What the Global Status Quo Optimizes: Protecting Elites and the Clerisy Class That Serves Them

The incestuous embrace of privilege and power by entrenched, socially isolated Elites characterizes failed states and brittle, doomed regimes throughout history.

Every system is optimized to serve a specific purpose. As noted in my recent essay What Metric Are We Optimizing For?, what the system optimizes is rarely explicitly stated.

Sometimes this results from not understanding the metric that the system is designed to optimize; but in other cases, explicitly describing what the system optimizes would trigger social instability.

The Status Quo around the world–from France to China to the U.S.–is optimized to protect its Elites and the sprawling Upper-Caste of academics, managers, think-tank toadies, technocrats, apparatchiks, functionaries, factotums, lackeys and apologists who serve the Elites, and are well-paid for enforcing the Status Quo on the disenfranchised castes below.

Demographer Joel Kotkin, author of the new book The New Class Conflict, has coined the word Clerisy to describe what I have been calling the Upper Caste:America’s new class system.

Oligarchs are assisted in their control by what Kotkin calls the “clerisy” class — an amalgam of academics, media and government employees who play the role that medieval clergy once played in legitimizing the powerful, and in implementing their policies while quelling resistance from the masses. The clerisy isn’t as rich as the oligarchs, but it does pretty well for itself and is compensated in part by status, its positions allowing even its lower-paid members to feel superior to the hoi polloi.

Because it doesn’t have to work in competitive industries, the clerisy favors regulations, land-use rules and environmental restrictions that make things worse for businesses — especially the small “yeoman” businesses that traditionally sustained much of the middle class — thus further hollowing out the middle of the income distribution. But the lower classes, sustained by government handouts and by rhetoric from the clerisy, provide enough votes to keep the machine running, at least for a while.

This describes the Savior State perfectly: a centrally planned and controlled government that enforces its absolute control via force, legal regulations and the blandishments of complicity: there’s billions of dollars in free money social welfare to buy the loyalty (or at least the passivity) of the disenfranchized and marginalized.

I have often written about the stagnation of social mobility and the rise of a neofeudal arrangement of social-economic strata:

America’s Nine Classes: The New Class Hierarchy (April 29, 2014)

The Three-and-a-Half Class Society (October 22, 2012)

The New American Divide (January 25, 2012)

Why Reform Won’t Work (February 7, 2013)

When Belief in the System Fades (March 12, 2008)

The political, corporate/financial and National Security State Elites represent a vanishingly thin layer of the American economy and society. America today is the nightmare scenario feared by James Madison and other Federalists: a covertly created monarchical (what I term neofeudal) empire much like the Roman Empire–a republic in name but in reality a highly centralized Empire operated for the benefit of tiny Elites who buy complicity of the masses with free bread and circuses.

The “Monarchical Federalists” Madison and Jefferson feared have indeed established a neofeudal, neocolonialist Empire.

In this context, it is interesting to note that fully 20% of all entitlements (tax credits, Medicare, Social Security, etc.) flows to the top 10%, 58% goes to middle-income households and 32% goes to the bottom 20%. The swag of bread and circuses is remarkably well-distributed, buying off every sector of the populace.

Behind the PR facade of democracy and free-market capitalism, a parasitic Aristocracy extracts income and wealth from a financially indentured class of serfs. This Aristocracy is composed of several Elites which are served by the Upper Caste of technocrats. These Elites and the Upper Caste serve each others interests, a social heirarchy that Hilton Root characterized as a “society divided into closed, self-regarding groups.” The slow trickle of the “best and brightest” into the Upper Caste via Ivy League university admission is also a propaganda facade, as Ron Unz ably and exhaustively proves in The Myth of American Meritocracy How corrupt are Ivy League admissions?

The trick is enable just enough meritocracy to support the PR facade. The Ivy League has mastered that balancing act.

These Elites have few if any links to the social layers below. Charles Murray spoke to some aspects of this trend of financial/social Elitist isolation from the debt-serfs and worker-bee class below in Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, but the key dynamic that is outside Murray’s sociological purview is the stark reality that the Elite class is devoid of any real feeling for or interest in the common good or public weal.

That is, not only have the key institutions of American governance and power lost the memory and mechanics of good governance, the Elites running the institutions have become an inbred neofeudal Aristocracy characterized by an unexamined (and thus deeply adolescent) sense of entitlement to the reins of power and control of the national income.

It’s not just the institutions that have lost any conception of good governance– the Aristocracy ruling the nation has lost all interest or recognition of the common good. This is of course not unique to America; the same disregard for the common good is at the root of all developed-world and developing-world failed states.

The incestuous embrace of privilege and power by entrenched, socially isolated Elites characterizes failed states and brittle, doomed regimes throughout history.This is what the Status Quo everywhere is optimized for: protecting those who have secured the wealth, perquisites and power by strangling competition, democracy and social mobility.

If you want to pinpoint the one dynamic pushing the global economy into not just a prolonged recession but a parallel period of massive social instability, look no farther than the social and financial stagnation that results from optimizing the system to benefit the Elites and the entrenched incumbents who protect them from competition and the dispossessed debt-serf classes below. 


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  • MOLON LABE

    Yep, Will Russia and China Hold Their Fire Until War Is the Only Alternative? — Paul Craig Roberts September 25, 2014

    Obama’s September 24 speech at the UN is the most absurd thing I have heard in my entire life. It is absolutely amazing that the president of the United States would stand before the entire world and tell what everyone knows are blatant lies while simultaneously demonstrating Washington’s double standards and belief that Washington alone, because the US is exceptional and indispensable, has the right to violate all law. It is even more amazing that every person present did not get up and walk out of the assembly. The diplomats of the world actually sat there and listened to blatant lies from the world’s worst terrorist. They even clapped their approval.

    http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/09/25/will-russia-china-hold-fire-war-alternative-paul-craig-roberts/

    • tate matson

      The current president will be in jail one day–that must occur–his crimes are to great.

  • goingnowherefast

    I take exception to your assertion that elites use environmental restrictions to suppress the upward mobility of the middle class. What do you call the BP disaster in the gulf and the Obama administration’s

    weak response? What about mountain top removal? Monsanto’s infiltration of the FDA? The list of corporate environmental crimes is endless with the complete acquiescence of the federal government.

    • tate matson

      The regulations that the Obama Regime have been putting in place are meant to bring growth to a halt. Obama is a Vassal of a small group of super rich(the people who OWN the Federal Reserve) control him and Russia, China, and all of the Western Nations. These “people’s” endgame or Plan is to transition to a Global Government under the fabled Marxist Utopian. At least that is how they are trying to sell it to the masses. The media that they have always controlled(more of less) is now not so subtlety trashing Capitalism and pushing a more “shared” way of doing things.
      Regarding the Oil spill you talk about–Oil is natural–these Elites have brainwashed everyone to think Oil is dangerous or toxic–it comes from the break down of once living and breathing creature(including people) it is not toxic. Just like the whole Dangerous Oil Train fake news stories that are in the media constantly now—the joke is Imported Oil which comes from places like Saudi Arabia–our “news” media leaves out the part that all oil is transported that way(imported oil gets loaded on trains in ports all over this country)–except that Domestic Oil pays American’s high wages to produce it–and a lot of the oil goes to small independent drillers which is why the “elites” are trying to squash that in the bud. They are even lowering the price of oil down low enough to make fracking oil uncompetitive. The reason these “people” are doing this is because they do not want any nation to have a middle class–they do not want large groups of people anywhere to have any free money that could possibly be used to take them down. That is why they hate America/Western Nations and spent the last 100 years or so, taking over our governments and what media outlets they did not have to complete this effort.
      The really dark part of what these “people” are doing against the middle class is the vaccination program which is basically the dumbing down and the weakening of the peoples very DNA. 1 in 68 children born in the US today who gets the MMR vaccine(the elites and their children pass) will develop autism. 20 years ago prior to this MMR genocide it was 1 in 100,000. And lets not forget President Eisenhower(Jewish Marxist) who instituted the Fluoride or Fluidic Acid now days into our water supply. Fluoride is the chemical precursor used in anti-depressants–it has also been shown to lower IQ’s in children who live in areas that put this into their water(73% of the US) and it also messes with peoples thyroids, causes bone cancer in children, etc. The Elites being so frugal with their Trillion’s no longer buy or recommend buying actual refined fluoride for our drinking supply they now push a byproduct of industrial mfg–Fluoridic Acid–which still gives the lowered IQ, cancer and thyroid risks, pitted teeth(even though its whole point is to help fight cavity’s) but the Elites must of patted themselves on their TAILS since this acid also leaches the old LEAD WATER pipes that carry the water to most homes–causing a surge in lead in our water. In Seattle where I live–lead is now commonly detected in the water supply-and this “wonderful” liberal city pretends like our water is safe and everyone should drink up. Remember that evil b****** Michelle Obama’s “drink more water campaign” …maybe she is stupid–or maybe she is evil. Whatever these people’s reasons for doing what they are doing. The end result will be the destruction of society on a global scale. They are continuing their work in Genetics–and I would not be surprised in the distant future with technology increases and Robots becoming servants where they do not decide to get rid of all of us. If you think that is crazy–re-read and investigate for yourself what they have been doing to us throughout history. These are not people, they are animals………Humans real humans have higher brain functions–which includes Empathy one of the most amazing abilities that we Humans have. They are our lessor’s that is so clear.

      • goingnowherefast

        Oil is not toxic? Really? Why don’t you try drinking some and see what happens. The marine mammals don’t seem to fare well by it nor fish or plankton.

        I agree with your statements about fluoride and vaccinations, but not global Marxism. More like global corporatism which is the same thing as fascism.

        We can agree on one thing. The global elites want complete control over the rest of us and they’re well on their way to achieving it. Resistance is growing, but will it be enough before the trend irreversible?

  • Szandor

    Julien Benda’s little-known Trahison Des Clercs (Treason of the Intellectuals) is quite in line with this – intellectuals having joined the implicit (and explicit) service of Mordor & Co.

    But what truly freaks me is from whence they derive their caste disconnection from the rest of humanity,
    and begin to refer to ‘the masses’ (us …) with this wonderful distancing term.

    I am reminded of the standing ovation a man named Eric Pianka got for suggesting that an airborne
    ebola might handily carry off a great portion of ‘the masses’ for the benefit of the planet – and wondered
    where it was or had become implicit that he and his kind would be spared.

  • Andy B

    While the ongoing goal of the elites of wealth accumulation is a given, the more insidious ongoing agenda is depopulation. When you thoroughly research chemtrails, vaccines, fluoride, the Ebola patents, GMO food, and the future effects of Fukushima radiation, it becomes obvious that the goal of the elites for massive genocide, is occurring before out eyes, albeit on an incremental basis. Although I will be long gone, I wonder how many sheep will be around in 2050?