Table of Contents
From the past to the present, crony capitalists and the corrupt among the elite have managed to get away with unethically profiting from a rigged layer of the economy by shrouding their practices in complexity. Their jargon and rhetoric lulls many of us, the citizenry, to sleep. We fail to recognize the serious damage this rigged layer has, and continues to, cause. Much like how we dismiss corporate crimes that involve billions in theft and harm the whole nation but heavily focus on street crimes.
Crony capitalists, ever since the 1970s, have potentially ripped us off of trillions of dollars. From worker wages to Wall Street, pharmaceuticals to the oil industry, we are likely the victims of rigged economy theft in many areas of our economy. Yet we shut off, blindly trust and leave matters to the experts who just might be helping those ripping us off.
Don’t believe us? Read on.
The Rigged Economy in History
- 9th-15th centuries: Feudalism (kings & queens) stratified society, endowing the royal few with disproportionate power. Commoners, given little choice, had to accept their position in society and lack of upwards mobility, internalizing their ‘inferiority’ as part of their nature. It took Jean Jacque Rousseau’s work on the Social Contract (and General Will) to wake up the commoners to the fact that all humans should be treated equally.
- 18th century: Before ‘the father of economists’ Adam Smith grew to prominence in the 18th century, workers were locked into “apprenticeships” until their employer, ‘the master’ of that profession, allowed them to compete. The master’s authority, in effect, stifled market competition and got him cheap labor. He could prevent his apprentice from creating their own business for 8 to 12 years. Moreover, many apprentices were driven out of the profession before they even received their master’s ‘blessing.’ Adam Smith’s magnum opus, The Wealth of Nations, dismantled this master-apprentice relationship, resulting in the end of a layer of the rigged economy.
- 19th century-21st century: Throughout American slavery and the Jim Crow era, the aristocracy implemented a devious scheme to keep the working class down. If there was a group (in this case, Black people) that had it even worse than the working class, then the latter would think their situation wasn’t so terrible. Black people unequivocally suffered the most, but the working class, as much as they perpetuated and often promoted racism, were unknowingly manipulated by the privileged class.
Also, during the industrial revolution, wealthy business owners cited ‘traditional family roles’ as justification for paying women a fraction of men’s salaries (40-60%). This systemized sexism allowed the rich to generate major profits on the backs of women they paid poorly. It wasn’t until the hard-fought success of the suffrage movement (1919) that women managed to receive rights they deserved from the beginning, including equal pay.
In every case, the powerful, the crony capitalists, forced and/or duped underserved groups (working class, women, slaves) into accepting the rigged economy. This crime, while undoubtedly grave, often elicited only grumblings and occasional complaints. We have been conditioned by those in power to downplay the rigged economy as a ‘small annoyance,’ a simple ‘fact’ of the world. We need a jolt, a wakeup call, to truly see that we are and have been victims of theft.
Your Wakeup Call
This mini-book serves as that wakeup call for you, the citizens/workers of today.
Jean Jacque Rousseau, with his vision of democracy, wrote ‘political pamphlets’ to eliminate Feudalism. In order for his ideas to truly effect mass societal change, he treated his writings as a scholar or philosopher should: with logic and academic rigor. His work, The Social Contract, got published in 1762. Notice how 14 years after the book had been published (1776), the American Revolution occurred. The French Revolution followed 13 years after that (1789). To illustrate how successful Rousseau was in his endeavor, you can find his ‘General Will’ concept in the opening paragraph of France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man.
Inspired by Rousseau and his methods, the Zero Theft Movement will take a methodical, philosophical approach to eradicate the rigged economy. I will examine and break down the methods crony capitalists have used to rig the U.S. economy against the American public. This knowledge will provide the foundations for understanding the current widespread economic inequality plaguing most citizens today.
Starting with the Rigged Economy Equation and the Rigged Economy Supply Chain.
The Zero Theft Movement does not have any interest in partisan politics/competition or attacking/defending one side. We seek to eradicate theft from the U.S economy. In other words, how the wealthy and powerful rig the system to steal money from us, the everyday citizen. We need to collectively fight against crony capitalism in order for us to all profit from an ethical economy.
Terms like ‘steal,’ ‘theft,’ and ‘crime’ will frequently appear throughout the book. Zero Theft will NOT adhere strictly to the legal definitions of these terms (since congress sells out). We have broadly and openly defined terms like ‘steal’ and ‘theft’ to refer to the rigged economy and other debated unethical acts that can cause citizens to lose out on money they deserve to keep.