Most societies are, to a large, medium, or small degree, plutocracies. Money buys privileges—and, in direct correlation, more money buys more privileges. To the cartoon’s specific point, one of many ways this plutocracy–privileges relationship plays out is in the purchase of ‘justice’. Bought justice. The greater the income and wealth inequalities, the greater are the disparities in justice. With more money comes more access to top-rung, dexterous legal representation, increasing the probability of exoneration. Which translates to the putative exemptions (equivalent to the cartoon’s ‘licenses’) from penalties for otherwise ‘illegal’ behaviour. That’s in no one’s constitution or legal code per se. But such ‘exemptions’, ‘wavers’, ‘licenses’, and absence of ‘infringement’ are ordinarily and insidiously folded into the social, political, and legal fabric of most societies.
The hand-in-hand relationship between wealth and privilege is particularly brought home, in a classic exercise of plutocratic excess, by multi-billionaires vying to put their thumbs on the scales of political outcomes. Multi-billionaires filling the coffers of, and advocating the social and ideological interests of, the far right and the far left compete for the loudest megaphone to sway voters’ opinions of the ‘wisdom’ of candidates’ positions on issues. Multi-billionaire Brobdingnagians vying for more than their share of influence. In the case of voter support, it’s a zero-sum exercise, as the size of the pie is fixed, leaving multi-billionaires to cannibalize each other’s slice. The success of the working class to ultimately cancel out privilege, and to remove the plutocrats’ thumbs on the scale, comes down to how successfully they can filter out, or reduce to noise, all that underwritten messaging. Maybe the consequences aren’t quite as dire as those creatively envisioned in your wonderfully imaginative cartoon, Youngjin, but the people’s daily welfare is nonetheless on the auction block.
A really enjoyable cartoon of a flat-rate dystopia. Hard times not only for deontologists...
Youngjin has a special ability to 'push the boundaries' in his cartoons, revealing things by exaggeration and visualisation that are already present in our society. Keith sums this cartoon up well: 'bought justice'. This is something familiar to all of us.