Throughout time, elites have commanded portions of national economies that are disproportionate to their numbers within the populations. Of course, that is an inevitable result of different capabilities, opportunities, risk tolerance, dedication and fortune. The distribution of wealth and influence will never be equal but if the imbalance grows too large, particularly if opportunities are class-restricted, a civil society will not function. The elites may hold dominance for a period through force but history demonstrates that order will disintegrate in a society of severe inequality.
In modern times, the Canadian union movement has lost influence but not relevance. It is easy to forget that unions enabled a broad middle class. Workers in unionized company towns in BC’s 20th century resource economy set the bar for others. They showed how positive full employment with good wages enables high quality life for the entire community.
They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them; that’s against their interests. …You know what they want? They want obedient workers… people who are just smart enough to run their machines and do the paperwork and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it.
New York State officials aimed to limit the extraordinary electoral influence of extraordinary wealth. People who wanted their financial powers unrestricted began legal action and, applying higher court rulings, United States District Judge Paul A. Crotty tossed the limits. He did so with obvious regret, complaining he was forced to apply a definition for corruption “no matter how misguided . . . [the Court] may think it to be.”
The Judge’s five-page opinion is worth considering, particularly now as the British Columbia government repudiates citizens calling for rules against corporate and union political donations. Insights West calculate that 86% support a ban. In today’s neverending cycle of campaigning and lobbying; lobbying and campaigning, elected officials know where their money is coming from and that it must keep coming if they are to stay in office.
…influence bought by money is no different than a bribe, and as the Book of Exodus 23:8 counsels, “a bribe blinds the clearsighted and is the ruin of the just man’s cause.”
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