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Economic Darwinism and The Lion’s Share, Revisited

Profile photo of Jim Pease 37 By jpenergy
September 5th, 2012

Ed. Note: This post references an earlier post, located at:
http://piqscore.com/2012/06/economic-darwinism-and-the-lions-share/

Economic Darwinism and The Lion’s Share revisited

  • On the African plain, a kill made by a pride of lions is cause for celebration. Not just for the lions, but for everyone in the local ecosystem.  With the exception, of course, for the animal that got killed.  Lions are skilled hunters, following an amazing, time-proven ritual: they study a herd, pick their intended target,   (the weakest) stealthily and patiently stalk it, make their move, chase it down, and make the kill. Having killed their meal, lions eat until they are full, and leave the rest for the others… hence, the term “The Lions’ Share.” Also insuring the continued health of the herd of say Wildebeest by culling the sick or aged and leaving the breeding opportunities to the youngest and healthiest buck.
  • After the lions are finished, they are followed by hyenas and jackals, who eat until they, too, are gorged; they leave enough for vultures and other scavenging birds; they, in turn, are followed by smaller mammals, and smaller birds of prey; finally, insects and their larvae will pick the bones clean. This is  a reasonable assessment of life on the Kalahari plains.

However the loins share is a matter of psychics a loin weighs several hundred pounds, a Jackal perhaps 60 lbs. thus the loins share is a matter of required intake to maintain its size. The Jackal eats less as it has less mass to sustain.

To use this analogy to support the disparity of economics in America is at best Pabulum or self-serving fallacy. Human Society is not life on the Kalahari even among the Bushmen who life there this model is not workable, among the Bushmen the chief shares an equal portion with others according to the caloric needs. The chief does get some benefit of his position but also takes the greater share of risk as he is expected to lead the hunt and to sacrifice for the tribe. The chief is first killed in battle, in tribal culture the chief does not lead from the rear.

The Bushmen and even perhaps the Lion knows that all the inhabitants of the Kalahari though they may at times be in competition are always in symbiosis and one cannot long survive and flourish without the other, each fulfill a critical role from dung beetle to Wildebeest. If one of these players were to usurp his position and gain too great of focus the entire ecosystem breaks down very quickly.

Among Native American peoples as the story goes, The Lakota peoples in the early 1800’s found two white trappers freezing to death in the hills and brought them back to they’re camp along with the small deer they had killed to feed the tribe. At the feast the guests were give first place in the line. The Trappers took huge portions for the richest and fattiest meat leaving little or nothing for those who killed the deer and rescued them. Amazed the Lakota people, with they’re Humor dubbed them Wascichu’s  ( the fat takers, those who live off the fat) a play on words between white and fat called (Wasci) this name has stuck for over two hundred years describing those who take more than they need to leave others without. The Lakota and other Native people could never understand people who cannot the age old wisdom of symbiosis.

In our modern society the debate today is how much power and money is too much, when is the riches of the top percentile a detriment to the host society?

In 1785 Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison:

The property of this country is absolutely concentrated in a very few hands, having revenues of from half a million of guineas a year downwards. These employ the flower of the country as servants, some of them having as many as 200 domestics, not laboring. They employ also a great number of manufacturers and tradesmen, and lastly the class of laboring husbandmen. But after all there comes the most numerous of all classes, that is, the poor who cannot find work. I asked myself what could be the reason so many should be permitted to beg who are willing to work, in a country where there is a very considerable proportion of uncultivated lands? These lands are undisturbed only for the sake of game. It should seem then that it must be because of the enormous wealth of the proprietors which places them above attention to the increase of their revenues by permitting these lands to be labored.

 

I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable, but the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property, only taking care to let their subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of the human mind. The descent of property of every kind therefore to all the children, or to all the brothers and sisters, or other relations in equal degree, is a politic measure and a practicable one. Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions or property in geometrical progression as they rise.

Jefferson observed that “consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind” he was talking of France at that time but knew also the War recently won was for economic opportunity for everyone not the system as it existed in Europe of 1785. Shortly after this letter was written the economic inequity its inherent corruption spilled into the street of Paris and erupted in the bloody French Revolution. The Moneyed Aristocracy was overthrown and executed, the now famous quote by Marie Antoinette “let them eat cake” highlighted the disconnect between the rich aristocracy and mercantile class often called Magnates and the common man.

Both Jefferson and Madison saw the need to keep from our shores the methods of concentration of power that led to both the American revolt against the English Mercantile Aristocracy control of economic activity that shook the American public into action against the greatest world power of its time.

But America was a nation in flux with it new freedom came opportunities for corruption and malfeasance. Jefferson had a mistrust of concentration of power and never was close to Alexander Hamilton who sought to use his position as close associate of George Washington to have Washington declare himself king. Washington declined but Hamilton sought then to set himself up as head of the new Bank of the United States modeled after the British Banking system that American had just rebelled against. Debate was heated and hatreds were developed as politics and finance began to intrude upon the unity of the nation.

“ If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their  currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks…will deprive the people of  all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered…. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.” – Thomas Jefferson in the debate over the Re-charter of the Bank Bill (1809)

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.” – Thomas Jefferson

The Private Bank that controlled the currency held enormous power over the nation. Hamilton used all of his political skill and acumen to establish the bank and to control its mandate but Jefferson and Madison kept him under a tight reign. Political animosity ran deep until 1804 when Hamilton was killed by Aaron Burr, Jefferson’s vice president.

 

  • Humans can learn a lesson from the lion and the ecosystem he supports. In our “habitat,” called free market economics, the business world is how we provide for our families; so in a very real sense, it’s mankind’s own test of “survival of the fittest.”

 

In the real world the poor are much more likely to survive in a survival of the fittest context, they are more used to fighting for their portion than the CEO’s. It is pure naiveté to think poverty is an easy life and these people don’t work. Many work two jobs I have known many millionaires and some billionaires in my life and some used these type analogies to foist their ideology on others, but when confronted by the realty of their contention they always shy away because they know it hold no water.

The CEO’s may know how to manipulate a sale or avoid a tax burden, and increase profits but this just as often not true. CEO’s pay scale at approx. 350 times that of the average worker is a drain on the resources of the company at a far higher degree than the average worker. The CEO’s does not work 350 times harder or put in 350 times the hours. In pursuit of the ever increasing profit margin that might warrant the huge bonus and golden parachute, too often the CEO’s and Board members have cut jobs or sent them offshore increasing the short term profits but slowly eroding the value of the company’s assets. Which is worth more a company with a highly skilled, motivated,  well paid  workforce located in a stable environment with consistent production values, or one with low pay, low production  values, low skill workforce?

The high pay and inherent disparity in the values of our workforce has long term negative effects, beyond just the historical danger of disparity leading to overthrow of the existing order. Although that has always been the case, in 6000 years of recorded history in China every dynasty has fallen in times of disparity and economic turmoil.

Shared success and failure is a cornerstone of human society, building trust and mutual goals are the basis for team building and business is more successful in a team atmosphere we achieve more.

We get better results when we are a unified force. Disparity of pay and station undermines worker confidence in the leadership as it become obvious that reward will not be shared equally. Sun Tzu the often quoted author of the oldest book on tactics written 2400 years ago, suggested the division of spoils as first to the foot solider then the sergeant, then the lieutenant, then the captain, and so forth. As a wise general he knew that the core of his success lies not just in tactics; but in commitment of his subordinates.

  • Look at countries who’ve embraced anti-Capitalistic policies: though their leaders and party members live like royalty, their people have some of the lowest standards of living on the planet. And yet, despite history being littered with proof that these types of social models are abject failures, the United States has leaders who want to take us down that same, wretched path.

By anti-capitalistic policy I am led to guess the author might be talking Social Democracy as in say Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Australia etc. all of them have a higher living standard than the USA, better medical care and higher per capita incomes.

Contrast that with pure capitalist countries that have no social safety net, such as Honduras, Guatemala, most of sub Saharan Africa are the poorest areas of the world. These also have the highest disparity between rich and poor.

This disparity is also reflected in the political arena as those with disposable income influence the politics in their favor and move ever more burden to the declining middle class. Class warfare is not the exclusive domain of the rabble rousing leftist. What name is the warfare represented by the rich making exclusive rules for their communities and privileges that not everyone shares? The 1% do not mingle with the 99% for the most part they live in exclusive areas and mingle with their peers. They demand attention from their political representatives and they get it, because they pay for it.

It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth can not be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society — the farmers, mechanics, and laborers — who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing.  Andrew Jackson.

  • After all, not every lion prefers life in the wild: some prefer to just lay around, and wait for others to feed them

 

That statement alone stands as a monument to conceit, and is absolutely absurd and exhibits the same self- serving misrepresentation and lack of understanding of nature that is prevalent throughout the writer’s thoughts. No loin has ever submitted to capture because it wanted a free lunch, Lions are not that deductive in their reasoning. They are creatures of instinct; ask anyone who has worked with a loin they will attack even trained if the instinct takes over.

Humans are not lions they live in dynamic ever evolving societies.

Not so easily does a people liberate itself from it’s social past. Many ideas, customs, and intolerance too, cling on unperceived by those who think that they live in days where all things are new.  ( Hewlett Johnson, 1940 )

More  on this later…

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 5th, 2012 at 4:57 PM and is filed under Uncategorized.

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