Contemplation on the “Parasite” Community
“[I]deals come to life in dozens of political transactions every day. Some of those transactions aren’t pretty. You can understand this and try to work with this knowledge, or you can look away. But ignoring politics will not make it stop. It will simply go on without you—and sooner or later will happen to you.”
–Richard Brookhiser, James Madison
Perhaps one of the more insightful things ever said by one of our founding fathers. Nevertheless, I am unsure what “ignoring politics” means any more. Liberals and conservatives bitch about how awful politics and politicians are and how turned off they are by the politicians antics. Often, they believe they actually participate by sending cartoons or slogans throughout the email (like I do) or unverified screeds as alas too many of my more conservative friends do. Perhaps that is all that can be expected.
Rather than voting, campaigning or even running for office, so many of us have “deputized” so-called activists (from the right or the left) or media pundits or moneyed interests to speak for us. Instead of direct representative democracy (if it ever existed) our elected representatives are actually these “deputies” to whom we have delegated our futures. Interestingly enough these “deputies” are not the rich, nor the poor, often neither liberal nor conservatives, but members of what I like to call the “Parasite” community; lobbyists, consultants, political commentators lawyers and the like whose income depends not only on the largess of those that pay them, but their ability to persuade their paymasters of the need for ever greater use of their services.
Yes, of course most of them work for so-called moneyed interests or for well-funded conservative causes, but what else can one expect when one allows the creation of a morally ambiguous fee based institution to mediate between various public interests.
Do not blame the rich, nor the workers they at best are merely the instigators and at worst costumers of the services marked to them. Once created, like any parasite it grows sucking off the life force of its hosts until they both die. Strangely enough, with each victory the parasite community brings to their wealthy hosts, they may very well be hastening the demise of both.
Isn’t it time we examine this community to see if it provides any real benefit at all. Are businesses really advantaged by the huge expense represented by this community? I would think that in many cases, given the financial returns received or many businesses would be better off tasking their engineering and marketing departments to find ways to achieve competitive advantage in the changed environment than paying a small fortune for some intermediary to battle some perceived threat to their bottom line.
Oh yes, many of them have achieved unbelievable returns over the past decade or two but how much of those returns were diverted into the pockets of their advisors and so-called middlemen. In fact, studies show that the rich have not benefited in terms of wealth or income increases anywhere as much as the leaders of the parasite community. Even worse these so-called “advisers” may very well have “advised” their clients themselves right up to the edge of the abyss.
Recently Democratic Senator Max Baucus “warned” the denizens of “K Street,” one of the major haunts of this parasite community (another is Wall Street) against encouraging their clients to contribute to the Republican Party; echoing the warnings of Republican Congressional leaders when they were in power to the same community. At first I thought this tit for tat was unseemly. Upon reflection however perhaps it is a good thing. If the employers of the parasite community recognize they would be better off directly petitioning their government than funding political party based lobbying company, maybe the K Street mob will begin to shrivel up and we all will be better off.
On the Role of Civil Society:
Why would anyone be morally bound or wish to be morally bound to a civil society that does not share the goal that it’s citizens deserve a fair distribution of wealth, income and power? If the civil society is not dedicated to that end what else could it possibly be dedicated to? What is freedom, to those without wealth, income or power?
On Economics as a Science:
In Science. a physical theory that is logically consistent may be considered truth only until falsified. In Economics, a sociological theory that is logically inconsistent is often considered true even when falsified.