01 July 2008

End of days

If any of you are familiar with the plot of Atlas Shrugged, you should be growing increasingly concerned (as I am) as you observe the clear and increasing parallels between those fictional happenings and the growing train wreck that is our society around us.  At dark times like these I usually consult the Good Book (as I call it) and take solace in its pages.   However, no comfort can be gained now, as life gradually begins to imitate art.

No, I don't believe that the elite producers are going on strike right now, or that they are hiding in some isolated Colorado valley waiting to save us from ourselves, once we reach bottom.  I wish they were; it would be better for us. In fact we are witnessing an even greater crisis - the collapse of the power elite's shell game of hi-finanz subsidy, an unfortituous turn of events of which even the erstwhile Masters of the Universe see no real way out which will not cause them to lose their shirts. From this there can be no salvation.  In this story, the elite producers, the beneficiaries of that ultimate government subsidy - fiat money and easy credit - are the most corrupt of all.

The institutional collapse of the global financial sector is now underway as we speak, as banks are no longer able to conceal the fact that they are bereft of income streams, assets, or anything of value for that matter - that their loan portfolios are as worthless as a brass token.  The facade of stability that kept the economy, at least for a time, above the brink - nay, that stability in which everyone delusionally placed their faith lest their false wealth be exposed as hollow and empty, an unbelievable demonstration of doublethink - is gone, vanished, evaporated, "erased from existence!" in the immortal words of Doc Brown.  The playerz and boyz and dickheadz in hi-finanz and other 'creative class' industries are squirming to protect their positions as the house of cards collapses around them, dragging the global economy down with it.  Because above all else, cheap and easy credit drives economic activity today.  Withdraw this crucial fuel, as inevitably happens when credit crises (virtually assured to happen in these instances) come to call, and the economy turns to pot.

And they have taken what is left of their profits, leaving the rest of us high, dry, and dead broke (or just dead) in this growing age of anti-affluence. And the State will do its utmost (which will have no impact save to make the situation worse) to protect their client class.  The State needs the support of the dickheadery to gain legitimacy. But the State can survive without them, by resorting to more naked means to preserve its rule, as seen from time to time in the ghetto. So the dickheadery should expect no long term support from the State as conditions worsen and the government is hard-pressed to finance basic functions along with its Imperial adventures overseas.  In time, it will no longer be possible to support the dickhead lifestyle anyhow.  The most important consideration for the power playaz is to preserve the essentials of the dickhead worldview - undying arrogance, a love of State power, a sickening self-absorption and myopia which works to the interests of the elites.

The entire collapse is derived from a single element - that primitive desire of humans for a free lunch.  The existence of the Federal Reserve, the financial system as currently constituted, the trillions of dollars of worthless junk loans and commercial paper (a fitting term for something so valueless), fiat currency, fractional reserve banking - all stems from the desire of man to fleece his brother for his own benefit.  In some circles they call it "helping a brother out"; in others, "the preservation of prosperity".  But it is a false prosperity, built on a pile of lies, mass delusions, dickhead arrogance, broken promises, IOUs, debt which will never be collected, smug exceptionalism - all to collapse into a pile of bleached bones, with the bounced checks returning "Account overdrawn."

Wise men are leaving the market and placing their assets for the duration of the crisis in trusted stores of value - gold, precious metals, etc.  For the value of all 'assets' in existence today far outstrips their true value as measured in real stores of wealth which currently exist.  You have to understand that paper currency, since the 1930s, has not been backed by anything of value; they hold 'value' simply because the Treasury says they do, which means that the dollar holds value as long as people accept the continued authority of the Treasury to persist in this charade. The decline of the dollar is a full effect of the fact that fewer and fewer people are playing their part in the game, for a piece of paper (especially one constantly being devalued by the work of the printing press) cannot be trusted to feed a family in the growing economic crisis.

The falling dollar leads to rising prices, and rising prices destroy lives and livelihoods.  Petrol, foodstuffs, housing - the cost of all whizzing into the stratosphere as it takes more to purchase less.

When the State assumes the role of economic dictator to "manage" prosperity - ostensibly for the common good, but in reality a massive scheme by the powerful to enrich themselves and their connected hangers-on - it turns the economy into a pile of dust.  Imperial Rome learned this lesson too late, and so it is with us. In Amerika's case, the Ponzi scheme commenced in 1913 and barely managed to last a hundred years, a relative blip in the warp and loom of history. So it will be how future generations remember us - an ostentatious, morally degenerate, but ultimately forgettable blip.

As the State loses control of the situation as the economic collapse spins out of anyone's power to alter or change, the leadership quickly turns to terror and malarkey as the only means of retaining power.  The Ferris Persuader, anyone?

Rand once said that the action of Atlas Shrugged takes place when society has moved from a 'mixed economy' headlong into full fledged collectivism.  Being Russian, she probably understood this to be some form of socialism.  But it was corporatist fascism - "managed prosperity" - that in life captured the minds of the Western elites, a wave which they would ride to their graves.

So it was with the Amerikan elites - devaluing the currency to create the illusion of prosperity, selling this game to the Amerikan people in the biggest swindle job ever accomplished (which public education and state control of media made immensely easier), and then leaving economic "management" in the hands of the most corrupt and State worshiping man-shells.  And when the bill comes due, the solons of high finanz flip the books to continue the pleasurable scheme a little longer, putting off the day of reckoning for another decade.  But today there is nothing more to loot.  Industry is gone, productive jobs are now in China and Mexico, the consumer class has maxed out its credit cards and depleted its meager savings, and the Amerikan way of life is no longer tenable in the absence of cheap petroleum, with no alternative on the horizon (thanx, environmentalists).  

The next generation will have a dark and grim time of it indeed.  We should all be looking at the best ways to prepare wild roots and rat meat for consumption, for those will be the staples of the Amerikan diet in the future. 

In the last chapter of Atlas Shrugged, the entirety of the nation's wealth has evaporated (partly due to the strikers' deliberate actions) and this has rendered the entire country a barren, desolate wasteland of half-human creatures which prey like rats on the lean scraps of what remains for the taking.  It is something horrible which makes the Great Depression look like a mild downturn.  The Looters and Moochers have reached endgame as there is no more wealth to steal and plunder.  Terrorists like Cuffy Meigs have risen to power as the State convulses in its last dying paroxysms, starved of anything more to loot.

This is the future of America.  It has already begun.

However, in the end there will be no John Galt and friends returning from behind the hill to restore this country's economy.  There will only be the barbarian sounds of jungle drums and animal grunts, and a few thousand survivors who have resorted to cannibalism (for lack of any other food sources) as the corpses bloat and rot around them.  

And these, too, will perish, for some other advanced species to evolve from the ruins therein and then to discover one day, and wonder how an intelligent people could so spectacularly and willingly partake in its own self-immolation.