The goal of this Maze Program is to uncover the corruption found in our current socio-political economy. It is to define privilege as the preferential treatment of the few over the many on the basis of wealth, nepotism, and cronyism. The big question we will be asking is if it’s fair that in today’s world it matters more who you know, rather than what you know, in all areas of life. It is to first understand weather this is in fact a pernicious global disease, and if so what is its antidote?
“For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others forever.” – Thomas Paine.
There will be 8 different sections of the maze, each with their own message.
The first will be dedicated to acknowledging the economic gap between the top 1% of society and the “glass ceiling” of the average American.
“Geniuses are made not born… but successful people are born, not made.”
An example to illustrate this point would be the fact that the top 25 American hedge fund managers earn an average of $1 billion per annum. Their total salary could pay for 658,000 teachers earning 38,000 per annum, and educate 13 million children.
Because of privilege, children born into a rich family instantly receive an unfair advantage over the majority of the people. The question posed would be does this produce a healthy society, in which equal opportunities truly exist for everyone? And if not, should there be a law that controls the ever widening gap that has doubled over the last 40 years between the rich and the poor? Should wealth distribution be monitored by government to ensure a fair race for all? Would there be a just reason to complain if say a person could only earn upwards to $1 million per annum after taxes?
The second theme will be based upon the misdirection of mainstream media, and how the majority of newspapers, television, and radio place unnecessary emphasis upon irrelevant short-term gossip. After all, they are all owed by huge corporations whose primary concern is that of the profit principal. There are about 1,500 newspapers, 1,100 magazines, 9,000 radio stations, 1,500 TV stations, and 2,400 publishers owned by only 6 corporations. The purpose of this is to understand how a distracted population ignorant of the function of their government guarantees a system susceptible to corruption. Are “bread and circuses” really enough to satisfy society?
The third point will be to discuss how the best slave is one that thinks they are free. People will work 10 times harder at their job when they believe they are earning a fair payment, however the truth is most people have no clue how the Federal Reserve combined with fractional reserve banking works to create money (and more importantly a debt that is literally impossible to pay off) out of thin air. In America our currency is of course not backed by anything, making it a fiat currency, which becomes easily susceptible to inflation. This would explain how our currency has incredibly lost over 98% of its value since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. Is this all just a coincidence? Is there truly a difference between the IRS and a mob that uses extortion to steal money from the people? Especially when filing Federal Income taxes is technically not written down as a law, but regardless is practiced as one anyway. Is there truly a difference between fractional reserve banking and how the Federal Reserve operates and a Ponzi Scheme? Where is the Bernard Madoff of the International Monetary Fund that has caused the global credit crunch that has cost governments (and hence taxpayers) more than ten trillion dollars? Why is no one in jail for causing that amount of damage to the economy? If terrorists had caused a fraction of that damage, they would be hunted until doomsday. And whatever happened to “No Taxation without Representation?” Has it died along with a politically aware consciousness? When the banks failed and caused the economic recession in 2008, due to their own risky practices in an attempt to increase their personal profit; who bailed them out? And yet did we ever get to step foot in one of their board meetings to join in on the discussions being made? Do we get to elect who’s in charge of the largest banks that control our economy? In reality the Federal Reserve isn’t even required by law to openly release to the public who earns profit from them or where that money is then spent. Now imagine if bank’s CEOs were appointed in the same manner as Supreme Court justices, with a remit to serve the public interest. Their salaries and bonuses should be comparable to those of government officials, namely good but far from spectacular.
Does it make any sense for any nation to permit its economy to be outside the direct control of the people? Bankers serve their own interests, not those of the people. To allow them to run the economy is as ridiculous as allowing Coca Cola to run the US Army. The economy, like the military, is too important to be left in the hands of groups and individuals outwith the nation's control. You can't have unelected, private corporations dictating to the people. The entire basis of the banking system is wrong and contrary to the healthy functioning of the economy. No one should vote for any political party that is not committed to making banks accountable to the people.
There should be a Supreme Economic Council - analogous to the Supreme Court - which explicitly sets out the nation's economic policy and the role of the banks. Imagine a Council with a complete overview of everything every bank is doing. The Council would immediately see if any bank were acting in a destabilizing manner. The Council would tightly regulate the salaries and bonuses of finance staff. They often refer to their financial package as "compensation", as though they are enduring some terrible trauma in horrific conditions, for which vast amounts of money are the only way to make their nightmare tolerable. They should try working down a coal mine, or in any minimum wage job. Then they will discover what a nightmare really is.
A government-controlled banking system can still be competitive and innovative. In the same way that military chiefs - without being paid stratospheric salaries and enormous incentive payments - can compete and innovate to produce more effective tactics and strategies, so can banking bosses. The military should be the model for the banking system: public servants serving the national good, people for whom duty and service to their country are far more important than personal profit. Generals and admirals are comfortably off, but don't belong to the ranks of the super-rich. Why should it be any different for bankers? Why can't they serve the nation rather than themselves?
If Wall Street can borrow money at .75% interest… so can college students as well? We need to stop treating students as profit centers. Banks and credit card companies purposely target such high-risk clients to then make a fortune off of. Why would this ever be allowed in a morally healthy society?
The fourth section is all about the “nuclear family” model vs. a community-based model. Because of this ideology, selfishness and greed has become the most sought after “American Dream.” The comfort of the rich depends upon the abundance of the poor after all. Their mantra is “As long as my family is doing well, to hell with whomever else. Someone must be doing badly, if my family is to do well. You can’t save everyone, so why bother trying?” Opposite this is the psychology of “Their fate is my fate. My quality is defined by their quality. Therefore it is in my interest to help them as much as I can, and to ask them to help me as much as they can. Together we rise. Apart, we fall.”
The fifth section functions to first reflect upon our campus’s collective voice on their current understanding of politics (via questions that will have circulated around campus weeks prior to the event), and to then take a critical and analytical look at what the prevailing political paradigm currently is. On the far left, we have Democracy… which is actually entirely controlled by the free market capitalist economy. Is it just a guise for a Plutocracy? Capitalism sets as its highest goal the consumption of junk in order to enrich the elite who control the manufacture of the junk. If you define yourselves by objects, then you yourself become an object. If your mentality is attuned to buying, then you yourself can be bought. And on the far right we have Communism. While Francis Fukuyama, in his New York Times best-selling book titled, “The End of History and the Last Man,” predicted that after the fall of Communism, the final evolutionary stage of government has resulted in America’s form of Democracy… does this actually hold true? One only has to ask who Democracy is currently benefiting… Cui Bono? If there is any belief left that we could be doing any better, what could then be extracted from Democracy and Communism, and what would be left out? The result is a Meritocracy based upon a Republic rule… rule of the people, for the people, by the most talented and hardworking of the people, as determined by the educated public. Just because someone turns 18, does that automatically give them a right to vote… in other words, does that automatically mean they understand the complex issues at hand and are able to determine the best person for the job? An uneducated population being allowed to vote guarantees a bad government. Driving is a privilege, why shouldn’t voting be as well? Who benefits from it being an inalienable right based solely upon surviving to one’s 18th birthday?
“If elections changed anything, they would be forbidden!” – Kurt Tucholsky. The truth is we are not allowed to vote for what really matters. There is a widespread delusion that people have genuine freedom and choice, when in reality our freedom and choice is one on which we get to choice where we shop in a capitalist society… not one where we get to equality choice the work that we will being doing for the rest of our lives because we have bills to pay. The success of “democracy” in persuading ordinary people that they have a degree of political power and can change their leaders every four years is nothing more than a detrimental farce. People think that changing their President is important when, in fact, it’s changing the Constitution and the political power structure of the nation that is the key to making a real difference. People evolve with time, why shouldn’t our Constitution do the same to meet the demands of the people its serving. Is that not the only way to ensure a properly governed society based on merit? Are we the same we were 200 years ago? Not to mention the idea of having a popularity contest between two individuals put forward by self-interested political parties (funded by corporations) is no basis for good governance of a nation. Vastly wealthier presidents above the average hard working man/woman should be a contradiction and illegal. “Politics” consists of the horse-trading of neuroses and psychoses dressed up as principles and just causes.
Imagine a 100% inheritance tax, where upon death all of the money you didn’t spend would go back into the community. Instead of producing more Paris Hilton's in society, everyone would finally be able to have equal access to quality teachers, food, etc. unlike today. Such is the lofty goal being practiced by Jeannette Brown of Project S.E.E.D.
The sixth section is dedicated to those who have lived out their lives on the fence… to all the “Last Men”… a tribute to the wall of the “Unknowns.”
The seventh section is meant to diametrically be opposed to the last section with the wall of the “Heroes.” Those who saw something they didn’t find fair in their time, and relentlessly sought to overcome it. The question will then be posed, which one will you be… how will you continue to live out your life?
The eighth section is left open for feedback and commentary from the audience. Lastly, in place of a sign-in-sheet, we will have an “Anti-Last Man Pledge” that states with this knowledge, you now take upon a responsibility to either share what you have learned or to creatively contribute your unique talents to the movement.
All of this would then be followed up with an open-discussion event where we will invite business and finance professors to join students on what they have learned from the maze and how the movement might continue to develop its cause for more to see.
Now that you've learned what I plan on sharing with others, my request would be to use the power of crowd-sourcing to help perfect this program and the message behind this. I ask if you could now reply in the comments area with any and all constructive criticism... even if you don't believe it could help because it's such a small point, I still ask to hear it. Together I hope this can create an ideological revolution.