Southern Lobbyists

Evan BayhA rumination prompted by the announcement that the cherubic dimple-cheeked Evan Bayh is about to go on the road as a shill for the secretive Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber is home to the commercial man, the middleman, the person who prospers by taking a “cut” from the producer and consumer side. In the bi-polar or bi-lateral arrangement of reality, there is no obvious place for the commercial man. This is and has always been perceived as a good thing because it means the position is uncontested. That is, the “trader” or, in the early days of European settlement, the “factor” has a free hand in claiming as much profit from the exchange and trade of goods as possible. Indeed, the best scenario is to “collect” or claim natural resources that are “free for the taking” and transfer their ownership for a fee. Even better, as the “oil industry” has managed to do, is to deplete those free resources and then claim compensation from the state for the deprivation.

That middlemen should be required to follow rules and regulations and actually pay for what they purport to sell is anathema. That’s not how it’s been done, ever since the crowned heads of Europe made grants of American trading territories and lands to their supporters in the commercial class. Indeed, you could say that the American Revolution was prompted by people who didn’t want to pay for the protection the British were providing against the natives who’d gotten fed up with being stolen from and having all their resources depleted.

The commercial class relies on exploitation, exportation, exclusion and expropriation. They are the ex-men. They are the class for whom our agents of government negotiate trade agreements and then back up the adverse arrangements with the use of or threat of force. It’s the essence of a triangular arrangement — triangulation. The state coerces and the commercial class reaps the profit. That producers and consumers, regardless of their physical location, get exploited goes without saying. That is, nobody ever talks about it because the middlemen are a law unto themselves.

The problem with economic analysis isn’t just that it can’t accommodate a dynamic system — i.e. change over time; it’s that the legacy of double-entry accounting has left us with a two-sided model of reality which leaves the middleman unaccounted for and uncounted. The middleman is a sort of free radical, if you will. Moreover, “speaking objectively” serves to obfuscate the role of the commercial middleman as parasitic agent entirely.

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Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."