Following on – B for Billionaires

this 1000 word post constitutes section 6 [B] of 7 for the Pamphlet 21st Century Tract.

Paul, an apostle of Christianity, wrote that the love of money was the root of all {kinds of} evil. Jesus Christ stated a stark option for humanity: either God the Creator, or else the god Materialism worshipped by this world. You either worship One or the other; to worship both is impossible.

Powerful people whose god is evidently the Wealth of this material existence are now numbered in their thousands.  The 35th annual Forbes list published in 2021 records 2,755  $Billionaires with a total net worth of $13.1 TRILLION. The 34th list published in 2020 identified 2,095 billionaires with a total net worth of $8 TRILLION.

Those figures indicate a 31.5 % increase in the number of Billionaires, and a staggering 63.75% increase in the total wealth held by them. This coincides with the extreme measures taken by governments to supposedly curb the spread of Covid 19. But those very measures have seriously increased unemployment and poverty across the world.

Edmund Burke critised the phenomenon of men who made fabulous wealth by dubious means back in the 18th century. At that time, men were returning to England having made fortunes in countries which were treated as European colonies. These newly rich were known as “nabobs”.

Phenomenal fortunes were made during the 19th century as a result of colonial expansion. Of particular note is the wealth accumulated by certain Americans as they profited from the westward expansion of the United States, feeding off the legalised theft of native American lands. The civil war of the 1860s gave particular boost to men whose love of money exceeded every other consideration. Note this from Historynet:

…… the merchants and manufacturers who supplied the government with such cloth became suddenly and fantastically rich in the course of their scramble for contracts alongside others of their kind, the purveyors of tainted beef and weevily grain, the sellers of cardboard haversacks and leaky tents,” wrote Shelby Foote in his three-volume history of the Civil War. That was bad for the soldiers but good for a whole new class of nouveau riche millionaires. In 1843 there were only 20 millionaires in the entire United States. By 1863, New York City alone had more than a hundred.

The close connection between war and wealth was again manifest in the 20th century with the phenomenal economic opportunities brought by two World Wars – both during the conflicts and in the post war reconstruction period. War in the 1940s enabled the US economy to get beyond the difficult times of the 1930s. The economic boost from the supply of arms was not lost on either Big Business or US politicians. Today, United States government spending accounts for 39% of all annual global military expenditure, according to a Stockholm research institute.

The United States is known as the world’s foremost capitalist economy. That economy and the men who have grown rich off that activity, profited from colonial exploitation in their homeland and then from war abroad. But such fantastic wealth in the hands of a few is not only derived from legalised theft and from the destruction of lives and limbs. It also results from the massive corruption of perception by Advertising.

The 2020s mark the centenary of Edward Bernays and his twisted techniques to increase sales. Bernays deliberately advocated the abuse of psychology by linking a product with an unassociated image in order to create a positive desire in the mind of the viewer or listener. The purpose ? Simply to increase sales …

Since then, advertising has become ubiquitous. It is a multi billion dollar industry which adds nothing of true value. It is immoral beyond belief. It is a blatant and brazen breaking of the 9th of the Ten Commandments, thou shalt not bear false witness; and it deliberately incites people to break the 10th commandment, thou shalt not covet.

Bernays thinking and its subsequent exploitaton are prima facie evidence that capitalism rapidly degenerates into utter evil without a firm and emphatic Christian moral framework and control. The evidence was available within 10 years. Hitler’s propaganda minister Goebbels exploited Bernays thinking

Today, democratic politicians routinely use Bernays thinking to promote themselves and their cause. Democratic Governments have used his techniques during their public health campaigns against Covid 19.

Having rejected God and God’s moral standards, men in Big Business and in Big Government usurp the role of God in our lives. They usurp the right to dictate our morals; and they do so, not for our welfare [whatever they may claim],  but to promote their agenda for their personal or corporate purposes.

The consequences for our world today are incalculable. There is a breakdown of trust between political elites and the governed in western democracies. There is increasing tension between nations and power blocs as each seeks its own ends, regardless of the truth and common welfare of humanity. The emergent power of China in the 21st century has learnt a thoroughly cynical view of what they conceive as the ‘Christian’ West. Those ‘Christian’ nations exploited China quite atrociously in the 19th century, and continue in the present century to exploit the weak in the world. Yet those same western States now presume to tell China what to do within her own borders, demanding that western human rights be respected in mainland China and in Hong Kong. They hypocritically demand western style democracy for Hong Kong – yet in 150 years of colonial government, Britain never gave Hong Kong the democracy she practised in Britain during the century before restoring that colony to China.

China has learned from the Western powers how to do successful business. She is emerging as the principal player on the world stage during the course of this 21st century. She was long weak and subject to powers which exploited her lands in the same cynical way in which they exploited all third world countries. Today, China extends her influence around the globe via banking, trade, and construction projects designed to make colonies of now independent nation states.

As ever, Wealth and Power go together.