Friday, October 07, 2016

When Did Our Elites Become Self-Serving Parasites?

Combine financialization, neoliberalism and moral bankruptcy, and you end up with self-serving parasitic elites.

When did our financial and political elites become self-serving parasites? Some will answer that elites have always been self-serving parasites; as tempting as it may be to offer a blanket denunciation of elites, this overlooks the eras in which elites rose to meet existential crises.

Following in Ancient Rome's Footsteps: Moral Decay, Rising Wealth Inequality(September 30, 2015)

As historian Peter Turchin explained in his book War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires, the value of sacrifice was a core characteristic of the early Republic's elite:

"Unlike the selfish elites of the later periods, the aristocracy of the early Republic did not spare its blood or treasure in the service of the common interest. When 50,000 Romans, a staggering one fifth of Rome’s total manpower, perished in the battle of Cannae, as mentioned previously, the senate lost almost one third of its membership. This suggests that the senatorial aristocracy was more likely to be killed in wars than the average citizen….

The wealthy classes were also the first to volunteer extra taxes when they were needed… A graduated scale was used in which the senators paid the most, followed by the knights, and then other citizens. In addition, officers and centurions (but not common soldiers!) served without pay, saving the state 20 percent of the legion’s payroll.

The richest 1 percent of the Romans during the early Republic was only 10 to 20 times as wealthy as an average Roman citizen."



Anonymous said...

That's what Bob Culver has turned out to be.

Anonymous said...

And Rome fell.

lmclain said...

I keep tryin' to tell ya.....
You keep cheering.

Steve said...

They were never meant to become "Elites". They were meant to be those of us who had some extra retirement time to look out for the busies to protect the workers and families.

Then, corporations pumped millions into the mix.

It's over now.