Saturday, April 9, 2016

Panama Is a Branch Office

Presenting modern moonlight, just as advertised
Coke and Pepsi finally found a compromise

The Dresden Dolls - Modern Moonlight

This whole Panama Papers thing reminds me of a term I've really gotten tired of hearing: American corporation. That or French or Japanese or Botswanan corporation or whatever might imply some sort of regional affiliation. The whole appeal of the legal fiction of the "juridical person" is to shelter those who can afford to rule such oligarchies from responsibility for the damage they inflict on the resources (human or otherwise) which they stripmine. Serfs are tied to the land. The aristocracy isn't.

The Thirty Years' War, as far as I can tell the worst European disaster since the Black Death, couldn't end quickly enough from most survivors' point of view and sure, the whole Westphalian circle-jerk sounds ecumenical as all hell. First off, it established that in addition to declaring war, you could also declare peace... which had apparently not occurred to most Europeans by the mid-seventeenth century. Second, the major powers agreed not to step on each others' toes, not to interfere in each others' internal affairs, which just sounds lovely until you find out quite a few of the pretexts for war had come from tiny principalities or just peasant groups screaming at being oppressed by their own nobility or immediate neighbours. Sure, religion played its usual starring role in the atrocities and the only one who didn't like the peace seemed to have been the Pope (go figure) but the real takeaway message for the fatcats was that no matter how tempting it might be to step in on behalf of your neighbour's oppressed lower classes and take over, you're always better off supporting your own kind, fellow fatcats.

No matter how much the rich hate each other, they will always hate the peasantry more.

National governments must've seemed like a nice gimmick for a while, fabricating the state as a smokescreen for the same old aristocratic abuse. Doubt it's by coincidence that the aforementioned peace immediately predates the heyday of absolute monarchies and it took only a few decades from "sovereign state" to "I am the state." Still, the problem with governments defined by geographic borders is that you kind of have to manage them passably well or end up going down with your ship, as "the other" Louis learned a century later by way of guillotine. What do you do if you want to, say, run France into the ground but still keep all your wealth and power? A new form of government was needed. A faster, more mobile, sleighter-of-hand shell game to disguise injustice.

CORPORATION. n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.
 - Ambrose Bierce

Please stop complaining about corporate corruption. Corporations are corruption itself. They operate solely to create a power disparity in favor of their investors while sheltering those same investors from responsibility for their profiteering. Investment is a means of ensuring that murder, slavery, pillage, looting and plunder are carried out in your name without ever being named. Aristocrats have not concerned themselves with ruling sovereign states for well over a century. The popular view of globalization, of "Coca-Colonization" as rich nations overpowering poorer ones, is itself only another smokescreen, only another shell game. Our modern aristocrats have no national identity and sovereign states exist only to manage the resources which the nobility plunders. Run the Rust Belt into the ground then reinvest in Singaporean sweatshops. Build China up and tear Greece down. Cocaine today, e-cigs tomorrow. Keep the shell game twirling and twisting, spinning and flowing, an ever-turning funnel always grounded in your own pockets.

Forget money-laundering. Forget taxes. Small potatoes.

The real issue is capitalism. The real issue is that some fatcats on a private island in the Caribbean are dictating what percentage of your work you should actually get paid for - and when your town has been bled dry they won't even have to abandon it. They were never there in the first place. Louis XIV carried quite the burden of being the state. Today's aristocracy have figured out how to take everything while being nothing.

"How can they complain that we're all fucked-up kids
When they keep on changing who our mother is?"

No comments:

Post a Comment