Bad for Business

As usual, I write one of these things and a week later somebody notable, like Tom Friedman, comes out with essentially the same theme. Great minds think alike. Not sure what’s happening in my case. But, here’s my original take:

It was in the interests of the wealthy to look past Hitler’s sins. Germany was reeling from the destructive reparations imposed on them following the Great War. Inflation was soaring and people had to take wheel-barrow-loads of currency to the bakery to buy a loaf of bread. The Krupps et al, saw the rise of this tyranny as an opportunity and foolishly failed to look beyond their present.

But the question has to be asked. Are we, in 2022 USA, in the same situation as pre-war Germany? Is our economy in ruins? Is inflation at truly astronomical levels? Are the wealthy facing ruin?

While I don’t know about you, I know that I’m doing pretty well. Our retirement portfolio is at an all-time high, the social security checks keep coming and the last time I looked, despite COVID, unemployment is low, the markets are high and the holidays were a huge success for the retail side. So I have to ask this question of those who so recently benefited most from the Great Trumpian Handout. Do the 1%-ers really think a second American civil war is in their best interest.

You captains of industry, you bankers, you landed-gentry, you noveau-riche, yes, even people like my wife and I, who are simply comfortable, though wealthy beyond the belief of most of the inhabitants of the planet: Do we really want pitched battles in the streets outside our mansions, our corporate headquarters, our modest homes?

Why then does the money keep flowing from the likes of the wealthy into the coffers of a political party that has gone totally off the rails in the pursuit of power at the expense of the Constitution? We are about three steps away from the end of America as we knew it. If you don’t think that a civil war will be the portal to this change, listen to the author of How Civil Wars Start, Barbara Walter. She’s spent 30 years studying the genesis of civil wars around the globe and finds current conditons in our country to be alarmingly similar. No, I haven’t read the book, but I did see a lengthy TV interview with her and got the gist.

Her estimation is that what most Americans think of as civil war, like our mid-19th century conflict with its large, maneuvering armies, is not how this will happen. She sees a series of insurrections, guerilla warfare, a kind of death by a thousand cuts. When you think of the incredible number of guns in this country, not all of them in the hands of right-wing whackos, it’s not hard to visualize her predictions.

Certainly the Krupps were happy enough in the beginning. But when things started to get beyond their control, after they’d facilitated the genie being left out of the bottle, things didn’t turn out too well for them. Again, I ask the wealthy and powerful in this country: Do you really think you can keep control of the situation when the un-intelligentsia takes to the streets? Are you really going to be seen as their friends, or will they also turn on you in their rage?

America runs on greed. And, so far, that engine “have  been bery, bery good” to most of us. We can only hope that the people benefiting most from that engine have the sense to know that they are likely financing their own destruction. They need only look at the post-war photos of Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden for a vision of their own foolishness if they don’t  soon come to their senses and wrest back control of this country’s imperfect but predictable institutional dynamic.

© 2022 David B Bucher

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