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Why empowr (Part 14)

by Johnny Cash on March 23, 2017

Why empowr (Part 14)


Hello everyone,

Together, we've been reading the Why empowr book, written by one of the empowr founders. 

If you're interested in why empowr was created, or want to know where it's headed, this is a good way to find out. 

Just joining the conversation? You can read the earlier parts here:  
Part 1:   Here
Part 2:   Here
Part 3:  Here
Part 4:  Here
Part 5:  Here
Part 6:  Here
Part 7:  Here
Part 8:  Here
Part 9:
  Here
Part 10: Here 
Part 11: Here  
Part 12: Here 
Part 13: Here  

As always, many thanks for your thoughtful comments that you left in the earlier parts; we're all reading your comments very carefully.

INEQUALITY AND POVERTY CREATE TERRIBLE GOVERNMENTS 

Historically, poverty and inequality have driven many countries into the hands of dictators and other very bad people. As people get so poor that they have little (or nothing) to lose, the appeal of charismatic leaders who promise better times starts to increase, regardless of the ideology those leaders espouse.

As a result, poverty and inequality have been the key causes behind many of history’s most violent revolutions and international conflicts. 

The economic collapse came swiftly and without warning. It seemed as if, almost overnight, the town’s bustling streets had been deserted. Where once you could find a merchant or a performer on every corner, suddenly there were just beggars or transients. As the wealth quickly drained from the city, areas of town that were once frequented by families took on a new, dangerous character. Only the bravest or most foolhardy residents willingly visited these new ghettos, and those who did made a point to keep their wits about them and their hands on their valuables, some even going so far as to arm themselves in a place where such precautions would have been cause for laughter only a year before.

The few businesses that managed to still stay open put bars over their windows to prevent vandals and robbers from breaking in during the dead of night and destroying or stealing what little was left. These ugly coal-black metal bars seemed to match perfectly the feeling of despair that clung to all other surfaces. While many of the remaining businesses tried to keep their prices as low as they could, often taking losses on their few sales, even the cheapest merchandise became less affordable for the city’s residents with each passing day. The owners of the handful of shops and booths still left open watched with hope as each rare pedestrian approached, only to hang their heads in all-too-familiar disappointment as each person inevitably passed them by.

 

Meanwhile, just outside the city limits, factories that had once employed thousands of citizens in jobs that allowed workers to provide for themselves and their families, stood idle, staffed only by a few local pigeons or the occasional migratory bird passing through on its journey to a faraway destination. The ports and docks that in better times had imported goods from distant lands were now occupied by only a few barnacled fishing boats.

The entire country seemed to be shriveling on the vine, as children went to bed hungry and previously happy couples fought tooth and nail over the smallest trivialities. Those unfortunate enough to be struck with serious illness either withered away in dark corners or took to the streets, hoping that somebody, anybody, would help them. Everywhere the air hung heavy with anger, frustration, and the raw desperation of broken humanity.

But, there was still hope to be found if one looked hard enough...

A man, decrying the old ways and talking about new, revolutionary ideas, was gaining a following. He knew who was to blame for the current destitute state of affairs. He’d seen how the others lived, in their giant houses with pets that ate better than most people. The stories of how the rich laughed at the regular folks and thought of them as less than human were difficult to believe, but how else could one explain how little they did to help the poor, sick, and starving?

 

As more and more people flocked to his banner, the man gained in power. No longer were his words shrugged off by those in control as just another petty annoyance. They began to fear him and his new ideas. They saw the new world he was trying to build, and it terrified them. Some of the few powerful factions not already marching to the man’s new tune tried to fight him, to hold back the rising tide, but it was already too late. The battles were bloody and vicious, but their outcome was never really in question.
 
The people had finally found hope, and no matter what it cost them or their country, they were going to chase that hope wherever it led them.

 

Learning From the Past

The story I’ve just told you has played out a thousand or more times over the course of human history, in one form or another. Sure, a number of details change, depending on which revolution or political collapse is being discussed, but, at the core of each scenario you found people who had grown tired of being unable to feed themselves or their children. As the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.”

I’ll give you a few examples from history. I’m sure you will recognize most of them.

A famously bad German painter was once in the position that only a few hundred people believed anything he said was worth listening to. The German people at the time were doing quite well, despite the onerous sanctions imposed on them by the victors of World War I, through the Treaty of Versailles.

Sure, their economy was dependent upon exporting manufactured goods to other countries, but, because the factories and businesses that made those goods were able to pay their workers a living wage, Germans had very little interest in a man with a strange mustache and a dime store philosophy filled with far too much hate and not nearly enough intelligence. They could feed their children, pay their rent, and even afford to take vacations to one of the many beautiful places in their country, so why put any stock in the rantings of a deluded madman?

But, after the Great Depression hit the United States and the unprecedented global recession it caused spread to Germany, things changed very quickly. All of a sudden, the madman’s arguments started to make more sense, and the hate that he spewed found a home in the hearts of Germans who felt betrayed by not only their countrymen, but by the entire world. Eventually, that madman (who you might have already guessed was Adolph Hitler) rose to power in large part because of the German peoples’ poverty. He went on to cause the most destructive war that our planet has ever seen and manipulated his countrymen into committing some of the worst atrocities in the history of humanity.

                 Why empowr (Part 14)

"World War II Casualties" Wikimedia Commons
 

Hitler’s story isn’t entirely unlike that of a young man who grew up is Russia’s Caucasus Mountains. Russian society at the time was dominated by a few elite groups and ruled with an iron fist by the Czars. These groups owned the vast majority of the farmland and nearly all the factories. The Russian peasants were paid poverty-level wages to toil away in factories and on farms, often for fourteen hours a day and typically without any weekend break. The rents most peasants paid for their land were outrageous, often forcing people who cultivated acres of land to go hungry just to afford to stay on their farms. On top of all this, for those stupid, angry, or hopeless enough to get out of line, floggings were a traditional form of punishment.

The poverty and inequality that pervaded Russian society led to a thriving Bolshevik movement which espoused the beliefs of the founder of Communism, Karl Marx. The young man I mentioned earlier was a part of this movement. Communist ideology offered the millions of Russians living in poverty some hope that, when assets and wealth were redistributed, their lives would improve. Many Russians’ lives were so terrible already that plenty of them thought they had very little to lose. Eventually, the Bolsheviks incited a rebellion that allowed them to take control over the entire country.

The story is complicated (as Russian stories often are), but the long and short of it is that the young man, Joseph Stalin, rose to power on the coattails of another famous man named Vladimir Lenin, who controlled the Bolshevik Communist movement. Once Lenin fell ill as the result of an assassination attempt, Stalin quickly rose to be the unquestioned leader of Russia, which was eventually called the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union’s prison camps (known as gulags) and secret police force (KGB) are famous to this day for their brutality and for the hundreds of thousands of Russian lives they destroyed. Stalin, after playing a critical role in the defeat of Hitler (his one-time ally) during World War II, put the Soviet Union at odds with the United States. This ultimately led to the Cold War, which resulted in the economic collapse of the Soviet Union and forced the U.S.’s national debt to skyrocket over the course of the conflict. The Cold War also took the world to the very brink of thermonuclear annihilation.

                Why empowr (Part 14)

      Why empowr (Part 14) 

History tends to move in cycles, which is why there’s an expression that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. If you think of the rise of dictators as a brutal, tragic game, the playbook that aspiring dictators use is tried and true. Poverty and inequality are the arenas in which the game is played, and they facilitate its every step forward.

The Dictator Playbook

While there are often many nuances and subtleties to the game, its basic progression almost always follows five basic steps.

Step One: Poverty and inequality create an undemocratic state in which the bottom segments of a society don’t control enough wealth to provide for themselves, and they wield little to no political power so they cannot hope to affect any structural changes to the system they live under. This situation creates enough desperation and anger among everyday people that they become much more vulnerable to the lure of any political system other than the one that’s making their lives so miserable.

Step Two: A new, often charismatic leader connects with the poor and disenfranchised masses, convincing them that he truly feels their pain. Sometimes, this may even be true, as a number of dictators have started out from the lower classes, themselves. In any case, after the new leader convinces enough people that he understands how they feel, he gives them a target for their hate. Another group of people, another country, an ideology—it doesn’t really matter what it is, just so long as he can make an even mildly convincing argument that the target is the cause of most of the society’s ills.

Step Three: The leader takes power. This could be through an election or through some kind of revolution. The method of how our soon-to-be dictator rises to power isn’t as important as what he does once he gets there.

Step Four: Once in power, our budding dictator starts squashing all dissenting voices both outside of his own organization and within it. Think media censorship, purges, and the government takeover of all forms of mass communication.

                 Why empowr (Part 14)

Source: Reporters Without Borders: For Freedom of Information

 

Step Five: Once the fourth step is complete, our newly minted dictator extraordinaire ensures that there are no term limits that interfere with him ruling for long periods of time or he takes steps to cement his power to the point where any “elections” that do take place are complete farces. (North Korea is an example of the latter.) After a person or group of people reach the top of a government and make it so that almost no matter what happens, they will never have to worry about being removed from power, any hope of democratic or representative government dies a quick death.

You’ll remember in an earlier chapter when we talked about the fat, lazy company that can’t compete without having a monopoly because of how stagnant and inefficient it becomes. Well, that company parallels quite effectively the makeup and evolution of totalitarian regimes. As the people at the top consolidate their power further and further with each passing year, they get lazier and more reliant on their traditional way of doing things.

 

One difference is that, if they are ruthless enough, they can maintain a monopoly on governance that lasts for decades, no matter how badly they run things or how poor they make the majority of the people they “govern.” Eventually, poverty and inequality in dictator-run countries do tend to become bad enough that there’s another, often bloodier, revolution and the process begins all over again.

This self-perpetuating cycle of poverty and non-democracy, which my team and I call “the Poverty Loop,” is one of the primary reasons we created empowr. Later in this book we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of how empowr is designed to short circuit the Poverty Loop by attacking poverty head on, but, for the time being, suffice it to say that we believe if we can help nip poverty and inequality in the bud—while also delivering a functional democracy via the Internet—we can play at least a small role in preventing a lot of pretty awful stuff from happening across the world.

Throughout history, nearly every single time that any government appears where the leaders are not regularly replaced through nonviolent means, corruption starts to grow, and bad things happen. There are even world leaders today who have risen to power based on the poverty and desperation of their constituents; many have already taken steps to quash dissent. Trust me when I say things won’t end well if they aren’t regularly replaced with new, democratically elected representatives. This can even happen in really great countries that have leaders who genuinely want the best for their nation and their people.

One example of a country that is not heading in the right direction despite the quality of both its leadership and its people is China. With China set to become the world’s largest economy and with many first-world democracies in crisis, a number of other countries may be lured into following China’s lead, politically. Since China will be looking to secure its sphere of influence over the next few decades, many global leaders are concerned that we may be heading toward another Cold War, this time with China pitted against Europe and the United States.

 

That said, let’s address why the Chinese political and economic models are not set up to succeed in the long term.

254 Comments
:

Ninja Model

OMG never knew that US national debt is such a huge in figure..
Really proud to be o empowr..and thanks for our team..

30 months ago
Olga Rakhimova

Thank you for creating a great post. I like. I read with pleasure and gratitude.

30 months ago
Delilah Jones

We're so appreciative of all your support Olga! Thank you for your continued dedication.

30 months ago
Надежда Sibirskaya

Wonderful post! Thank you for your hard work! Thanks for sharing! Have a nice day! I wish you success!

30 months ago
Oxana Rogutko

Thank you! As always it was interesting to read and learn something new!

30 months ago
Muhammad Sarwar

Truly agree with the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.
I hope we at Empowr can stem the rot before it overwhelms us. Appreciate the sincere efforts of the team to create the required awareness about reality today.
Thank you Empowr for giving importance to the "Poverty Loop" as one of the primary reasons why Empowr was created.
Thank you JC for this awesome post and glad to be with Empowr that rocks! Thank you all.

30 months ago
Md. Ariful Islam

Thank you for nice information.... I like it.

30 months ago
Eduardo Orpilla

I am learning more and more, can't wait for the next part.
Way to go JC!

30 months ago
Tatsiana Komarova

Thanks you!

30 months ago
Leo Vasquez

Good morning my lovely fan's God is good two of my lovely fan's start tomorrow their ready to go make real money thanks empor

30 months ago
Amy Maria Talledo

Very interesting series. I am eagerly waiting for the next part.
Thank you JC

30 months ago
Mikhail Kobets

Thank you for the analytical detailed blog series! Very useful and interesting! The poverty of humanity is very bad! As it is written in one sacred book "Man rules over man, to the detriment of man!
Thank you again for your work and the fight against poverty!

30 months ago
Sergiy Didyk

Thanks you!

30 months ago
Ahmad Ramdono

Nice Blog!
Thanks for sharing.

30 months ago
Katy Tanase

Good to know! Thanks for this very informative post!

30 months ago
Alexxia

Wow, thank you, JC! I am enjoying reading every part of the book!
Happy to be a part of Empowr! <3

Hugs,
Alexxia

30 months ago
Rom Ned

Thank you that you tell us a lot of interesting! Very interesting blog!

30 months ago
Vadim Shiryaev

Good part! Very pleased! The main thing so accurately described. Thank you! I admire!

30 months ago
Gennadiy Beloglazov

good post

30 months ago
Godfred Darkmens (Oly)

Happy to be part of this great adventure, Empowr!

30 months ago
Соколов

Thank you for Your work!

30 months ago
Satish

Thank you!

30 months ago
Katherine Nlcitizen

This is another post that will make us think what we really want to happen in the future………
The dictator playbook is scary, and it looks like, we are repeating back in time. We are blind or I think there are many who doen´t care because they have the same thought. There´s nothing t lose.
Hmmm… I have read about this, that the Chinese political and economic models are not set up to succeed in the long term because of the income inequality, wealth inequality, or the wealth gap. It caused deepening social tension, marked by unrest and protests. With that, the state has prohibited workers from establishing independent labor unions, severely persecuted activists and detained human rights lawyers, (No democracy, it was locked up) then China’s economic growth now decelerating and the growing numbers of China’s new rich who are choosing to emigrate abroad and take their money with them.

30 months ago
Johnny Cash

Katherine, I think you hit it on the head:

When people feel insecure economically (which is happening now because of automation and globalization) they become easy targets for populists who will tell them just the right words to give them hope: 1) that he and only he has the answer; 2) that a certain group of people are the problem / enemy; and 3) that if he's given power, he will fight those bad people. Simple formula, right?

As you said, this is exactly what is transpiring. Wasn't hard to predict as history repeats itself. Example: Hitler and the state of mind of the German people after World War I.

And automation is only now just starting... fast forward 10 to 20 years, and one vertical after another will be almost entirely replaced by software and robots, in the same manner as what has happened with travel agents, bank tellers and the employees of phone companies, video rental and music stores, just to name a few.

IE: The job destroying tornado caused by technology is just getting started and will get a LOT worse soon.

Together, we must create a solution (empowr) that's also enabled by those same technological forces, to replace those jobs as quickly as they're destroyed.

The solution must not be owned by Wall Street investors / venture capitalists, or everyone will become drones / slaves to the resulting corporation as it looks to increase profits each quarter by reducing cash outlays to its members.

If empowr (or some other company that's not controlled by Wall Street) doesn't succeed at this, the populists will gain more and more control, ultimately destroying democracy and take us 100 years backwards - back to a time before tyranny, fascism and communism were defeated.

Just ask any of our friends from Eastern Europe (if they're old enough to remember life before the fall of the soviet union) and they will mostly tell you how serious an issue we're facing -- and why it's worth fighting for.

30 months ago
Tds

You're absolutely correct. Johnny and I agree with your comments. It's evident that this is the situation in many countries in our world today. I hope we at Empowr can stem the rot before it overwhelms us. Appreciate the sincere efforts of the team to create the required awareness about reality today. Look forward to the next post eagerly.

30 months ago
Agung Wijanarko

Great post, thank you for sharing!

30 months ago
Russ Toews

I'm enjoying this series of posts

30 months ago
Muhammad Sarwar

Truly agree with the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.
I hope we at Empowr can stem the rot before it overwhelms us. Appreciate the sincere efforts of the team to create the required awareness about reality today.
Thank you Empowr for giving importance to the "Poverty Loop" as one of the primary reasons why Empowr was created.
Thank you JC for this awesome post and glad to be with Empowr that rocks! Thank you all.

30 months ago
Sylvie Atisse

I really appreciate reading this post, it's very informative and important subject to think about.

30 months ago
Wallace Johnson

Awesome post and excellent information that progressively leads us to current situations. Makes one think about his past, present and the future of Society as a means and reasons for really working together for the betterment of all people. I have lived through the prejudices of the Blacks, the Jews and now the Immigration, all through poverty that motivates it . Thanks for bringing to a current status, as which yesterday is history, but also hope for changes.

30 months ago
Sasha O''Neil

Hi Wallace, it is so great to hear that you agree with the concept of poverty being the motivating factor that sparks the prejudices. Living through those really helps to bring light to the major issues. Thank you for sharing.

30 months ago
Amada Marcelino

Sir, hi.
That's very informative blog and enhances my knowledge on history.
I love reading more about issues like this one.

Good luck , best of health and success to all of us.!
May God bless us all !-mady

30 months ago
Sasha O''Neil

Thank you Amada! We are so happy you are taking away more historical knowledge, we wish you the best of health as well!

30 months ago
Александр Ефимовских

Беда в том,что много людей находящихся у власти,хотят,чтобы история повторялась!И диктаторы пришедшие к власти с одной командой,которую они могут наказывать,но управлять страной нужна как правило другая команда и команда пришедшая к власти набирает свое окружение,и диктатор уже не может их наказывать,за просчеты,а когдаон им надоедает,то они просто его убирают и в стране начинает создаваться обстановка для революции и прихода другого диктатора!Сталин это понимал и вовремя менял свое окружение,но пожалел некоторых и они с ним расправились!А Китай просто следует наказу своего первого императора! http://online-offline.ru/2015/08/27/чем-экономика-китая-опаснее-для-сша-и-д/

30 months ago
Sasha O''Neil

Привет Александр, спасибо за то, что поделились своими взглядами на Сталина и его способностью оставаться у власти, довольно интересно наблюдать параллель с сегодняшним миром с Китаем.

30 months ago
Crispina Palopalo

This is so interesting and shocking to know the hunger of power by the dictators who wants to manipulate the world.
Truly agree with the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.
But I still believe that regardless dictators can maintain a monopoly on governance that lasts for decades, no matter how badly they run things or how poor they make the majority of the people they “govern, there's still a BIG HOPE to be found if one looked hard enough and Empowr manifests/will manifest the humanity. and will be a great example that other companies/countries will eventually do the same thing to get out from poverty and inequality that may seem impossible but really isn't..
Thank you Empowr for giving importance to the "Poverty Loop" as one of the primary reasons why Empowr was created.
Thank you JC for this awesome post and glad to be with Empowr that rocks! Thank you all.

30 months ago
Sasha O''Neil

Crispina, we are so happy you feel the same connection with how the power empowr will have to stop the "Poverty Loop". There is always hope out there to have things turn around, we so happy you see that too! :)

30 months ago
David Bruyland

Good and interesting post. Thanks.

30 months ago
Yura Mashkarynets

Believe the beautiful post of my friend, thank you for sharing this great post. Have a nice day.

30 months ago
Svetlana Kranina

In excellence ! Great post! Thank you friend !

30 months ago
Delilah Jones

We appreciate the support Svetlana! Thank you. :)

30 months ago
Elena Emily

Another very interesting chapter. Thank you very much for sharing with us!

30 months ago
Oxana Altanets

Interesting information, good day!

30 months ago
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