Do you have the same feeling that we have nudged one step closer to the end?
Let’s recapitulate some things that have changed.
At this point nobody will have any illusions that there will be an economic recovery from the money printing bazooka. General perception of our situation has changed. The collective consciousness has internalized the fact that we are in a very bad and chaotic place. Trillions of dollars and euros are printed and distributed willy-nilly.
Of course you and I knew that, but our opinions do not matter; what matters is the state of the collective mind, what people can assume everybody to know. That has an effect.
Remember when the money printing experiment began it was claimed that once the economy gets going the operation will be reversed. But it was not going to get reversed. It will only accelerate and accelerate it did.
So here we are today. At this point, everybody recognizes that something’s wrong. Illusions have vanished. In some very remote places like Finland illusions of prosperity and superiority still live on as if nothing has happened, but really not much anywhere else. Perhaps this experiment will end up, not with hyperinflaction or deflation, but with total chaos.
Printing money for free and distributing it by arbitrary political decision will kill any remaining incentives to do any real, productive work. There is no point in working or paying taxes. This is the system in communist, socialist nations. My prediction has been that we are heading towards on the long run is a communist system via eventual nationalization of all economic activity. We will not call it communism, but “mega stimulus”, “super-bonus for everybody” or perhaps “universal basic income”, but what it really means is that the central authority takes command of the whole economy.
How did it come to this? That’s a topic of another post. But if there are any big trends I have witnessed in my whole lifetime, being born in the 1970s, it is the slow downward spiral of the West and the ascension of China. Somebody decided it will be in our interest to ship our productive capacities to China.
But let’s move on.
America experienced an awakening as a consequence of the public execution of George Floyd, amplified by the poverty and hopelessness of those who languish in that sad oligarchy.
The image of USA changed permanently, most notably due to the disturbing images of police brutality. It was well understood that USA is a violent and oppressive oligarchy, especially in the countless nations USA has bombed and destroyed, but from this point on this image will be part of the collective consciousness. There’s no going back to the fraudulent “democracy”, “freedom” or “our values” mantra. That fraud is over, one era has come to an end.
Those notions, perfectly epitomized by Obama, have been replaced with “black lives matter”, “wokeness”, “#metoo” and other similar slogans, all perhaps unified by the hatred towards the heterosexual white male.
(I live in a remote village in Italy where these things have absolutely no meaning. I have long since given up trying to understand what that is all about. Perhaps I’m also too old to get it. If you are concerned with what pronouns to use when addressing me, please use “Your Majesty”, that can’t go wrong.)
There seem to be two meaningful forces at play here.
The Democratic Party establishment and the old ruling elite (including much of the legacy media and big tech) wants to use these mantras as empty slogans to get in power while diverting people’s attention and energy into pseudo-issues.
I don’t mean that black lives matter is a pseudo-issue; what I mean is that the oligarchy wants to direct it into one, towards empty slogans and totems, while the looting and destruction by the ruling elite can continue without interruption.
Noam Chomsky once pointed out that one of the most important functions of the propaganda apparatus is to direct and narrow down the topics that can be discussed. The establishment will try to co-opt the movement and direct it into something that has no real meaning, so that the oligarchy can continue its rampage. They do publicity stunts, kneeling here and there, worship this and that totems; there will be black lives matter mega concerts and declarations by corporations and celebrities, and many other things, but only as long as they do not change anything that has any real meaning.
This empty “hope and change” worked during the Obama era, but it seems to me that it no longer works. The “moderate rebels” or “democratic freedom fighters” in the USA, to use the terms Americans use of violent anarchist and looters in other nations, will not go away, and I have the feeling – looking this from the outside, however – that the establishment will not be able to get away from this with empty slogans. There will come a point at which the sleeping giant wakes up, when things are so bad that empty slogans will not be sufficient. Perhaps we have reached that point.
This brings up the second issue, real grievances of people, especially young people, living under oppressive conditions in an oligarchy, with no future, no real prospects of decent life, no job, only debt. For them, these notions are unifying elements, components of the collective consciousness that allow them to fight against injustice as a collective force. A rebellion or insurrection needs common goals and ideals.
In Afghanistan, in a nation Americans bombed for twenty years, people were united by their hatred towards the invaders, and such was the power of the collective consciousness there that it allowed the freedom fighters to resist the violent empire, which now stands defeated and humiliated.
The same collective force could accomplish the same in America, to defeat the empire. It has happened; Bolsheviks did it in Russia, and they were a minority group. The problem, though, is that visceral hatred towards one group, whether based on skin colour, gender, communism, sexual orientation, or Jewish background, will, if such a force gets into power, result in a human catastrophe of epic proportions.
What America needs, in my view, is their own version of Vladimir Putin. When Putin came into power, Russia was humiliated, destroyed and looted by Yeltsin, the West and its oligarchs. It was very near collapsing completely. Today, it stands on its own feet and has improved by almost all measurements (GDP, life expectancy, health care, geopolitical power). The old oligarchs no longer reign. While we destroy and bomb everybody and anywhere, Russians remain calm and rational, patiently repeating the proposition that we should perhaps follow some norms of international law? To no avail.
But the moral of this story is that the defeat of the oligarchy and its empire and a violent collapse need not occur together.