“There is no America. There is only IBM and AT&T and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world”

A little film clip for your Sunday pleasure. Call this a music post, if you will. From the brilliant pen of writer Paddy Chayefsky, one of our geniuses, in full voice on the Song of the Rich versus the Rest: “There is no America. There is only IBM and AT&T and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world”. Today we call it “Tales of the .001%.”

This is from Network, a film way ahead of its time. Or rather, a film willing to tell a truth no one in that time was brave enough to say. Most people remember a different scene, but this one is key. They call it the Money Scene.

Great thanks to Twitter friend MiroCollas for sending the link (he’s a good Twitter follow, by the way). Watch:

Transcript here (click “Show More”). A snippet:

You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no Third Worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems. One vast and immense, interwoven, interacting, multi-varied, multi-national dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rands, rubles, pounds and shekels.

One more:

We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr Beale. The world is a college of corporations

Ignore Ned Beatty’s sniveling self-congratulation at the end — the character has to say that. If he didn’t he’d realize he’s just a predator. Who in a suit wants to admit to such a horrible self-image? After all, predators are thugs; they’re other people.

The Rich versus the Rest

This is the Ayn Rand secret, by the way, if you haven’t figured it out. Upper class predators always need a cover story in order to live with themselves — a paint job over the blood-sucking and life-draining. Rand provided that in the form of the Myth of the Producers — the only worthy people in the world.

Thank Ayn Rand for the image — delusional blood-suckers tarted up as “producers” who are forced to fend off the “parasites.” You’ve heard this in other forms — makers vs. takers, for example, or in Cameron’s Britain, strivers vs. skivers.

Calling your victims “parasites” is almost psychopathic, but the self-deception is needed if they’re going to get any sleep at all. We do the same today with paint-job language — the new magic phrase is “job-creators.” The inner monologue goes something like this:

“I chain you to your work, drain your labor into my pockets and accounts, give you the least I can give to keep you making my wealth, and throw you away at the end. Noble me — I gave you that job. Golf anyone? Maybe St. Andrews; I think I deserve a reward.”

(And yes, that’s Ned Beatty as the bad guy, the same actor who played this character — Otis to Gene Hackman’s “Mr. Luthor” in the Randian role. A very versatile talent, one of my favorites. Try The Big Easy sometime.)


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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15 Responses to ““There is no America. There is only IBM and AT&T and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world””

  1. pappyvet says:

    Brilliant and prophetic minds have always seen this problem.

    We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” Justice Louis Brandeis (1856-1941) U.S. Supreme Court Justice

    “The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly. The rich have always objected to being governed at all. G,K. Chesterson [1874-1936]

    “An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” Plutarch [c. 46 – 120 CE)

    The problems created by the malefactors of wealth has been with humanity from the beginning and has always rationalized itself over the needs of others. From out and out conquest to the divine rights of Kings and the Dukes and Barons whose words were law and whose rich lives were garnered off the backs of people kept as peasents. Then a Nation rose up based on the knowledge that “All men are created equal” and dedicated to the ideals of” Life,Liberty,and The Pursuit of Happiness.” As at least MOST of us know, the Dukes and Barons were not exactly pleased. The Civil War was not in fact,the last battle of the Revolution. We fight it still and it could still be lost.

  2. pappyvet says:

    “Capital must protect itself in every way. Debts must be collected, mortgages foreclosed as rapidly as possible. When through the process of law the common people lose their homes, they will become more docile and more easily governed through the strong arm of government applied by a central power of wealth under leading financiers. People without homes will not quarrel with their leaders. This is… well known among our principal men now engaged in forming an imperialism of capitalism to govern the world. By dividing the people we can get them to expend their energies in fighting over questions of no importance to us except as teachers of the common herd. It is thus by discreet action we can secure for ourselves that which has been so well planned and so successfully accomplished.” [U.S. Banker’s Association Magazine, 1924]

  3. Kim_Kaufman says:

    The Big Easy… one of my favorite movies. Good soundtrack, too. Oh, and don’t forget Exxon – truly a nation-state who couldn’t even be bullied by Dick Cheney and was against the Iraq war because they knew it would de-stabilize the area.

  4. Alan says:

    Interesting except that IBM would be on the verge of bankruptcy less than 10 years later and AT&T is really SBC. He doesn’t even acknowledge the Euro. Things change. This wasn’t prophetic.

  5. Sweetie says:

    Tribalism wasn’t so great either.

  6. karmanot says:

    Glad that folks are waking up to the disaster that is Clinton.

  7. lynchie says:

    But a constant diet of being told your a taker by the job creators gets ingrained in thinking and it passes on to their kids, both the 1% and the 99%. The Limbaugh crowd needs something to hate so they can go to bed and night bitching about the blacks and the ricans and the mexicans as the reason they don’t have a cadillac and a big screen tv. It has been going on since Regan and the welfare queens. Clinton put his boot into us when he endorsed NAFTA and opened up the U.S. to china and cut deals to give corporate welfare to companies who moved jobs offshore. He deregulated wall street and the banks. He is now setting the stage for Hillary to run for President and the nut kicking will continue.

  8. dula says:

    The mission then, if we choose to accept it is to make money obsolete by reminding the 1% that the gears stop turning if we want them to.

  9. BrianG says:

    1975″s Rollerball had a similiar dystopic future of the world ruled by corporations, and the game was designed to show the futility of individual action. Thanks to the Neoliberal revolution that started in the 1970s, Hollywood no longer produces such thought provoking fare.

  10. UncleBucky says:

    Right, those who imagine themselves as “makers” are really cannon fodder all hopped up on Flag, Cross, Guns, Racial Privilege, Artificial Flavorings, Caffeine and High Fructose Corn Syrup, which gives them the wherewithal to froth on and on and on.

  11. UncleBucky says:

    A-hem, now wasn’t it Reagan who broke up ATT before? And lah dee dah capitalism not only survived but thrived (yeah, I know it might have been a ruse to criminally raise communication charges).

    So if Saint Ronny Raygun can split up and debone the rich, then the US People should be able to do that, too. They may be international, but all over the world the same inkling seems to be among the most of us 6.99 billion… Get them. And we’ll have a little cake since we don’t have any bread…. Hah.

  12. GaiusPublius says:

    Excellent observation, Myrddin.

    Also, “froth on” is one hell of a verb. Nice one.


  13. MyrddinWilt says:

    What I find hilarious is that most of the people who imagine themselves as Galtian ‘makers’ are actually right at the bottom of the heap but froth on about welfare queens and how great free enterprise is and make up conspiracy theories about Jews, blacks, gays etc. being in a conspiracy to keep them down.

    I think that the main reason Limbaugh/Faux stuff sells so well to poor white males is that it gives them an excuse for their lack of success. If you are in any of the minority classes then there is a much more obvious excuse. If you are a black taxi driver then you can tell yourself that you never got higher because of racism (which might even be right) but if you are a white male and the best job you have ever managed to get is taxi driver when you think that you really deserved to be a brain surgeon then you either have to face the fact that you are a failure or invent some crackpot conspiracy that explains it.

    Same happens further up, they think that they should have been given the top job but they are actually overpromoted for their existing one.

  14. therling says:

    Trivia: that scene was shot in the boardroom at the NY Public Library. My mother had worked at the NYPL for many years and recognized that room.

  15. Everyday Freethought says:

    What’s amazing to me is that it never occurs to the self-declared “makers” to educate the “takers” so that they too become “makers”. They have complained about “takers” for decades. Yet no desire to change things.

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