I assume most are familiar with the parable of the boiled frog. Briefly, just to refresh your memory, a frog placed in a cool and comfortable body of water that is continually rising in temperature will not sense the incremental temperature change from the immediate past to present moment and remain in the water until death. However, the same frog, placed in a body of water that is too hot for survival will immediately leap out.
For more than 30 years there has been a downward trend in the household income of the vast majority of people (yes the 99%) while the income of the remaining 1% trended upward. Fortunately for the remaining 1% benefiting from this widening income gap, the gradual decline (i.e. year-to-year incremental change) in real income among the majority of citizens went largely undetected—people don’t realize how hot the water is getting.
Gradualism Abruptly Ended
However the greed among the 1% who created the mortgage-based casino game to feed their addiction to ever increasing monetary gain led to the disastrous 2008 financial collapse. It punctuated what had been an insidious trend. Accordingly what had been previously tolerated and/or unnoticed was now brought to the conscious awareness of a sizable portion of the 99%–all of a sudden it got a lot hotter.
Because of capitalism’s grounding in material self-interest maximization, this situation and situations like this are inevitable. The insatiability of material gain—one can never have enough—and the auto-correlative nature of competition—winners are most likely to win next time—make for the perfect storm. This is especially the case in a society wherein the wealthy has the greater voice.
Since the 1% really needs the cooperation of the 99% for their game playing to continue, it is now up to the frog. Does the frog continue in the same body of water—continue cooperating in the same system—with only the promise from those—the 1% winners—in control of the temperature that they won’t do it again? Does the frog demand that those in control of the temperature be constrained in the changes that can be made to the temperature? Does the frog demand that the control of the temperature be taken out of the hands of the 1%? Does the frog demand that a different body of water—a different system—be provided that would ensure a livable environment for all to enjoy?