October 5, 2013
A feeling of déja vu. Few exceptions apart, the opulent lifestyle and the near-total absence of a social or even a moral conscience are the hallmarks of today’s leading entrepreneurs. For them, increasing the size of their company or of their profits matters much more than the material satisfaction of the people working for them. In most cases, the latter are subcontractors from Asia, Africa or elsewhere in the world where work regulations are few or inexistent and salaries are indecently low. Nor are the countries in which they happen to operate able to share into their commercial success : through a maze of off-shore companies and other creative accounting methods, corporate and sometimes even sales taxes rarely get paid and then at very low rates, to the exasperation of politicians and state bureaucracies strapped for cash.
For the common man or woman, this type of amoral and harmful entrepreneurial behavior might seem unique to our time, especially after a prosperous period like the “Golden Sixties”.( in truth, for much of the period between 1945 and 1975 corporate taxes and personal income taxes for the rich averaged 80 %) In fact, the nouveaux riches from the inter-war period were every bit as callous and selfish as their counterparts today:
“The nouveaux riches live in magnificent houses […], in somptuous villas by the seaside or in luxury apartments […] They have the best and most expensive cars and they are displaying everywhere a luxurious lifestyle […]. Before, it was a privilege of the rich to spread their good fortune around: religion and morale incited them in this direction and in so doing, they were diminishing class hatred. Most of today’s nouveaux riches are amoral beings, unable to see anything beyond their immediate interests.[…] Every day, they are deepening the divide that exists between rich and poor, thus making the bed for bolshevism”. ( Yannick Marec, as quoted by André Gueslin, Les Gens de Rien, Paris, Fayard, 2004 pp.39-40)
The « official » religion of entrepreneurs and managers from Silicon Valley a few years ago ( I do not know if it still is) was a neo-pagan cult, called “The Burning Man” ( I have given an account of “Burning Man ” gatherings and practices in an article I published in 1999, “ Myth and Reality in Economic Clintonism” in Afaceri Banat from Timisoara,Romania).
NB. Readers should not get unduly alarmed: capitalism is not about to be undone by communism. It is fatally undermined by its own financiers and leading entrepreneurs.Florian Pantazi