“The lifestyle you ordered” is not just currently out of stock– it’s no longer being produced.

By Charles Hugh Smith:

The only way to rebuild a Common Good is to radically decentralize political, financial and media concentrations of ownership and power.

The theory of American civics is that the competitive process of every group advocating for its narrow self-interests will magically generate the Common Good, that is, a political and social order that serves everyone’s common/shared interests.

Unfortunately, that’s not how civic life functions in real-world America. We have completely lost any sense of a Common Good. All we have now is a cut-throat competition between entrenched special interests for a fatter slice of the pie while the bottom 95% have essentially no political voice and a rapidly diminishing say in the economy.

The problem with the theory that competitive advocacy magically generates the common good is advocacy is horrendously asymmetric: corporations and the wealthy have massively well-funded campaign and lobbying industries as their advocates, while the bottom 95% have no equivalent resources or organized efforts to advocate for their interests.

So what we have now is a competing set of self-serving elites claiming that their interests are in the Common Good. This is visibly, obviously, painfully false; each elite/ cartel/ interest group is only trying to sell its crassly self-serving agenda as being in the Common Good as a crude propaganda tool.

Nobody actually believes Big Pharma’s agenda (jacking up off-patent generic medications that cost $10/dose last year to $400 or $4,000/dose this year because, well, they have 40,000 lobbyists and billions to contribute to politicos in our pay-to-play “democracy”) serves the Common Good. It very clearly serves a powerful, wealthy few at the expense of everyone else.

Every special interest, from global corporations to public unions, makes the case that their own interests are identical with the Common Good–especially if more public money is required.

As I explain in my books Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform andResistance, Revolution, Liberation: A Model for Positive Change, this is the corrupting fruit of centralization: when lobbying a few hundred politicos and a handful of top bureaucrats can result in billions in additional public spending sluicing into the coffers of special interests, there is no need to persuade the populace of the benefits to the Common Good of the proposed spending: you just spend a few tens of millions in our pay-to-play “democracy” and then reap billions as the payoff.

This is the direct result of ever-increasing centralization of political and financial power. The concentration of power creates compellingly tiny targets for those seeking to bend policy to reward their entrenched interests.

It’s much easier to bend a handful of people with concentrated power (most of whom need millions of dollars in campaign contributions to maintain their power, rendering them extremely bendable) than it is to persuade tens of millions of citizens.

This prostitution of the Common Good in service of elitist special interests has corrupted the very concept. Nobody believes that there is a Common Good any more; everyone knows that appeals to the Common Good are nothing more than thinly veiled partisan pitches for policies that enrich the few at the expense of the many.

In this toxic atmosphere, no wonder partisanship is soaring, with Independents abandoning the run-by-and-for-special-interests political parties en masse.

With the Corporate Media in thrall to these same corporate/self-serving elites, it’s also no wonder than public trust in the mainstream media is plummeting to all-time lows. The “news” isn’t so much “fake” as it is designed to push narratives that benefit self-serving elites.

As entrenched interests compete to protect their profitable skims, scams, monopolies and fiefdoms, the bottom 95% are slipping into darkness. “The lifestyle you ordered” is not just currently out of stock–it’s no longer being produced.

Corporations and entrenched interests exist for one purpose: maximize profits for shareholders/ members. The Common Good means nothing, is worth nothing, except as a flimsy marketing ploy.

Self-interested lobbies do not create a Common Good. They actually destroy the Common Good by redefining the political, financial and social order as nothing more than a zero-sum game in which the winners gain centralized power and the chumps (the bottom 95%) are manipulated by the political parties and corporate media into focusing on a fastpaced and wonderfully distracting circus of pyrotechnics, spinning mirrors and freak shows.

The Common Good cannot possibly be served by ceding power to privately owned, profit-maximizing corporations and self-serving state elites. The only way to rebuild a Common Good is to radically decentralize political, financial and media concentrations of ownership and power.

If we accept a pay-to-play “democracy” as legitimate, we are accepting a corporatocracy that partners with self-serving state fiefdoms to enrich the powerful few at the expense of the powerless many.

  1. Great article. Why can’t people see that the real problem is the amount of money being given as campaign contributions which in reality is legalized bribery? The supreme court made it even worse with citizen’s united and money is a form of speech? Really? We must stop the money influence on government. Otherwise the wealthy and corporations will get an even bigger and bigger slice of the pie and be in complete control of our society. That is not a democracy. That is a corporate dictatorship. Bernie Sanders was the only one who recognized this as a problem. Will Trump do anything about it? Probably not. Bottom line, the 95% are doomed. It’s time the young people in this country start protesting to get public funded campaigns and stop the bribery once and for all. If not you all will be slaves to the corporations working for minimum wage the rest of your life. At least until they do away with that and then you’ll be working for room and board like they have in China, where workers live in the factory.

  2. The system is broke because the Zionists have taken over the banking, Media, Education and the Courts as they did in Germany before they declared war on the German people and destroyed their economy.  You cannot have such blatant corruption as you have at the Federal Reserve and have a fair system.

    Financial markets are now basically a gambling forum for all but the Tribal members! No one can make a sound investment because as soon as you do, they decide what they want as a result and you can be destroyed .  Bubbles and lies is the hallmark of this cesspool of corruption! Real  money and solid investments go down daily as the high flying games of the tribe take front and center stage with a stock market trading in nanoseconds on the news of the day.  Laughable to watch Yellen the biggest fool ever to hold office in the Tribal banking system.

    • Does everyone know that the Fed is still buying about $30 billion of assets each month. So much for ending QE. This is why the stock market keeps going higher, which is why the rich are getting richer. The federal reserve is causing the disparity between the rich and poor. Janet Yellen is an idiot if she doesn’t understand this. Even after the election the elite still don’t understand the anger of the 95%. THIS HAS TO STOP!

  3. Here is how to shrink the government:

    1) Do NOT raise the debt ceiling.

    2) Cut taxes A LOT on individuals.

    3) Enforce tax evasion against Apple Google and others. SEIZE THEIR ASSETS FOR TAX EVASION and USE THEM to pay down the national debt.

    4) Stop defending the rest of the world with our military. Only defend ourselves.

    This will force the government to work with a MUCH smaller budget, while having the tax evading tech monopolies pay their fair share (for once).

  4. If they think that there going to get away with this they are dead wrong, watch what happens to the few that think they can get away with robbing the people of the Lord God Almighty who rules and reigns forever. SELAH AMEN ! The Lord who is LORD sees his day coming my friends. Time for all to REPENT calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ , that is repentance for all have gone there own way and God put on him all our offenses even our sins. For the LORD who is Lord said :I even I am he and not another and the way you take even I know and I will direct your path if you stay on me . Thanks be to God in the highest who is HIGH over all the Earth. My sheep hear my voice and not another. SELAH Amen.Amen.AMEN In a twinkling of an eye at the last Trump from the four corners of the earth my Angeles will as lighting collect my own. Don’t worry look up for when they say peace peace then comes sudden destruction but not one hair of mine elect shall be harmed shalom.

  5. How about this? Don’t buy things you don’t need. If big pharma is gouging you, grow the hell up and take responsibility for your health.  Stop believing garbage ads that state health comes by way of synthetic chemicals. It can only be achieved eating primarily organic vegetables. If you’re addicted to bad food and cannot think for yourself, then it’s time for you to kick off.  No one has time for children masquerading as adults….

  6. Hey. My situation applies to this subject matter exactly. I’ll tell you the problem that I have.  No matter what the majority of people that I run into are completely dismissive of my observations.  For example we all know about the subject and practice of civil asset forfeiture.  I have had three people express their disbelief of the existence of such a program when I inform them about it.  They don’t perform their own research.  They just dismiss it as untrue and unbelievable.   I get it all the time about 9/11 sandy hook…what else?  Guy I can read something from the national weather service in regard to shoveling snow and heart attacks and I get to listen to the four words I hate the most.  “I don’t believe that”. That’s what they say.   I have my own suspicions about why people are dismissive of facts when I present some.  That’s a can of worms I don’t want to open. Forgive me for hoping that we all get what we deserve at some point. It’s frustrating. You’ve lost common sense when you can’t perform your own due diligence on matters that affect you and your family. That person is a waste of human skin in my book.

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