Saturday, November 22, 2014

Society's leeches: Harold and Sue Ann Hamm

The Hamms
by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

Poor old Harold Hamm.  An Oklahoma Judge has ordered him to pay his ex wife $1 billion to settle the divorce proceedings that this poor couple have had to endure for the last two and a half years.

Harold is the chairman of Continental Resources the oil drilling giant that is the largest producer in North Dakota's Bakken Field and was the senior energy adviser to Mitt Romney.  Hamm has paid Sue Ann Hamm $22.8 million already so he owes her another $972.7 million according to reports. And get this, the poor old bugger has to come up with $300 million by the end of the year.

Mr. Hamm thinks it's a pretty fair deal and wants to put the divorce behind him. He will still have 250 million shares in the company leaving him as 70% owner worth about $14 billion.

It's not that Ms Hamm doesn't deserve her rightful share of a company she worked for as a lawyer.  She got the court to force Continental to produce some 600,000 documents proving her expertise and decision making contributed to the increased stock market value of the company.  The judge determined that there was "no evidence that she needed additional support" according to the Wall Street Journal.

The larger issues are whether any of them have the right to that money at all, after all, they never earned it and more importantly, whether the production and distribution of such social necessities as energy should be in private hands at all. Obviously they should not.  The recent oil boom from hydraulic fracking which does extreme environmental damage has brought gold rush type conditions to North Dakota.  The massive and infusion of capital and rapacious thirst for profits has brought wealth for some and havoc to others as market booms like this and the social need for energy has no rational planning to it, left as it is to private individuals who could just as well be producing T-shirts.  A similar destructive situation is occurring in California as capital has swarmed in to the production of Almonds.  The environmental damage caused by such anarchistic methods of social production is extensive.

That two individuals can haggle over such stratospheric sums as more and more people find themselves living on the edge is obscene to say the least.  Some moron on FB the other day said with confidence in his own superficial, individualistic view of the world that the teachers in my community "don't need a raise" providing no other evidence than him asserting it.   He believes in freedom he says. The freedom for capital to plunder the world's resources no matter what the consequences as profit is king.  He, like the rest of us, will be buried amid the rubble of the decaying system he champions if it persists much longer.  He is of no consequence personally just an example of humanity at its worst.

When the so-called free market has finished with North Dakota, it too, like Detroit will revert to third world status until some profit thirsty budding Donald Trump will build a new casino or entertainment complex where workers can be fleeced of more cash, with government help of course.  The public/private partnership is a great deal for the entrepreneur, profits privatized losses socialized.  It is disgusting that people like the Hamms are portrayed as hard working and the epitome of success, what all young people should aspire to become.  It is not success, but one's failure as a human being that takes them to this point.

I can only wonder what the Hamm's more than $14 billion would do for society as a whole (society as a whole generated it) if its social allocation was democratically decided by those whose labor produced it and by those communities that would benefit from it.  I'm sure the reader can come up with some examples.

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