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The power that has the potential to impact your life and general wellbeing has left the room! Sad as it maybe weapons of mass distraction, having been brought to bare have rendered most of us completely oblivious to anything untoward happening.

We are like the prisoners in the allegory of The Cave, let me elaborate. Socrates, in the allegory of The Cave, describes a group of prisoners who have lived all their lives chained to the wall in a cave. These people spend their days watching the shadows projected onto the blank wall as objects pass in front of an external fire that sits directly behind them. The prisoners name these shadowy fragments of reality and come to view the shadows as their entire reality. However the prisoners reality, to an enlightened outside observer, is only a partial representation of the existence that they experience through their senses. The objects casting the shadows are in fact the actual reality, but alas this truer reality is never known whist the prisoners are in the cave. This is akin to the obscuring of personal realities given real power is quietly moving out of our individual and socially collective reaches. This appears to be happening largely unchallenged and at an increasingly disturbing pace.

The age of reason and the enlightenment allowed us, through no mean feat of social struggle, to wrestle power away from the divine right of the monarchy and church. Fealty to your lord, total submission to your bishop, were overt social norms prior to parliamentary secular forms of government. This golden age of representative government lead us to believe that democracy was alive, kicking and that we had power in the palm of our own hand. We, as citizens and not subjects, had the right to vote as an entry level gesture to democracy and we had at least superficially some influence over government and our lives.

If money is power then in the following single expression of the spread, and one can assume exercise of power, we are scuppered indeed. The following is a very cursory and sadly illuminating analyse of a power distribution in play. It provides an indication only of our own civil power set against the vastness of other entrenched power bases:

Social Power Credit

Taking us as citizens first and the government as our power proxy it is expected that the direct tax revenue will be just short of £900 billion in 2023. This is made up of £306.7 billion of income tax, £158.1 billion in National Insurance collections, £348.2 billion in indirect taxes and £82.9 billion in Business revenue (https://www.ukpublicrevenue.co.uk/current_revenue).

This is the power that approximately 70 million of us in the UK can use to indirectly exercise power at arms length over our own wellbeing through representative parliamentary democracy. 

Social Power Deficits

  1. By comparison the top twenty UK companies alone, expressed as annual revenue, account for £1,103 billion (https://www.statista.com/statistics/1111246/largest-uk-based-companies-revenue/).
  2. Portfolio managers in London oversee about £8,500 billion in assets (circa 2019) for savers in funds and mandates.
  3. Separately, the daily turnover of foreign exchange instruments being a poultry £471 billion in 2001 had risen to a staggering £3,108 billion by 2019 (https://ig.ft.com/mapping-london-financial-centre/).

The above (points 2 & 3) are only a small sliver of power that can be exercised over us all in the UK by corporations, fund managers, pension funds, ultra-rich individuals or other unelected interests. Keep in mind that the world acts in concert as an enterprise of swirling finance, expressing itself without geographical boundaries, all as a consequence of the spread of world free market neoliberalism.

Money is only one of the many social energies that wields power from the shadows. This leaves parliamentary democracy, very much in a social power deficit, whilst appearing to the average Joe or Jane as being the seat of collective social power.

We focus on images beamed from our media devices and as they flicker into life on the screen we are oblivious to the turning tide of power politics. We are in the cave watching the figures dance about in our seat of democracy completely unaware, or some would say uninterested, that our long fought over power base is increasingly falling through our fingers. What we have ended up with is murky finance working in the shadows with obfuscation and much complexity to subvert our many hard fought for personal freedoms. 

As I’ve suggested before the freedom to, in this case being expressed as free market finance, has an increasing potential to trump the balancing freedom from in the power equation. Steal yourself and seek knowledge and understanding to escape from the cave of unreality.