This next U.S. presidential election is “a billion-dollar battle,” says the Financial Times, the most expensive election contest in history.
Guess who’s funding a lot of the action? The financial industry, of course… and hedge funds in particular. And guess what? Eliot Spitzer… formerly a tough cop on the financial beat… is now cozying up to the financiers. As governor of New York, is he “Now a friend of Wall Street?” asks today’s International Herald Tribune.
Why would Spitzer lie down with the hounds of Wall Street? Why would the financial industry put so much money in politicians’ hands?
One answer comes to us from history… in the late Roman Empire.
“As Roman legions once sub-contracted crucifixion to private contractors and protection of the empire to barbarian clans, so the Pentagon now outsources interrogation, and calls on such companies as MPRI, AirScan and DynCorp to deploy troops, run military bases and launch coups, all in its name (and pay),” explains George Pendle, reviewing Cullen Murphy’s book, “Are We Rome?”
“A form of corporate feudalism is rapidly approaching,” Pendle continues, “in which Americans will become little more than serfs to private concerns. Civilian contractors are the barbarians of today.”
Pendle doesn’t mention public and private debt… to which Americans are also chained.
But while they drag along their heavy burdens, the elite know where the money is. The more decadent the empire becomes, the more “rents” or “spoils” are available to them through the political process – tax breaks, subsidies, contracts, tariffs, sinecures and so forth.
Every election is an “advance auction of stolen goods,” as Ambrose Bierce put it. Now, with more goods stolen than ever before, auction prices are going up.
Markets and Money