Three Types Of Profit-makers VS The 99% Of The Population Becoming Pauperized Through Austerity Measures


Georg Grosz, “The Decision-makers and the Plebs”

The artist represents the social world as two unequal parts – one the desk with three giants occupying three third of the space while the “plebs” are on the periphery and are represented as much smaller human figures. The Olympians of today’s world are occupied with mental activity – the chief (at the top of the desk) is observing the plebs and calculating the profits made on people’s pauperization. The center of the picture – the very nucleus of the world of wealth-and-poverty is the main profit-maker’s left hand covering the pack of money.

The three profit-makers are calculating the growth of their wealth as a result of mass pauperization. The main money-predator is looking at people in poverty. Among them we see a cluster of unemployed as a result of the shutdown of the factories. The four workers include those with faces burdened by emotional trauma and despair, but the one in the center (drawn as bigger than others) is not only suffering but he is trying to think – is it really possible to do something about the fact that they were laid up and if it still possible – what can it be? To the right of the upper third of the drawing we see the tiny figure of a crippled veteran of the WW1 (reduced by Grosz to the size of a child because of his powerlessness which makes him insignificant in his own eyes). The largest figure amidst the people is the woman – a mother and/or a grandmother who feels desperate and ashamed that her children-and grandchildren are without food. She understands that she can do nothing about it, and it makes her situation even more painful. In the background there are also two figures of soldiers guarding the closed plant (or today transferred to the III World country, where labor is much cheaper). They’re made by Grosz even smaller than the vet on crutches. Why? What does the artist want to say by this? Aren’t soldiers the main weapons at the disposal of the mighty decision-makers? Why are they shown as even less significant than a crippled person? Unfortunately, soldiers cannot understand semantic contradictions created by the artistic thinking – they’re too disoriented by propaganda elevating them into glorious heroes moved by megalomaniacal delirium of being the best people on the planet. They still think that they are needed to defend their country while in reality they exist just to protect the wealth of the wealthy and the power of the powerful. Militaries are servants of these three giants with superhuman ambitions whom we see in Crosz’ drawing.

Among them sitting at the profit-desk – the main profit-maker is predatorily watching at the people. To the right at the table we see a person without eyes – instead eyes he is looking with his glasses – his professional – profit calculating eyes. For this reason he looks like a blind, and he is blind, if to mean human sight. To the left we see a creature who doesn’t look around but up – he looks skyward – with gratitude and a mute prayer to someone up there not to leave the three of them without his supernatural support. This person most likely thinks that they’re getting so much profit because of the supernatural help. By this belief he stabilizes his trio’s confidence and stimulates their professionalism to transform people into money.