Why Is Lloyd Blankfein …?

Lloyd Blankfein is the name of the human who is the Chief Executive Officer (the big man) of the global finance corporation called Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs is one of history’s most successful human endeavours, a legal set of contracts that has accumulated over a trillion dollars in wealth. As CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein is an agent of the corporation — the top agent — and so another set of legal contracts rewards him with a share of that wealth in return for his agency service. His share amounted to about 65 million USD’s in 2007.

Lloyd Blankfein is among the top 1% of all humans in financial wealth and power by any earthly measure. Except for this fact, and all facts that trail from it, Lloyd Blankfein is a pretty average human in all other regards. There are thousands of Lloyd Blankfein’s atop thousands of similar bundles of legal entities — as well as a number of illegal ones. However, there are billions of humans of exact biology on the planet, 99 out of every one hundred (or more) without the wealth, power, and prestige of the very few Lloyd Blankfein subsets.

One might expect that in a situation such as this, the 99% side would simply knock Lloyd Blankfein on the head with a stick and take all his stuff. There are more of them, after all. Strange however, that they don’t. In fact, on the occasion that anybody ever tries to force a more equitable arrangement (as sometimes happens) members of the “99%” club chuck the pushy bugger into jail. Or worse.

How did it come to pass that such a system grew and flourished where the set up is so head scratchingly inequitable? Why does the near entirety of the human race voluntarily acquiesce to such a system? Why have millions wasted human ingenuity, labour, production… and their very own precious lives to defend a status quo that is so grievously unnatural? Are people stupid?

Sort of.

At some distant point in the long forgotten past, in the age where humans became humans, Lloyd Blankfein’s direct descendant was among the first to trade his half-eaten fish for some other guys stinking hunk of gazelle. This was a time in pubescent civilization where nature was powerful, both giving and taking with equal resolve and mystery. The earth and its gifts were venerated — the fickle bounty of celestial beings, spirits which cowering humans called gods. All beasts took from the earth’s natural resources to their sustainable limit, and no more. Homo Habilis Lloyd Blankenfein survived by using his new and wonderfully adaptable brain to sate his desire for sustenance and security. Community and cooperation improved the human condition. Progress was born.

The “economics” were simple. The earth’s resources were abundant and free, belonging to no man. Humans took from the earth, and by applying their peculiar skill and resolve, manufactured goods to meet their desires. From nothing came something; a rock became a tool, a log became a boat, a cave became a home. All the products of human production were composed of only two things — the natural and free resources of the world within reach, and the application of human exertion and creativity. The rock — chipped into a sharp edge — became a “good” and the reward for human labour. A prehistoric scraping tool, the wages of a day’s labour to the man who invested the effort.

The confluence of labour and natural resources gave rise to an inventory of human production, that inventory the created wealth of human existence. Some of that wealth was used to increase the production of more wealth. Some of it was directed to community sustenance. None of it was wasted, as overproduction was pointless. All the produce of human endeavour was added to a pool of wealth from which was drawn by exchange the individual desires of the cooperating community. The wages humans received for their individual effort were retained for use, or traded for the wages of others in the form of goods that met additional desires. Equilibrium was reached where the pooled wealth of the community was enough to sustain mankind, and provide from the pool enough surpluses that some could become capital used to continuously improve production, and thus wealth. Community and equality — where an individual sole could take no more wealth than that which he invested in his own tradable labour — lifted the condition of man from savage beast to wondrous civilization.

This setup lasted for… a week or so, maybe. Who really knows?

What happened next became a signature event in the history of civilization, as we understand it. Until that moment only a man’s labour was his own, the products of that labour by extension his own property to do with what he pleased. Then, suddenly, there arose a class of people who changed the rules forever, folks whose actions have become cemented into modern consciousness as accepted norm, the status quo, and the way it is and always should be. A distant Lloyd Blankfein decided that his share was not enough, and over reached to claim the share of others. Lloyd Blankenfein’s lineal ancestor created private property, picked up a weapon, and announced that this land was no longer common, but his alone. Since that moment, all of history has been a defence or rationalization of that singular act — the violent appropriation of the free and unbounded by a few, at the expense of the many.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

For over twenty thousand years, humans have been enshrining as natural law that which is unnatural. The violent expropriation of another’s labour has disappeared from view, covered by the complex blanket of social economics we call normal. Free markets, democratic freedoms, patriotism, religion, and dogma off all kinds have celebrated and defended Lloyd Blankfein types throughout the ages. Civilizations measure has become the very uncivilized pursuit of accumulating more than your fair share. All wealth comes — ultimately — from the natural environment. By privatizing that environment and keeping it from free use, we deny others their equal due. That natural environment is finite, and the fencing of one part decreases the balance for the rest. Lloyd Blankfein can only exist at the expense of others, a fact we just seem to love to death.

Our wretched poverty and excess are firmly buttressed by law and custom, law and custom created and defended over centuries by the established aristocracies of expropriated wealth. We used to call these governments. Now we call them corporations. The vast majority of law in any language is still property law — rules for getting more than your share, forests of tomes on then defending it from others. And lawyers. Lloyd Blankfein is just following the rules, and living within the full extent of both law and custom. Which is of course, an understatement. Lloyd Blankfein exists because we think we need him to, and so acquiesce despite the fact that deep down inside, every one of us knows that something about that is just wrong somehow.

Wrong somehow. Only the most ideology riddled Luddite amongst us does not question, in some small way, the overwhelming wealth of some at the same time as the spirit breaking lack of same of so many, many others. Every person alive today feels to some degree a deep, gut anger and simmering resentment at the difference between us and ours, and Lloyd Blankfein and his. I know it, and you know it. Why won’t we simply admit our basic human instinct, buried deep in our genes and our DNA and every atom of our humanness, that this is wrong and is neither civilization, nor progress? We can’t admit it because of the constraints society, culture, and dogma place upon us, built there stick by stick over tens of thousands of revolutions of the earth about the sun. Are we stupid? Sort of. We are conflicted, beaten and subjugated by the rules we were born under, and know no other. We have a good excuse I guess, and plasma TV’s with which to enjoy it.

Of course, there is always the chance that we are wrong, that earth is not meant to be shared, and that poverty and squalor should rejoice at Lloyd Blankfein. Still, it just seems too awfully squishy to accept it the way it is. As that simmering inequity grows, the gap widens and the pie shrinks, don’t we all feel more and more as if we should do something about it? Don’t we just wish someone would step into history and deal with this thing? Or are we waiting for someone else to do it?

Or we are stupid.

Aetius Romulous writes and blogs from his frozen perch atop the earth in Canada, spending the useful capital of a life not finished making sandwiches and fomenting revolution. Read other articles by Aetius, or visit Aetius's website.

23 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on December 1st, 2009 at 11:01am #

    We are not stupid. We can be deceived. We deceive animals and people.
    We can be easily deceived solely because the nature or ‘god’ had endowned us with feelings of trust.
    It being one of our great attributes and it being one causative factor for our suruvival. But then it began to be usurped and the rest is not mystory; it is crystal clear. tnx

  2. Don Hawkins said on December 1st, 2009 at 12:49pm #

    Aetius that was good stuff and Bozh your comment was my first thought sort of let me think.

  3. Don Hawkins said on December 1st, 2009 at 2:45pm #

    We can be easily deceived solely because the nature or ‘god’ had endowned us with feelings of trust.

    And what we see today,

    Why won’t we simply admit our basic human instinct, buried deep in our genes and our DNA and every atom of our humanness, that this is wrong and is neither civilization, nor progress? The strangeness.

    Do Lloyd and a few more have feelings of trust you know that voice that say’s that’s wrong? Maybe when they were younger but after that climb up the ladder of success I think the third step is where you sell your soul to the system. It appears age has something to do with this and of course the perks. It seems to happen to almost all who do this and the gang that Lloyd is with in the twenty first century are now the new little God’s. We have a little problem this time modern man and women about to go backwards in spacetime in a blink of an eye in human terms. Do Lloyd and his gang know this oh yes they sure do. Of course we have people a few steps down on the ladder and do they trust the gang well no and now we see Fox New’s and Glenn Beck and a few more who are angry as now they can’t get there little piece of the pie even if they sell there soul that doesn’t work as well as it did. So what’s the game now on the third planet from the Sun? I guess there playing last person standing. We should know this as cap and trade guarantees going backwards and very tuff times as that happens. Oh climate change is not real please it is as plain as one and one is twenty. Why is cap and trade a joke on the human race the best they can do here in the States does it have anything to do with the club the group it sure looks like it. Just for the heck of it if any of this is true I wonder what there big plan is for themselves. The streets two million to start Capital one voice calm at peace then Wall Street and Goldman still time do you need a permit?

    The most foolish no-fighting-spirit statement, made by scores of people, is this: “we have
    already passed the tipping point, it is too late.” They act as if a commitment to a meter of sea
    level rise is no different than a commitment to several tens of meters. Or, if a million species
    become committed to extinction, should we throw in the towel on the other nine million? What
    would the plan be then – escape to Mars? As I make clear in “Storms of My Grandchildren”,
    anybody who thinks we can transplant even one butterfly species to another planet has some
    loose screws. We must take care of the planet we have – easily the most remarkable one in the
    known universe.
    Let’s say we have passed a tipping point – say current atmospheric composition is
    enough to cause a large eventual sea level rise. What do we do? Wring our hands? What we
    must do is restore the planet’s energy balance, or make it slightly negative. That does not
    guarantee that heat already added to the ocean will not further erode ice shelves and cause sea
    level rise. But it gives us a fighting chance to minimize that problem. Of course, it would help if
    we knew the current planetary energy balance accurately, and the climate forcings – that’s the
    subject in chapter 4 of “Storms”.
    Any Hope of Cutting Global Carbon Emissions?
    Absolutely. It is possible – if we give politicians a cold hard slap in the face. The fraudulence of
    the Copenhagen approach – “goals” for emission reductions, “offsets” that render even iron-clad
    goals almost meaningless, an ineffectual “cap-and-trade” mechanism – must be exposed. We
    must rebel against such politics-as-usual. James Hansen

    Don’t have a job don’t feel alone at 62 I went back to work with my son is there work sort of for now. Do you need a permit?

  4. bozh said on December 1st, 2009 at 3:01pm #

    When scienitsts meet they talk-think entirely different than wld pols when they meet in copenhagen.
    Pols in copenhagen wld just woof, woof; have a gala dinner with much food thrown away as if to say to the world, See we even have enough food to throw away. And, folks, we promise……
    Don, if u ever become a pol or priest, don’t u ever forget to make promises. A big lie or two, three is also OK, but u can’t beat promises for efffect!
    I am not a priest or pol but i use these methods on my wife. It works!

  5. Don Hawkins said on December 1st, 2009 at 3:29pm #

    A pol or priest am just trying to get back to my home planet been sending messages still no luck. First Copenhagen then cap and trade US then just more illusion and if a few make wrong moves much trouble on Earth that has nothing to do with climate change but could slow it down a little then of course in 10 years right in our face or sooner and still think Meteor football size North Atlantic could wake us up but still no luck should have never when younger took dad’s ship I have found my place here on Earth sort of.

  6. onecansay said on December 1st, 2009 at 3:33pm #

    The author asks:

    “Don’t we just wish someone would step into history and deal with this thing? Or are we waiting for someone else to do it?

    Or we are stupid.”

    Well, many before us in this “story” have tried. Many have died when the populace should have been there for the ‘ultimate’ backup. NOT. Mr. Lloyd Blankfein and his descendants have done a ‘fine’ job of conditioning.

    Human nature through ‘conditioning’ looks for “Get BOB to do it, that is his(not my problem) job.

    Yes, we ARE stupid.

    Sometimes art mimics life.

    Stupid is as Stupid does.


  7. Don Hawkins said on December 1st, 2009 at 4:07pm #

    A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

    Read DV so called leaders

  8. Don Hawkins said on December 1st, 2009 at 4:37pm #

    What Einstein wrote just on the off chance he is correct this present system called Capitalism does it tell us just the opposite? To just look at the few at the top of the ladder is a big clue and with what we now know the system not only being insane is quite literarily crazy. Now we need to spread Capitalism around the World oh that’s right it’s democracy we are spreading. We need to spread something alright as we slowdown a tad and come up with a new way of thinking Lloyd and a few close friends.

  9. Annie Ladysmith said on December 1st, 2009 at 9:48pm #

    There are humanoids born with terrible souls. They have no compassion, no empathy, pychopaths by any definition. They gravitate to positions of control because they are ruthless, they are their own gods, they worship themselves, they want the rest of us to worship them also.

    It’s a power thing, they can’t flex their evil hearts unless they have control. They want control over the whole world and we see how easily they get it by looking at the life of someone like Blankfein.

    Some people call them reptiles and say they shapeshift. It does not matter if they can do this or not, because it is their hearts that are reptilian. The rest of us have one trait in common, the ability to show mercy, it is impossible for them.

  10. Don Hawkins said on December 2nd, 2009 at 1:36am #

    The rest of us have one trait in common, the ability to show mercy, it is impossible for them.

    Them who sold there soul to the system the very system that seems so important to hold on to is it easier for them to live, maybe. The other day two men came into my bait shop 12 feet by 12 feet and I sell worms, hooks anyway one of these people just stood there looking at me as I talked in my normal way as they were getting ready to pay for there worms I asked do you all live around here? The one man who just kept looking at me then talked and said no I live in Miami do you know where that is? I said I have heard of it then said what kind of work do you do. Well the man said I own a pharmaceutical company you know I collect all the money and have other people do the work, hello. He really did say that and that was a test I guess to see if I was human. Anyway I asked what he made and talked about H1N1. Then they paid and the other man who does live here and doesn’t own a pharmaceutical company and told me he work’s in a federal prison was going to pay and the other man said no I will get it no I will get it well after a minute the man who lives here paid. Before they left I asked the man who owns the pharmaceutical company what will be the main crop grown in this area. He just looked at me for a minute then said soy beans. The morel to the story is I have no idea there must be one.

  11. Michael Dawson said on December 2nd, 2009 at 2:12am #

    “For over 20,000 years.” WTF are you talking about? Class domination and systematic, expansionist societies started maybe 6,000 years ago. That’s simply indisputable, if you know what you’re talking about.

    And Lloyd Blankfein doesn’t have wealth and power “because we think we need him to.”

    Who’s the closet Republican in the DV editorial staff? Why do you run crap like this?

  12. Don Hawkins said on December 2nd, 2009 at 2:21am #

    This was well done


    The natural world is at the heart of Australian identity. “I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of ragged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains,” runs a famous poem, but that attachment to the environment does not count for much in national political life. Under John Howard, Australia’s former prime minister, the country was notoriously sceptical of international efforts to fight climate change, even though, as a hot dry continent with a growing population, Australia stands to suffer at least as much as anywhere else.
    Mr Howard’s Labor successor, the current prime minister Kevin Rudd, signed the Kyoto protocol and backs an emissions trading scheme, but Australia remains the largest per-capita polluter in the developed world and is offering only meagre cuts at the Copenhagen summit. It is a dismal record, likely to be made worse by a crisis inside the opposition Liberal party. The result could be extraordinary: Australia may soon hold the first election in which not just the proper response to climate change but even its existence are leading issues.
    By the low standards of Australian politics, this has still been a memorably messy week. The Liberal party has thrown out one leader for backing a government bill limiting greenhouse emissions and voted in another who has described climate change as “absolute crap”. Malcolm Turnbull, the former leader and a confrontational millionaire Sydney lawyer, was unpopular inside his party for many reasons other than his support for action on climate change, but by rejecting him Australia’s Liberals have sided with the sceptics. It may be a forerunner of similar confrontations to come elsewhere.
    The new Liberal leader is Tony Abbott, a raucous, London-born rightwinger dubbed the Mad Monk. He describes emissions trading as a “$120bn tax on the Australian public” and couches his scepticism in insidious terms that would attract support in Britain too. “It is quite likely that increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has some effect on climate, but debate rages among scientists over its extent and relative impact,” he said recently.
    In short, he does not see what all the fuss is about. Sentiments like this, from a country which can afford the costs of adaptation, are dangerous. A workable global deal will require rich countries to play their part, and if some, such as Australia, try to opt out of action then others will follow. Polls suggest that Mr Rudd will win the next election, but even if he does, the Liberals’ refusal to back his climate bill means he – like President Obama – will arrive in Copenhagen empty-handed. All Australians should be embarrassed by that. Guardian

    Embarrassed is not the right word quite literally crazy with what we now know but we must remember the little God’s are angry, please have mercy on us.

  13. Don Hawkins said on December 2nd, 2009 at 2:33am #

    Where I live flooding rain coming in just to the North and West. A thousand year storm, no.


  14. Don Hawkins said on December 2nd, 2009 at 3:41am #

    I know I must seem like a left wing climate religious alarmists tree hugging pot smoking radical who want’s to overthrow the United States government and spread the wealth well no but sometimes I go fishing. Although spreading the wealth could be helpful but seems we are spreading the debt that people of wealth don’t like as makes there wealth less sort of and couldn’t we just start over with a new way of thinking. Did I go to college to learn to write this no a little bird told me. Two million to start calm at peace the little God’s don’t like that part one voice Capital then New York City same. 30,000 troops who must be tired of War in those mountains for what reason to stabilize the region. I saw where many of the Afghans are now growing pot not for export but smoking it seems many are getting tired the answer oh that’s a tuff one but everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler a new way of thinking could it work maybe and playing golf or that whole go shopping might change just a tad in the best of times and the worst of times and the change over tuff to say the least but boring it would not be. Easy I don’t think so but with a little luck we just might make it to the other side and still have a planet to live on. There and now what will happen maybe 1% of that. Oops that leaves 99% down the drain in not such slow motion. DOW futures just turned positive, hallelujah. Make that 100% down the drain in not such slow motion.

  15. Aetius Romulous said on December 2nd, 2009 at 6:02am #

    Mr Dawson;

    Thanks for your, er, “input”.

    This short essay is about how it has come to pass that, over a very extended period of time, humans have allowed and accepted that their own suffering is necessary to protect the “fortune” of small groups and individuals who we allow to dominate.

    A mere 6000 years ago, civil organizations were – as you correctly point out – established and flourishing in places like the Nile valley, the golden crescent of the Euphrates, and perhaps earlier Axial communities in central Asia. The archeological record is rich in this regard. My personal belief is that we must look far upstream of that to fix the period where “private property” first emerged and became established. This occurs beyond the Neolithic era of about 12,000 years ago, and certainly north of the earliest Epipaleolithic period. Recall that Jerico had social structure at about 9500 BC.

    “Over 20,000 years” is a wild stab ’cause lets be fair here…nobody really knows. 350,000 years ago, at the dawn of the Neanderthals, there is evidence of jewelry from caves in South Africa and custom designed tools. Perhaps proto humans even then felt the need (and had the time to spare) to elevate a few even at that time. Again, who can tell?

    In the end, the chronology is more important than the details of the dates – it happened somewhere, sometime, and has been with us since. My simple point being that even with that pedigree, that does not make it right.

    I urge you to think about this without the dogmatic limitations and caustic effrontery. “The truth is out there…”

    BTW – I am neither American nor Republican, and am completely apolitical. I really don’t give a rats ass for any crass and limiting ideology …which makes me happy and free of thought.

  16. Don Hawkins said on December 2nd, 2009 at 8:20am #

    Completely apolitical that which makes me happy and free of thought. We can do it.

  17. bozh said on December 2nd, 2009 at 9:17am #

    Yes, no one knows when we began to be subjected or how it began and by whom! Historians tell us that ca 7k yrs ago subjugation or underthrow was developed to such a degree that both the pharoahs and kings of mesopotamia were looked on as gods.
    In US, the DEAR LEADER appears revered way too much. In any case no prez had ever even faced criminal charges, such as for wars of aggressions, nuking japan, let alone been prosecuted.
    In this arena, a prez is in fact a godhead! tnx

  18. Al said on December 3rd, 2009 at 12:33pm #

    Yet another jew parasite sucking America dry!

  19. b99 said on December 3rd, 2009 at 2:18pm #

    Private property comes with the rise of agriculture 8 to 10,000 years ago – or more recently in other areas. Hunter/gatherers had little use for private property outsdie of personal belongings. It is only when populations began settling down, turning to farming, that private property took off. Cattle, sheep, goats were now owned, instead of being of the forest; plants were now on fields rather than in the meadows, and there was not sufficient labor power to employ farm labor and hire guards to protect the goods. Pretty soon, people are demanded to pay tribute to the big kahuna..

    Beads and necklaces and spoons and pots don’t count as private property. People have always had personal possessions since they became human. With Agriculture comes real estate.

  20. b99 said on December 3rd, 2009 at 2:20pm #

    that should say that there was NOW sufficient labor power to employ farm labor power and hire guards…

  21. Don Hawkins said on December 3rd, 2009 at 2:42pm #

    With Agriculture comes real estate and in the coming years that real estate will be harder to find. Real estate that will grow crops some places to much water and some places none Worldwide. How will it play out you know in best case scenario? What is the easiest way to get food to the few. How long twenty years it will start and that could be pushing it. There is another way start now do we see any plans as of yet for any of this. Maybe the troops could farm.

  22. Don Hawkins said on December 3rd, 2009 at 2:46pm #

    Who will be the few in twenty years good question.

  23. Don Hawkins said on December 3rd, 2009 at 3:12pm #

    How about a book where a secret group makes a nasty little bug with antidote for a few how many would do. Let’s see a country couldn’t do that somebody would find out turn the key. Could a small group do it maybe. Now that would be a scary movie. Never work language barrier. Still make a good movie. Wait there is that mountain in Colorado. That would be a easy way out for a few. Who would like to help me write it the book and if it sells we take the money and try and get two million Capital one voice calm at peace. Must be a better way. We could call the book the stand wait didn’t somebody already do that.