Pauperization of People through Austerity Measures as a Form of Mass Repression

People need to question and re-question the assumptions which govern their lives, the nostrums offered by political leaders and the mainstream media, and by the scientific ‘truths” uttered by experts who… are operating within the limits of narrow ideology that serves mostly to maintain a system that serves the few and deprives the many.
Interview with psychotherapist and writer Gabor Mate, Z-magazine, Nov. 2012, p. 26

Laziness and lack of curiosity allowed people to accept whatever story seemed simplest and freed them from seeking the truth.
Gary Lachman, “In Search of P. D. Ouspensky (The Genius in the Shadow of Gurdjieff)”, Quest Bs, 2004, p. 85

From the first glance mass culture as a sub-cultural phenomenon seems the opposite of the ideas and intention of “economic shock therapy” or “austerity measures”. Mass culture is all about consumption (though cheap) and prosperity (though fake). But the fraudulent nature of pop-consumption and pop-prosperity is not detected by mass minds that are not able to differentiate between wealth and glamour on the one side and consumerism of entertainment, fast food and recreational drugs on the other. In pre-austerity democracy even the poor people feel themselves as if they are “kind of rich”. The “really-rich” wear diamonds, the poor – turquoise ring, the rich consume lobsters and wine for fifty to hundred dollars per bottle, the poor – hamburgers and beer for five dollars per six-pack, but the pop-impression is that all social strata in democracy are equally occupied with prosperous consumption and enjoy consumptive prosperity. Growing obesity among the poor serves as visual confirmation of this general feeling. Young people combine surplus-muscles with surplus-fat and serve as moving commercials of a “democratic” way of life. In this climate a substantial part of the relatively poor and even “dead-end poor” develop detrimental imaginary identification with the rich (that is based on wishful thinking). This false consciousness, the inability to see the truth about the fierce social stratification is the first step towards what in a next historical period may become the inability to react adequately on austerity measures that the 1% inflicts or tries to inflict on the 99% of population.

Like one of the characters in JLG’s “Contempt”/”Le Mepris” (1963), who unconsciously identifies with Greek Gods, says that he knows exactly how Gods feel, the poor who unconsciously identify with the wealthy, feel that they are – “in a way”, somehow, “in principle”, in their admiration of the glamorous life style are kind of the same as the wealthy. They identify with the rich as they identify with James Bond.

The more pauperized these people become (jobless, houseless, homeless, food-stamp counting, food bank line-enduring) under the austerity campaign, the more this situation… “encourages” their complex of imaginary identification with the rich instead of awakening their sensitivity for unpleasant truth. Pauperization makes the unconscious illusion of their similarity with the wealthy even more morbid. Those among poor who were prone to imaginarily identify with the wealthy in a pre-austerity epoch, in austerity period tend to become more markedly admirers of the rich as role models in spite of the fact of being so obviously mistreated by them. Their identification becomes denser, heavier and hotter than before – it becomes a full blown psychological defense against the traumatizing truth that they never were “like the rich”, that they always were and are on the receiving end of the deciders’ decisions – when the deciders wanted to give them French fries and Coors they could enjoy consumerism but as soon as the masters decided to dispose consumerism as an empty box, the times of prosperity with its narcissism are over. Success of Romney (47% of Americans voted for this pathetically pitiful political couple – Romney-Ryan ticket) is a psycho-pathological symptom of those poor who are not capable to overcome their identificatory adhesion to the rich as super-stars. When material conditions and social relations start to deteriorate – the mental regression is the most widespread reaction to this deterioration. Crime including violent crime grows, suicide and extreme addictions grow, and the pre-democratic (extremist) world-views start to multiply. The tendency to scapegoat dissimilar people is part of this general process of cultural and psychological deterioration in austerity phase of formal democracy. In addition, austerity is made to look more natural by new wars distracting jingoistic masses from their poorness and helplessness.

Let’s summarize and conclude. Consumption orientation during mass-cultural boom creates the phenomenon of imaginary identification of psychologically vulnerable among masses with the rich (people’s feeling that the interests of the rich and their own are identical or similar). And austerity can make this identification even more morbid by stimulating regression of already superstitious identification into a kind of worship of money/profit and of moneyed profiteers who are perceived as champions of social success. This can explain the “tea-party” popularity of GOP massive attack on the interests of the population that many poor who are disoriented by their complex of superstitious identification with the rich are not mentally capable to detect as such. So, they are supporting the neocon’s plan to gut Social security, Medicare and Medicate, etc. because they deliriously believe that it is in their interests.

If psyche of the 47% from 99% wasn’t re-structured by the absurd identification with the rich, Romney with his record of destroying American jobs and with his “foreign connections” could be where he belongs – under thirty percent of supporters. But the perception of economic data can be easily manipulated by psychological factors. For the worshippers of money Romney deserves to be President only because he is “self-made rich” – he is money in flesh and blood. If some previous American Presidents’ faces are on banknotes and coins, why can’t banknotes and coins be on a President’s face?

In Romney/Ryan-Rymney/Roan’s public speeches money with its gift for lying with a childlike naturalness is transformed into politics. They talk money – they deliver lies, but too many are happy to take their lies for money. People are psychologically alchemists – they believe that the rich’s and their political servants’ lies naturally transform into money.

Thanks God that Rymney/Roan season wasn’t too long. But their potion of hateful passion, lies and money will continue to create reverberations in the credulous among the poor. Ideology of profit by any price has already can succeed in transforming American dream into moneirican dream.