Lessons from Game of Thrones – Players, Pawns & Littlefinger…

There was a time in America when the political powers that be actually feared the wrath of the people. Our elected officials were regarded as public servants and woe be to them if they did not enact policies that served the interests of their constituents.

But thats all gone now. Over the last 30 years the middle and working classes went from being an optimistic, proactive population demanding (and getting) a seat at the policy table, to a huddled mass of bewildered, underemployed, underpaid people chasing the few crumbs left on the floor for scraps.

Instead of fearing our wrath, policy makers ignore us, flip us off and squash us like bugs. We are now a nation of a few “haves” and even fewer “have mores”.  At the bottom of the pile is a large and growing population of “have nots” with no political power and little upward mobility.

Thomas Piketty – Elizabeth Warren & Princeton University…

The popularity of Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the 21st Centurydemonstrates that this scenario rings true to an alarming number of people. You know things are bad when a 700-page tome crammed with graphs that look like they were taken from an EXCEL spreadsheet on steroids becomes a best-seller. Academic authors aren’t generally the stuff of hero-worship, yet Piketty has managed that feat becoming an overnight household name.

As if Piketty’s wasn’t enough, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s book  A Fighting Chance  has also taken America by storm. Though more readable and targeted to a general audience, its not your typical light summer beach-read.

To add fuel to the fire a study done at Princeton  which tackled issues that resulted in actual legislation at the federal level appears to confirm our worst fears: America is no longer a democracy, it is an oligarchy.

A Game of Thrones Feudal World…

Want to know how bad oligarchy can get?  Just look at Game of Thrones…I know most of us love to visit this world, but would anyone EVER want to actually live in Westeros?  My guess is decidedly not.  In the world of GRR Martin, you are either a player or a pawn and 99.9% of the population doesn’t even get to play.  They are permanent pawns in world where the elite are playing power games at their expense. The result is the rampant poverty of “Flea Bottom” in the capital  and impoverished wastelands to the north.  Wars have been started by players like Littlefinger  but are fought and paid for with the lives and treasure of  the masses.

Littlefnger is a lower born Lord who should have relatively little power. He managed to climb his way to the top by being what I would (kindly) describe as a sociopath.     Listen to his monologue on the  chaos he helps create being a ladder upon which he intends to climb.

For those who would rather not watch – here is the monologue:

Chaos is a ladder.  Many who try to climb it fail, never get to try again.  The fall breaks them.  And some, given a chance to climb, they refuse.  They cling to the realm, or the Gods, or love.  Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.  – Littlefinger GOT – Season 3.

Chilling for anyone who is unfortunate enough to live in Westeros. However, the lack of rules and enforceable law encourages and even invites the success of this type of sociopathic mentality.  In a world  where the end justifies the means, this is what you are likely to get sitting at the pinnacle of power.

The Endgame of Oligarchy is Feudalism…

The world of Westeros is indeed an endgame of laissez faire economics.  Sound extreme?  Perhaps, but if everything is deregulated long enough with no rules or enforceable law,  then chaos is what you are going to get and those that create it generally thrive in its wake. Others that would tend to summon their better angles seldom win in this type of environment.  The result is a concentration of wealth and power in handful of Littlefingers. 

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