Citizen Action Monitor

Humanity is divided into the upper 1%, 20% with middle class incomes, and 80% with no wealth

America’s dominant ruling class, the elite, set policy and determine national political priorities.

No 2362 Posted by fw, August 29, 2018

NOTETo access my other posts related to Prof. Phillips’ book and video, click on the Tab in the top left margin, titled Giants: The Global Power Elite by Peter Phillips ~ Links to All Posts.

Peter Phillips

“Humanity is divided into the 1% — the upper 1% — and particularly the upper one-thousandth of 1%, several thousand people in the very elite group. 20% have incomes that are often described as middle-class working people – professionals. And 80% where wealth really doesn’t exist at all. The transnational capital elite takes pride in pointing out that they have the largest middle-class ever – that’s the 20%. But that doesn’t extend down into the rest of the world, and they are getting poorer every day. … Now there’s a long tradition of sociological research that documents the existence of the dominant ruling class in the United States. Elites set policy, determine national political priorities. The American upper class is complex and competitive. It perpetuates itself through interacting families of high social standing, with similar lifestyles, corporate affiliations, memberships, and elite clubs and private schools. … The US has a long history of interventions around the globe for the purpose of protecting our national interests. Increasingly, NATO is a partner with us in this global dominance agenda reflecting increasing transnational economic natures of our interests.”Prof. Peter Phillips

The above passage is taken from my post below, the first in a series of transcripts I am preparing, based on a one-hour video of Prof. Peter Phillips’ talk about his new 240-page book Giants: The Global Power Elite. This series of transcripts follows up on my August 27 post, EXPLOSIVE! – Global Power Elite provides top governments with plans and proposals they can act on.

Peter Phillips is a professor of political sociology at Sonoma State University.

Today’s transcript, Part 1 of the series, includes: 1) a brief explanation of why he chose a Diego Rivera mural for the book’s cover; 2) a numerical summary of global wealth inequality; and 3) a brief overview of the members, structure and primary function of the American Ruling Class.

To facilitate selective access to the video’s content, my transcript, which appears below the video, is chronologically indexed, and edited, as necessary, to enhance text readability of Phillip’s talk. In addition, to enable skimming, I have added my own headings and subheadings in [square brackets] and, as well, text highlighting to bring important text to the fore.

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Giants: The Global Power Elite – A talk by Peter Phillips — Published by Project Censored, April 4, 2018

TRANSCRIPT

[About the book’s cover – “The Man of the Universe”]

00:00 – Okay. Good afternoon. I’m Peter Phillips from the Sociology Department here at Sonoma State and I’m going to talk about the global power elite, the Giants of capitalism. There’s a picture that you all have a copy of.

This is the Diego Rivera mural, which now resides in Mexico City. This is a second copy of it. This mural was first done at the Rockefeller Center in 1934 by Diego Rivera. Rockefeller didn’t like it – that he had certain figures in there – and destroyed the entire mural.

The mural is called “The Man of the Universe”, and it seemed appropriate that one of the Rockefellers destroyed it, and, too, that it’s about a very a very powerful person. And so that’s going to be the picture on my new global power elite book, which will be out in August from Seven Stories Press.

[GLOBAL WEALTH INEQUALITY BY THE NUMBERS]

[The Have-Nots of the World]

01:20 – Part of the conversation today, too, is about the “transnational capitalist class.” Estimates are that the world’s wealth is about $255 trillion, and with US and Europe holding about two-thirds of that total.

  • Meanwhile, 80% of the people in the world live on less than $10 a day.
  • And the poorest half of the population lives on $2.50 a day.
  • And 1.3 billion people live on $1.25 a day.
  • So there’s massive inequality.
  • And 80% of the world is very poor.
  • The LA Times reports this year that 1 out of 9 people go to bed hungry every night. That’s 795 million people on the planet who suffer from chronic hunger
  • And they forecast that two billion people will be lacking food by 2050
  • In addition, 1 out of 3 people suffer from some form of malnutrition, which means they lack sufficient vitamins and minerals in their diet that lead to health issues such as stunted growth in children.
  • Each year, poor nutrition kills 3.1 million children under the age of five
  • 25,000 people a day, or 9 million a year die from starvation and malnutrition.
  • This slaughter occurs every day. That’s the equivalent of ten 9/11 events every day in the world.

Yet we have more than enough food to feed everybody. It’s not a lack of food; it’s a lack of distribution. A quarter of all the food in grocery stores is thrown away.

[The Haves of the World]

03:12 – Humanity is divided into the 1% — the upper 1% — and particularly the upper one-thousandth of 1%, several thousand people in the very elite group. 20% have incomes that are often described as middle-class working people – professionals. And 80% where wealth really doesn’t exist at all.

03:37 – The transnational capital elite takes pride in pointing out that they have the largest middle-class ever – that’s the 20%. But that doesn’t extend down into the rest of the world, and they are getting poorer every day.

Oxfam International reported in January 2016 that only 62 people hold as much wealth as half the world. A year later that was down to 8 people. So, at the beginning of 2017, 8 people controlled more wealth than half the world. And wealth concentration is happening so massively that some day it’s very feasible that one person will hold more wealth than half the humans in the world.

[The top billionaires]

The top billionaires, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, who is now $100 billion and the number one leader in the world, Amancio Ortega from Spain, William Buffett from Berkshire Hathaway, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, Carlos Slim with telecom in Mexico – those are multi-billionaires at $50 billion plus.

Forbes lists 2047 billionaires for 2017. These global capitalist elites are fully aware of their vast inequalities and their rapidly growing concentration of wealth. The billionaires are similar to colonial planation owners. They know they are a small minority with vast resources and power. Yet they must continually worry about the unruly exploited masses rising in rebellion. Understanding how power and inequality is sustained can perhaps give us opportunities for democracy and equality in today’s world.

*****

[THE AMERICAN RULING CLASS]

[American ruling class dominates Washington’s policy decisions]

05:28 – Now there’s a long tradition of sociological research that documents the existence of the dominant ruling class in the United States. Elites set policy, determine national political priorities. The American upper class is complex and competitive. It perpetuates itself through interacting families of high social standing, with similar lifestyles, corporate affiliations, memberships, and elite clubs and private schools.

The American ruling class has also long been determined to be mostly self-perpetuating, maintaining its influence through policymaking institutions such as the National Association of Manufacturers, The US Chamber of Commerce, the Business Council, the Business Roundtable, the Conference Board, the American Enterprise Institute, Council of Foreign Relations and a number of other policy groups that are US oriented.

These associations have long dominated policy decisions of the US government.

[Power elites “decide whatever is decided of major consequence”]

06:27 — In 1956 C. Wright Mills wrote his book called the Power Elite, which was about how World War 2 solidified the trinity of power in the United States that compromised corporate, military, and government elites in a centralized power structure motivated by class interests and working in unison through higher circles of contact and agreement. Mills described how power elites were those who “…decide whatever is decided of major consequence.

[Washington’s “war on terror” is mainly about protecting transnational economic interests]

07:00 – In the past few decades, especially since 9/11, the policy of elites have been mostly united in support of American Empire military power that maintains a repressive war against resisting groups, typically labelled ‘terrorists’, around the world. This war on terror is much more about protecting transnational globalization and capital, dollar hegemony, access to oil, than it is about repressing terrorism or protecting us.

The US has a long history of interventions around the globe for the purpose of protecting our national interests. Increasingly, NATO is a partner with us in this global dominance agenda reflecting increasing transnational economic natures of our interests.

[“So, the American Empire and the NATO Empire are about protecting business worldwide”]

When we say national interests, I think it’s important to kind of specify what does that mean. Robert Blackwell, who is a Kissinger senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations and national security advisor to George Bush, clearly stated in an article in January of 2017, telling President Trump the importance of defending the US interests. He wrote:

In addition to protecting the US from nuclear threats,” Blackwell called for “ensuring the viability and stability of major global systems – trade, financial markets, supplies of energy, and climate.” He said, “We must maintain a regional and global balance of power that promotes peace and stability through domestic American robustness, an international policy of supporting and defending the US alliances – particularly with Israel.

He’s saying we’re here to protect business. That’s what it’s about.

08:50 – The Heritage Foundation has an annual index called Military Strength, and it describes vital interests as

  • defence of the Homeland,
  • successful conclusion of major wars or destabilize a region of critical interest to the US, and
  • the preservation of movement within the global commons – the sea, air, and other space, domains through which the world conducts business.

So, the American Empire and the NATO Empire are about protecting business worldwide.

[“Wall Street is the ‘overworld’]

Peter Dale Scott writes in his book The American Deep State — he describes the importance of Wall Street as the “overworld” that offers intelligence agencies, and personnel around the world, policies and direction.

[The long arm of American military power in protection of global capitalism]

09:43 – The US has long been the protector of global capitalism, especially since World War 2.

  • We have over 800 bases in 70 countries and territories
  • The UK, France and Russia collectively have only 30 bases that are foreign
  • The US has now deployed in 70% of the nations is the world
  • A Special Operations Command has troops in 147 countries, an 80% increase since 2010
  • US Special Forces are currently engaged in 100 missions in Africa, most of which are training exercises, but direct action counterterrorism strikes happen regularly including drone assassinations and kill and capture raids

END OF PART 1 OF TRANSCRIPT

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