On the Conflict between Government and Most of the People
In the 18th century, David Hume wrote in his “Of the First Principles of Government”:
NOTHING appears more surprising to those who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few; and the implicit submission, with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we inquire by what means this wonder is effected, we shall find, that, as Force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is, therefore, on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular.
Is there any established government that does not use historical figures and isolated historical facts, omitting other very important ones, and does not paint pictures of their elites of business, their elites in politics and their elites in the military as being both necessary and good?
Propaganda and public relations have established themselves in the mass media and advertisements to undermine the dormant power of the governed and of the many. The corporate, military and political elites have determined the historical facts, imagery, sounds and the framing of debates and information to distributed to most of the people. This is in addition to their positions of power that determine the destinations and vital portions of the lives of millions of employees, even through decision, indecision, action or inaction by the power elites.
Unsurprisingly, the spokespeople, PR and advisors make some of the decisions that have resulted often in short-term profits but catastrophic damages to environments, humans and other living beings. Their goals often include excessive competitiveness, which reverses the safety, efficiency, fairness, justice and professionals communications to unsafe, inefficient, unfair, unjust and unprofessional communications, such as lies.
These worsening conditions at workplaces are covered up by propaganda and public relations, which attack the reputations of critics and competitors and distract attention through mainstream news outlets.
Insatiable Desires of the Power Elites: Greed for wealth, power and fame
Elites seek wealth and power or prestige. These three motivations in life can never be satisfied because someone can always increase one, or move from one to the others. Some elites move from positions of military to political and corporate positions of power. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-61) is one example of these changes of power as he was a U.S. Army general before becoming U.S. president.
The American people were told plainly to beware of the military industrial complex by President Eisenhower in 1961 just some days before the end of his presidency.
Is it not a curiosity that the major weapons manufacturers own much of the mass broadcasting stock corps? In the USA, the levels of violence displayed on mass broadcasting stations has increased to levels that the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association declare are excessively high because it will lead to even higher levels of violence.
Who Are the Power Elites?
C. Wright Mills (1956, 9-10) wrote in The Power Elites:
By the powerful we mean, of course, those who are able to realize their will, even if others resist it. No one, accordingly, can be truly powerful unless he has access to the command of major institutions, for it is over these institutional means of power that the truly powerful are, in the first instance, powerful. Higher politicians and key officials of government command such institutional power; so do admirals and generals, and so do the major owners and executives of the larger corporations. Not all power, it is true, is anchored in and exercised by means of such institutions, but only within and through them can power be more or less continuous and important. Wealth also is acquired and held in and through institutions. The pyramid of wealth cannot be understood merely in terms of the very rich; for the great inheriting families, as we shall see, are now supplemented by the corporate institutions of modern society: every one of the very rich families has been and is closely connected—always legally and frequently managerially as well— with one of the multi-million dollar corporations.
A Wealth Heist by means of Big Business, Families of Vast Inheritance and Governments’ Permissions
During the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have allowed some larger stock corporations to remain open, selling their goods and services, while smaller businesses were obligated to temporarily close their doors. What results in such a situation is a double advantage for large stock corps and the wealthy families that have investments in them. The two-way advantage is given by governments.
First, there is a full advantage of economies of scale for large stock corps. Since they buy in bulk, they are able to buy products for cheaper prices than others who buy smaller amounts for each transaction (See Anti-Capitalism in America). The government allows the stock corps to do this without taxing them in accordance with the amount of waste that they produce. So, the large stock corps take full advantage of getting their products for cheaper prices, and they are permitted by governments to discard vast amounts of waste for cheaper prices than smaller businesses can.
Second, the large stock corps are able to have longer opening hours than smaller businesses. Smaller business were obligated to close during the pandemic in 2020, leading their customers to the large stock corps to spend their time, energy and money. This lead to many bankruptcies of small and mid-size businesses, which allowed the large stock corps to buy their products and labor as employees at prices of liquidation sales. The governments gave advantages to the large stock corporations via closing the market for small and mid-size businesses and allowing customers to change their habits over to the large stock corps.
Lastly, the wealth heist is assured for wealthy families of inheritance because their large stock corps are permitted to both buy products in bulk and to sell their goods in bulk but also in large packages of multiple items, and they retain a form of legal ownership of these large packages of items even after they sell them. So, other businesses are not legally allowed to purchase these large packages with multiple items and sell the items individually without fear of retaliation via lawsuits.
In essence, the large stock corps of the wealthy families of inheritance have seized ownership of all packaged items in bulk, even after they sell them, in order to increase the prices of the product. What this has accomplished in America is ending “penny capitalism” where someone could buy a large package of something and sell the individual items from it to make a small profit from each item, just pennies more per item. The power elites have managed to get away with laying massive amounts of waste and paying cheaper and largely unknown service fees for waste management services, and they still retain a form of ownership of the products that they sell when they are sold in bulk. This is largely what leads to even greater amounts of bulk purchases of items to smoke, unhealthy drinks and snacks with excessive amounts of sugars and extremely addictive ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup.
Since they have desires for more wealth, fame and power that are unable to be satisfied, some of these avenues must be closed for the power elites in order to improve societies and the world.
In consumer-based societies, materialism becomes rampant, and many people have enhanced addictions to compulsively buying multiple types of products that are unnecessary. Oftentimes sadly, these products have been shipped around the planet from another country, leading massive amounts of waste and pollution from packaging, oil and gas. The levels of wastefulness permitted by governments, which serve the corporate, military and political power elites first and foremost, are astounding.
The virtues of frugality and modesty are often in great opposition to the vices that the power elite display. They are people who never have to work if they do not want to work. They are people who profit off of the addictions of their fellow countrymen. They lay the most waste, and it is so much waste that in one week any of us who are not one of the power elites would require years and years to do as much damage as they do to our planet with their lavish lifestyles.
The greed of power elites ends the chances for their behavior to be economical. They form beliefs that they deserve what they have, even when most of it or all of it is inherited from family. So, they are not modest, and they will NOT help most of us out of the major crises that we face today.
Why will the power elites NOT help their fellow countrymen and women?
The power elites have no community and no neighbors. They have no neighbors because their estates are so big, and they fly from mansion to mansion to yacht to hotel and to yet another mansion, and they do so during the seasons of the year when they want to travel. The ONLY people that they have to get along with are the people who SERVE them and who they pay to remain with them as employees.
They have no difficulty firing people who have served them for years or decades, especially if there is a complaint by one about some failure in safety, efficiency or fairness. They hire and fire by the thousands, or they have spokespeople and advisors do it. They hire people to make them look good, and they need many of them for that purpose.
The power elites are extremely greedy people who are surrounded by bunches of servants. So, they very often view other people, except for other power elites, as servants. Therefore, their greed will not diminish without instilling fear in them to change what they are doing and how they are doing it.
For example, the power elites are taking out enormous loans from banks and using their mansions and yachts as collateral. They do this in order to reduce their income tax rates to extraordinarily lower rates than their fellow countrymen and women. They, therefore, betray their own people who are unable to use the banking services for the same purposes because they lack the assets to do so.
Resistance is necessary before the living conditions become utterly unbearable. Join us in making calls for action. Join us in the process of making the necessary changes to public opinion to bring governments to serve the many instead of mainly the corporate, military and political power elites.
A government is best judged by how much it contributes to international collaboration and cooperation for mutually beneficial relations. Collaboration, cooperation and sharing promote peace and wellbeing. These three factors are absolutely necessary at the multinational level of thinking and implementing changes.
A government can be judged harshly for its failures to collaborate, cooperate and share internationally, its failures to remain consistent with its announcements and its contracts and treatises as promises and its failures to consider the problems worldwide (e.g., global climate devastation). A government can be judged harshly for its failures to increase the safety, fairness and justice for its own people and others. A government can be judged harshly for failing to increase its practicality and for failing to decrease the obstacles (e.g., bureaucracy) in the free decisions of the people to buy, sell, own property and behave in ways that can make people happy (i.e., without greed).
A government also should be judged harshly and held accountable to the people, if it is to serve the people instead of the short-term gains of the power elites.
Join ECC on our quest to increase collaboration, cooperation and sharing internationally and to increase the safety, efficiency, fairness, justice and professional communications in workplaces that the corporate power elites own and the political and military power elites control.
Citation of this article: Brant, William Allen. (2021). “On the Conflict between Government and Most of the People.” Ethical Conflict Consulting. October edition. https://ethicalconflictconsulting.com/conflict-management/conflict-management-2/government/