The 1 Percent Only Need You When You Help Them To Help Themselves

Over the previous few weeks a grumpiness had overcome me. This was not helped by a recent survey indicating that at least 53 or 55 percent of my fellow citizens, depending on the measure, are mean spirited and/or idiotic, choosing to vent their anger and/or hatred at the unemployed. Disgusted, I retired to a balcony overlooking the city, where I fasted, eating only when hungry, and allowed myself just to feel, rather than think. On the third day, Invasion Day, a day that many of the mean spirited and idiotic think worth celebrating, a helicopter hovered beside the balcony. A wealthy man with white hair and beard wearing gaudy jewellery stepped out, taking a seat across from me at the table where I sat. A moment later, a younger guy with long hair joined him, interacting with some newfangled piece of phone technology. I didn’t recognize them until they identified themselves. The older guy was God, the younger one Jesus. They said they had an important message to share with the 99 percent. I agreed to act as scribe once it was made clear that free will is an illusion.

God renews his promise in balcony message

Hi, this is God, with a message to the wicked 99 percent, channeled through one of the lowliest of my servants. The message is necessary because many of my previous commands, as recorded in various religious texts, have been distorted beyond all recognition. It is time to set the record straight.

Wicked ones, I can see you down here in your squalid condition, producing cars for moms and dads, flavoring milkshakes for teens, teaching youth how to think, running trains from suburb to town, lifesaving on public beaches, caring for the elderly, and all the other things you do for each other. I know that you think you are being helpful, but most of you are not.

Yes, you do need shelter, and some food and clothing. Those capable of working also require a modicum of vocational training, healthcare while still of working age, and unemployment benefits if likely to be employable again some time in the future. So, true, some of your current activities are justifiable. They keep you and others like you job ready.

But there is need, and there is greed. Shelter, okay, but not a whole bedroom to yourselves. Food, granted, in moderation. Clothes, sure, necessary in some climes. But most the rest is a waste. Every hour spent building a house for a person like you is an hour that could have gone to fashioning a heavenly mansion for somebody more deserving. Stop being a taker, and give a little.

Lately, some of you appear to be getting ideas. Grand ideas of your own self-importance. Among these is an insidious notion that if you were enabled – say, through a job, pay rise, or welfare payment – to satisfy more of your own greed, this would somehow be of benefit to those closest to me, my 1 percent.

One version of the argument is that my true followers need your consumption expenditure to deliver full employment. Nothing could be further from the truth. For one thing, they need nothing but their faith in me. For another, they do not like full employment. Deflation or at least low inflation suits them fine, preserving the real value of their savings. More importantly, employment is only really productive – and therefore Godly – when directed toward higher aims.

Some say that because the rich save a higher proportion of their income than the poor – in other words, are more virtuous – extreme inequality of income results in weak demand, output, employment, and growth. It is the way of the wicked to throw the virtues of the virtuous back in their faces.

In truth, there is no difficulty. The high saving propensity of the virtuous simply makes for a smaller expenditure multiplier, that is all. A given injection of autonomous demand – whether private, public, or foreign – will have a more modest impact on output and employment. That is why I do not oppose stepping up injections of autonomous demand if, and only if, wisely directed.

Now, wicked ones, think this through for a moment. Who has the most capacity to spend? Is it not my 1 percent? Keep them happy and they might do so. If, however, they still refrain from worldly outlays – they really are virtuous – my earthly governments can gift them free items, in recognition of their holiness. They will surely protest, their delicate sensibilities easily offended by such worldly, material acts, but out of love will do this for me.

This selfless sacrifice, of course, is good for the rest of you. The production of these free items will require some of you to be employed, even though you’ve done nothing to deserve it. It is only by my grace that you find yourselves with such opportunities.

Others among you will be able to work as domestic servants, and I know for a fact that demand for security guards and surveillance as protection against wickedness is sky high in these last days.

In providing these jobs – which are a privilege, not a right – care must be taken to leave some of you unemployed. This is crucial for many reasons. First, hardship is spiritually cleansing. Second, tribulation sorts the wheat from the chaff, revealing who among you really loves me. Third, full employment would make it difficult to convince you that the unemployed are responsible for the state of the world, just as equality would make it impossible to hold the poor to account. Fourth, full employment leads to temptation. Some of you would unjustly find yourselves with greater bargaining power over wages and fail to resist the pitfall of greed. It would simply cause more wailing and gnashing of teeth in the long run. For those with ears, understand.

I could go on, but my servant is weak in faith, tired, and resistant to truth, so I must stop now. Remember what I have told you. Do all you can to meet the higher needs of those dearest to me, and there may yet be hope for you (though no guarantees) in the lower realms of the kingdom to come.

Signing off now,
God

Jesus confirms the veracity of God’s message and adds his two cents

Hi, this is Jesus, just an ordinary man who found a way to atonement with God while still on earth, notwithstanding some of the more outlandish claims made about me in various scriptures. I am here to verify that the message presented above is indeed recorded accurately, if reluctantly.

I am also here to set the record straight on a serious misrepresentation of my first-century teachings. By the time these teachings made their way into what you call the Bible, many errors had crept in, due to the corruption and wickedness of the 99 percent. I certainly had a lot of explaining to do in the heavenly realms!

The passage most in need of correction is the one that had me supposedly saying:

“As ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Now, why on earth would I have said such a thing? It is ridiculous. I could not give two hoots what you do to the “least of these”. The expression has caused all manner of aggravation to God’s one percent over the centuries, and, believe me, God is not happy about that.

To be clear, I never said it. Surely any honest seeker of truth would see this from the satisfaction I took in pronouncing, while a luxury item was lavished upon me, that:

“The poor will always be with you.”

How can anyone of sound mind reconcile those two statements? The truth is, poverty and unemployment are good, for all the reasons succinctly stated by God above. (Yes. He is above. That stuff about the birds or the fish preceding you is a distortion inserted later.)

It should have been clear that I really said:

“As ye have done it unto one of the greatest of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

And the meaning is this: if you harm, upset, belittle, or even so much as slightly unsettle the greatest of my brethren, you’ll pay big time. (Read more Paul and less gospel.) If, on the other hand, you serve their needs and strive to meet their desires with all your heart, mind and soul, there is a chance, in God’s infinite wisdom, subject to the workings of a random number generator, that you may escape the very darkest of the hells.

I could go on, correcting grave errors about camels, sowers of seeds, and so on, but as already noted, my scribe, who has no hope of evading these darkest hells, drags his heels the whole time truth is spoken. In retrospect, I’m not sure why he was selected to channel our message, but God knows best, and that settles the matter.

I’m outta here,
Jesus

9 thoughts on “The 1 Percent Only Need You When You Help Them To Help Themselves

  1. Ah! Blasphemy! I like it :-)

    But that’s not saying much. After all, I was never much of a fan of those two penthouse guys and, indeed, I have a weak spot for the lower basement guys (specially the one who said: “I’m mad as hell, and I ain’t takin’ this anymore”). :-)

    But I won’t go into it, for the time being, at least.

    —————

    “53 or 55 percent of Australians, depending on the measure, are mean spirited and/or idiotic”

    Either that, or, if one assumes the poll is right (which often is a risky proposition), the “opinion whores” are doing their jobs very well.

    An example, coming from Jacobin magazine. Peter Frase, speaking of the capability common people (Yanks, in his case) have to scapegoat the wrong people for all failings of society:

    “One wouldn’t expect any better from libertarians, who have built an entire ideology around the world-view of 12-year-old boys. But they aren’t the only people who react to stories like this with rage or contempt rather than empathy. Consider the following comment, left under my friend’s response to the article about him:
    ” ‘ I’m sorry but you are a selfish, whiny leach. I can say this because I a middle-aged woman and have been trying to find work for two years without success though I have a masters degree in a fairly desirable field. I have dwindling savings and two kids. Because I stayed home with them for a few years I don’t qualify for unemployment and that has also damaged my marketability in the job world. Despite all of this I have never resorted to public assistance and will not. In addition, I have a back problem that surgery did not correct so I am in physical pain 24 hrs a day. Still I have taken temp jobs and we have cut back in many ways. I am proud of my fortitude and resourcefulness, because we will make it through this time and my kids will learn valuable lessons from me about self-reliance.’
    “Here we have a person who has been marginally employed for two years and suffers physical pain 24 hours a day—and rather than demanding something better for herself, she demands that other people suffer more!”
    http://jacobinmag.com/2011/01/hipsters-food-stamps-and-the-politics-of-resentment/

    Not a bad article, but Frase makes a serious mistake just a few sentences down the road:
    “It sometimes seems to amount to no more than the sentiment that justice consists in **everyone** else being at least as miserable as you are”.

    But it is not that **everyone** else must be “at least as miserable”. I don’t see anyone, not even those heretics like yours truly, asking for the rich to be “at least as miserable”.

    Nope. It is just some people who must be “at least as miserable”. For that middle aged woman it just happens to be the young who must be “at least as miserable”. She didn’t lambast those employers discriminating against her, for one. Other than saying she didn’t qualify for unemployment benefits, she doesn’t seem to question the justice of that, either.

    It makes me wonder, how come? I can think of two answers: (1) either the woman is indeed an idiot (and that’s always a possibility) or (2) she has been taught that some people do not deserve to “be at least as miserable”.

  2. Magpie, it may be that most people’s lives are so miserable, and their perspective so insular and narrow, that their only consolation is the thought that, through their voting behavior, actions and attitudes, they can somehow make life even more miserable for those lower down the income scale.

    It won’t work! I regularly see that blissed-out homeless guy in the park who couldn’t hold down a benefit payment due to non-compliance, and he is infinitely happier than most the sheeple in this redneck wonderland. There is nothing they could do to bring him down.

    I warned you I was grumpy!

  3. @NW,

    “Just read about the the idea of the “labour aristocracy”, and it’ll all start to make sense…”

    You hit the nail… big time, too!

    Within Aussie Marxist left circles those two words are a bit of anathema (they try to argue against on theoretical grounds, but, at least to me, the political reasons behind the whole thing are pretty evident: they are afraid of divisions within an already minuscule movement and to a degree I can’t blame them), but they do explain a lot.

    I myself have a theory: the rock bottom theory. The better off among the middle class will only wake up when the shit is neck level. When that happens, let’s hope they move to the left.

  4. @NW

    I’ve read some of your links and I certainly agree with most of what is said in them about the labour aristocracy.

    I notice, however, that at least those I’ve read seem to assume that countries are homogeneously affected. So, workers in first world countries homogeneously benefit from the exploitation of workers in third world countries, while workers in third world countries are homogeneously exploited.

    This is a bit of a simplification, in my opinion.

    For one, first world workers laid off by offshoring firms do not benefit: if they don’t find an equivalent job (and many don’t), they become part of a lower income local proletariat or, if they don’t find any other job, they become what Marx called the lumpenproletariat.

    This, for instance, may be evident in the comment I transcribed above, from Jacobin magazine: the middle-aged woman herself (probably once a relatively better paid worker, what one could call a “middle class” worker), would be one such example; the hipsters she so despises are probably another.

    Indeed, one could consider that this phenomenon probably follows age, gender, race and geographical dimensions.

    Second, although not all capitals will offshore, they won’t necessarily miss out any opportunity of exploiting lower cost labour: that’s why in countries like Australia, for instance, individuals otherwise extremely conservative are also among the greatest supporters of immigration. So, this pattern of “enclaves” of people left behind within centre countries also follows sectorial patterns: think of the burger flippers, or the espaldas mojadas (if you are an American).

    Finally, local bourgeoisies develop in third world/periphery countries. As in centre countries, they locally require managers and some specialized workers, which are highly paid relative to their unlucky compatriots. These tend to find “globalization” very attractive and will resent whatever threatens their relatively privileged positions. That, if you ask me, is what’s behind much of the anti-Castrist and anti-Chavist oppositions, largely centered around the State of Florida, in the US: they lost their positions in their own countries and, unable or unwilling to accept whatever changes, moved overseas.

    In fact, I’d say this is particularly evident in Chávez’s case, where he, unlike Castro, took office by entirely peaceful, constitutional, democratic means.

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