> you can cut spending by cutting social programs AND cutting
> the defense budget
You do realize the welfare is part of the loyalty program, don't you? If it didn't exist, anti-capitalism in the modern plutocracy would be much stronger.
> I love my people
What if you had to choose between helping your people survive versus enslaving them to pay bankers and the nominal "owners" of companies?
2012 May 1
in a status economy people can only win if others lose, because success is relative.
if you have 10,000 dollars to spend you'll spend it on the stuff you really really need and get the most welfare from. The next 10,000 dollars will go on less important things, and so on until spending your millionth dollar makes almost no difference to how great your life is going.
But if people are only interested in competing with each other - then they won't get welfare from stuff, but from their positional ranking in the pack. If for some reason people fixate on money as the measure of their relative status then they will have an insatiable demand for money itself, regardless of its real economic value to them.
A focus on achieving personal wealth leads people to outsource their thinking about contributions to society to the economic system; to disparage the contributions of those, like sanitation workers, who earn less; to seek out and create market imperfections that allow the lucky few to reap rents from other people's productivity.
status chasers will not stop working at the point that they can afford a comfortable life. Instead they will work longer if their neighbours work longer. What follows is the characteristic stressful modern life of restless anxiety.
The actual utility of these goods is secondary to their function as displays of wealth itself. Things you actually enjoy doing will be neglected, despite your supposedly increased wealth.
the pursuit of money for its own sake is, as Aristotle analysed, a great moral folly. It is just as ridiculous for people to use their income as a measure of their significance in the world.
"We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes." - John Swinton