who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
1. Ten hypotheses (plus one)
2. Personal remarks
Actually, this is the first day in a long time - some seven months -
that I did not find any crisis file at the thirty or so places I
normally look, each day. Or more precisely, I did find a few files, but
nothing really interesting.
Today I am therefore going to do something else: I am trying to
formulate and discuss hypotheses about the causes of the crisis.
So this is a crisis file, but it differs from most other crisis files
in (1) being explicitly about the causes of the crisis and in
(2) explicitly listing my theses as hypotheses that explain the
causes of the crisis.
Here it should be
stressed that I am formulating my ideas quite explicitly as hypotheses, and indeed as scientific hypotheses,
which also means that I am very clear that I am not certain.
Also (3) my source is the file I published on December 25, 2012 (<- link),
which was written at a time that I did not know anything about Snowden
or his revelations: This happened only on June 10, 2013 and later.
In fact, I also think that my hypotheses of 2012 were strongly
confirmed by Snowden's revelations, indeed in a way and to an
extent that is rare in the social sciences.
This indeed does not mean that I am right, but it does mean that the
hypotheses are more probable than they were, though that also doesn't
need to mean very much. 
Finally: this is a reworking, and to some extent a shortening of December 25,
2012. And I have kept
the original notes, that now appear in a different order in the text.
What follows is copied from December 25, 2012 when
indented, or when a note that starts with "N.".
Ten hypotheses (plus one)
First some fixing of terminology (that you may skip):
key terms, and some relevant distinctions: [N.15]
As to the corporations:
Corporations are groups of persons that seek to acquire and retain
property (goods, commodities, and powers that help acquiire these) by
taking property from others.
One must distinguish corporations as
social institutions, and keep apart the corporate Úlites, the
corporate executives, the corporate staff, and the corporate employees,
since each of these are different groups.
As to states,
in the sense of governments:
States are groups
of persons that
seek to acquire and retain power over others
(influence, renown, force, military might, weapons) by taking power and
possibilities from others.
In the present text,
"state" is used as "government", that in addition
to the above may be characterized as almost invariably being recruited
from some existing social or economical Úlite, in order to
run the daily doings of the most powerful organization on some
territory, through a staff of bureaucrats
and (semi-)military personnel.
Both corporations and states work mostly by propaganda
popular spokespersons, special publications) in times of peace, that
also is directed at their own staffs, if perhaps not in the form this
reaches the masses who do not belong to the staff or personnel.
What you should realize,
though, are the enormous amounts of propaganda, advertisements, and public
relations, all of which are always intentional lies or
misrepresentations, that everybody who lives in the West is
exposed to, and that most of the people consider "natural" and
"informative", and also like to live up to, without being forced,
because they think they are better and more happy men and women when
they walk in branded expensive shirts and shoes. 
principle, corporate fascism
- defined as: the state is de facto owned and run by and for the
major international corporations, that are multinationals
and beyond state or judicial control [Note 1] -
in combination with the surveillance
state - defined as: the state's surveillance and recording
of the activities, interests, concerns, ideas, values, of its
- means effective absolute power for small corporate Úlites
plus their executives, and effective slavery for the rest. [N.7]
Note this is mainly a matter
of definition, and as such is ept or inept rather than true or false.
What is true or false (and merely probable or improbable when taken
hypothetically) is that what I call corporate fascism (which is a
fairly classical definition), together with what I call the
surveillance state, aim at absolute power for the corporate Úlites and
their executives, and effective slavery for the rest. (And of course no
politician or bureaucrat will ever admit this - and they also do not
need to, for much has succeeded by now.)
If you want support for this notion: The wages have hardly risen for 30
years in the U.S.; the middle class(es) are rapidly disappearing; there
are ever more poor and very poor people; the economic inequalities are
growing enormously and have never been as large; the banks' managers
seem to be all multimillionaires and get paid enormous sums; none of
the bankmanagers has ever been punished for anything; the big
corporations pay extremely little taxes, as do the rich; and hardly any
government does anything real against these facts.
Hypothesis 2 (plus
ordinary citizens do, desire, think, write, mail - their internet
activities, their phones, their bankaccounts, their interests, their
identities, their pictures, their fingerprints, their families, their
friends, their opinions, their education, the things they bought and
sold, and more - has been thoroughly recorded and filed,
whenever and wherever possible, since 9/11/2001, namely for the
eventual use, by unknown anonymous persons, possibly acting, for unknown ends, for obscure or secret organizations, or for mostly
secretively acting corporations, all possibly at unknown locations, for
much or all that has been collected in one country gets - explicitly or
deviously - shared with the US and with the police or security
forces in other countries. [N.3]
This is all as I
formulated it in 2012, and has been
massively confirmed by Snowden's revelations. Also, it should be noted
that I consider all this spying on all persons illegal, immoral,
reprehensible and fascistic: A government that spies on all or on a
large part of its citizens is a fascist government, and none of its
spokespersons can be relied on in any way.
This "sharing of
information" happens both by political agreements, where governments
agree with US state organs like the FBI or CIA that they will share
data on what are claimed to be (potential) "terrrorism suspects", and
by brute force: Whatever happens on the internet may be tracked, traced
and stored. [N.3.1]
In this "We the
people" have been systematically betrayed by politicians of all
stripes: Their rights not to be spied upon, except perhaps
court order, issued by an independent judge, have been completely
Likewise, and apart from
that, the internet activities of everyone have been secretively
tracked, traced, datamined, and stored for the benefit of corporations,
not only for targeted advertizing, but to get all possible information
on anyone who either may eventually become a customer, an employee or
an opponent. [N.4]
Hypothesis 3 (plus sub-hypotheses):
The corporations have
taken over the states by propagandizing and/or by buying the states'
bureaucrats and politicians. [N.1]
This again is all as I formulated it in 2012, and
has been massively confirmed by Snowden's revelations. And this
certainly goes back - at least - to the 1970ies (the Powell memorandum)
and has a long history. To what extent the European politicians in
diverse parties have been bought I do not know, but I do know that many
"liberals", "socialists", and "christian democrats" - all between
quotes, because the one thing I know about them is that they are all
liars - sound very often as if they are singing from the same hymn
sheets that the American Republican politicians also sing from.
This has been going on
for a long time - decades, and certainly since Eisenhower mentioned the
dangers of the military-industrial
complex - and has mostly succeeded
since 9/11/01: The majorities of those who should control the states
(politicians and bureaucrats) now are controlled by people working for
the big corporations. [N.1.1]
This was and is not
merely a matter of corruption and buying: Part was effected through propaganda. [N.1.2]
This also holds for
European states in EU, and explains why prominent politicians in
diverse parties sound as if they are singing from a GOP hymn sheet, and
use GOP tactics, such as nominally taking over the moral stances of
those they oppose. [N.1.3]
Hypothesis 4 (plus
The states of
Europe and the US have been turned into surveillance states
where anonymous state bureaucrats in principle know all there is to
know about all ordinary citizens. [N.2]
This also is all as I formulated it in 2012, and
has been massively confirmed by Snowden's revelations. However, I grant
less is known about Europe than is known about the U.S., but that is
more a reflection on the secrecy and lack of constitutional principles
under which the E.U. works, than it is based on positive knowledge that
the European situation is "less bad" than the American one. I think it
is probable that everywhere some secret service has probably vacuumed
up all the information there can be gotten from the internet and from
This has been going on
for since before 9/11/01, that much increased it, and is not only done
by state organizations but also by corporations, and in both cases was
possible because there are hardly any rational laws that can be
effectively applied to the internet. [N.2.1]
Hypothesis 5 (plus sub-hypotheses):
Most that what ordinary people
- the badly educated "democratic majority" - get offered in the public
media, and especially TV, is middle of the road propaganda,
that stonewalls, avoids or lampoons all that is not middle of the road
trivialities, and that systematically avoids (almost) any really
intelligent and informed discussion of the themes that matter to a free
society inhabited by free citizens who are not controlled and spied
upon and propagandized by both state organs and corporations. [N.5]
These hypotheses have not been
confirmed by Snowden's revelations. Even so, I think they are quite
right and quite relevant, and the simplification and stupification of
the education on all levels has been going on now in the West since the
late 1960ies, and also have been very little protested against.
Education has been
systematically simplified, stupefied and leveled, and teaches hardly
any real intellectual skills. [N.6
High culture and high
civilization and high art of all kinds: science, art, independent
media, music, in so far as these existed, have been cut or replaced by
middle brow or low brow stuff that nominally does the same, and is more
effective as propaganda for the masses. [N.6.1]
Additional reasons may
be that strangling high art and civilization, that often need subsidies
to exist, cost less and helps preventing that intellgent persons get ideas or find a public
for spreading their ideas. [N.6.2]
The primary end of
CF+SS I am talking about:
This is in fact hypothesis 1
in a specific form ("CF+SS" =
"corporate fascisim + surveillance state") - and it should be noted that all of what hypothesis 6 says
is and was deeply anti-democratic: The state, in a democracy, gets
elected by the people, and is controlled by parliaments; the new state
has officials that are paid by the corporations, and/or do their
biddings, and the parliaments are mostly ineffective.
Power to the corporations,
over the state and over the
population, by buying, taking over, and/or turning into commercial
markets what once were the states' powers and institutions,
manage the majority of the ordinary citizens by propaganda, control,
surveillance, and force. [N.13]
The secondary end
CF+SS I am talking about:
This also is the other part of
hypothesis 1 in a specific form. Note that this is not yet quite there,
though a lot of it is at least in place.
A long lasting
authoritarian empire controlled by the corporate Úlite for the
corporate Úliteś benefit, with features of Stalinism, but much
strenghtened by the Surveillance State's absolute surveillance of all.
The ideology of the
corporate Úlite that is behind the efforts to realize CF+SS is
difficult to discern, except that clearly these folks - and their
spokesmen, as can be found in Fox News - believe they ought to run and
own the world and have an authoritarian and conservative agenda:
This seems to me to be a quite
good guess at the ideology of the corporate Úlites. Again, this is not
quite there yet, although speakers for the Republicans are often quite
close to hypothesis 8.
That those who control the
corporations should control the states, the
people and the world, presumably because they have the right and duty
to impose their ideology on others, while their actions must be good,
because by rising to control the corporations they have shown
themselves to be the best, and because any force used by the best for
declared good by the best must be good.
"The war on terror"
is - or seems much like - a program to introduce corporate fascism by
taking over the state and by introducing the surveillance
state, that watches, tracks and records all activities of all
ordinary citizens, so that these ordinary citizens can be controlled,
manipulated and propagandized.
This is in part a restatement
of the hypothesis 1, and explains "the war on terror" as not being primarily directed against "Al
Qaeda" (which anyway is ridiculous), but as being primarily directed
against the democratic institutions and against the ordinary people of
their own countries.
and soon may be many more, (secret) concentration camps, secret
disappearances, secret renditions and secret prisons, because that is
and always was the nature of state terrorism,
and because most of the propagandized and ill-educated democratic
majorities support terrorism against those who have been styled
terrorists, especially if the latter do not belong to their own groups.
This is also something that is
(or may) not quite there yet, although there are many signs of it,
including the threats against Snowden and Greenwald; the
non-persecution of the Congressional liar Clapper; and the defense of
the stealing of everyone's private information, regardless of
any judge's opinion that the person committed probably a crime, by
Extra hypothesis 11:
internet controls the world, at least implicitly.
Namely in four ways, at
- Governments and
corporations need the internet as information processors: Whoever gains
some control over some aspects of this - as do Google and Facebook, for
example - controls part of the content and the data mining that is
possible through that.
- The internet is
on physical computers, cables and broadcasters: Whoever can control
these, as can the state organs on whose territory these items exist,
has control of the functioning of them.
- The internet, in so
far as it is controlled, is controlled
by states and their organs:
Whoever controls the parliamentarians, ministers or chief bureaucrats
can shape legislation.
- Whatever runs on any
computer can be taken over by whoever can get control over the
computer: corporate or state secret spies, or state representatives
such as the police.
This is thrown in
because the internet is central to everything the NSA does, and because
it is very weak in terms of laws and regulations.
2. Personal remarks
As I said, this is a reworking
of December 25, 2012. The notes I used
then are below, and I am not fit enough to renumber or cull them, which
anyway would serve a merely esthetical end only.
Also, I say again these are my hypotheses, my best guesses about some
of the main causes of the crisis: they are not certainties. Also, they
do not list all of the causes of the crisis: there are further ones,
such as deregulation, which is
the main reason for the economic crisis and for the
enormous salaries of bank managers and other topmanagers.
Finally, it all can be prevented or undone, but the longer the crisis
lasts the more difficult it will be. 
The following consists of some notes to the above hypotheses, that are
meant to serve as clarifications. These notes are from December 26,
By stressing "have" I do mean to convey this has happened. The
additional hypothesis is that it was done mostly by lobbying -
which need not just involve buying senators, members of congress,
parliamentarians, or leading bureaucrats, but also influencing them in
other ways: providing contacts, access to conferences and leading
personalities, providing funds or man power for re-elections, paying
holiday trips etc. See e.g. Jack Abramoff
This hypothesis is especially about those who formally have the power
as either high elected politicians (members of parliament, ministers)
or as high nominated bureaucrats.
Note that numerically and proportionally this is a quite small group
with large powers. The members of these groups,
in diverse states, are much easier to find and contact with the means
the internet provides.
That is: it is not merely corruption, and may not involve corruption at
all. At least part also is a matter of conviction, that may be sincere,
and may also have distinct motives (religious, free trade,
conservatism, the conviction that leaders are natural born superior
Being Dutch, I know most about Dutch politicians, but it has struck me
already around 2004 how many Dutch politicians sound remarkably like
GOP spokesmen. Since these Dutch politicians cannot be suspected of
having original minds or great intelligence, they must have it from
It seems likely this has happened, at least in principle. See e.g. "The
Spy State Tightens Its Grip" from which I quote:
The latest NSA
whistleblower, William Binney, a 32-year agency veteran who quit over
the agency’s failures that resulted in the 9/11 attacks, warns: "It
didn't take but probably a week or so after 9/11 that they [NSA]
decided to start spying on the U.S. domestically, on all U.S. citizens
they could get." Going further, he insists that the new facility will
be able to monitor everything: it "pretty much means all the
communications in the world, for roughly a hundred years."
[N.2.1] This is an elementary and important
point: It is the internet that allows government officials and
corporations to spy on people in ways that are wholly new, and far more
total - as in "totalitarian"
- then ever was possible before the internet.
[N.3] This has happened - the only unanswerd questions are
what the present extent of secret data gathering is and who will be
going to use it for what ends. The probable answers are: In principle,
everybody's internet activities are being monitored and stored - see
the link in [N.2] to "NSA keeping
details about data center quiet" and see the Wikipedia lemma on NSA.
As outlined in "The
Spy State Tightens Its Grip"
one major problem is that virtually all government decisions and
presidential directives are state secrets, as in an unfree society:
One must accept in practice, if not in theory, that whoever works for
the state is somehow a morally and intellectually superior person, to
whom things are allowed that are forbidden to other folks, and indeed
would be called "terrorism" if these other folks do these things.
One reason for this is that
the internet makes this possible, and there is no effective legislation
against its abuse. As to rendition and sharing of information on people
branded as "terrorists" or "terrorist suspects": Horrible and quite
illegal things have happened, and have been done as a matter of course,
by government officials or (semi-)military men.
These were and are acts
of betrayal, and must be quite conscious, which suggests there is a
plan behind it. As hypothesized in Hypothesis 9 of the second series
the whole "war on terror" either was a subterfuge from the very start,
or very soon was transformed into a pretext for state terrorism, and
for vastly extended mostly secret state powers, in the name of "the war
on terrorism", that is plain bullshit: The dangers of "Al Qaeda" never
have been as large as 1% of 1% of 1% of the dangers that were
constituted by the Soviet bloc plus China from 1950-1990 - when there
were no anti-terrorist measures. (For readers of Dutch, see my 2005
text "Over terrorisme".)
Google and Facebook make their enormous profits through data mining,
which is spying on people, for money, and which happens in the
industrial case mostly to be able to target individual persons by
personalized economic propaganda aka
One of the many frightening things about this is that a large
percentage of ordinary people
seem to welcome this: That anonymous folks in faraway corporations
track all they do in order to provide them with personalized ads for
just the very type of better bagel and tasty condoms they want
Here lies a very large theme: What TV and bad public education have
done to the mental capacities of human beings. (Stunted and falsified
them, is my - perhaps overly optimistic - guess.)
sorry, but if you think differently, it is because you are not very
intelligent. The fact is that starting in the 1960ies, initially
probably because of demographic pressures - "the babyboomers
generation" - the level of public education in both schools and
universities have grown much lower on average, and with a few
exceptions, as in mathematics and physics, on university level, and in
some elite universities. And again this is a very large theme: What
does this stupefication to a society and its individuals?
This merits a similar note as the last one: If you do not see this, it
is because you don't know much about high civilization.
Idem. As far as Holland is concerned, I would not be amazed if part of
the motive that strangles orchestras, theaters, art houses etc.
"because we live in a time of crisis" is, in actual fact, envy and
revenge by uncultivated and stupid but powerful bureaucrats who reason
on the pattern "What good has mathematics |"physics | classical music |
Shakespeare's plays ever done to me? Nothing: Off with
its head!". It is often motivated on strict market principles: If it
cannot make a profit by itself, it is worse than useless, and should be
terminated - as if all that is of human value is a monetary profit in
an account book. Another principle used here is that what the
democratic majority does not like - or is supposed not to like - does
not merit existence or maintenance "in our democratic society". ("If
you ain't stupid, you surely should be! Most folks won like it if you
are not like them!")
This may be considered the main hypothesis. Note that I do define my
terms, and note also that I do not agree with much social science I
have read. (There are exceptions.)
The principles that follow seek to sketch postmodern totalitarian
All three dystopias are very much worth reading, as is Zinoviev's "Yawning Heights". The
same applies to studies of Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia and Mao's
China: It is not as if the 20th Century lacked totalitarian states!
I think that the importance of sadism and malice as
motives for politicians and bureaucrats
have been much underrated by most writers on the subject of totalitarianism,
It also became very much easier to find, target and propagandize
power in governments
and governmental institutions.
What with terrorist states who spy on their populations while keeping
their decisions secret, this also may be happening in secret.
Together with - cultivated - fear this may well be one of the main
reasons a project to introduce corporate fascism + the surveillance
state may succeed: "The people" in democratic majority, "want it", in
part because they are, in democratic majority, neither intelligent nor
learned, and in part because they have been propagandized, manipulated,
pressurized and under-educated.
Russia and China are totalitarian countries, and India is a caste
society. These are not pleasant social systems, but their existence
makes world dominance by the US+EU - under any governmental system -
is formulated as if this is a planned process, directed from somewhere,
e.g. from one or several Republican think thanks. This may not be so,
but then the interesting thing is that it nevertheless works that way -
and indeed the more power a government or corporation acquires, the
easier it is to acquire yet more power.
If there is no primary end, there is no secondary end, but then [N.13]
still applies: These tendencies exist, whether or not they have been
created and are maintained on purpose.
[N.14.4] I don't mind being regarded as
a cynic. And there is a vast population problem, that may be much
lessened by killing a vast number of people. One way is by denying them
the necessities to live, while keeping them repressed by military
forces. This has happened before, e.g. in the Ukraine Famine
aka Holodomor and in the
Great Famine in Ireland.
I do like to define the terms I use, and these are attempts to provide
clear and brief definitions. As noted before, I am insufficiently
impressed by most of the social sciences I read to even try to follow
any of these. I do admit I could provide more precise longer
definitions, but these would not differ much in intent from those I do
provide: Corporations exist to make their leaders richer, and
governments exist to keep the ruling Úlite in power
Here it is necessary to insist, with
Aristotle, thay the governors do not rule, or at least, should
not rule: The laws rule, and the government, if good, is part
of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and
It is more proper
that law should govern than any of the citizens: upon the same
principle, if it is advantageous to place supreme power in some
particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and
the servant of laws.
note the whole file I
quote from is quite pertinent.)
 Since I believe in science and scientific
hypotheses, I should add two clarifications: (i) that the hypotheses
got more probable is a theorem from probability theory: if 0
< pr(F|H)=x <1 then verifying F implies pr(H|F > pr(H) - and
so that is certain, but (ii) I have not fixed pr(H) in any
case, and these may have been quite low in several cases, while the
amount by which pr(H|F >
pr(H) also is not fixed.
So in fact my reasoning and my probabilities are qualitative
only - which I think is much more often justified in the social
sciences than it is used.
Also, you are free to put in your own hypotheticial values - indeed:
you generally need to fix three: pr(F|H)=x, pr(F|~H)=y and pr(H)=z -
and draw your own conclusions, and I quite willingly agree that if you
fix pr(H) small enough, it will not get raised much.
Here is the main reason why I am inclined to pessimism: The average
intelligence is low, and there is nothing anybody can do about that.
(that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: