionable devotion. This dangerous pathology could well put us all into a new form of global enslavement from which humanity may never escape.
There are many who have dominated the world. Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt, and many others have tried but failed. Whereas in the past, the "Master of the Universe" was nearly always about controlling things through sheer violent force mixed with military tactics. But now, I'd suggest the rules of the game have shifted from military (direct violence) to financial (indirect violence) about who will become the next "Master of the Universe."
A year ago, Oxfam showed how the richest 85 people in the world were as wealthy as the poorest half of the world. Just this week, in the build-up to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Oxfam has shown that only 80 people now make the list. These 80 people (five have been cut from the list) collectively have as much wealth as the poorest half of the world (or about 3.5 billion people).
If, in the past year, the list shrunk from 85 to 80 people, it does suggest that, eventually, the list will shrink down to just one. Who will be the one trillionaire who rules us all, the Master of the Universe?
This game to become the "One" sounds sensational (and I'm sure Las Vegas will soon give us the odds on favorite) but it should actually terrify us. The simple reason is that power corrupts and capitalism's lifeblood is about eliminating all other competition in an effort to monopolize the markets. Once you monopolize a market, you can set the price as high as you want. And we have a name for this, it's called tyranny, or if you prefer, dictator. Want an example? Think of the classic American film, It's a Wonderful Life in which the villain was Mr. Potter, the rich banker who would suck the life out of the community.
And, as you know, the United States of America was founded on the idea that all forms of tyranny should be overthrown. Yet, today what we are literally observing is the rise of tyranny in its financial manifestation against which there are no protections.
The Bill of Rights (designed to protect the minority class agains the majority) only applies within the legal space of the governed. But this financial global strategy has successfully undermined the government's ability to protect people by regulating and holding all people accountable (yes, including the bankers) to the good of society. Need an example? How about the financial meltdown by the elite banks and hedge funds in 2008 that sent the global economy into a recession (or even depression)? Had there been regulations, simple checks and balances, millions of people's lives would now be far better off.
We can all pretend that all this is benign and good for all (protected by the fantasy of "trickle down economics", or as my friend Prof. Maria Nikolakaki says, "trick 'em all economics!", but the facts of history say otherwise. The more concentrations of unchecked power the more injustices are exacted on humanity. This is because power corrupts.
Perhaps it's time to start to implement procedures to protect us from this savage monopoly capitalism before it's too late. But it's difficult to see how to stop this death march to the One especially because the governments all seem too inept and powerless to do anything to protect its citizens from these tyrannical forms of savage capitalism. And now we can see the ideology into which we have all been tricked in the name of "no tax" rhetoric. This is really about the wealthy rising to power and subverting the protections governments are suppose to afford citizens.
Speaking of monopoly, do you know that the game was actually developed to teach us the lessons about how unjust and evil capitalism is?