reality receding

September 15, 2009

 

 

christmas legsThis is —

The most brilliant and accurate sum up of the current U.S. condition that I have seen.

 


Reality Receding
By James Howard Kunstler

Now that everybody in the USA, from the janitors in their man-caves to the president addressing congress, has declared the “recession” over, is exactly the moment when what’s left of the so-called economy is most likely to implode. If there were still shoeshine boys on Wall Street, they’d be starting their own hedge funds now, and CNBC’s Larry Kudlow would be toasting them in the Grill Room of The Four Seasons. What we’ve seen in the vaunted rally for the last six months is the triumph of wishing over facts, combined with the most arrant market manipulation by floundering banks backstopped by a panicked government — all pounding sand down a rat-hole of hopeless non-performing debt, while pretending that the machinery of capital finance still grinds on.

Despite what a few elderly Mr. Naturals may say about abolishing “capitalism,” we’re not going to have an advanced economy without a coherent banking system, and by advanced economy I mean one in which the lights stay on. By coherent I mean a system that is able to deploy accumulated wealth for productive purposes, in the service of continuing civilization. [And, yes, I know that the followers of Daniel Quinn are not so sure that civilization is worth the trouble, but unless you support the killing-off of about six billion humans right away, things on Earth are not favorably disposed just now for a return to hunting-and-gathering.]

I would hasten to cut through the fog of despair to reassert — for the thousandth time — that a true American perestroika is possible, if the public could overcome the plague of cognitive dissonance sweeping the land and form a consensus for action that comports with reality’s agenda. But that is looking less and less likely. Instead, what we see is a rush into delusion, seasoned with grievance and gall. Spectacles like last weekend’s march on Washington don’t happen for no reason, of course. From where I sit, the uproar can be attributed to comprehensively bad American leadership, a crisis in authority and legitimacy that has left a functional vacuum in every executive office throughout the land — from the White House to the state houses, to the lairs of the CEOs, to the towers of the deans and department chairs, to the glitzy sets of the nightly news deliverers, to the makeshift quarters of the NGO chiefs. In former times, clueless and impotent leaders —

 


:::continue reading:::

 

 

where that essay comes from :
that is from james howard kunstler at clusterfuck nation

where the art work comes from :
that is all i wanted for christmas by edward olive romantic

7 Responses to “reality receding”

  1. petecrow said

    The other day I’m talking to this guy who is going about the country making talks lamenting how we don’t teach civics in high school anymore and no one can pass the citizenship test except people wanting to become citizens and they have to — and I tell him how, when I printed the citizenship test in my newspapers (now all sold, ohthankgod) it created a sensation and high schools taught by clipping civics right out of my newspaper because they didn’t have the textbooks to do it on their own.

    Then he says, “guess who called me six months ago? The Russian Embassy.” They hired him and flew him to Moscow to set up citizenship classes in Russian schools based on what we used to teach here, and why did they do that?

    “They say they cannot run a representative democracy unless the people are taught what a representative democracy is and how it works.”

    So here’s the question:

    If we don’t teach civics to our future citizens, how will those citizens, and those who come after them, preserve and protect the representative democracy we already have, huh?

    Huh???

  2. max said

    Um, you think the GOP wants citizens that can protect a representative democracy?

    I don’t.

  3. forkboy1965 said

    As long as the masses that swell the ranks of the middle class are appeased with the contrivances of 3-bedroom/2.5 bath homes, large screen tv’s, cable/satellite and Internet service, there will be no revolution.

    Those with the real power in this nation know that offering the middle class the basics that lead them to feel and believe they are safe and comfortable is the safest way to ensure that things never change.

  4. max said

    Well one of the problems with capitalism is, unregulated, it ultimately devours its base. It took a while for deregulation to really show, but it is really showing now and the middle class is anything but safe. It is odd how many people count themselves as middle class who are not too. A woman got in my face the other day and I said, Listen, I am not talking about you, I think you are mistaking yourself for middle class you are not, you are “poor.” She was not happy with me.

    That is a cultural thing that has little to do with economics. And I think that is very widespread, people who associate themselves intellectually with the middle class simply fail to see that they do not fit that model economically any more, they are in fact “the poor.” Socioeconomic class is so strongly linked to self worth in this country, you can literally walk up to someone who is on the street, having lost the job, the house, the car, the cable TV, everything, and if you ask, that person will still tell you he or she is middle class.

  5. petecrow said

    Well … I’ve gotten lost in fog here — in spite of better instincts, I’ll heave more red meat over the transom and clear out …

    It doesn’t matter was the GOP wants, assuming the GOP is a monolith on anything besides a staggeringly high level of ignorance, or what the Dems or any other institution want(s) — the United States is a collective and pluralistic nation with a system in place that, when the citizenry understands it in an non-simplistic way and engages, has regularly brought vast social, economic and political change from Jackson to Lincoln to TR to FDR with plenty of times since.

    We have a choice.

    We either educate each new generation to understand this system to use it when they wish — or we lose it. The concern is not that people lack the power, it is that too few understand the complex amazing power they have and understand the system itself.

    Rants about dark conniving forces demonstrate a lack of understanding of the system: The country was built on dark conniving forces that get away with being dark and conniving for awhile — and then get booted them out. The Commies held Russia for 70 years. The GOP got the axe after roughly a deacde.

    Re-visit Howard Beale.

    As for the economy, well, well, what a fucking mess.

    I have been in 38 (or is it 41?) countries so far this year and have spent most of this year working overseas — if it is bad here, you should see Dubai or Mumbai or talk to the Brits or the Germans or the Fins or Russians and everyone else. Let’s not feel too sorry for ourselves — we screwed everyone else worse, especially the Chinese who are only just now realizing what has happened o them.

    As for corruption, of which we do have an abundance, consider the 3000% inflation in Russia in 1991 and how the former Soviet part members looted the Russian wealth and bankrupted their people, people didn’t have much to begin with. That Russian looting makes the American banker-looters look like pikers (an observation which is mean as perspective, not as an argument that we oughtn’t throw our American bankers/fuckers in jail because I think we should).

    As some in this country whine and moon around, let’s try this broader view:

    China and India are the only countries who have more people than we do, while the rest of the world (Russia at 150-million; UK at 50-million, Australia 20-million, etc …) are a fraction our size in population. More importantly, few countries have economies even a fraction the size of California’s. In other words …

    The United States is not the biggest game in town — we are the ONLY game in town.

    That we have managed to wipe out the American middle class in the US is undeniable — not to mention, careless and dumb.

    But, it is also true, that an unreasonable amount of the world’s wealth washed up on our shores and would have to eventually be redistributed — and that this re-distribution would be to the detriment of our standard of living and we wouldn’t like it.

    That re-distribution of wealth has been gaining traction for decades, although largely unnoticed (a barrel of oil in 1970: $1.50 a barrel versus today $70 a barrel or so — gold $35 an ounce in 1970 versus $1,000 an ounce today).

    Bottom line. When the American economy went out the window in 2008, we took the world with us. Much worst may be to come.

    Next time you sell a screenplay put the money in the mattress and lock the door.

  6. Stiletto said

    “Next time you sell a screenplay put the money in the mattress and lock the door.”

    Damn good advice.

    And keep your liquor cabinet full. Dark days ahead.

  7. max said

    Wow, Pete. When you post you really post. Thanks for that.

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