The Rise and Fall of the American Empire seems to be the topic du jour these days and at least one anthropologist has done a significant research on the subject of collapse of complex societies. Donal has given links to a recent talk by one of them. But imagine my surprise at a link that was given to me in chat the other night. Not to some site by a member of the aluminum foil corset crowd, mind you but Market Watch by the Wall Street Journal no less. Here is some of what this commenter has to say on the subject.
ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (MarketWatch) -- “What’s distinctive about the Tea Party is its anarchist streak -- its antagonism toward any authority, its belligerent self-expression, and its lack of any coherent program or alternative to the policies it condemns,” warns Jacob Weisberg in Newsweek. But why not three cheers for the Tea Party Express?
Admit it, something historic is brewing. And yes, it’s good for America, even the anarchy. Revolution is renewal. Tea-baggers want to take on both parties, “restore honor” and “take back the country.” Bring it on, the feeling’s mutual.
OK, maybe most Americans just silently mimic the words, “we’re mad as hell, won’t take it any more.” But watch out: After November the campaign’s shrill rhetoric explodes into action.
Tea-baggers are kicking the revolution into high gear. Debt is sinking America. Both parties are to blame. So vote out incumbents. Spare no one. We need new leadership, another Reagan or Truman. Congress better get the message: Cut that budget, or they’ll dump the rest of you in the coming Great Purge of 2012.
Unfortunately they’re tone deaf. Congress cannot see past the election. All that changes in November.
So thanks Tea Party, Vegas odds must favor a Second American Revolution. Actually, the revolution is already roaring, hot, it’s about time. The GOP and the Dems had more than a decade. But America’s worse off. We need a real revolution to restore sanity … or we can kiss democracy and capitalism good-bye, permanently.
Pretty heady stuff for the WSJ, usually known to be a sober as a Methodist minister and just about as interesting. I do not believe he is referring to violence here but one should not rule it out. Further on he even lists a time line and the reasons for it.
Stage 1: The Dems just put the nail in their coffin by confirming they are wimps, refusing to force the GOP to filibuster the Bush tax cuts for America’s richest.
Stage 2: The GOP takes over the House, expanding its war to destroy Obama with its new policy of “complete gridlock,” even “shutting down government.”
Stage 3: Obama goes lame-duck.
Stage 4: The GOP wins back the White House and Senate in 2012. Health care returns to insurers. Free market financial deregulation returns.
Stage 5: Under the new president, Wall Street’s insatiable greed triggers the catastrophic third meltdown of the 21st century Shiller predicted, with defaults on dollar-denominated debt.
Stage 6: The Second American Revolution explodes into a brutal full-scale class war rebelling against the out-of-touch, out-of-control greedy conspiracy-of-the-rich now running America.
Stage 7: Domestic class warfare is compounded by Pentagon’s prediction that by 2020 “an ancient pattern of desperate, all-out wars over food, water, and energy supplies would emerge” worldwide and “warfare is defining human life.”
Now my first reaction is, "Can this guy be serious?" but then I see links to other articles on the same subject - such as this one:
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Yes, tax the Super Rich. Tax them now. Before the other 99% rise up, trigger a new American Revolution, a meltdown and the Great Depression 2.
Revolutions build over long periods — to critical mass, a flash point. Then they ignite suddenly, unpredictably. Like Egypt, started on a young Google executive’s Facebook page. Then it goes viral, raging uncontrollably. Can’t be stopped. Here in America the set-up is our nation’s pervasive “Super-Rich Delusion.”
Here’s how one savvy insider who knows described this Super-Rich Delusion: “The top 1% live privileged lives, aren’t worried about much. Families vacation at the best resorts. Their big concerns are finding the best Pilates teacher, best masseuse, best surgeons, best private schools. They aren’t concerned with the underlying deterioration of America or the world, except in the abstract, because they aren’t directly affected by it. That’s not to say they aren’t sympathetic, aware, or don’t talk about the issues you bring up. They are largely concerned with protecting and enhancing their socio-economic positions, ensuring their families live well. And nothing you write about will change things.”
Warning, in 2011 that attitude is delusional, deadly, yet pervasive in America.
Super Rich replaying “Great Gatsby” age, won’t learn till it’s too lateOur top 1% honestly believe they’re immune, protected from the unintended consequences of beating down average Americans for three decades with the free-market, trickle-down Reaganomics doctrines that made them Super Rich.
They honestly believe those same doctrines will protect them in the next depression. Why? Because they have megabucks stashed away. Provisions for the long haul. Live in gated compounds with mercenaries guarding them.
They believe they’ll continue living just fine in a depression. But you won’t. Nor will your retirement. Neither will the rest of America. And still the Super Rich don’t care, “except in the abstract, because they aren’t directly affected.”
Warning: The Super-Rich Delusion has pushed us to the edge of a great precipice: Remember the Roaring Twenties? The Crash of 1929? Great Depression? Just days before the crash one leading economist, Irving Fisher, predicted that stocks had “reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.”
Yes, he was trapped in the “Great Gatsby Syndrome,” an earlier version of today’s Super-Rich Delusion. It was so blinding in 1929 that the president, Wall Street, all America were sucked in … until the critical mass hit a mysterious flash point, triggering the crash.
Yes, we’re reliving that past — never learn, can’t hear. And oddly it’s not just the GOP’s overreach, the endlessly compromising Obama, too-greedy-to-fail Wall Street banksters, U.S. Chamber of Commerce billionaires and arrogant Forbes 400. America’s entire political, financial and economic psyche is infected, as if our DNA has been rewired.
The Collective American Brain is trapped in this Super-Rich Delusion, replaying the run-up to the ’29 Crash.
Nobody predicted 2011 revolutions in the oil-rich Arab world eitherWarning: Mubarak, Gaddafi, Ali, Assad, even the Saudis also lived in the Super-Rich Delusion. Have for a long time. Were vulnerable. Ripe for a revolution. They, too, honestly believed they were divinely protected, chosen for great earthly wealth, enjoyed great armies.
Then, suddenly, out of the blue, a new “educated, unemployed and frustrated” generation turned on them, is now rebelling, demanding their share of economic benefits, opportunities, triggering revolutions, seeking retribution.
Still, you don’t believe there’s a depression ahead here in America? The third great market crash of the 21st century? A new economic revolution about to blow up in our faces? No, you don’t believe, can’t believe … you, me, we are all infected by the Super-Rich Delusion, just as Americans were in the Roaring Twenties.
Check the stats folks: The last time America’s wealth gap between the Super Rich and the other 99% was this big was just before the 1929 Crash and the Great Depression.
You can’t remember? Or you won’t? America is trapped in “terminal denial,” a setup for failure. Too many still live in the false hope of this Super-Rich Delusion. Do you believe government stats hyping a recovery? Believe Wall Street’s nonsense about a new bull market ahead? Believe Exxon-Mobile’s misleading ads about energy stocks. Believe Bill Gross’ when he says dump Treasurys, and buy his emerging country bonds? Dream on.
Start preparing for the third meltdown of the 21st Century, and depressionDenial and lies. Remember, 93% of what you hear about markets, finance and the economy are guesses, wishful thinking and lies intended to manipulate you into making decisions that suck money from your pockets into Wall Street. They get rich telling lies about securities. They hate any SEC fiduciary rules forcing them to tell the truth.
But the fact is, on an inflation-adjusted basis, Wall Street lost 20% of your retirement money in the decade from 2000 to 2010, over $10 trillion. And “Irrational Exuberance’s” Robert Shiller warns of a third meltdown coming. You better start preparing now.
Before you start betting any more at Wall Street’s rigged casinos, think long and hard about these six megatoxins lurking in America’s Super-Rich Delusion, a mind-altering pandemic infecting our nation’s leadership in Washington, Corporate America and Wall Street … but also “trickling down,” infecting many Americans.
People are paying attention. Unfortunately it is not the people who should be paying attention. Now this may seem over the top but think a moment. It took far less to get the southern states in a tizzy during the 1860s. And there are a lot of very scared and pissed off people out there now. Which brings up another point. What these people want or rather what they do not want is a strong, authoritarian central government as some of the left fear. As noted above there is a strong anarchist streak -- it's antagonism toward any authority. Not widely reported but definitely there is a desire for removing the drug laws and tax laws. Not issues one would find from a fascist authoritarian follower.
Now these articles concern how one could prepare one's self financially for such contingencies. I do not believe this can be done and Dmitri Orlov does not think so either. Since monetary issues tend to be the first to get scrambled when things go massively haywire. Be he does have one suggestion that bears consideration. Plan on living a very austere life. Plan on being poor.
Most of us lack the ability to sever all ties with the financial realm, but, as with so many things, having the right attitude is very helpful. To that end, let me drop a Bible-bomb on you. (I do this as someone quite free of any religious sentiment; I just find the Bible to be an interesting and useful work of world literature, filled with highly quotable, pithy remarks.) Here's a particularly nice quote from the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Never has a truer phrase been written. Many of the more recent self-styled or so-called “Christians” have attempted to distort it to mean that it doesn't imply depriving yourself of any worldly goods, and that “poor in spirit” is a special, strictly spiritual sort of poverty. That is, of course, nonsense. You do not have to dig deep for the real meaning: “Poor” just means “poor,” and “in spirit” means “on purpose, not as a result of, say, injustice, misfortune, or being lazy, stupid or a gambler.” Oh, and “blessed” means “not damned.” Accordingly, Christian monks take the vow of non-acquisitiveness, which is a virtue, with the corresponding vices of stinginess (“what is mine is mine”) and greed (“what is yours is mine”). It is rather difficult to embrace such basic tenets while remaining within a culture that has elevated avariciousness and rapaciousness to the status of virtues. But here is a key insight: being poor on purpose is much easier than being poor as a result of suddenly having less than you are accustomed to having. Voluntary poverty is a hell of a lot easier than involuntary poverty.
I can tell you from personal experience that having poverty thrust upon you sux rocks big time. Beginning to live a very austere or impoverished life is not fun but a lot easier. You have time to get accustomed to it and develop the creative skills necessary.