Beware The Collapsing Social Contract

Authored by Gaius Publius via Down With Tyranny blog,

"[T]he super-rich are absconding with our wealth, and the plague of inequality continues to grow. An analysis of 2016 data found that the poorest five deciles of the world population own about $410 billion in total wealth. As of June 8, 2017, the world's richest five men owned over $400 billion in wealth. Thus, on average, each man owns nearly as much as 750 million people."
     —Paul Buchheit, Alternet


"Congressman Steve Scalise, Three Others Shot at Alexandria, Virginia, Baseball Field"
     —NBC News, June 14, 2017


"4 killed, including gunman, in shooting at UPS facility in San Francisco"
     —ABC7News, June 14, 2017


"Seriously? Another multiple shooting? So many guns. So many nut-bars. So many angry nut-bars with guns."
     —MarianneW via Twitter


"We live in a world where "multiple dead" in San Francisco shooting can't cut through the news of another shooting in the same day."
     —SamT via Twitter


"If the rich are determined to extract the last drop of blood, expect the victims to put up a fuss. And don't expect that fuss to be pretty. I'm not arguing for social war; I'm arguing for justice and peace."
     —Yours truly

When the social contract breaks from above, it breaks from below as well.

Until elites stand down and stop the brutal squeeze, expect more after painful more of this. It's what happens when societies come apart. Unless elites (of both parties) stop the push for "profit before people," policies that dominate the whole of the Neoliberal Era, there are only two outcomes for a nation on this track, each worse than the other. There are only two directions for an increasingly chaotic state to go, chaotic collapse or sufficiently militarized "order" to entirely suppress it.

As with the climate, I'm concerned about the short term for sure - the storm that kills this year, the hurricane that kills the next - but I'm also concerned about the longer term as well. If the beatings from "our betters" won't stop until our acceptance of their "serve the rich" policies improves, the beatings will never stop, and both sides will take up the cudgel.

Then where will we be?

America's Most Abundant Manufactured Product May Be Pain

I look out the window and see more and more homeless people, noticeably more than last year and the year before. And they're noticeably scruffier, less "kemp,"? if that makes sense to you (it does if you live, as I do, in a community that includes a number of them as neighbors).

The squeeze hasn't let up, and those getting squeezed out of society have nowhere to drain to but down — physically, economically, emotionally. The Case-Deaton study speaks volumes to this point. The less fortunate economically are already dying of drugs and despair. If people are killing themselves in increasing numbers, isn't it just remotely maybe possible they'll also aim their anger out as well?

The pot isn't boiling yet — these shootings are random, individualized — but they seem to be piling on top of each other. A hard-boiling, over-flowing pot may not be far behind. That's concerning as well, much moreso than even the random horrid events we recoil at today.

Many More Ways Than One to Be a Denier

My comparison above to the climate problem was deliberate. It's not just the occasional storms we see that matter. It's also that, seen over time, those storms are increasing, marking a trend that matters even more. As with climate, the whole can indeed be greater than its parts. There's more than one way to be a denier of change.

These are not just metaphors. The country is already in a pre-revolutionary state; that's one huge reason people chose Trump over Clinton, and would have chosen Sanders over Trump.

The Big Squeeze has to stop, or this will be just the beginning of a long and painful path. We're on a track that nations we have watched - tightly "ordered" states, highly chaotic ones - have trod already. While we look at them in pity, their example stares back at us.

Mes petits sous, mon petit cri de coeur.


stacking12321 Alt RightGirl Fri, 06/16/2017 - 20:55 Permalink

the author lost me at "social contract"social contract is not not a contract.a contract consists of a voluntary agreement between two or more parties.i didn't sign any such agreement.the term "social contract" is used by those in power to encourage the sheeple to follow the laws made and crafted by the elites, to suggest that the laws that are made and dominate public life, are the will of the people.which is, of course, bullshit.

In reply to by Alt RightGirl

Stuck on Zero espirit Fri, 06/16/2017 - 23:54 Permalink

We're headed to 3rd World status.  In much of Central and South America the rich cannot show their faces without being kidnapped and held for ransom. The rich in Mexico travel in heavily armed caravans in armored vehicles. That will be happening here in the US someday at the current rate. It's very reminiscint of the days of Robin Hood when the Sheriff of Natingham used to travel with an armed escort.

In reply to by espirit

MEFOBILLS Stuck on Zero Sat, 06/17/2017 - 01:44 Permalink

The rich in Mexico travel in heavily armed caravans in armored vehicles.  The U.S. is not Mexico.  There are way more smart people in the U.S.  Smart people will find creative ways that would never happen in Mexico.  Armed Caravan, meet armour penetrating rounds made at home by an inventor, or IED's etc.  A Mexican friend explained to me why Mexican's are so passive, and take shit from their Oligarchial overlords.  1) Amerindian Peasant is passive by nature.  2) Mexican's are Mestizo's now, which means high fraction Amerindian  3) The Mexican revolution was brutal to the point that whole Indian communities were being starved out.  The only thing that stopped the Spanish boot, was Catholic Church.Those that lived through the revolution, are those that could survive on beans and corn, or already had layers of fat.  Survivors passed on their genes.American's have a large streak of Fuck-You mentality that Mexicans lack.

In reply to by Stuck on Zero

Lurk Skywatcher MEFOBILLS Sat, 06/17/2017 - 04:13 Permalink

"...or already had layers of fat."American's will survive anything. Except cancer, diabetes, opiates, and propaganda induced retardation.Forward! Forward over the cliff!What is left will not be "American" as the term currently stands, and you of all people should know that historic attributes never survive through future sublimation.

In reply to by MEFOBILLS

shovelhead MEFOBILLS Sat, 06/17/2017 - 08:33 Permalink

"Amerindian is passive by nature."Lol.Where do you get this shit from? Ask Mr. Custer about how 'laid back' those Indians can be.They used to have amusing little soirees where they would capture a rival tribe member, blind him and turn the women loose to chase him around while they peeled his flesh off in pinch sized pieces. It would take days to die from blood loss. Other creative punishments were far worse.Those are your Howard Zinnified Nobel Savages.

In reply to by MEFOBILLS

The Grim Teacher stacking12321 Sat, 06/17/2017 - 05:06 Permalink

The idea of a "social contract" is a fictitous construct to obtain your consent to be governed where no consent has been explicitly given. Consent is also tacitly given in a myriad of other ways;

  • Using legal tender currency?  thats consent.
  • Got a driving license? consent.
  • Voted lately or ever?  more consent.
  • Paying taxes?  consent.

By participating in any of the above or related activities as well as many more, you're agreeing to participate in a system in which the rules are not made by you, but made by somebody else, and notice how its always people approaching the system for services, filling in application forms etc. etc. all of these actions represent consent, as we undertake to do these things voluntarily (except the taxes, thats just theft at the point of a gun). When we understand how our consent is given, only then can we withdraw it.  Understanding consent and personal responsibility for ones life and ones actions are keys to being truly free. Today we're little more than infant slaves, living in a plague of moral confusion which is compounded by propaganda being spewed out by a system that views us as resources to be exploited.  

In reply to by stacking12321

Liberty2012 stacking12321 Sat, 06/17/2017 - 14:58 Permalink

Not exactly.

The most fundamental social contract is that we agree not to kill each other on sight. It builds from there. If you disagree, with that fundamental basis - and would rather kill on sight - then you have broken the agreement and must be removed from society.

The question is what should be included in that social contract.

Our founders decided to include freedom of speech, etc. Some now want to expand it to restrict all individual thought, action, conscience, and identity - to collapse all choice into the collective.

In reply to by stacking12321

LetThemEatRand Fri, 06/16/2017 - 20:48 Permalink

I think this author makes many excellent points, but I also think he misses one of the most important points which is that the .01% want chaos.  None of the oligarchs he mentions were ever in danger at the softball field.  Their paid politicians were there.   They are just as much pawns as the rest of us, even if they see themselves otherwise.Chaos leads to moar police state, moar war, moar printed money, and most importantly moar power for the oligarchs.  

nmewn LetThemEatRand Fri, 06/16/2017 - 21:04 Permalink

So, if I'm getting your drift, it wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility to get really mundane things passed, like a real border and a repeal of the Patriot Act and the re-implementation of Glass-Steagall that fire walls off Wall Street commercial banks from mom-n-pops life savings with a real life acknowledgement that what is theirs is theirs, not some collective thingy to be screwed around with.Yeah, well, you talk about it to your side and I'll talk about it to mine ;-)

In reply to by LetThemEatRand

LetThemEatRand nmewn Fri, 06/16/2017 - 21:12 Permalink

Presumably as you did, I voted for Trump because I thought he may be an outsider.  Someone who may actually challenge the status quo, a concept he or his people brilliantly summarized as "draining the swamp."  It's not that I won't celebrate any small victories, but it seems pretty obvious already that we're arranging deck chairs again.  I'll be the first to say my cynicism is wrong if I see any real change occur under his leadership.

In reply to by nmewn

nmewn LetThemEatRand Fri, 06/16/2017 - 21:22 Permalink

I presumed nothing.It was more of a commentary of I don't think I can personally trust anyone who thought voting for someone who launched their political career from the couch of Bill Ayers was a good idea or who thought unicorn skittles like ObamaCare was rational even after having it explained to them countless times how it would not and could not work...even while being called a sociopath for saying it.No matter what some MIT economics professor said to a Harvard constitutional law professor ;-)

In reply to by LetThemEatRand