Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > The Unflattering Reason Behind Extreme Accumulation of Money : 3

The Unflattering Reason Behind Extreme Accumulation of Money : 3

This post continues from the previous one in this series and exposes the very deep roots of human self-delusion about their real motivations. Let us start with a very topical example. We are now nearing the “official” start of the holiday season. It is therefore almost certain that you will encounter multiple requests to donate to some charity, food-bank or some organisation that claims to help the less fortunate. Some of you might even give some money or resources to such outfits, if only to make yourself feel “better”.

But have you ever wondered why charity is necessary in this day and age?

While that might sound like an odd question to many, it is probably one of the most important rational question people never ask themselves. Charity makes sense if we lived in an era of real scarcity or resource limitations. But do we live in such an era? Look around you.. Are we constrained by technology or resources in our ability to produce, store and distribute enough food? What about houses or automobiles? What about computers and other gadgets? What about medicines?

The resources and technology to provide a very good lifestyle to every single person on this earth have been around for the last 4-5 decades.

Why do we still have public drives to fill food-banks with semi-toxic crap that nobody wants to eat? Why do department stores sponsor food-bank drives yet routinely throw away much more food of far better quality? Would it not be more rational to just give away good food to those who cannot afford it? How does giving away food that will never be sold affect the profitability of the corporations that run department stores? It is not like we live in times where every woman had 8-9 kids. So what is going on?

A partial answer to this question can be found in understanding the true implications of a news item that recently garnered some attention on the intertubes. You might have read that Walmart was soliciting donations to a foodbank intended to feed its own employees. The slightly neglected part of this news story is that they were soliciting these donations from their own employees. Yes.. you heard that right! Walmart was trying to get its own slightly better-paid employees feed its not-so-well paid employees.

But why can’t Walmart pay its employees well enough to shop at their own stores? It is not as if they are running that corporation at a loss. Nor are the multi-billion dollar fortunes of “Walmart Heirs” in any imminent danger of diminishing. I should also add that their stock is not generally bought or held with expectations of high growth. And where does all that money they don’t pay their employees end up anyway? It is clearly not being recirculated in the general economy and is therefore a net loss to the system.

Walmart is clearly not behaving like the rational profit- and future- obsessed entity that shills.. I mean “economists”.. claim it (and other corporations) are. It is maximizing its very short-term gains through deception and manipulation even if doing so destroys its future customer base.

My point is that the operational model of Walmart, and every other corporation and most businesses, is almost identical to those of cancer cells and viruses. Yet they pretend to be the very embodiment of normality. But why, for whom and to what end? The first part of that question, the ‘why’, is the easiest to answer. They behave the way they do to keep on doing what they are doing- from parasitizing society to avoiding detection and removal. The answer to the next part, the ‘for whom’, is slightly less obvious. While the continued existence of corporations such as Walmart clearly benefits their major shareholders, being rich beyond a certain level lacks positive utility.. To put it another way- being a billionaire cannot make you incredibly handsome, wildly desirable by women (or men), ageless or immortal. And this brings us to the third part of that question- to what end?

Towards the end of my previous post in this series, I made two claims.

1] Human beings are predisposed to hurt others even if doing so is not profitable in anything but the short-term.

2] This predisposition is somehow connected to the human ability for self-delusion about their real intentions.

Let us try to explain the behavior of corporations and businesses, especially their owners and employees, through the viewpoints of these two claims.

How would you go about abusing, impoverishing and damaging others while still maintaining the self-delusion of being a decent, caring and honest human being. Well.. there are two ways. You could start an organisation that purports to provide a useful or important social service while consciously (or subconsciously) structuring it to achieve the opposite. Alternatively you could join an organisation that purports to provide a useful or important social service while consciously (or subconsciously) working to achieve the opposite while ignoring or denying the obvious. To put it another way- you could either become a leader, capitalist, owner.. or the enthusiastic follower, worker or drone. The later routes are easier and offer more plausible deniability.

My point is that pretty much all of what you consider as normal, from business models and corporate hierarchies to institutional structures, exist for the sole purpose of abusing, impoverishing, damaging and killing other people. Any real reform of these institutions, structures and hierarchies would remove their very purpose for existence and popularity.

In the next part of this series, I will explore the origins of the human urge to hurt others even when doing so is not profitable.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. EvilOne
    November 25, 2013 at 2:05 am

    Simple Hierarchy building. You cant be on top unless others are below you. This even makes sense, because everyone else is thinking (consciously, or subconsciously) the same thing. The calculus of it is screw them over and get higher before they can do the same to you.

  2. P Ray
    November 25, 2013 at 10:41 am

    I’ve seen clients with nothing to gain by arousing my ire in refusing to pay for my work … go and do it anyway.
    So they leave with their systems and solutions in as tottering and unstable a condition as when they came in for the consultation (I make sure the necessary adjustments had quick removal factored in, since I anticipate human deceit, most are not yet evolved enough to not cheat those trying to earn an honest living.)
    And of course, pay a lot more to get it done elsewhere.
    These people, among other professions, are LAWYERS, and ENGINEERS (I am one too).
    The human urge to screw others over, when it would actually screw themselves … is all at once tragic, hilarious, stupid, infuriating and bizarre.

  3. Yusef
    November 26, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Walmart is not necessarily representative of corporations of its size, scope, and power. The way it operates and strategizes, the way it sees its own interests, is more that of a much smaller company. ( Walmart, although its shares are traded on exchanges, is still mainly held by members of the Sam Walton family, and perhaps this is why.) Its regimen of making profit still relies on squeezing its employees as much as it can. This is the behavior of a small company. Most larger companies actually have some interest in maintaining their work force at some much better level… Larger companies do have more long-term vision, and they are more rational collectively. As you say, what Walmart is doing is long-term suicidal. Whatever else a big corporation is or does, it wants to perpetuate itself. (I’m not sure if this means I somewhat disagree with you. If so, I mainly do agree with what you say here.)

  4. Marcus666
    November 27, 2013 at 12:48 am

    I always wondered why the ones higher in the hierarchy have a less fulfilling life and yet they earn more but they spend it on “investments”. Investments… for what? If you spend your days playing office politics and doing useless “management/business” work and you return to your fat whale and ungrateful kids at home late in the evening. Why do they do it?

    Think about it. A simple garbage collector saves LIVES. If they don’t do their job, in a few weeks, people start dying from diseases. The middle-manager or upper-manager in an office tower, they … just keep themselves busy. Their work isn’t useful to anybody, only to the system itself. If they don’t do their job for 10 years, nobody will notice.

    Yet those guys never killed anyone. I think they only want one thing: being “important” and “useful”. Exactly the instincts that saved our ancestors lives. If you were not important you didn’t reproduce. Contradictory they achieve completely the reverse nowadays. But with their behavior they create a system where people are killed in wars and poor people die in disease. Every society where people don’t see each other every day returns to this pyramid hierarchy society system.

  5. The Plague Doctor
    November 29, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    “The resources and technology to provide a very good lifestyle to every single person on this earth have been around for the last 4-5 decades.”

    This is simply false, you cannot feed the current world population of a carnivous or low carb diet; there are simply too many people. Of course you could feed the entire world population a diet of rice and soy crap, but I would not want to live in such a world. The solution proferred by vegeratarians is for everyone to become vegetarian, but of course the real solution is to stop reproducing; however, that would stand in the way of vegetarians making more of their own personal copies to enslave and exploit.

    • hoipolloi
      November 29, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      “Of course you could feed the entire world population a diet of rice and soy crap —”

      On the contrary, rice is much in demand and it is difficult to feed everyone in the world rice alone. In south and south-east Asia where it is produced, rice is in short supply all the time. On the other hand, in a country like India there are more cattle than humans. They can be made use to feed humans.

      My understanding is in the last 4-5 decades there was enough food to feed every one on earth. The food losses in warehouses alone could be as high as 30% I am told.

      I do agree with you that we should not feed the unwashed millions unconditionally. They should first limit their reproduction. Not withstanding that, the inhumanity of man to man is real historically and it is not much less now.

  1. November 26, 2013 at 11:32 am
  2. November 30, 2013 at 11:35 pm
  3. March 24, 2014 at 5:11 pm

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