2017 Revealed Executive Predators in Entertainment; High Water Mark for Corporate Capitalism?

I made the joke earlier that, at the end of 2016, someone asked God to stop killing celebrities. She listened, and spent 2017 revealing the creeps.

This could be– I use the words could be, because predicting the future is impossible and the risk of future embarrassment is high when one tries to do so– the end of an era; it’s possible that 2017 is the high water mark for Corporate America.

I will probably never be a billionaire. It’s not my inclination. If I could get a reliable middle-class life by writing, and never have to subordinate in the false name of “work”, I’d probably do that instead. I care more about cultural influence and personal integrity than a bunch of expensive toys I’d get used to in fifteen minutes. Yet I know that others are not like me. There are people in the world who wish to dominate, to humiliate, and to grow in power without bound. It’s not material wealth that drives them; like anyone else would, they bore of the toys quickly. It’s the subordination of the world that energizes them: a private view of a well-bred, Ivy-educated girl willing to debase herself.

We can’t end sexual harassment in Corporate America without ending Corporate America. This is no obstacle; we should end them both.

Let’s take note of what we’re up against. Harvey Weinstein infamously said, “that was the culture then.” With more secrecy in it, it’s the culture now. Understand this: to the sorts of people who become corporate executives, there is no such thing as an “abuse of power”. What we call abuse, they call power. Their imagined right to use their social and economic position for sexual gratification is, for many of them, the executive perk they care the most about. They’ll give up the private flights and bully pulpits before they give up hope of debasing a woman (or, in some cases, a man) half their age.

Everyone gets funneled into the corporate game, and most decent people hate it. Some decent people beat the odds against them and succeed, and even after that, they hate it. Yet there are a few people who are energized by endless social competition, zero-sum status games, and the plethora of pointless nonsense that characterize high bureaucratic capitalism. They will win. The whole process takes energy from normal people until they cease to compete, but there are some who gain lift from it. They don’t mind “working” 100-hour weeks because the courtiers’ games are the only thing they care to do. They’ll always have an advantage. It cannot be fixed. Narcissists and psychopaths will, in the current system, inexorably win and drive out everyone else.

This is why I mock so-called “corporate feminism”, the Lean In nonsense. Of course, corporate feminism is not completely self-contradictory. In theory, a matriarchy could exist that is an oppressive as the patriarchy that exists today (which is, though this does not excuse bad behavior, relatively mild compared to patriarchies of antiquity). Such a society could be just as corporate as this one. A vision of corporate dominion coupled with female supremacy would be internally consistent. But, to most people, feminism means female equality, not supremacy. Gender equality is not compatible with the corporate system as it exists today, because the projection of power matters, more than merit and more than anything that might otherwise be a source of power, and society will always deem one gender more capable (contrary to reality, which seems to have endowed the genders with roughly equal amounts of competence) and powerful than the other. The only major difference between men and women is that we look different (obvious and underwhelming, right?) but the post-truth corporate system runs on appearances.

Furthermore, the corporate system cannot survive without executive payoffs that decent people would consider distasteful and wrong. Seven- and eight-figure salaries are not enough. People get used to those, mighty quick. After three months, a person’s salary becomes, to him, an objective entitlement. Material wealth is not enough for these people; they must dominate.

One might say that if a model of society requires people to be mistreated, and that this falls disproportionately on one-half of the population that tends to hold less power for historical reasons, then we ought to scrap that model of society. I agree. Let’s end executive capitalism. In Scandinavia, managers work for companies; in the U.S., companies work for managers. Let’s become more civilized. Do we really need an overpaid, self-indulgent feudal overclass? I doubt it. Society would run better without those idiots in charge.

It is possible– I do not say certain or even likely, but possible— that 2017 represents a high water mark for the self-indulgent corporate capitalism that Donald Trump has exemplified for the past forty years. I’ve heard people crack jokes about “Hollywood executives”. Don’t make that mistake; it’s not just Hollywood. We hear the Hollywood stories, because those tend to have prettier women and uglier men involved, but this runs deep and for every creep who gets caught, there are twenty who’ve gotten away with it. Our system exists in its current form because the most powerful people go to work for reasons other than money (they’ve got enough). Take away their perceived “right” to abuse power, and they’ll lose motivation and drop out of the system, and that’ll be good for everyone. Our society is broken in more ways than I can count right now; we’ve got a lot of earnest work to do, in order to fix it.

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9 thoughts on “2017 Revealed Executive Predators in Entertainment; High Water Mark for Corporate Capitalism?

  1. I view men and women as japan and south korea.

    The militaries of japan and south korea are not superior to each other. USA engineered those militaries to supplement each other against china and north korea. It’s extremely difficult for japan and south korea to attack each other, but they can easily work together to defend against north korea and china. Men and women have different strengths and weaknesses. When they work together, it goes well for everyone.

    Even if one gender was actually superior to the other, there wouldn’t be meaningfully large difference, anyway. In any case, supporting each other is a lot more profitable than fighting each other.

    That said, it’s not just executives that abuse corporate system. Unscrupulous women would gladly take advantage of men like Harvey Weinstein to get movie deals. But, since executives have control over others, their corruption is far more problematic.

    I don’t think patriarchy is an actual thing nowadays. Most executives are still men because women used to be fully busy with raising kids in the past. With high infant mortality rate of the past, women produced 5~6 kids, and only 2 of them survived. When women produced 5~6 kids and there was no washing machine, housekeeping was strenuous.
    Nowadays, infant mortality is low, housekeeping can be easy, and women don’t need to give birth to 5~6 kids. Also, most women don’t actually want to work 100 hours and give up a shot at making babies and leaving workplace. This explains why it’s slow for women to enter executive suites after world war 2.

    My suspicion is that executive suite is genderless. It’s like psychopath. Psychopathy is genderless. It was proposed by Pieter Hintjens that psychopaths can change their outward sexuality when necessary.

  2. > I will probably never be a billionaire. It’s not my inclination. If I could get a reliable middle-class life by writing, and never have to subordinate in the false name of “work”, I’d probably do that instead. I care more about cultural influence and personal integrity than a bunch of expensive toys I’d get used to in fifteen minutes.

    Money is not just for buying expensive toys. If you want to change the world, having a lot of money helps.

    Elon Musk’s 180 million dollars helped him found Solar City and Tesla.
    If I were him, I would invest 180 million dollars conservatively, but his objective was not risk-adjusted return. He wanted to change the world. He wants to put humans on other planets, too.

  3. Indeed. “Abuse of power” is almost a contradiction in terms; people without power cannot abuse it, and abuses that are punished mean the abuser wasn’t as powerful as they thought. If your power is limited by rules, you’re less powerful. Discretion is at the heart of power.

  4. Yes, I have been observing this “France in 1788” feeling for a while – a complacent malaise, courtiers partying it up on the taxpayer’s dime, a profound resentment not only among the working classes, but among the capable-but-unrecognized people (like yourself). And yet, even within corporations, I’ve seen new forms of social organization arise spontaneously – a team gets together to meet a deadline, an informal leader is elected, people work at what they’re best at, they make the deadline – and management fires this informal leader and takes credit. It’s a pattern I’ve noticed especially in defense contracting, where management is so incompetent that the lunatics run the asylum.

    Living abroad, I see this pattern all over the world – small communities of smart people choosing to organize themselves in ways that are radically different from the way they are told to do so – not for money, not for social status, but just for the sake of doing something interesting. They hold jobs, they play along with Scrum and Agile and all the other nonsense, but that isn’t where they put their heart. It’s a quiet revolution.

    These new ways of organization could be more profitable if only capital went their way. Except, investors treat such groups with seething contempt – but when MBA’s get in, suddenly they get much friendlier. Clients do come along, because a client has deadlines and these groups can meet these deadlines more quickly.

    I feel the ground shifting, but am waiting the time when these new “smart and small” groups take back the industry. What do you think?

    • An informal leader could found a new company with its followers if the barrier of entry was not high.

      I suspect the pattern you observed has been going on for at least a century. I think changing society will require three elements that I learned from a book, the power of habit, written by Cal Newport.

      1. strong ties of friendship
      2. weak ties of social membership
      3. New habits

      Rosa Park had a lot of friends and acquaintances from various backgrounds. When she was arrested for refusing to yield her bus seat to a white person, she was arrested. A lawyer she knew and Martin Luther King organized a one-day bus boycott which eventually became months-long protests across USA. It started because she had lots of friends and acquaintances, and it kept growing because Martin Luther King taught people new commuting habits like car pool and volunteer taxi drivers. King also taught people a new habit of non-violent protest in place of violent activism.

      This is not everything, but it explains a lot.

      I think this technique will work in transforming companies, too.

  5. Why does God have to be a She? And, if the immaculate conception is also true, wouldn’t that make her a lesbian? And if She did all those horrible things to the Caananites and the Egyptians, that’s one bad bitch.

    • 1. I was using the notion of God rhetorically. Whether there is a god, and what gender such a being may have, is outside of my knowledge.

      2. I, personally, do not believe in the literal god of any religion.

  6. >> Our system exists in its current form because the most powerful people go to work for reasons other than money (they’ve got enough).

    But don’t we all strive to do the same thing and basic income is supposed to be the answer to that?

    You mentioned somewhere, Michael, an hourly rate of $250. Would you be interested in earning two hours of that by consulting my idea to implement BI in a top-down way? (Think a Henry Ford who reduces work time to 5 hours per day because it’s more profitable for him this way).

    My $50k of risk capital + 12 years of experience in finance + ongoing employee salary outside finance might not be enough just by myself, that’s why the need for a review. And who knows, this might be your opportunity too to make a kickback. Or anyone else’s who reads this blog (and the ads I may post on it if the consulting session goes well) and is familiar with your ideas, albeit don’t ever expect a perfect match up (just start from the fact that I’m a Trump enthusiast 🙂

    Tell me if you’re interested and will start arranging a Leoz Maxwell profile on UpWork.

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