The Elites Have Destroyed The Status Quo's Ability To Self-Correct

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Charles Hugh-Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

You may have seen these charts before, but they tell the story of a middle class in decline.

For any system to endure, it must maintain a built-in capacity to self-correct: that is, it must generate accurate informational feedback about dangerous asymmetries and auto-correct with behavioral feedback.

This is true of ecosystems and enterprises as well as political/social systems.

Human systems can lose the ability to self-correct in three basic ways.

1. The information feedback is no longer accurate because self-serving interests manipulate the data to maintain whatever narrative/data-flow supports their power, wealth and income.

2. Self-serving interests limit any behavioral feedback that threatens their power, wealth and income.

3. Those in positions of responsibility who are tasked with managing behavioral feedback are no longer accountable, so the needed behavioral feedback fails.

Self-serving interests committed to protecting their power, wealth and income have destroyed our economic-political system's ability to self-correct. There are many examples of these three dynamics; here are a few.

A law enforcement/judiciary system that has plenty of resources to pursue a costly, destructive, failed War on Drugs, but no resources to pursue white-collar financial crime. Have a low-level drug dealer in your sights? Hey, the DEA et al. have essentially unlimited resources to nail the perp: SWAT teams, surveillance, helicopters, you name it.

But when a bank embezzles/defrauds to the tune of $100 million, law enforcement and the judiciary throw up their hands: it's too complicated and costs too much. Really? So there's billions of dollars available to bust small-time drug dealers, but only pennies to pursue financial criminals stealing billions?

Financial rackets, fraud and embezzlement are now rewarded rather than punished. If a bank scams $100 million by rigging a market (for example), if the Feds even catch on the fine is a measely $10 million.

In effect, finance-based criminals are being told: go ahead and run your rackets--we'll impose a 10% fee on your skim.

Corporate-white-collar criminality is pervasive. Please read No Wrongdoing Here, Just 6,300 Corporate Fines and Settlements (May 2015):

I am honored to share a remarkable data base of Corporate Fines and Settlements from the early 1990s to the present compiled by Jon Morse. Here is Jon's description of his project to assemble a comprehensive list of all corporate fines and settlements that can be verified by media reports:

"This spreadsheet is all the corporate fines/settlements I’ve been able to find sourced articles about, mostly in the period from the 1990’s up to today (with a few 80’s and 70’s). This is by far the most comprehensive list of such things online. At least that I could find, because the lack of any decent list is what made me start compiling this list in the first place."

What struck me was the sheer number of corporate violations of laws and regulations--thousands upon thousands, the vast majority of which occurred since corporate profits began their incredible ascent in the early 2000s--and the list of those paying hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and settlements, which reads like a who's who of Corporate America and Top 100 Global Corporations.

I encourage you to open one of the three alphabetical tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet on Google Docs and scroll down to find your favorite super-profitable corporation.

Many have a long list of fines and settlements, and many of the fines are in excess of $100 million. Many are for blatant cartel price-fixing, not disclosing the dangers of the company's heavily promoted medications, destroying documents to thwart an investigation of wrong-doing, etc.

In other words, these were not wrist-slaps for minor oversights of complex regulations-- these are blatant violations of core laws of the land.

Correspondent Ron G. summarized a core reason why the status quo can no longer self-correct politically: the middle class has been so diminished, it has lost its essential function as a political counter-balance to the financial-political elites:

"The American economy and people are not being served by a government that was designed to be a Democratic Republic, whose architecture and balance of power depended on a property-owning middle class to be the countervailing force against Oligarchy; given the irreversible nature of the market and technology that contributed to the decline of the US middle class, (globalization, automation and AI), it is apparent that we will stay on this downward track of the middle class for the immediate future, and therefore more disparity, dispossession, and coercion will be needed to maintain control, and to me this means a future of intimidation, censorship and continued involuntary servitude."

You may have seen these charts before, but they tell the story of a middle class in decline: declining income, declining wealth and declining political influence as the elites (the few) rig elections (bye-bye Bernie), control the dominant narratives (official "fake news" isn't fake news, it's from the Ministry of Truth!) and siphon off the nation's wealth at the expense of the many.

Bread (SSI, welfare, Universal Basic Income, etc.), circuses (the corporate media, social media, etc.) and social "progressive" crumbs (gender-neutral bathrooms, etc.) are highly effective means to distract us from the core dynamic of our status quo: the transformation of our middle-class society to a neofeudal society of New Nobility, debt-serfs and a bread-and-circus-consuming lumpen-proletariat class.

Though this chart is from 2010, the recent data is even more lopsided in favor of the top tranche of wealth: data updated to 2013 (latest available):

Rather than address this rising inequality directly, the self-serving Elites have promoted propaganda and policies that protect their gains while obfuscating the reality that most American households have been losing ground for decades, a decline that has been masked by replacing real income with rising debt.

The rapid concentration of wealth has also concentrated political power in the hands of a few who seamlessly combine public and private modes of power.

This wealth and power protects the self-serving Elites from the perverse consequences of their dominance. Their precious offspring rarely serve at the point of the American military's spear, they never lose their jobs or income when corporations shift production (and R&D, etc.) overseas, and they are never replaced with illegal immigrants paid under the table.

The self-serving elites' accountability? Zero.

Systems that lose their ability to self-correct collapse. The self-serving elites and fiefdoms that have crippled the system's feedback mechanisms to protect their power, wealth and income think they're "winning" by imposing a new neofeudal order. But all they're really doing is ensuring the demise of the entire system.

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LawsofPhysics's picture

All by design...

Still recycling the same old lame shit Charles?


SmackDaddy's picture

We've been petitioing for relief from the jooish usurers since the Magna Carta.  Yes - they were named specifically.

To not believe "it's the jews", you'd would have to think that your ancestors, from every corner of Western Europe, said mean things and kicked them out for no reason at all.

Or perhaps, just maybe, Hitler was right.

Looney's picture


Systems that lose their ability to self-correct collapse

Moonshine has the same effect.  ;-)


PrayingMantis's picture


... what Charles Hugh-Smith is really conveying ...

... >>> ...   no matter where you go, there you are! ...


Leopold B. Scotch's picture

The average progressive voters will fall for their leaderships' calls for more government and more taxes to fix the problem, which is munchausen byproxy syndrone inflicted on the masses.   Feel the Bern yet?

Dismantle it. Drain the swamp. And not just trump talk, now that it's pretty clear he's a windsock to big government / regime change apeasement.

techpriest's picture

BTW, don't forget the Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule. By that rule, it's actually expected that 1% would own ~51%, but the real question is, who is the 1% and how did they get that 51%?

It continues to piss me off that these numbers are never age-weighted. I say this because my current net worth is hundreds of times what it was 10 years ago, but that's because back then I was in school and my net worth was my emergency fund of $500.

IMO the real question to ask is how the 1% (or the ~3% who are millionaires) got their money. If *most* got it by working and saving/investing a long time, it's a non-issue. They gave value, they got value. When it disproportionately becomes a matter of manipulating the law for a huge payout, then there's a problem.

Divide and conquer - the guy who owned a couple restaurants and put money in an IRA for 40 years, until he has a $5 million net worth today, is not the enemy. The politicians who enter Congress with nothing, and leave decamillionaires while never engaging in any business aside from selling influence, along with their "customers," are the ones to pay attention to.

swmnguy's picture

Over the same period of time, we're also seeing a dramatic decline in socio-economic mobility.  Those who are rich today are far more likely to have been born rich than in the past.  Those who are born poor are far less likely to rise above their econonmic status at birth.

"Neo-Feudal" is a good description.  I don't know where I came across it, nor where CHS did.  I myself first thought of it around 1988.  That was the first time I worked on a corporate meeting event.  I was a dirty young kid pushing cases of rental staging equipment, and I saw a Fortune 500 CEO come in for his speech rehearsal, surrounded by squadrons of sycophants.  Except for the language, it was a scene right out of Shakespeare, where the Duke of Parma (or wherever) comes in with his entourage who all flatter him and jockey for position in the pecking order.

At that moment I realized I would never rise to the Executive Class.  As time went by, I saw how the courtiers in the entourage knocked each other off or displeased the Duke and became nonpersons immediately.  The feudal Lords will bump each other off too, and their entourages go with them.   Best not to be too closely identified with any of them.  I decided I didn't want to be in that class, either.  

I lucked into a situation where I had skills needed by the various neo-feudal courts, that they needed to buy from outside their own circle.  I now have a number of these entourages who trust me and don't question the fact that I work for their rival feudal Lords as well.  I'm a trusted procurer to a variety of Crowned Heads, and it works very well for me.  Takes a bit of maintenance to keep up the relationships.  People ask me how I deal with the lack of "security," not having a specific Feudal Protector.  Well, I see the hooded headsman who accompanies these entourages, and I note how often the faces change in those groups.  If that's "security," you can keep it.  I myself prefer the "security" of having several dozen clients, rather than just one.

Rich Stoehner's picture

Hitler was cashing in on something bigger

BigFatUglyBubble's picture

If Hitler wasn't a puppet of globalist zio-bankers, he would have went straight to london and turned it to rubble, before ever considering attacking Russia.

The "ascetic man who was married to his people" meme was not accurate to reality.  He was a fancy pants type of guy who had billions in hoarded fine art. 

The purpose of Hitler was to make sure the highly motivated and intelligent Germans blew their nationalist load into something that would ultimately restrain them.  And of course, war is a racket.

Sandmann's picture

He was Anglophile so hardly likely

BigFatUglyBubble's picture

So what's the excuse for not invading Italy then?  Also an Italiano-phile?  I have a bunch of possible reasons that fit in with the above narrative.

pluto the dog's picture

there was never any intention to invade Britain nor did the Germans have the means - Grmanys tiny navy wasnt capeable. In any case Britain and France started the war - not Germany

BigFatUglyBubble's picture

The supposed arch enemy of Jewish bankers didn't strategically conduct his actions as such.

adanata's picture

Rockefeller Foundation built a eugenics institute in Berlin. Connect the dots.

Sandmann's picture

Magna Carta 1215, Edict of Expulsion 1290

michigan independant's picture

Clauses 10 and 11, attempt to limit the amount of money payable in interest on debts to the Jews. In an increasingly commercialized economy, the flow of credit was essential to prosperity. Yet the Church forbade Christians to lend money to one another at interest (‘usury’). This in turn derived from the laws of the Old Testament, which forbade Jews to charge for lending money to fellow Jews. Inter-faith loans, on the other hand, were exempted from such restrictions. As a result, money-lending became a significant Jewish enterprise, and the Jews themselves were positively encouraged to act as bankers, not least as a means of bringing further profit to the crown. In the summer of 1215, not only did Magna Carta attempt to put an end to such trade, but there was a deliberate pogrom against the Jewish population of rebel-held London. - See more at:

adanata's picture

The "people" didn't have any money. The Magna Carta was designed by the Nobles/aristocrats who were sick of paying the king's debts... To the bankers. The bankers held the purse and were more powerful than the king. They let the king have the public "glory" while they stayed in the shadows pulling the strings. We will have to drag them into the light if we are to end their reign of endless destruction.

LawsofPhysics's picture


Stupid is as Stupid does...

"Full Faith and Credit"

CPL's picture

Well, the fact is they've bred all the fight out of all of them.  They took all the ones with the ability and spirit to fight by dropping them in desserts then left them to rot guarding their herion fields and nearly empty oil wells.  They gave away their sword, shield and spear.  They are weak, they can be killed anytime that is required.  Point of fact is the warrior instinct is not found in any of them and invading their lands, taking their women and children would increadibly easy once the bridge is established.

To over throw the entire regime would only take 14 points on their map, guarded by the weakest of soliders with no experience in warfare.  They are communist bullies, not professional wolf soldiers, I hope the differences are clear on which group would slaughter the other without much effort and minimal causalities.  If you want to resolve this quickly invade the following cities in the following order.  Best opportunity though is hitting them all at once.

- Berlin, Germany

- Los Angeles, USA

- Kano, Niger

- Cairo, Egypt

- Tel Avi, Israel

- Istanbul, Turkey

- Suncity, South Africa

- Vatican City

- Washington DC, USA

- Switzerland, CERN installation...just get rid of it.

- Khyber pass, Afganistan...drop a suitcase nuke in the base they think they have hidden in the mountains with their '7 dreamers'.  Then gas everything for good measure.


- Chicago, USA

- London, UK

Leave no one alive to tell the tale and burn the cities to the ground.  Gas all the underground bunkers with the Ricin stockpile that's been made for hte occassion.  Small 20 KT warheads should clear out the rats nests and bury most in rubble to be forgotten forever.  To ensure they are also blind and deaf.  Shoot their satelites down.  All of them.  Good opportunity for cadets to get some target practice in.  Delete all references of those cities and all players off the archives as well.

Sweep them under the rug, poetic justice I think is required while they watch through the lens to see their own end.

WernerHeisenberg's picture

You left off Basel and Brussels

merchantratereview's picture

+ Paris, Beijing, Moscow, Frankfurt

Pickleton's picture

Or perhaps, you're just a buffoon looking for a scapegoat since the vast majority of the people in the story....and here's the hard part so you have to REALLY pay special attenton..... THEY AREN'T FUCKING JEWS, YOU IDIOT!


DomoJojo's picture

And "they" are not only named specifically in this video list, but accompanied with photos, job titles, a little background.

malek's picture

"Still recycling the same old lame shit"

So you're saying truth becomes shit if repeated too often?


sgt_doom's picture

Real World Economics

Glass House --- by Brian Alexander

Janesville --- by Amy Goldstein

Chain of Title --- by David Dayen

Sold Out --- by Michelle Malkin and John Miano

Outsourcing America --- by Ron Hira

Retirement Heist --- by Ellen Schultz

Treasure Islands --- by Nicholas Shaxson

The Case for the Corporate Death Penalty --- by Mary Kreiner Ramizer

The Buyout of America --- by Josh Kosman

A Dream Foreclosed --- by Laura Gottesdiener

Take This Job and Ship It --- by Byron L. Dorgan

A. Boaty's picture

"...Many have a long list of fines and settlements, and many of the fines are in excess of $100 million...."

Just a cost of doing business. The company pays the fines, not the people responsible. Share holders and taxpayers pick up the tab.

Trogdor's picture

And the reason nobody goes to jail is that the bureacrats loooooove their cut of the criminal proceeds.  Just goes to show that when it comes to "crime" and "laws" if you have enough money to grease a few palms of those in charge of "enforcement" - you walk away unmolested to continue as before ....

NoDebt's picture

Agreed with Charles on what's happening.  Disagree it signals imminent collapse.  You're heard me say this probably a hundred times on ZH:

"Small number of rich, large number of poor and just enough middle class to service the rich.  As it has been in most societies throughout most of human history.  What's going on now is a gigantic reversion to the mean.  The 20th century was the anomaly, not the norm."

That's because that IS the most stable state for human society.  It's the point of lowest entropy although you might not think it is if you grew up during the "great anomaly" called the 20th century.

I'm sorry.  If you think things are going to get better, they aren't.  They're going to get worse for most people.


Philo Beddoe's picture

You mean the days of working until you are 50 and collecting a pension for the next 30 years were an anomaly? 

You might be onto something. 

NoDebt's picture

Yeah, that shit's coming to an end real quick.  If I was a pensioner in my 50s and that fat monthly check was promised to me for the rest of my life by somebody who didn't own a printing press, I'd be fucking terrified.


Philo Beddoe's picture

My Dad and his buddies are in their 70's and God Damn anyone who tells them they are lucky. They earned it FFS. The rest of us are good for nothing bitchers. 

HominyTwin's picture

Ditto with my dad. He matches my salary thanks to a pension and social security. Except he doesn't have any kids anymore.

MD's picture

Same. My folks even sport a bumper sticker that says they earned their Social Security, "no cuts!" Even though they've already collected all that they paid in during their lives.

Plus, they think the idea of single payer healthcare is horrible, evil socialism. Meanwhile, Medicare picks up the tab for their ridiculously expensive medications. The hypocrisy of the situation never dawns on them.

CJgipper's picture

Hey, I have a great idea for single payer healthcare.  You pay yours, and I'll pay mine.

MD's picture

No senior citizen would vote for "you pay yours, I pay mine" when they realize the extraordinary cost of end-of-life care. I just wish the seniors would stop being so greedy, and extend Medicare to the entire population, not just the elderly.

divingengineer's picture

I just got a letter from the Carpenters Union, 17% cut to my pension annuity from when I was a carpenter. I can't even collect the benefit until 2035 and they're already giving me a 17% haircut. 

sessinpo's picture

Should have joined the barber's union.   joke/

Sandmann's picture

The 20th century was the anomaly, not the norm.

You mean the second-half of 20th Century - the first half was grim in much of Europe and Japan.

NoDebt's picture

Sorry, I'm your typical "ugly American" and I only look at things from the American perspective.  I also drink too much, talk too loud and think it's OK for me to shoot off my mouth at any time I like, in any situation.  

In other words, I was PURPOSE BUILT for the internet.



Savvy's picture

You aren't sorry at all LOL!!

BigFatUglyBubble's picture

Americans are not mentally (or spiritually, if that's your thing) prepared for the poverty and belt-tightening that is coming.  Will they go homocidal, riot, form organized gangs of street pirates, or maybe just curl up in a ball and wait to die?

NoDebt's picture

I suspect most will curl up in a ball and die.  The rest will protest the wrong thing and blame the people they see around them instead of the ones actually causing the problems.


Teja's picture

The rest will protest the wrong thing and blame the people they see around them instead of the ones actually causing the problems.

This might be even more true than you think. Most people blame immigrants, some the Jews, some the bankers and rich elites. All bullshit - remove one of those groups from the equation, and nothing changes, long term. There will be new elites immediately, and the immigrants are not that many that they have much economic or other influence on things.

No, the ones causing the problem are we, ourselves, our greed to buy as cheaply as possible, to drive our SUV to the supermarket, to fly around the world, to be entertained, to have it easy, to pay our debts later. That we will do, and with quite some interest on them!

Mena Arkansas's picture

I propose we test your hypothesis.

We can narrow the blame to rich, elite jew bankers.

Let's kill them first and see if anything changes long-term.

It's worth a try. It's not like we would be losing anything of value.

Trogdor's picture

Sorry - I disagree.  *I* didn't create the parasitic banking system - nor did anyone I know.  *I* didn't create a system of indoctrination called "school" and make it mandatory to attend - where I was never taught anything about how finance worked while at the same time barraging me non-stop with propaganda designed to get me into debt (it didn't work very well) - virtually ensuring debt slavery from the day you're born.  *I* don't write the laws or create a system where the uber-wealthy can rape millions of people of their wealth and future and walk away laughing.  The elites ENGINEERED this system - it's BY them and FOR them.  The sheep didn't have a chance, and they made goddamn sure of that.

Fuck the self-described "elites" and the Zionist banker pieces of shit they work for.  I agree with others who say, "Let's take them out of the equation ... permanently ... and see what changes." 

divingengineer's picture

I grew up poor after my mother got divorced. 

I'm sure I'll turn something up. 

Consuelo's picture



'Yes' to all.   And with this hot weather yesterday and today (Bay Area), you get a taste - or, foreshadowing of what it might be like.   For some strange reason, hot weather in large metropolitan areas is like alcohol to a dried out drunk.

SubjectivObject's picture

They've preped the proles for accepting this with all the zombie themed muddia time produced these past few years

Savvy's picture

"Small number of rich, large number of poor and just enough middle class to service the poor"


Fixed that for ya.