Catherine Austin Fitts assesses the risks to the economy, democratic society, and the planet under what she calls "the slow burn" scenario:
The “slow burn” is a political culture and economy managed through principles of economic warfare in which insiders systematically protect themselves and centralize control and ownership of resources by using:
- Central banks
- Currency and lending systems
- Regulatory and enforcement policies
- Controlled media and entertainment
How philanthropy plays under the slow burn scenario has yet to be seen. Is it most often an instrumentality of power in which glory is accorded to those who run things? Is it a way to clean up a few of the many messes, as many are left behind, or outside the Green Zones? Or, is it the seed capital for social change from the bottom up? No doubt, each giver will have his or her own approach. It is hard to see how philanthropy can create a better world for us all, unless it somehow unmasks and overcomes the few who, from behind a screen of silence and misdirection and secrecy would consolidate a better world for themselves at the expense of their fellow citizens.
Catherine promotes social investment (in food, water, small businesses, local banks) at the small town community level. Her goal is to create sustainable personal wealth and thriving communities less and less dependent on central powers subject to capture, collusion and corruption. Generous herself, she tends to discount philanthropy as a lever of social change. In time I hope she from her Christian libertarian grassroots perspective and progressive social change philanthropists can unite to promote realistic, sustainable and resiliant citizen solutions. Mission-aligned investing by community foundations in protecting the local supply chains, food supply, water, business ecosystem, schools, health system, and media?
The disconnect in current discussions of philanthropy is the assumption of good will all around. In truth, not all with concentrated power are full of alruistic concern for the well being of ordinary people, the worker bees, the couch potatoes, the ditto heads. Some with insider privileges would, given a choice, rather that their own children prosper, even if yours do not survive in what looks increasingly like a bad time coming. The market will provide, of course, and a rising tide raises all boats, of course, but the market, like government, may be rigged, or gamed. Philanthropy can always go to think tanks or pundits who will put a good face on the intolerable.
With so much insider knowledge, and so much wealth, concentrated behind firewalls and "safe places," in so few hands, how could the game not be rigged for the benefit of those with knowledge, connections, favors, and preferment to barter at the highest levels? Take the resumes of top government officials and count the ways good gummint pays, and repays in the revolving door that connects our three sectors. Only angels could handle so much unnacountable power without becoming - well, human, as Swift understood humanity, as an animal driven by appetite and capable of reason. Opting out of the broken system and investing time, money, energy and love locally is the option Catherine adds to the mix. With the corpus of a few big foundations behind such a project it might be a potent counterpoise to the slow burn.