There are times when the hypocrisy of the system that runs our society is so barefaced I have to sit down and have a breather before I can look at it again.
Two moments over the past week stand out as major classics of the hypocrisy genre.
Number one, in chronological order of me hearing about it and also in terms of the scale of the breathtaking utter crap it involves, centres on my personal favourite scapegoat for all the wickedness in the world, media shitlord Rupert Murdoch.
Did you happen to notice, amidst the noise of the annual Australia Invasion Day disconnect, that Uncle Rupert received a “lifetime achievement award” from the “Australia Day Foundation”.
First big laugh is this creaky old Yank getting any sort of award. Lifetime achievement? He made the news media in the English-speaking world into a megaphone for every reactionary cause, cheering on the Iraq invasion, talking down the dangers of climate change, promoting every right-wing nutjob leader who promised to make money for the billionaire sector and generally turning our democracies into bigger messes than they already were. He got his name in Jeffrey Epstein’s black book, created an army of crazy Fox and Sky watchers who are just dying to re-enact World War 2 and presided over a tax-dodging empire of financial skulduggery.
“Australia Day Foundation” (lol)
Second big laugh is that the Australia Day Foundation isowned by a bunch of big-bucks characters operating out of London, with the unsurprising backing of the Morrison Government. Its owners and sponsors comprise a list of many of the usual suspects: BHP, Rio Tinto, Woodside, Anglo-American and a couple of Australia’s shifty big banks. So, it’s just Murdoch’s mates and buddies giving him a pat on the back and dressing it up to look like its some piece of genuine recognition from actual Australians.
Third big laugh is that then the wizened old monster gets into The Australian Financial Review (which he doesn’t own but should, since it more or less sings from his songsheet on practically every topic) with a hilarious “acceptance speech” that whinges and moans that something called “woke orthodoxy” is stifling debate.
“For those of us in media, there’s a real challenge to confront: a wave of censorship that seeks to silence conversation, to stifle debate, to ultimately stop individuals and societies from realising their potential,” Murdoch said, somehow keeping a straight face.
From this foetid crank whose empire of one-sided lying partisan drivel has actively and ferociously suppressed rational and humane voices on any one of a hundred topics you could name while simultaneously promoting actively harmful ones, this statement takes hypocrisy to stratospheric new levels. Hyper-hypocrisy, if you like.
Meanwhile the Australian Government (which lives deep in Rupert’s pocket and feeds on loose change, pieces of lint and hanky dribble) is still pushing its plan to force global Godzilla Google to pay the Lifetime Achiever an estimated billion dollars a year for the privilege of distributing his fake news and camouflaged hate-speech. It’s a battle between two nasty monsters, and no matter who wins we punters will lose.
The next huge piece of hyper-hypocrisy relates to the mysterious world of the sharemarket, the beating heart at the core of the capitalist machine. What happened was really fascinating, and provides a great example of what the system is actually about.
Usually what happens in the sharemarket is the values of shares and other investment instruments linked to shares bob up and down from day to day (or indeed from microsecond to microsecond if you have a high-speed trading computer working for you). If you are so inclined it is possible to make quite a lot of money by buying particular shares on their low points and selling on the high points, but of course to make a lot of money it helps if you start with a lot of money and it helps more if you have inside information, trading experience or other advantages usually only found among a small and “elite” group of operators to whom the sharemarket is a natural environment.
Pushing piles of money around
Having very large piles of money to push around helps because very big trades create movements in value, so obviously big rich organisations are in the box seat while little punters are not. If it sounds like the racecourse that’s because it’s like the racecourse. Or a casino. The old idea, that shares are all about providing financial backing to worthy enterprises, takes a back seat to the gambling. There are well-fed people who make it their goal to manipulate share prices in a variety of ways so they can profit. They can and do really muck up good businesses, help put people out of work and strip cash from less cunning investors.
So what has been happening is that a horde of little investors, having managed to learn something about how some particular types of big share traders work, organised with each other to direct all their separate little bits of money towards the same stocks that some of the big traders were trying to drive down in value. While betting that these targeted stocks would fall, and by helping create the conditions necessary to make that happen, the big traders hadn’t dreamed they could be wrong-footed by lots of little people pushing in the opposite direction.
The hilarious hypocrisy comes next. Year after year, day after day, big share traders go about their business making money without worrying for one second whether their actions are harming other people in the real world. And nobody in government or in the great edifice of the financial world says a word because, hey, that’s life. Except this time, when the little mugs all worked together and made money by buying shares in GameStop at the expense of the big guys who were betting the farm on that stock falling in value, all the fat cats started screaming blue murder. All the extra buying pushed the price up, and hurt the fat cats in the only place they feel pain – their wallets. They squawked, of course. We need laws to make this stop happening they cried, and their captive governments naturally agreed. Stocks were suspended from trading. Lawmakers stroked their chins and mumbled about bad intent on the part of small investors and how to make that not happen again. Hahahaha. Outlawing bad intent in stock market trades. Hahahahahaha.
Here it is again. Proof positive that the system is designed, built and maintained to keep the fat cats in their comfy chairs and the smelly little rats and mice out in the barn where they belong.