Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Bankers' Bonuses

Let’s not be too critical of bankers’ bonuses, but recognise what they have to tell us – if we are prepared to listen – about the very nature of our “society”: the fact that it serves primarily as an ENVIRONMENT, which state and economy facilitate the self-exploitation of, to the advantage of power wealth and privilege.
This includes bankers, of course, but many others besides, and at the end of the day, everyone is out for their own (family’s) advantage, which is what “social mobility” is also really all about.
If bankers’ bonuses helps bring this home to us, it will have served a very valuable service. I doubt that it will, though. It never has in the past, because such an awareness would undermine the most basic assumption underlying our understanding of state and economy, namely that they exist primarily to SERVE society as a whole, as a NATION, and as expressed in a recent Telegraph opinion piece, “Rewards for success keep our economy going”, justifying the bonus which gave the chief executive of RBS, Stephen Hester, a total annual income of £6.8 million, and from which the following quote is taken:
“ . . rewarding success is an essential part of what makes a capitalist economy more efficient at delivering prosperity to everyone than any of the alternative systems.”
The original motivation for socialism was to end this exploitation of society by its rich and powerful elites, but there was a lack of understanding of just how deeply-rooted in man’s (perverted Darwinian) nature, the phenomenon of self-exploitation was: when one elite was removed, another simply took its place; or, what usually happened, was that once “socialists” gained access to power, they used it to their own advantage, just as the elites they were attacking did – only we hated them all the more for their hypocricy.
Understandably, this has given socialism a very bad name, especially since actual states claiming to be socialist provided examples of the kind of society most of us definitely do not want to live in, making capitalist societies look almost idyllic in comparison.
Socialists’ fundamental mistake (a very human one, given our tribal nature) was to see the situation in terms of “them and us”: us GOOD socialists on one side, those BAD capitalists on the other. They failed to recognise that we are all inclined to take advantage of and exploit our human environment (society), if given the chance – although some, far more ruthlessly than others.
The point is that if we want our civilisation to survive – and I presume most of us do – we MUST put an end to the gross self-exploitation exemplified in bankers’ bonuses. Not that simply reducing or even abolishing them would solve the problem. We have to deal with its ROOT CAUSE, otherwise nothing fundamentally will change.
However, before we can even make a start, we must first recognise and develop an understanding of our own Darwinian nature, and how its perversion, in the artificial environment of human society, has given rise to the social, political, religious and economic power structures of our civilisation. Otherwise we’ll just be thrashing around in the dark, and probably making a worse mess of things than “socialism” did.
It’s a BIG challenge – but one we urgently need to rise to.

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