Guest Post: We Are Not Powerless: Resisting Financial Feudalism

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

We Are Not Powerless: Resisting Financial Feudalism

It's comforting to think "I can't do anything to resist the Central State and its financial Plutocracy," but it's not true. There are many of acts of resistance you can pursue in your daily life; here are 12 perfectly legal ones.

That we are powerless is one of the key social control myths constantly promoted by the Status Quo. What better way to keep the serfs passive than to reinforce a belief in their powerlessness against the expansive Central State and its financial feudalism?

But we are not powerless. Our complicity gives the aristocracy its power. Remove our complicity and the aristocracy falls.

The pathway of dissent is to resist financial feudalism and its enforcer, the expansive Central State. Here are twelve paths of resistance any adult can legally pursue in the course of their daily lives:

1. Support the decentralized, non-market economy. The core ideology of consumerism and financialization is that non-market assets and experiences have no status or financial value. This includes social capital, meals with friends, projects done cooperatively with friends, home gardens and thousands of other decentralized activities that cannot be financialized into centralized market transactions. Identity and social status are established in the non-market economy by collaboration, sharing, conviviality and generosity. Decentralized generally means localized; farmers markets are examples of local market economies where the transactions are in cash (so banks can’t skim transactions fees) and the money stays in the local economy rather than flowing to some distant concentration of capital.

If you start valuing non-market assets and experiences as the most important markers of high status, you are resisting both financialization and consumerism.

Top-down centralized “solutions” imposed by the Central State are the problem, not the solution, as they further the concentration of wealth and power into unstable monocultures. Stop looking to overly complex “reforms” and centralized solutions to unsustainable systems and start exploring decentralized, localized solutions that bypass both the Central State and its financial aristocracy.

2. Stop participating in financialization. Financialization is the insidious imperative of the financial aristocracy that seeks to turn every interaction into a financial transaction that can be charged a fee and all assets into financialized instruments that can be sold for immensely profitable transaction fees.

As the finances of local governments implode under the weight of their protected fiefdoms, many are heeding the siren song of financialization as a temporary (and inevitably disastrous) “fix” to their structural insolvency. For example, the revenue stream from parking meters is financialized into an asset that is sold to a private corporation. When parking fees double, the residents of the city have no recourse via democracy or petition, as the meters in their city are now “owned” by a distant concentration of capital that can double late fees, charge outrageous transaction costs, etc., at will.

This is how financialization inevitably transitions into financial tyranny.

The erosion of America’s middle class financial security has several structural causes, but chief among them was the financialization of the housing market. This led to a bubble of credit and housing valuations and the widespread extraction of equity for consumption—the classic “windfall” that financialization always produces in its first toxic blush. Mortgage debt doubled from $5 trillion to $10 trillion in the bubble, and now America’s indentured homeowners “own” negative equity of $4 trillion. That is, the difference between the market value of the homes they ostensibly “own” and the mortgages they took on to buy the homes is negative $4 trillion.

3. Redefine self-interest to exclude debt-servitude and dependence on consumerism and the Central State. Unless you are long retired and have no other option, minimize reliance on the State. Reliance on the State weakens the correlation between sustained effort and gain, so the work ethic and entrepreneurism both atrophy as they no longer offer competitive advantages in a system where bread and circuses are guaranteed by the State.

4. Act on your awareness that the nature of prosperity and financial security is changing. Dependence on centralized concentrations of power (Wall Street and the Central State) is now an extremely risky wager that what is demonstrably unsustainable will magically become sustainable at some distant point in time via pixie dust or the intervention of aliens from Alpha Centuri. Security flows from resilience, self-reliance, decentralized, diversified sources of income and abundant social capital.

5. Stop supporting distant concentrations of capital that subvert democracy by using their gargantuan profits to buy the machinery of State governance and regulation. For example, stop watching broadcast programming owned by the six global media corporations that control the vast majority of the media/marketing complex.

Stop eroding your health and sending your money to corporate headquarters for distribution to the financial aristocracy—stop frequenting corporate fast-food restaurants and stop buying unhealthy packaged foods from corporate agribusiness.

Close your accounts with Wall Street investment firms and the five “too big to fail” banks that dominate the mortgage, credit and debt markets in the U.S. If you need such an account to transact your business, then maintain low balances so the banks cannot “sweep” your capital for their own use every day.

6. Stop supporting the debt-and-leverage based financial aristocracy. Liquidate all debt as soon as possible, take on no new debt except for short periods of time, explore localized or “crowd-sourced” private-capital loans that exclude the banks and limit the number of financial transactions that enrich the banks and Wall Street.

7. Transfer your assets out of Wall Street and into local enterprises or assets that do not enrich and empower Wall Street.

8. Refuse to participate in consumerist status identifiers and the social defeat they create. Stop admiring and respecting those displaying status signifiers; start thinking of them as pathetic prisoners of a pathological mindset. Stop judging people as “lower value” based on their lack of status signifiers. Free your own mind from the toxic sociopathology of consumerism and social defeat. Stop watching commercial television and minimize your exposure to marketing and consumerist propaganda.

9. Vote in every election with an eye on rewarding honesty and truth and punishing empty promises. Unless the incumbent has renounced corporate contributions, unsustainable debt, financial tyranny and Central State encroachment of civil liberties, then vote against the incumbent, for they are just another lackey of the State-plutocracy partnership. Avoid voting for either the Demopublican or Republicrat branches of the plutocracy; vote for an independent or third party candidate.

Remember that resistance isn’t just about refusing to participate in pathological plutocracy; it’s about establishing a sustainable alternative to the unsustainable State-plutocracy partnership. When people say that voting for a third-party candidate is “wasting your vote,” reply that voting for either of the plutocrat parties is the real waste of a vote because their “leadership” is dooming the nation to destabilization and insolvency. As independents pick up more and more “wasted” votes, they shift from being “marginalized” to becoming powerful voices of honesty and transparency.

10. Stop supporting inflationary policies such as “money creation” by the Federal Reserve and Federal deficit borrowing. Act on your knowledge that inflation is theft and that the Federal Reserve is a private consortium of banks that is the enabler and protector of the parasitic financial aristocracy.

11. Become healthy, active and fit. Refuse to consume unhealthy junk and packaged food, refuse to squander much of your time in sedentary “consumption” of corporate entertainment and digital distraction, and devote your energy and time to mastery, new skills, developing social capital and friendships, projects you “own” and enterprises that benefit your true self-interest. Refuse to follow the marketing/media siren song into chronic ill-health, addiction and social defeat.

12. Embrace self-directed coherent plans and construct a resilient, diverse ecology of identity and meaning. Build a social ecology of positive, active, collaborative, non-pathological people of like minds and spirits. Be powerful via resistance, not powerless via complicity.

It’s easy to confuse faith and political ideology. We resist changing our understanding, as we experience this transition as instability and insecurity. But changing our minds does not require changing our faith; rather, the firmness of our faith—in our Creator, in truth, in prayer, in our ability to help others and prevail—is the bedrock that gives us the discipline and resolve to confront the brutal and unwelcome facts of our circumstances and make coherent plans accordingly.

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F. Bastiat's picture

More generally, stick with God, guns, and gold. Those are three proven antidotes to tyranny.

idea_hamster's picture

"We are not powerless"

Smile for the drone camera.

Pladizow's picture

Fuck all that, concentrate your focus and buy physical gold and silver!

Aziz's picture

Or any of CHS's other suggestions. They're all good.

MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

What's wrong with consumerism? Kids are having the time of their lives in modern America with the latest entertainment like iPhones, Lady Gaga, Call of Duty, Captain America and other fun things. This is part of the soul of the younger hip generation, and lame, uptight rednecks and off-the-gridder survivalists need to understand and accept this.

Careless Whisper's picture

Where's the part about the guillotine?

Aziz's picture

It's nice to see MDB doing an original (-ish) one.

Bastiat's picture

He forgot to mention the ADHD, Ritilin, obesity and diabetes.

rayduh4life's picture

What the hell up with that Ritilin chyte?  Parents and schools drugging up their kids.  FN nuts!

Meatballs's picture

It's all part of the plan. Want to talk about what's wrong with education and the routine drugging of our children? Start here-

If you have a brain you will be mesmerized...and the picture will become clear.

Likstane's picture

Like Freddie says, "Turn off your TeeVee"

hack3434's picture

Nothing wrong with digital consumerism as long as one can pirate it. Now, if could only get my 3d printer to print iToys...

azzhatter's picture

Take a look at the culture around you Million Dollar Boner. Avoid facebook, Igadgets and get out and smell the roses. There is a whole lot of life enriching free stuff to do. Maybe even try to have a conversation with somebody. Read a good book, they are free at the local library.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Long-term consumerism is self-starvation - the lack of production, the over-use of savings/credit. In modern realit that's credit/credit.

That's suicide for an economy.

Pay for what you enjoy using cash/silver/gold, not credit, and there should be no problem.

Dixie Rect's picture

The Mondoshawans never fully trusted the human race.

The Big Ching-aso's picture



Some of us aren't impotent.     Just de-nutted.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

13. Stop paying income taxes. Until we cut off the chains of income tax slavery, we will NEVER be free.

Naturally, escaped slaves are dealt with rather harshly.

Cui Bono's picture

If you want to get out of there you are going to have to learn to communicate

shit... that was for Augie and Aziz

F. Bastiat's picture

Well, theoretically at least, the drones should be fairly easy to spot with a bit of image capture and processing.

blunderdog's picture

Kneel before your God and declare your desire to shoot someone.  Brilliant.

InconvenientCounterParty's picture

Actually, it's more like:

Deep down I know God is a marginally useful myth. I compensate for this dissonance by personally acquiring the God-like power to efficiently kill and by garnering as much fear as I can amongst the living. In so doing, I will reveal the beauty of religion and by association, foster the myth of my own merit. 


earleflorida's picture

every man lives in his own temple, and in his temple he is the soul`master of his being and thoughts; his brothers keeper, have no such bearing within this creative template fortified by ones own mythological fortress, other than denying unity; for all,... it would seem only to worship immortality's vanities -  the vestigial of inane indulgences knelling before thy very god, oneself; that hallows out echoed contrition's, and words that find solace only in the obscure presence of mythical deities such as oneself; whilst the naivete`pray in universal unity to another than themselves, knowing that their separatist temples are gathered up by the faithful unheard wings of windsong, the  inexorable breath of the only god; something, so much greater and more humbling than thou, but one, reminiscent the 'music-of-the-spheres'; for legend, myth, or dogmatic solipsism that inquisitive conceptual 'i am, therefore i am',... "that  begins with certainties, shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in *[francis bacon /sic/ 1605] certainties"        

Dan The Man's picture

umm...that first one is kinda tyranny.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

It might be seen that way if you believe that government is not an extension of the people's will, but rather a separate abusive entity. Our naval gazing self centered negligence has enabled this situation to fester to the point where this is precisely what we have. A seperate entity no longer beholden to "We the People".......if it ever really was to begin with. At least in the past it was more responsive to "We the People" when we were angry.

It is not someone else's responsibility to "fix" this problem. It is mine and yours. What are we, each and every one of us, going to do about it?

CH1's picture

What are we, each and every one of us, going to do about it?

My plan: Ditch the inherently corrupt system and build better lives without it.

The list above is a nice start, but the important thing is to ACT, not just talk.

Think for yourself's picture

Indeed. All the difference in the world lies between talking the talk and walking the walk.

I've personally completed 1 to 11, although I could probably boost my self-sufficiency more (for instance, I do not have my own garden yet, but aside from olives, capers, french mustard and a few other imported foodstuff, all of my food is either produced in the country I reside in, or even better, comes from the local farmer's market.

I went much farther on the point about voting, as I believe that doing so gives the appearance of legitimacy to an inherently corrupt process, hence I stopped participating in that entire theater. If participation rates dropped below 20-30% it would become obvious that none of the candidates could possibly have the consent of the governed.

As a nomad expat in central america, #12 is a bit hard, but it still looks 10 times better than it did when I was hanging around geek/gamer circles back home.

One thing that I can say about the process is that it is easier than you believe once you have taken the first step. As soon as you start seeing results, it also becomes both addictive and rewarding!

I have to admit that after my last pair of shoes ran out, I used my laziness as an excuse to walk around barefoot. As shoes are probably the main status symbol among teens and young adults, I was constantly countering lots of inquisitive "Where are your shoes?" with "I am wearing the best brand of shoes ever made". I could nearly see the gears turning in the head of little kids when I answered that, as they see gringos as the go-to fashion and lifestyle reference. I enjoyed feeling the bare earth and the grass beneath my feet, but messing with their heads was icing on the cake ;)

thebigmozey's picture

Where abouts in CA are you - traveled there for 17 months - ended about 4 months ago. 

Great move to relocate - some great places in CA.

If you'd like to communicate, feel free to email me at

Would be interested to hear what you are doing and what country you are doing it in.

Adios, amigo.

John D. Wilson

krispkritter's picture

Are you talking about Iran? "Our naval gazing self centered negligence..." ;)

I believe Gov't was once an extension of the people's will but those days are long gone. Gov't has, like a virus, become something which seeks the destruction of the host, knowing that this in turn may bring about it's own demise.There is no 'will of the people' but only what Gov't 'wills the people to do', usually at the point of a gun. I can't see the overthrow of this system, it's going to come down on it's own. It's time to exit, stage right. I'd rather walk back into a burned out building with the thought of rebuilding than sit in it while it burns, hoping I survive.


besodemuerte's picture

I'm with ya on Gold and Guns brother, not so much the God thing.  Good luck with that.

CvlDobd's picture


Many world problems can be attributed to religion. Besides, the man in the sky idea ranks with Santy Clause.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



I understand how you feel.  However, many more world problems can be attributed to human nature.  You still believe in human nature, right?

Others have felt the same way as you, but what they found when they actually read scripture (for example) is that God is not who they thought He is. 

Incidentally, this was the central problem for the Jews when Jesus came.  They were/are expecting a strong military king as the Messiah, someone like King David, to come kick out the Romans, and restore Jerusalem and the Temple.  Jesus did not fit with their human expectations.  By the way, they are still waiting.

GeezerGeek's picture

I prefer to attribute all the world's problems, except for those that can be traced to natural forces (hurricanes, cyclones, earthquakes, etc.), to human nature. Suggesting that "religion" is to blame overlooks the fact that all humans have belief systems and adherence to those systems has consequences. Religions are among those belief systems, but are not the only ones. Some belief systems require acts that are harmful to others, such as ecoterrorists or Islamic fundamentalists. Other belief systems are willfully distorted or totally misunderstood and then used to justify similarly egregious acts - think Spanish Inquisition.

That said, there is at least one worldwide religion whose founders never suggested conquering via violence: Christianity. Unfortunaely, many who professed to follow that religion behaved in most un-Christian ways. They let their human nature overrule their faith.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Anybody who takes an honest look at themselves, and the world, understands that human beings are almost irredeemably awful. We are the only species that hunts and kills ourselves. When animals of the same species come into conflict with each other, they resolve their conflicts in ways that rarely cause permanent harm. Humans, on the other hand, not only slaughter each other, but take pleasure in it-- either active pleasure or vicarious pleasure...

Human beings love to blame almost everything else for their problems, except for themselves. Atheists and so-called "humanists" scoff at the idea of original sin, but what other explanation is there for our horrible behavior compared to the rest of the creatures on earth.

Jesus said it best-- it is not what goes into us (i.e. the outside world) that defiles us, but that which comes out of us. Matthew 15:11-21

viahj's picture

you need to watch more Animal Planet and Discovery.  the animal kingdom does indeed have it's murderers and cannibals spread throughout the species.

r00t61's picture

You need to look up the behavior of chimpanzees, to start.  Chimps routinely engage in complex, coordinated murders of chimps in other tribes.  The killing is not done for food.  It's done to display power, and to mark territory.  To wit, the preferred murder victim is a chimp child that cannot defend itself. 

Ants enslave other ants to work for them.  Ant colonies will engage upon full-scale wars with other colonies in a display of logistics that would make the most veteran Generals jealous.

When a new male lion takes over a pride, he immediately kills all the cubs in the pride that were sired by the previous leader.  This is done so that all the lionesses go into heat, and he can produce offspring from his genetic line.

The wolverine is noted for the apparent pleasure it takes in killing.  Wolverines will routinely kill creatures, but then do nothing with the carcass.  They don't eat it, they don't store it, they don't use it as a trap or a lure.  They simply seem to enjoy killing.  No scientist has yet been able to explain this behavior.

For a truly twisted example, look up "brood parasite."  The Mafia did not begin in Sicily.  It began with birds.

There are countless more examples.  Nature is a VIOLENT, VIOLENT place.  Just because the golf course looks nice and green, just because your postcard of the Rocky Mountains looks "beautiful," just because your dog (which is a just a domesticated wolf species variant) is a wonderful creature, doesn't obviate this fact.  There's literally billions and billions of creatures engaging in violence right away so that they can perpetuate the life-cycles that they've been genetically encoded with.

Should human beings know better?  Sure.  So far as we can tell, and given the way that we define it, humans are the only animal on the planet that is sentient and sapient.  Self-awareness should be enough for us to resolve our differences in a manner that doesn't involve violence.  That hasn't proven to be the case though.  It's sad but true.  C'est la vie.

But spare us the '60s hippie "humans are the only animal that hurt each other" BS.  Animals conduct inter- and intra-species violence upon each other all the time.  Humans, by virtue of their intelligence, have simply taken the practice of that violence to a new level never before seen in the evolutionary history of the planet. 

CvlDobd's picture

I believe in the freedom of human nature. I also believe that by nature humans use that freedom poorly but that's just an opinion.

Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

CvlDobd's picture

I'll also mention that by nature humans are afraid of what they don't understand so therefore cling to religion for answers. Hence the problems.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Most Christians, Jews, and Muslims believe in free will.  This belief appears throughout scripture.  It begins when the creation myth says in Genesis that Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge.   

ForTheWorld's picture

"I'll also mention that by nature humans are afraid of what they don't understand so therefore avoid using religion for answers. Hence the problems".

It can work both ways really.

earleflorida's picture

@ CvlDobd

please kind sir,... graciously and expediently inform me when human's finally figure out the unknown

Cathartes Aura's picture

which scripture? whose god?  there are SO MANY to choose from, yet posts always assume the reader knows WHICH one of the many he is referring to.

to not acknowledge the "man makes god in his image" truth is to miss the whole point of religion. . .


MachoMan's picture

religion carries the same problem noted by CD...  a separate system not beholden to man...  (or at least the goodwill of the many while ensuring the few are not laid to rest).

F. Bastiat's picture

That's a rather dogmatic opinion; don't ya' think?

jus_lite_reading's picture

How many people today have the gall to REALLY do what it takes to shut this corrupt system down? Not many!! Most people still DESIRE the latest gadgets and will do anything to have them and they support this system...

akak's picture

And when was the last time that you heard or saw the concept of privacy publicly defended, or even privately defended for that matter?  It chills me to the bone to see the vast majority of people today not only indifferent to the ongoing erosion of privacy, both at the hands of government as well as those of corporations, but who actively participate in it, and who seem almost eager to give up the last shreds of their privacy (Facebook, cellphone conversations in public, uncovered home windows at night, "black box" monitoring of driving habits in exchange for lower auto insurance rates, ubiquitous use of credit and debit cards instead of cash, etc. etc. etc.). 

Collectively, we are not just being led by the nose into a total-surveillance world that even George Orwell never imagined in his worst nightmares, we are actually and eagerly running toward it.  This world is rapidly becoming a place that I would not want to, and could not, live in, and sometimes in despair I wonder if suicide is not the logical, and only, final option.