Sunday, December 22, 2013

Divide and Conquer

We will be very brief this week.  One article of note is a Reuter's report by Ernest Sheyder about the US Amish in Ohio:  To Flee Ohio Oil Boom. It perfectly describes the divide-and-conquer technique that we have referred to on occasion.

Several oil companies are spending billions to develop Ohio's Utica shale formation, buying up drilling rights in areas that have been quiet, bucolic farming regions for many years. Some Amish, who tend to live simple lives and tend not to use anything but human- and animal-powered tools because of their religious beliefs, are living right on top of these oil and gas reserves. The encroachment of oil and gas technology with its noise, crowding, oil rigs, and storage tanks, is changing their way of life. Roads that used to carry many Amish horse-and-buggy vehicles are now dominated by trucks and equipment. Oil trucks have already been involved in several fatal accidents with these buggies. The Amish are faced with an unpleasant choice:  move away from the homes they have developed for many years or adapt to the destruction of their way of life. Fortunately for some of the Amish, the oil companies are offering enough for drilling rights so that they can afford to move.

When the rich set their sights on a region, it is difficult for the poor to resist. Sure, if they could stand together and none of them sell out, they could maintain their way of life. But they will not because some of them need the money more than others. Perhaps they have special health issues that require more money than they have.

Once a few of them sell out, it is easier and cheaper for the rich to pressure the rest. The Amish are easy targets because they do not like environments filled with dangerous motor traffic, noise, and overt technology. All the rich have to do to run the Amish out of Ohio is let oil field development take its course. As the region becomes more and more unpleasant to them, the Amish will have less and less bargaining power for royalties. Eventually it will cost hardly anything at all to force out the last of them.

At the same time that the rich are making what may become an industrial wasteland out of parts of rural Ohio, they appear also to have plans for San Francisco. We talked about the protests against Google and other high-tech companies in our post Revolt in District 4. The effort in San Francisco is to run off the people who have lived there "forever" and change the nature of the neighborhoods into higher-priced, higher-profit tenant-in-common and condominium arrangements. San Francisco is to become the very pleasant and safe suburb of Silicon Valley.

Are these kinds of changes to rural Ohio and to San Francisco really what our society wants? We do not know because the question never gets asked. In our economic system, the rich make these decisions and make their plans without reference to the poor. The poor get bullied and pushed around without much recourse, or even public comment. Most people do not even realize what is going on.

Another advantage of's multiple exclusive currencies and markets, therefore, is that these plans could not be carried out in even a semi-secret fashion. Such large deals would have to be negotiated in public view because the rich could not make private deals with poor individuals. They could not use their divide-and-conquer technique in secret. Whatever the final results of these deals would be, the decisions would not be made by the few for the many as they are today. Support

The way capitalism should be.

Socialism for the socialists and capitalism for the capitalists.

TheOtherSideOfCapitalism (

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