2 The New Dark Ages: Nobility or the Owner Class.

            Once upon a time, a Baron brooded in his hall.  “Lord,” the Chamberlain spoke up, but the Baron just shuffled his papers.

            “I don’t get these accounts,” the Baron complained.  “The harvest is in and our sales have been made, plus the taxes have been collected, but it doesn’t make any sense.”  He waited for an explanation, but the Chamberlain wisely remained silent.  “Send for my treasurer, and while you are at it, send in my court jester.  I could use some entertainment.”

            “Lord,” the Chamberlain tried again and spoke when the Baron looked up.  “The Archbishop has come for the tithe.”

            “Tell him to wait.”     

            “And the bishop is with him.”

            The Baron blanched.  “Tell him to sit on it.”

            “And the King’s representative is coming here in the morning with a group of priests to check the books for the taxes.”

            The Baron jumped to his feet.  “Quick.  Get my court magician, my sage, my court astrologer.  I need a spell against these dreaded men.  And while you’re at it, cancel my jester and get my physician.  I have a headache.”

###

            Once upon a time, a CEO brooded in his office.  “Sir,” the Secretary spoke up, but the CEO just shuffled his papers.

            “I don’t get these accounts,” the CEO complained.  “The product is in port and our sales have been made, plus the taxes have been collected, but it doesn’t make any sense.”  He waited for an explanation, but the secretary wisely remained silent.  “Send for the CFO, and while you are at it, turn on some music.  I could use some entertainment.”

            “Sir,” the secretary tried again and spoke when the CEO looked up.  “The EPA has come for the carbon credits.”

            “Tell him to wait.”

            “And the FDA is with him.”

            The CEO blanched.  “Tell him to sit on it.”

            “And the Treasury assistant secretary is coming here in the morning with a group of accountants to check the books for the taxes.”

            The CEO jumped to his feet.  “Quick.  Get my lawyers, accountants and PR people from the compliance department .  I need a spin against these dreaded men.  And while you’re at it, turn off the music and get my doctor.  I have a headache.”

###

 

Welcome to the New Dark Ages

            In our day, the owner class might not actually own anything outright, but they run things.  They function as chief officers in the corporations, sit on each other’s boards as directors, and make money from having money.  What they own are investments and with interest and dividends they constitute the top one or two percent or so of wage earners (covering maybe two to three million people in the United States). 

            Curiously, like the medieval lords, the harder you and I work, the more money they make in bonuses and increased stock values.  Too bad we don’t (generally) make more as well.  Also, in case you haven’t noticed, when one of these people does such a terrible job they ruin a company, they don’t stay unemployed for long.  They get another CEO or CFO or COO job quickly.

            Now, these are the people who could retire after working only one or two years.  They would have enough money to buy a modest house, travel when they want, buy a new car every year, pay all their own medical expenses as they age, and still have some left to leave to their descendants – and after only one or two years of work.  Of course, these people don’t think this way.  And they will tell you, honestly enough based on what they consider “work” that they have worked hard for all they have gotten.  Then comes the fib: “And you can too.”

            Sure.  I mean the son of a serf can join the army and through good service be granted lands, be knighted, maybe even given a real title, and though appropriate marriages perhaps see a great-grandchild on the throne…but not likely.  These days, these things are more by blood than you might think, and they are also by networking: who you know, not necessarily what you know.  And most of all, the old adage is true.  It takes money to make money.

            True, an entrepreneur might have the greatest idea in the world, but they still need financing.  If you ever saw that show “The Shark Tank,” you might have noticed that the people with money can command a controlling interest in the product or service.  Then, with success of those products or services, the children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren of those sharks might not have to work a day in their lives; but as I said, these people don’t think this way.

            The Owner Class is appropriate because these people make so many decisions about the products and services available to us they affect all of our lives.  This is even more true when they are elected to office.  And don’t be fooled, most of the people who run for “public office” are part of the Owner Class.  And, once in office, they can appoint people to head various departments and such, like the nobility of old appointed second sons and the like to various high church offices.  The point of that, however, will have to wait, because first I need to explain about the various servants of the Owner Class.

            The Barron had his jester, treasurer, court magician and astrologer, physician and Chamberlain.  Owners have entertainers, accountants, lawyers and physicians at their call as well.  Next time…

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