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The Elites Have Destroyed the Status Quo’s Ability to Self-Correct

by Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds:

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.”

Read More @ OfTwoMinds.com

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