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Who Owns the World?
Most states are so indebted today that their politics are determined more by creditors than citizens. Why can't democracies deal with money? Can we be waiting for the world to join our worldview although adapting our worldview to the world would be more visionary. A minority can routinely enforce its will against the rules of the market economy. Elites are those whose sociology no one dares write, Hans-Jurgen Krysmanski explains.
WHO OWNS THE WORLD?
By Wolfgang Schreyer
[This short article published in Ossietsky 9/2013 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.sopos.org/aufsaetze/5175528116536/1.phtml.]
Hans-Jurgen Krysmanski, emeritus sociology professor at the University of Munster, asked this question eight years ago. His book “Hirten und Wolfe” (Shepherds and Wolves) answered this question conclusively corroborating the old proverb “Money rules the world.” In a diagram of a ring model with four concentric circles in the center of the super-wealth, the assets of around two thousand persons or families – dollar billionaires – were never endangered because they are so enormous, broadly scattered and often well-hidden.
What a gold core, legendary and yet real! A fatal though unnoticeable magnetism starts from this,that force that has completely died in our society of board chairmen, politicians, journalists and professors. This is a source of enormous attraction able to informally guide the economy and community of a country through pure fascination.
Nelson Rockefeller is an example. His strength, according to Krysmanski, was “his confidence in his ability to co-opt anyone since he believes implicitly in the Marxist class struggle analysis.” He only stands on the other side...”The Rockefellers are powerful because they could make themselves arbiters of our basic political consensus through skilful use of their wealth.” Truly, a first contact winner a la Julius Caesar – he came, he saw and he conquered.
The author shows Big Money, the gold core of the clan of the billionaires as omnipotent and sovereign. Three rings of experts protectively surround Big Money and secure the rule of money-power, corporate bosses, politicians and technical personnel – highly motivated people from science, the legal system and media enterprise – as service providers, capable and well-paid.
The economic decision-makers form the first ring around the power center. Our elected politicians represent the second. “They make the whole system somewhat stable, increase the prosperity of the super-rich and strive for a minimum in distribution justice despite constant redistribution from bottom to top. This is the most basic task of the political class.”
The author wrote this before Agenda 2010 took effect. With it Red-Green created terrific profits, growth and jobs through wage-freezes – certainly at the expense of competition abroad – and ran into the debt trap. What must be done? Do people rule in our democracy thanks to free elections? Does only the majority determine the course thanks to free elections?
Cordt Schnibben of Spiegel believes this and writes: “Most states are so indebted today that their politics is determined more by creditors than citizens. Helpless he asks: “Why can't democracies deal with money?” Doubts torment him like Frank Schirrmacher from FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung newspaper): “Can we be waiting for the world to join our worldview – although adapting ou9r worldview to the world would be more sustainable?”
Hans-Jurgen Krysmanski could help him. His book recently appeared “0.1 Percent – the Empire of Billionaires.” He begins: “Many things indicate the epoch of capital is ending.” A minority can routinely enforce its will against the rules of the market economy. He demonstrates this with a great focus on hidden connections.
The author, 77, presents his findings conclusively. Right at the outset we read: “Elites are those whose sociology no one dares write.” But he does this, flanked by a few other luminaries! In 46 chapters of the amazing 268-page book, he exposes the confused threads of public opinion and monopoly market power. Bit by bit rule structures are unmasked. The facet-rich book is hardly appreciated. Awakening curiosity is enough for me. On pages 160-163, Krysmanski describes China's perfectly planned economy – always on a successful course, a much cited counterpart to the western model that is also lacking in social justice.
The battles over direction turn out more severe where the people at the top are really rulers and not only important administrators of the real lords and where they are legitimated by the electorate and provided with limited power. This reminds me of a US ambassador who once warned a friendly head of state in the Caribbean: “Government without opposition, your excellence, is a very well-padded car... Certainly, our carefully balanced, political enterprise, perfectly mediated by the media may be entertaining, skilful and elegant. Thanks to separation of powers and relative legal security, this appears to us as the great school of democratic culture promising participation. But Krysmanski's pressing look behind the scenes shows the urgency of more transparency, more controls of the power elites and readiness for reforms including a tax on the rich that effectively breaks the process of permanent redistribution from bottom to top.
Financial corporations like Goldman Sachs reward managers in employment contracts for a change in politics
by Peter Muhlbauer
[This article published 4/20/2013 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.heise.de/tp/blogs/8/print/154139.]
According to the Project on Government Oversight  and Lobby Control , it is not unusual in employment contracts for top managers of financial corporation s that they have clauses pouring out extravagant bonuses when they later move to a government job or a post at an international organization like the World Bank or the WTO. The occasion for the NGO investigations in this area was the disclosure  of a recent payment received by US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew from Citigroup.
For financial corporations, it can be a great advantage to tell its desires to a government or an international organization via good old acquaintances or friends. In addition the NGO Public Citizen  believes such sums will not be paid without expectation of a concrete return favor and announced its intention to bring well-known cases to court. Whether something comes out of this legal petition is open.
The revolving door effect between the economy and politics was very striking [5} in the last years with the scandal bank Goldman Sachs . The current head of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi among others originates from this firm. Althoughdocuments were discovered three years ago showing bonuses paid out for the change in governments whether Draghi profited when he moved in 2006 to the Italian Central Bank is unclear. The former vice-president of Goldman Sachs did not respond to inquirieslike his countryman Mario Monti  who was – or still is – an adviser for the bank.
THREE SOCIAL CLIFFS COME OUT OF A FISCAL CLIFF
Austerity programs are planned for the next months after tax hikes for the very rich in the US. The gap between poor and rich will become larger
by Daniel Stern
[This article published in the Swiss journal WoZ 1/10/2013 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.woz.ch.]
“That is over – past – and behind us.” The influential republican Senator Mitch McConnell doesn't want to talk about taxes any more. The Senate should only focus on spending cuts. At the turning of the year, he negotiated a “deal” with Vice-President Joe Biden that saved the US on New Year's day from the dreaded plunge over the so-called Fiscal Cliff. Tax hikes were resolved but far less than the democrats around President Barack Obama targeted. The foreseeable cutback decisions will be made in the next months.
Debates over reducing the budget deficit and higher taxes for the rich were staged in Congress split by party politics for several years without ever reaching an agreement. In the fall of 2011, a so-called super-committee of leading politicians of both parties worked out a proposal but didn't reach a compromise. Therefore the fiscal cliff threatened that was resolved by Congress itself in instituting the super-committee: tax hikes for everyone and budget cuts of $110 billion a year – half in the military budget and half in civilian spending. Originally President Obama wanted to cancel the tax cuts of his predecessor George Bush for the richest two percent with annual incomes above $250,000. He wanted to reintroduce the abolished inheritance tax. 55 percent of an inheritance over one million dollars should go to the state.
CUT, CUT, CUT
The compromise now provides that taxes will be raised for those with an annual income of over $400,000 ($450,000 with families) and that an inheritance starting at four million dollars will face a forty percent tax. Thus only one percent of the population must pay a higher income tax. However the payroll tax is simultaneously increased for everyone. Whoever earns $20,000 must remit $100 more a year to the state. Whoever has a medium income of $50,000 must pay $1000 more a year. All in all only half of the original envisioned $1.2 trillion additional revenue will come to the state within ten years.
Republicans are targeting social spending with the lined-up spending cuts. Three “cliffs” will arise for them in the coming months. Firstly, the question how $110 billion per year can be saved within two months must be solved. Secondly, the legally fixed debt ceiling of the state must be raised from its present $16.4 trillion in the same time period. Thirdly, the Congress in March must extend the law allowing the government to spend money.