Remember the Inky hassle a few years back, over how the heiress to Sam Walton’s billions was ripping off a Philly painting to help fill up her new Crystal Bridges Museum. (No matter that the painting was so obscurely displayed that only a few workers passed it by numbly every day since 1876, or that the painter Thomas Eakins was doubly insulted by a trivial payment when he painted it for the Philly Centennial expo and nervous Mainline brass had it stashed away from the crowds, because of his controversial rep at having the gall to allow both sexes look at an artist’s naked model so that he became a persona non grata?) Well, all “looks” well in Sam Walton’s hometown. Moshe Safdie’s architecture has been widely and deeply praised. “Cracker” crowds are coming. Critics are raving, contentedly.
There’s only one problem: the money that made this Culture Trip possible has been sweated off the backs of the global hordes that man the Walmarts of this world. Their anti-union tactics have kept wages at a peasant’s level. And the brass keeps as many “servants” at possible part-timers so they can use Medicaid and keep the firm’s profit levels rising. Have I mentioned that this megachain has already abolished hundreds of local stores throughout the world. (Its abuse doesn’t stop at our borders: In India their parliament is in a fiscal tizzy at present because thousands of India workers are about to lose their precarious enough jobs if megastores are allowed to enter their country.
This retail devastation wholesaled on an unwary world derived from Saint Ron of Santa Barbara’s canonizing a Greed is Good mentality on our country three decades ago. He began by breaking the flight controllers union and proceeded to sponsor executive seminars in places like Acapulco to teach businessmen how to offshore middle class jobs from America. Tough stuff, most America. Remember the OCW mathematics. US, 99%, they 1%.
And this placing Culture for the lucky (and getting luckier, if fewer) above the good of the commonweal is not limited to America by a long shot. Dubai is in the midst of becoming the Guggenheim Center of the World—with major museums from the Western capitals creating a hot tourist spot for Emirate Air. Who’s doing the heavy lifting for these resorts for the rich? Jobless peasants from all over Asia, Africa, and Latin America—stuffed into unhealthy barracks, with their passports “safely” in the vaults of their overlords—so they can’t riot or even complain as they send pittances home to their starving families. Progress, Eh?
Heh, all the more reason we should be thrilled that Bill Moyers gallops in at the last minute, to a televisual saving, beginning this Sunday. If you can’t make it Sunday, be sure to go to your local library or Amazon for his first guest, one Jacob Hacker who will summarize his latest book on this foully secretive rearranging of the class system of dirst America –and then the world, viz., ”Winner Take All” (Simon and Schuster,2011). You and your families of the future will be sorry if you don’t take steps now to arrest the enslavement of our onetime expanding middle class! The income you let shrink will be your own.