Doing your job, are you just feeding the insatiable beast?

By Betty Lim - 20. May 2020

Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear. — Bertrand Russell

Has the latest pandemic made you realize that fear and scarcity control you by addicting you to a self-centered mode of survival? Ergo, the global runs on toilet rolls, masks, food supplies, etc.

Welcome to the paradigm we have co-created — where corporate persons (especially Big Business) control the access to our basic necessities (e.g. what we eat and drink, our health, where we live and just about everything about our lives). Since their exclusive reason for being is to have no greater god than growth, doesn’t this mean our lives revolve around serving them instead of them serving us and our wellbeing?

Narrowly focused on self-interest, you may not realize that hidden in plain sight is a massive Business-as-usual (BAU) Operating System (OS) of Control that took root in ancient times — let alone how it molds your behavior — making you a cog in the machine.

This operating system runs a powerful program that controls and manages everything to optimize systemic performance for its owners to legally control all of the world’s resources. At its core are corporate persons that control and weaponize us with money scarcity so that we self-organize accordingly. Set up in the nineteenth century, this program is likely modeled on the activities of the “original corporate raiders” (the East India Company).

The history and the systemic use of sovereign money, however, can be traced further back to ancient Rome:

The United States was born in debt. Wars have been fought with borrowed money at least since Rome instituted the practice. — John Steele Gordon, Hamilton’s Blessing: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Our National Debt

The legal concept that treats corporate entities as if they were persons to separate their legal obligations from their shareholders and directors also dates to ancient Rome. María Dueñas and colleagues in Corporate Social Responsibility for Valorization of Organizations detail how the legal approach from Roman law in the Middle Ages had defined a legal person (note the emphasis on performance):

“An entity capable of legal rights and duties: an entity that can own, buy, sell, enter into contracts and sue for legal breach of contract, or otherwise have standing as a plaintiff or defendant in the courts. This legal sense of personhood focuses on what persons do rather than what they are. It allows that an entity may be a legal person without being a natural person like an individual human being. To be a person on this conception, does not depend on the stuff out of which one is made but only on one’s performance, specifically one’s performance in the space of social norms.”

Through the might of the Roman Republic, Latin became the dominant language in Italy and, subsequently, throughout the western Roman Empire. It has since shaped the English language. For example, are you aware that “Government” is a word derived from the Latin verb Guverno? Since Guvernare means “to control” and the Latin noun Men, Mentis means “mind,” “Government” means to control the mind.

Money has been the key tool for this idea of control. All currencies were publicly controlled by the king and the pope in England until 1666, when through the English Free Coinage Act, Charles II transferred the control of money creation to private banks, i.e. corporations. Ambrose Bierce describes a corporation as “an ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility” (The Devil’s Dictionary, 1911).

But born into a corporate paradigm where you need a job/money to pay bills, are you even aware that jobs are a relatively new concept? Douglas Rushkoff explains:

The only ones losing wealth were the aristocracy, who depended on their titles to extract money from those who worked. And so they invented the chartered monopoly [i.e. no one had the right to engage in business without government permission]. By law, small businesses in most major industries were shut down and people had to work for officially sanctioned corporations instead. From then on, for most of us, working came to mean getting a “job.”

The Industrial Age was largely about making those jobs as menial and unskilled as possible.

Let’s connect more dots: Key building blocks of the Operating System of Control?

The term “robber barons” dates back to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It describes feudal lords who used corruption to increase their personal wealth and power. Feudalism was a class system in medieval Europe. Only the upper class could own land while the lower classes lived on and pledged loyalty and services to the feudal landlords to work on the land.

In the late nineteenth century, the term “robber barons” was revived to describe a class of extremely wealthy businessmen who used ruthless and unethical business tactics to monopolize crucial industries. With virtually no business regulations, they were able to exploit both workers and consumers. Matthew Josephson saw such industrialists as unscrupulous pirates fighting to control the nation’s economy:

“Those “kings” of railways, those monopolists of iron or pork, moreover, founded dynastic families which Charles A. Beard once likened to the old ducal families of feudal England. The expanding America of the post-Civil War era was the paradise of freebooting capitalists, untrammeled and untaxed. They demanded always a free hand in the market, promising that in enriching themselves they would “build up the country” for the benefit of all the people.” The Robber Barons, 1934

Now take for example Henry Ford in the USA:

“In 1910, Henry Ford created the factory-scale assembly line model, building on Frederick Winslow Taylor’s simplistic “scientific management theory” to try to increase the work rate and eventually, to reduce wages. That has always been at the core of management science. By breaking the assembly of the Model T Ford into the simplest repeatable activities any unskilled immigrant could do, Ford removed the need to think and turned work into a rote task. The less human the workers and the more they resembled machines, the better Ford’s system worked. Social Movements Powering the Future of Money, 2019

As Henry Ford got traction for corporations to pay workers a salary to produce the goods and services they required, the US Federal Reserve came into being in 1913. The same year, the US Bureau of Internal Revenue was established to impose a tax on income — it was renamed the Internal Revenue Service in 1953.

The following year, World War I started (1914–18). The Inter-Parliamentary Union — the oldest governmental organization and one you have probably never heard of — was formed 25 years earlier. Its calls for an international institution linking governments likely laid the foundations for the creation of the League of Nations (LoN) and the United Nations (UN). The LoN was founded in January 1920, following the Paris Peace Conference that ended World War I. The International Labour Organization (ILO), the first and oldest specialized agency of the UN, was founded under the LoN.

Subsequently, an economic measure was reinvented to reinforce the corporate control system:

Circa 1934, the 1971 Nobel Memorial Prize laureate Simon Kuznets presented the modern concept of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to the US Congress. However, it was only after the 1944 Bretton Woods conference that GDP gradually became the main tool for measuring a country’s economy. World War II was crucial to its political acceptance as indicators of national development and progress. Once war reconstruction began, GDP enabled salaries to be institutionalized globally and our predecessors to become numbers-chasing machines. Social Movements Powering the Future of Money, 2019

The world wars never really ended. Today, that’s just Business-as-usual

War becomes perpetual when it is used as a rationale for peace. — Norman Solomon

In 1648, much of Central Europe was devastated by the Thirty Years’ War. To avoid a repeat, the Peace Treaty of Westphalia birthed the founding of nation-states on a fundamental principle — a state’s sovereignty.

A state’s sovereignty as defined by

The supreme, absolute, and uncontrollable power by which an independent state is governed and from which all specific political powers are derived; the intentional independence of a state, combined with the right and power of regulating its internal affairs without foreign interference.

Sovereignty is the power of a state to do everything necessary to govern itself, such as making, executing, and applying laws; imposing and collecting taxes; making war and peace; and forming treaties or engaging in commerce with foreign nations.

The LoN was the first worldwide intergovernmental organization vested with the principal mission to maintain world peace. Alas, it failed to do that.

So, following the Bretton Woods Conference (formally known as the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference) in New Hampshire in 1944, a new rules-based international monetary system was agreed upon. In April 1946, the UN took over the mandate, properties and assets of the LoN to strengthen the power of international organizations.

To prevent future wars, the UN aims to maintain international peace and security by protecting human rights, by delivering humanitarian aid, by promoting sustainable development and, most importantly, by upholding international law.

To be seen to be taking steps toward lasting peace, the UN outlawed wars of aggression (wars not fought in defense). In the late 1940s, the US Congress adopted a series of laws renaming (and reorganizing) the American national military establishment — the Department of War became the Department of Defense. Other countries subsequently followed the US’s example.

After World War II, the UN charter formed the basis for reconstructing Europe and developing the third world. It was the first fully negotiated monetary order intended to govern monetary relations among independent states based on a gold-dollar exchange standard, namely:

Countries settled their international accounts in dollars, pegged to gold at a fixed exchange rate of $35 per ounce. Because the US owned more than half the world’s official gold reserves at the end of World War II — 574 million ounces — that logic made sense.

The Bretton Woods system was only fully operational in 1958. But by 1966, non-US central banks held $14 billion while the United States had only $13.2 billion in gold reserve. Of that, only $3.2 billion covered foreign holdings as the rest was covering domestic holdings.

Participating countries also realized they were supporting American living standards and subsidizing American multinationals. In February 1965 President Charles de Gaulle announced his intention to exchange its US dollar reserves for gold at the official exchange rate. After West Germany left the Bretton Woods system in May 1971, other nations began to demand redemption of their dollars for gold. (Source: Wikipedia/Nixon Shock)

Sovereign money went from being backed by gold to being made legal tender (a fiat system — “currency that is not backed by a physical commodity, such as gold or silver, but rather by the government that issued it,” James Chen, “Fiat Money,” 2020

Was this so that nation-states could enact monetary policies without being limited by their gold reserves? By decoupling the US dollar from gold, Richard Nixon was able to shove the greatest fiat currency experiment onto humanity in August 1971.

In The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality (2019), Katharina Pistor explains that (fiat) capital is created behind closed doors in the offices of private attorneys, and why this little-known fact is one of the biggest reasons for the widening wealth gap between the holders of capital and everybody else.

John Pilger has called two offshoots of the Bretton Woods system — the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank — “weapons of war” as money from the World Bank, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and other foreign “aid” organizations are funneled into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet’s natural resources.

Ivo Mosley explains: “War, of course, is another form of robbery-made-legal. Laws in support of crime are nothing unusual: Think of laws supporting slavery, Nazi race laws, laws giving women’s property to their husbands. For many centuries, war was considered glorious and our banking system is a leftover from that time. It is a continuation of war by other means. In the words of economist Michael Hudson:The object of warfare is to take over a country’s land, raw materials and assets, and grab them. In the past, that used to be done militarily, by invading them. But today you can do it financially, simply by creating credit.”

Historically, money has gone hand in glove with war, trade and politics. All are based on unnatural behavior and competition. But is this how the UN has become the central governing body that signals governments to use national fiat currency to control their citizens so everyone willfully builds and grows business empires to control the world’s resources?

Governance is not government — it is the framework of rules, institutions, and practices that set limits on the behavior of individuals, organizations and companies. (UN Human Development Report, 1999)

The year before the world’s first longest, deepest and most widespread depression, Edward Bernays, the “father of public relations,” published Propaganda. Through “the engineering of consent,” Sigmund Freud’s nephew provided leaders with the means to “control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it.” Instead of appealing to the rational mind, he had targeted the unconscious. Hired by corporations and governments to use emotions against humans, Bernays believed:

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, and our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of … It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.

After World War II, there was more supply of goods than demand so our forefathers were coerced into a lifestyle of need and want, to buy more. Thanks to having salaries, humans were flipped into being “consumers” — to feed into a debt-based model — so that Big Business could have no greater god than growth.

With these building blocks in place, isn’t this how the opaque BAU OS works?

     How the opaque BAU Operating System of Control works

When human atoms are knit into an organization in which they are used, not in their full right as responsible human beings, but as cogs and levers and rods, it matters little that their raw material is flesh and blood. — Norbert Wiener

As corporations dispense salaries in exchange for whatever makes us human (our value), working for a paycheck often means we either fight to find/keep a job and/or fight to create/sustain one. Because fear and scarcity have us fighting one another to get ahead/survive, has doing your job brought out your worst, even if you have the best of intentions?

The most fundamental lesson of our study {is that} ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority. — Stanley Milgram, Obedience to Authority (1974)

Like the LoN — the UN has failed, but the Bretton Woods agencies are still around today.

At the second Earth Summit (the UN Conference on Environment and Development) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, Agenda 21 was launched as a “comprehensive blueprint for the reorganization of human society.

But everything has fixated you on physical forms — e.g. nation-states are physical territories so many readily identify themselves within national borders. The ownership of physical assets like homes, cars as well as the rising costs of living has also seen many give away their human value in exchange for money.

Last June, the UN quietly signed a memorandum with the World Economic Forum — the backbone of the Fourth Industrial Revolution — to implement the Strategic Partnership Framework for Agenda 2030 (aka the Fourth Industrial Revolution/Sustainable Development Goals).

Check out the UN’s Global Goals, including the privatization of the Earth’s commons and the United Nations Foundation Partnerships. (Gif courtesy of Cory Morningside and Alex Duffy).

The Fourth Industrial Revolution will likely transition all of us into a virtual reality. By folding you into the OS, Shoshana Zuboff has observed, “You are not the product, you are the abandoned carcass.”

Since transnational corporations increasingly control the access to our survival, the world is their oyster.

James B. Glattfelder shares that 737 top shareholders (about 0.1 percent of the players/ shareholders) collectively control 80 percent of transnational corporations’ value. The core 147 players collectively control half (40 percent). Most are financial institutions in the US and the UK. Of the top 50, 45 are financial firms like Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and UBS.

Because most of the money in circulation today is digital, banks are already data companies. In July 2018, Business Insider reported that 25 giant companies were bigger than entire countries.

As corporate persons control you with money scarcity, have you unwittingly commoditized, monetized and weaponized anything and everything for this OS? Doing your job, have you been feeding the beast so profit/power hungry Big Business can keep expanding their transnational empires?

Property ownership as we know it is under attack and fading fast. The Internet of Things and digital property ownership systems are being built on the old feudal model.— Joshua Fairfield, Owned: Property, Privacy, and the New Digital Serfdom, 2017

The latest BAU gold rush: Back to feudalism?

International relations (IR) from the mid-17th century to the mid-20th century were founded on the decisions by the Peace Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 that ended the Thirty Years War. However, from the beginning of the 21st century, the IR are once again more and more framed by the international standards established in 1648.—

In May 2019, the IMF released a Global Financial Stability Report titled Vulnerabilities in a Maturing Credit Cycle. Is the IMF signaling that the global fiat currency experiment is ending? Does this mean that similar to what Nixon did in the early 70s, we are going to be shoved into the use of data? Possibly via a form of Universal Basic Income?

Are the Bretton Woods agencies and other international organizations preparing to transition us from the world’s dumbest idea (with money) to the world’s most dangerous idea (with our data) so that instead of being customers, we become human batteries?

Because as data becomes the future of (no) money, what’s changing is not the direction but merely the forms. Hidden in plain sight, the OS is intact as technocrats, scientists, NGOs and maybe even you sell us your distributed and/or decentralized offerings.

As if that matters as the OS centralizes everything via money and data.

The typical BAU mindset is conditioned to think within the confines of control and scarcity. As a cog, has your self-interest unwittingly self-organized you to co-create a complex global rent-seeking machine? As fear and scarcity drive you to be the “greatest fool” with your money, have you forgotten what it means to be human?

To do his job, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, wants to reset the balance of power on the web but his intention “is (still) world domination.”

Can we really solve our problems with the same thinking and doing used to create this BAU OS? It will take more than a change of form (e.g. name, money, business model) to have corporate persons serve our wellbeing. That calls for a total change of direction — a new way of thinking and doing.

Or is 21st century feudalism just ahead?


Betty Lim

Betty Lim - An empath with INTJ inclinations, I observe behaviors systemically perpetuated by the ‘Age of Nonsense’ to share why we need a paradigm shift to True Abundance. Very special thanks to Sean Carney for banner illustration © Sean Carney 2020 and to Katherine Bosiacki for the fantastic editing.

This article is the first in a series to explore how the Operating System controls your behavior as the author continues to observe if humanity is ready to catalyze the shift from Control to Empowerment.

















Rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic