Yves here. Tom Neuburger provides an important warning on the escalating campaign to silence politically inconvenient information and opinion by classifying anti-capitalist views as extremism and subjecting them to the weight of the surveillance/intel state.
However, I beg to differ in his assessment as to where the perceived threat to the officialdom lies. It is now the right, not the left, but you can be sure some lefties will be taken out and shot for the sake of looking evenhanded. What amounts to the left (as opposed to “liberals”) has been weak for a very long time.
By conrast, it’s well documented in the social sciences literature that in times of financial stress (as in post the financial crisis, and in particular, the wipeout of black wealth due to Obama’s failure to force mortgage servicers to make principal modifications to prevent foreclosures for borrowers with viable incomes), the center of political gravity typically moves to the right. The left is too politically weak to prevent a serious threat; look at how the Democrats successfully kneecapped a mere social democrat like Sanders in the primaries.
The reason the right is a perceived danger is that it undermines the legitimacy of the professional managerial class. The fact that the supposed elites are rattled by QAnaon and disrespect for masks (which they were late to embrace) and now vaccines (and sometimes conflates the two) is a sign of how insecure they are. However, the 1/6 Capitol seizure, as in the fact that a rag tag group with only a small contingent of tactically savvy troublemaker (and even then not armed) succeeded in storming what should have been a highly defensible buidling was taken as a proof of their vulnerability.
Having said that, the fight over voting right is an important battle, but let us not forget that Team Dem also plays disenfranchisement games, such as having few polling stations in low income neighborhoods in solidly blue states. But much lower-stakes matters are too often get the same or more airplay.
Finally, I also quibble with Tom’s subhead: “There’s some kind of civil war coming, and the state is getting ready to fight it.” First, there’s a lack of agency, when in fact Team Dem looks to be of the view that it can escalate with deplorables conservatives and win. Second, have they looked at a map, or for that matter which groups tend to be big on owning guns and practicing at target ranges?
Yes, for any specific encounter, the police can stomp on gun-armed wannabe rebels, since they have better armament (tanks, helicopter gunships, sound weapons, plus protective gear). But Biden invoking F-35 as a defense (against domestic terrorism) displays a peculiar lack of understanding of the terrain. Domestic insurgents, when they get their act in gear (big if in the case of the fragmented US) can wage effective low tech asymmetrical warfare.
And what happens if the cops refuse to shoot on people they regard as part of their communities, or don’t put up a full bore attack (they can legitimately invoke Waco, that they might win the battle and lose the PR war).
Have they not worked out that liberals and the PMC dominate in only a few concentrated geographic area, nearly all on the coasts, and not contiguous to each other? What happens if say the right wing Central Valley decides to send food only to flyover? What happens if enough truckers decide not to take routes that take them to cities like New York and San Francisco? The Mark Blyth observation, “The Hamptons are not a defensible position” applies to their situation generally.
By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at God’s Spies
I’ve alluded to the new National Security laws that are coming. Resistance Liberals do and will praise these laws, thinking that the government is finally going to crack down on right-wing domestic extremism.
The government itself, of course, understands that (a) right-wing extremism is no threat to government at all…
…and (b) half of the nation’s cop force, if not more, share right-wing views anyway…
the police opened the fucking gates. pic.twitter.com/HyDURXfoaB
— katie (@cevansavenger) January 6, 2021
No, the only real threat to the Establishment State these days is from the actual left, those opposed to the pathological and ideological worship of money (we call it “Milton Friedman neoliberalism” these days). Sanders posed such a threat, and the whole of the Democratic Party establishment combined to take him down:
If actual fascists take over the corporate state, they will be merged into the state, or the state will be merged into them. Fascist generally represent no threat to the corrupt flow of money that already forms the lifeblood of most governments, since Money always loves authoritarian rule. Pinochet is an excellent example of that. So is the little Austrian no one wants to name.
But if anti-corruption forces really get up a head of popular steam, it will be like mixing oil and water trying to get their goals to combine with the corruption that keeps the hyper-rich in power and place. The actual left is the actual “enemy of the state,” and the state well knows it.
Resistance to that resistance will be political, of course — witness the fate of the Sanders campaigns of 2016 and 2020. But it will also be armed as well, as it always is.
Which brings us first to this apologetic explanation of Biden’s new pro-capital security posture, from Newsweek — “Has Joe Biden Made Anti-Capitalism Illegal? Domestic Terrorism Strategy Explained” — which attempts to inoculate the administration from the implications of its own plain language. See the graphic above for the administration’s own plain language.
And then it brings us, by coincidence of synchronicity, to this from Forbes: “The U.S. Military Wants A Better Microwave Weapon. Will The Police Also Use It?”
Taken together, we can see the writing on the wall. There’s some kind of civil war coming, and the state is getting ready to fight it.
A Rolling Civil War
It’s just a fact — there’s a rolling civil war brewing in this country, a messy, badly led, ideologically-mixed-with-many-elements-suspect rebellion against all of the ways that Big Money screws small people, which is almost all of the rest of the country.
(Most of the professional class, that group in the top 10% but below the top 1%, is exempt from these rebellious impulses. They still have happy lives, and the world still looks to them as it looked to their mothers and grandmothers in 1955. They largely have no idea, for example, that police violence against the black, brown and poor is systemic, that it can’t be fixed by hiring better apples to replace the bad ones. Cops don’t want better apples, cops who will turn the bad cops in for their crimes. That kind of better apple gets shot.)
This rolling civil war in all its manifestations is what the new national security posture is concentrating to oppose. Again, cheered by Resistance Liberals, to their inevitable detriment and regret.
What’s on the horizon for us? Anything is possible right now, good outcomes and bad, but sadly the bad seems most likely to show up.
Biden is right: “If you think you need weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.” Neither the rebellious left nor the rebellious right has any of that.
The only way the rebellious right will take power is via their treacherous pro-corporate elected and appointed officials, people like Amy Coney Barrett, who was put on the court, according to the folks at Breaking Points, not to wage culture war, but to ensure and enhance corporate power. Obamacare, bane of the cultural right, still stands — even Coney Barret defended it — but Goldman Sachs is defended at all costs and from all sides of the supposedly divided Court.
And the only way the rebellious left will take power is via the almost-entirely-closed political system. The first modern chance of that was in 2008 and the duplicitous “Hope and Change” campaign of Barack Obama. But he was never that guy. He was always this guy instead.
The second modern chance was the Sanders campaigns of 2016 and 2020, both quashed by establishment forces, who then folded the veneer of his ideas into their 2020 sales pitch. (And he, in all innocence I’m sure, let them.)
Which leaves both groups nowhere at all, and the mass of suffering people — the non-ideological soccer moms and put-upon three-job dads — have nowhere left to put their hope for change (there’s that theme again). Which means they will likely just take it till they can’t, then join whatever rebellion already exists.
What happens then?
• If the rebellion is still as badly led and ideologically iffy as it is today, at least in many of its elements, expect the arrival of the latest police weaponry, backed by Biden’s muscular anti-anti-corporate NSA and FBI to join to put them down.
We then enter the world of a heavily policed state, very heavily policed. But not to worry; that won’t last forever. The Climate Jack-In-The-Box will pop up sooner than anyone expects to scramble all outcomes and make policing styles the last thing on anyone’s mind. Mere survival, economic and physical, will take center stage after that, with policing — which can only devolve to direct and naked service of the rich — just one of the threats one must survive against.
• If the rebellion is reasonably well led, however — think of the early Free Speech, anti-war and hippie movements of the 1960s — there may yet be a chance for positive change, though in chaotic circumstances, nothing is truly certain. A well-organized and focused general strike, for example, would take this path.
• What’s most likely, though, is that we muddle along, taking a crumbling semi-stable middle road, living sad, long-suffering daily lives — better in the margins under Democratic administrations; worse in all ways possible under Republican ones — until the nation breaks apart under the stresses of climate catastrophe.
Think: If you see no improvement in the ultimate climate outcome, only degradation and devolution with riots and refugees every where you look, at some point the waterless American West can no longer be governed from the East. Nor can it govern itself, except in local chunks.
Even the folks at the IPCC, slow as they are, are starting to get it. From Phys.org: “Crushing climate impacts to hit sooner than feared: draft UN report.” If the climate can only get worse, this what the future looks like, or the start of it.
(And don’t worry, China haters. The Chinese will have exactly the same problem. They have two “breadbaskets,” spread roughly a thousand miles apart, and the early ancient near one, the one near Beijing, the one that spawned the Han civilization in the first place, will be under water.)
A Cartoonish, Video Game Future?
It seems almost silly to say this — stark, black-and-white, almost cartoonish, and so different from the pseudo-Modern Family cum Happy Days world we’re living in — almost like a dystopian video game in which the single-player shooter moves from threat to threat in torched-out rubble cities and dangerous countrysides.
Will any of this evil occur? It doesn’t look so now. There’s still a game on — “How ’bout them Bears?” we still ask — and people still care about the next election, still think it matters if NCAA athletes are ripped off a lot or just a little less. And yes, in the short term all of that does matter. If you died next year, you were smart to focus on this day and the next.
But in the aggregate, that semi-comfortable thinking could only hold for the next five years or so. When the real tsunami hits, the one no one in power is looking at or working to help stop, I believe the fate of next year’s Bears will be moot. In some year, there won’t be a season at all to worry about.
Which makes, in the aggregate, what we do today doubly important. Yes, we must navigate our daily lives safely and well. But the rolling civil war and the tsunami that will end it better also be high on the list of what we care about. There are still things we can do to ensure better outcomes than the ones we and our children are likely, in the longer run, to see.
How to rebel has been put right in people’s face.
Generate as little economic activity as possible.
Marching and gathering in the Capitol: no. That generates economic activity. Hotel rooms, travel, food…
Burning down things and getting arrested: no.
Insurance, privatized jails, etc…generates economic activity.
Give zero energy…nada.
I’m talking a a non-virus “quarantine” – visit friends and family there will be plenty to discuss.
“The people” need a bargaining chip.
Wu wei, a general strike, or, as they used to say in the CCP, “they pretend to pay us; we pretend to work”.
It’s a form of protest that can drawn out a LONG time….
And there are no real targets.
A general slowdown. How little economic activity can one spend the next few years generating? A longish-haul slowdown.
Also, spend the necessary money on local merchants, food, etc. wherever feasible. Cash and/or checks, not credit, wherever possible.
Every dollar is a bullet on the field of economic combat.
A riot with people stealing things off shelves doesn’t scare them…leaving it just sitting there scares them more.
And don’t let hyped up stock market numbers impress.
Last year showed steep rises are drenched with fear. It’s pacification, not reality.
What can we of the Lower Class Majority do to shrink the economy from the top down? To shrink-wrap the economy around the face, nose and mouth of the Upper Classes and the Overclass? To choke off their revenue air-supply?
How much pain are we willing to accept as our new Way Of Life if we can be sure that it will inflict pain against the Upper Class in return? And can we figure out which different kinds of sullen non-actions on our part will inflict the most and the worst long term pain on the Upper Class?
And what kind of pleasures can we pursue for ourselves and eachother withOUT allowing any pleasure or revenue to leak upwards to the Upper Class? That too is worth studying about.
“How much pain are we willing to accept as our new Way Of Life if we can be sure that it will inflict pain against the Upper Class in return?”
I’m not suggesting “a way of life” as much as a pathway to begin to get out of the rot of imagination and short-term thinking.
It’s phrased as “do nothing,” but it is about reclaiming your mind.
You can see the ideas from the people posting about the pathways to something else.
Therefore, selling things, or obtaining them cheap, on your local Craigslist, or better yet, just giving them away there or on Next Door Neighbor or putting them at the curb with a “Free” sign, those are all revolutionary acts and at the same time deep environmentalism.
How soon before garage sales are terrorist acts against capitalism?
> How soon before garage sales are terrorist acts against capitalism?
In my friend’s homeowners association they have a deed restriction that garage sales are only permitted one day a year. I forget which day it is. First Saturday in August? Something like that.
Any way if you don’t care about getting promoted you probably should take every single one of your sick days if they give you any of those. I once worked with a woman whose boss pointed out that she sure seemed to get sick a lot and she told him “I’m sick when I’m sick and I’m sick when my kids are sick and I’m sick when I’m sick of you.” Which might have been the funniest thing I heard [about] in my office ever.
Agree. If we’ve over consumed or over accumulated, live more simply and give or share with those in greater need. Most people will not steal unless absolutely desperate. To help take away that risk of others, help take off the edge by giving/sharing and not consuming. We can’t be taxed on giveaways. Grow veggies from seed, decrease/avoid meat. Eat natural, beans and rice. People are talking more on cutting back work hours or not returning to work, instead spending more time with family and pets, home cooking, home gardening. Exercising your mind, body and soul at home. Just like if war breaks out and a draft is implemented, refuse to kill.
reminds me of slavoj zizek barrowed saying “i would prefer not to”
every one realizes that by generating as little economic activity as possible, will impact not just those who generate their incomes from finance, and manufacturing, but any one growing any thing for sale? like cows (milk and beef), plants (like corn etc), and catching food (fish etc)
but it seems that we excuse manufacturing and the energy industry? that would be utilities, oil and gas, drug companies, auto companies, among others.
if we really are serious about going on strike (odd considering the source), then it would mean not paying for any thing at all, for any reason at all
Canada has had its two hottest days in a row on record – it could of course be normal fluctuations, but the best bet is that this is climate breakdown happening in real time. North America has in the quaternary being the most vulnerable to climate swings, so it may be the first continent to really get hit hard. It may already have started.
My guess is that the big upswing in the economy predicted will insulate the elites for another few years. A growing economy is the best way to keep rioters peaceful. But this can’t go on forever, eventually there will be a crunch.
I think Yves is correct that the real threat to the establishment is from the right, not the left. There are plenty of times in US history when the left and minorities could have taken to ‘real’ violence (I don’t include the odd riot as violence), but didn’t, and I don’t see why this will change. But the right has the guns and the anger and the training.
The US government has vast resources, but when you look at history, armed insurgencies can win against seemingly insurmountable odds when they combine a large scale of public support (passive or active) with military training. One reason the Saudi’s have been so terrible at fighting the Houthi’s is that the Houthi contain many ex Yemen soldiers and engineers who aren’t easily intimidated by long range bombs dropped from F-15s. There is a huge difference between a well armed civilian and a well armed ex-soldier, especially if this includes former military engineers. This of course also happened in Iraq – it was ex soldiers who ensured the insurgency rose so fast and was so effective against a much better armed occupation force.
When you look back in history, it is disenchanted ex soldiers who often make the difference. After multiple failed rebellions, Irish rebels won in 1919-21 largely because they had in their number a lot of demobbed soldiers from WWI and from various British anti-insurgency units. They had fought on both sides of insurgencies and knew exactly what the weaknesses were of the enemy. You don’t necessarily need a lot of weapons, as improvised devices can be very effective and deadly against an enemy that isn’t willing to take heavy casualties. Home workshops can be a better resource to rebels than lots of AR-15’s (another reason why the rural right would be a deadlier foe than the urban left in the US).
Perhaps others can give more perspective, but to me looking on, the increasing corruption of the elite is being matched by their increasing incompetence. If it continues it will be less about the US gov fighting armed rebellion than the rebels just walking through open doors.
Smart elites have known when the time is right to spend a little to save themselves in the long run. Roman emperors usually knew the importance of spending big on bread and circuses. Bismark brought in the first state pension system in Germany and post war elites knew the time was right not to fight too much against the expansion of the State. I think there are indications that some of the elites ‘get it’., but they are a minority.
I kind of think the show over breaking up big tech is exactly this. I am highly skeptical it will actually happen or happen in any meaningful way. But it looks meaningful and it’s a crowd pleaser.
I agree. No way these corrupt jackass elites are going to take down possibly the richest jackass billionaires. This is another show put on to make sure nobody looks too closely at the selling of our infrastructure. It also gives cover to the worthless progressives moaning and writing “sternly written letters”about a reconciliation bill. No reason at all that any one should believe anything is getting better or that it ever will, they dance with billionaires who pay them not the peons that voted for them.
i suspect the push to take down is just political PR, nothing more, the look of see we politicians are doing some thing
all the while doing nothing more than theatre, at best
I’m thinking that in the case of the US, as you alluded to, Roosevelt and the New Deal may be an example of the smart elites.
The current generationof elites though are not as long-term thinking nor as smart.
but are there many of those any more?
‘rebels just walking through open doors?’
So, kinda like rebels just walking through Capital Building doors then?
Ha. Well I guess so in a way. Though we will see if it was a honey pot.
with guns and other weapons in hand? and be sure to keep the fewest police (those not favored by their bosses) on hand, and few of them to boot. course getting senior politician’s support helps a lot. and be sure to keep the military away (see getting senior politicians involved). \
and after the fact, the politicians need to push the story that nothing happened, it was just what happens when tourists show up, aka nothing to see here,,move along…followed by hey look over there
I also agree with Yves’ intro. The counter culture these days is more on the right than the “safe space” left which likes to masquerade as revolutionaries in their Guy Fawkes masks and Antifa garb but pose little threat to the financial establishment as represented by the current Dems. Indeed many of the protests last year seemed to be almost an extension of Dem politics since directed against Trump and the much hyped but less than visible militia right. The wild exaggeration of what happened on 1/6 shows how desperate the Dems are for such an enemy in order to justify themselves.
Not that the right has any kind of coherent anti establishment strategy other than voting Trump in order to mess with said establishment. Which is why “civil war” seems very unlikely indeed unless the Dems stir one up in a “beware of what you wish for” fashion. The people who are really suffering in this economy will continue to be ignored until the problem becomes so great that they can’t be.
I mostly agree with this, but think the real show will begin when the anti Idpol Marxists organize with the Right and shut down the cities (or whatever).
I’d say “the show” has already begun.
LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Baltimore, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., New York.
And this is Portland from a month ago via local “news”:
F-15s might have “helped” at Antietam, but our aviator-an-flight-jacket-wearing commander-in-chief should quit threatening to fight the last war, and recognize that he’s got one going on now right under his nose.
Forgot my link:
PK, as far as arms go the FG(-9 and ECM ( Electro Chemical Machining) are game changers.
The capital investment is small ($2K or so), it’s quiet so you can do it in your apartment or home, no smelly chemicals or loud noises ( No 25 ton press) and you don’t need 3 phase or even 220 power.
One person can turn out a little more than one select fire 9MM Carbine a day with a midrange 3D printer.
The others things needed are springs and high pressure steel tubing. a 5 gallon bucket, 12 volt battery, salt…nothing you can really track.
Decentralized and cheap, they have worked well for several thousand rounds according to press reports.
I don’t think an armed state fears home made guns all that much, they can always call in more firepower. What it fears most are IED’s, armed suicide drones, self driving Teslas stuffed with explosives, one shot mortars, etc. You don’t need so much high tech machining to make those anymore. Even Islamic State made some pretty effective weapons, and most of those guys were morons.
weapons come to those who will use them
Many of us have legitimate concerns about what could be called the Information State. Censorship and “news” manipulation, combined with what amounts to shadow social credit scores derived from the torrents of data hoovered up and artificially intelligenced, present a PMC at war against the rest.
That might be the DUMBEST thing a politician has said since neoliberals took over the country.
That is the hubris that precedes collapse of society, the total obliviousness of the threat within, the belief in the inevitability of elite, of the State.
It is like an unwitting provocation too. That comment is going to reverberate through the internet like a shockwave. Talk too about giving the police military microwave tech? They have no idea how vulnerable that shows they are.
What a pity. No one really wins that war.
that F15 comment also shows that Biden, nor anyone in the West Wing, have any idea how many sq. miles of countryside and miles of highways, pipelines, pipes, power lines is needed to support everyone in a modern city.
in the long run, all of that territory is indefensible against a determined insurgency even with modern tech.
which is why the US and Europeans kept/keep losing their colonial wars.
Exactly. Put aside the profitability of failure for the military-industrial-congressional-media-high tech-academia complex, has the US had any “successful” military engagement for over half a century? Sarcastically speaking, maybe Grenada comes to mind.
Like ju jitsu it would interesting to turn the microwave back towards the people using it!
can’t find it, now, with a cursory search…but i remember a story about protesters(maybe hong kong, maybe france) using essentially convex cardboard shields with reflective material to send the sound/microwave/sound or whatever either away, or right back to the shooters.
someone kindly tell the Afghan Taliban or the Viet Cong that you need F-15s and nukes to defeat the Pentagon.
when an opposing force controls the countryside/hinterland, those hunkered down in the big cities do not have the best time. historically.
I think those two examples are instructive in another way. The Viet Cong were on the ropes in the South in the late 1950’s, but they were given a boost by the failure of the South Vietnamese government to push through with land reforms which were potentially very popular with the rural population. It was the refusal to offer any kind of carrot to go with the stick that led to them losing the support in rural areas that allowed the Viet Cong to operate freely.
I’ve seen it argued (i can’t recall the name of the book) that the Taliban were more or less defeated by 2002, and most of the population in rural areas were prepared to settle for a US imposed government. But it was the abject clumsiness of the authorities, along with allowing the military to be used by local power brokers to settle local scores that led to support swinging back to the Taliban within a year of the original take-over.
Or put another way – wars can be won against insurgents if you are willing to give something to the general population – insurgents can’t survive without substantial support on the ground. Push people too far, and they are happy to switch allegiance to local insurgents/warlords/strongmen. Once you go too far in that process, it is almost impossible to reverse the damage.
Isn’t that a Moist percept? One extremely successful one might say…
I can’t help thinking that Radical Extremist tee shirts will become quite the fashion statement.
Hang on to your tin foil caps, guys, and here we go. I’m seeing this as part of a pattern. Consider that after the collapse of the USSR, the nineties were all about planning to have US dominance throughout the world. There was already a hit list of seven countries to be taken down starting with Iraq and ending with Iran. The American military and its constellation of bases would be the basis of extending an American hegemony from the 20th century into the rest of the 21st century with US occupation of the main oil fields of the Middle East. That huge “Embassy” that was built in Baghdad? That was intended to run the middle east from, not just Iraq. But this was only one half of the equation. There was also planning going on for America itself. There had to be.
Remember how after 9/11 the Patriot Act was introduced to Congress so quickly? It was almost as if it had been sitting on a shelf somewhere just waiting for the perfect opportunity to be introduced. Joe Biden has taken a lot of credit for writing that bill. And consider the militarization of American policing and Israeli training of police. Why was that necessary when crimes rates were continually dropping? So the model is that the elite and their enablers rule over America which then goes on to rule the world – on behalf of that elite that is. And these new Security bills are intended to lock down America more and targets both sides. It targets the right using the January riots as an excuse to do so and it also targets the left if they oppose capitalism, corporations and institutions. What is common in both sides of the political spectrum is those that oppose whatever Washington wants now become a target. So Tucker Carlson had better watch his back but Rachel Maddow should be OK. Right, I’ll take off my tin foil cap now.
You are correct Rev Kev, the place we are in was largely planned. The US pentagon has drawers full of plans as does the CIA, homeland security and the State dept. as incompetent as they appear to be at anything involving the people, they are really good at planning how to control and imprison us if we get out of line. Loading up the police with military hardware didn’t happen by accident.
@The Rev Kev
June 29, 2021 at 10:55 am
No tin foil hat needed, you are quite perceptive. I see that pattern, too.
I think I remember reading that the Patriot Act had, in fact, been pre-written several years before it was used.
As Nikkikat says just above, “as incompetent as they appear to be at anything involving the people, they are really good at planning how to control and imprison us if we get out of line.”
Add in some of the new technology, like facial recognition (especially if they fix the racial bias), AI predictive crime systems, on top of the ubiquitous surveillance and data hoovering and it’s going to be tough to stay ahead of the security state.
The there’s the MSM propaganda operation that is very effective at keeping people fearful of the “other” and unable to form the necessary coalitions for effective action.
That’s what I see.
I agree with Zelnicker — “No tin foil hat needed, you are quite perceptive. I see that pattern, too.” I believe the CARES Act arrived mysteriously and passed amazingly quickly into law. Where are these prepacked bundles of verbiage coming from? The Congress seems to have outsourced the sausage-making aspect of their jobs.
The Congress seems to have outsourced the sausage-making aspect of their jobs.
Indeed. To the K-street sausage factory, perhaps. Here’s one take on it:
“There are Trillions at Stake.”
How about that?
well considering that both ‘major’ parties, only have support from about 30% each, it doesnt seem likely that either will be the source of the rebellion. and getting a successful one, requires a larger percentage than they have together, to actually get done.
and who are the elites anyway? are we talking politicians (of all stripes)? are they the 01% or 1%? are they senior executives (and some of the lower executives) of corporate America? are they the intelligentsia? and why would any of them not be?
When drought starts to make the west uninhabitable, I imagine the American people will welcome a government of national unity in order to organize the necessary massive evacuations. In other words, a military takeover, welcomed initially because Americans love their military.
And when the Pentagon proves entirely incompetent at this… jackpot!
Or they can force Canada to pump water South from Athabasca and all the big lakes there in the North. The way the Arabs dared to occupy American oil, will be with water for Canadians…
That all depends on if various geographic regional subgroups of Americans and Canadians begin to start thinking regionally or not.
The people of Pacificanadalaska have a shared regional interest in keeping the “West” from getting any of their Pacificanadalaskan water. The people of Great Lakestan have a shared interest in keeping the “West” from getting any water from the Great Lakes. And the people around Lake Winnipeg, Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake may decide they share that same interest in preventing the “West” from getting any of their water.
There is some reason to feel that the site C dam is to become a pump & dump system to move water south.
From Yves preface: Domestic insurgents, when they get their act in gear (big if in the case of the fragmented US) can wage effective low tech asymmetrical warfare.
Life in California is so interconnected and single-threaded (car dominated) that in-advertent asymmetrical “warfare” occurs regularly.
Yesterday a big rig truck inexplicably overturned on a busy, work-route, portion of the coastal freeway (US 101). It blocked all traffic in one direction for for five hours. Cars were backed up for 6 miles, some exasperated commuters caused head-on collisions by going against traffic to find an alternate escape route. This disruption was massive and occurs regularly on jammed freeway systems. I don’t drive on the LA freeways, bu this type disruption occurs regularly and certain radio stations monitor and broadcast traffic warning and “alternate routes” (if there are any) on set schedules.
Conscious disruption of everyday life will not be high-tech.
In Thomas Perry’s entertaining book “Metzger’s Dog” a group of people got hold of some CIA studies on how to bring large metro areas to a standstill, and when the CIA refused to ransom the information back from them, they proceeded to do implement it in Los Angeles. As in your anecdote, they jammed the freeways with things like dumping a large semi-trailer load of large gravel and then overturning the truck, etc etc. Once they got several of those multi-mile freeway parking lots, and then the surface streets brought to a standstill by people trying to avoid/get off the freeway, it went downhill quickly.
It was all stuff that was low tech, the important part was identifying the choke points to target.
The infrastructure of the U.S. has grown fragile and prone to failure. The highways in most U.S. cities are highly vulnerable to being shutdown. Your mentioned impacts of normal traffic accidents on the flows of traffic in L.A. On the East Coast huge flows of vehicle and train traffic must cross aging bridges or traverse aging tunnels to get into and out of NYC.
A couple decades ago, tree branches touching power lines and glitches in a new computer system shut down the North Eastern Grid. More recently PG&E’s deferred maintenance accomplished the same in California. In 2014, mysterious attackers fired on the oil-cooling systems of transformers at a power substation on the Metcalf Transmission Substation, in the Northwest causing the transformers to overheat and fail. July 30, 2019, Consolidated Edison concluded that the July 13 blackout was caused by a “flawed connection between some of the sensors and protective relays at the substation.” Simple failures or small actions are all it takes to topple our fragile Grid.
I recall hearing a story about a Navy Aircraft Carrier unable to leave port for maneuvers in a long-planned exercise because of problems with the conning tower electronic systems. The control tower had several fat, complex, very expensive, long-lead time cables. I was told that a sailor with a sharpened hat-pin and some diagonal pliers brought the Aircraft Carrier to its knees because he wanted to be in port when his first baby was born and his commander refused to give him leave.
“Conscious disruption of everyday life will not be high-tech” — and it won’t require an army. As things evolve it might not require human action.
I needed tires recently and the closest (and favorite) tire store was basically unreachable because ironically they were suddenly fixing the bridge between me and it.
How often did they used to have to shut down every lane of a four-lane bridge for “um, maintenance”? I’m almost afraid to drive across it now. I can remember exactly zero times.
it happens on every major city in the US, just a few though are better at it than others
some of that is the lack of maintenance , reconstruction, etc, that makes them more likely to fail. and of course new construction. plus of course there the tendency to move to major cities (driven mostly by lack of jobs) .
course toll roads havent helped (other than those running them get lots of money for them).
this also seems to apply to private water companies. i could be cynical, but seems like back in the 90s, that some politicians pushed to reduce water quality levels, that couldnt be because of the private water utils could it?
After these last 3 days of extreme heat in Portland, the power finally blew last night, I’m willing to believe we have crossed the Rubicon. I surfed around and found an interesting animation of previous melts and freezes. Apparently glaciations have something to do with the flux of the magnetic field and they go back and forth, taking turns – first the arctic glaciates, then melts as the antarctic glaciates. Ad infinitum. Speaking of geologic time and glaciations, if the Arctic is melting, what if the Antarctic is now glaciating (they are getting more snow and the glaciers are building in spite of some of the ocean ice sheets breaking off) – just as the northern jet stream is getting erratic. Looks like that is what is happening. It sounds like the Antarctic could be drawing the moisture away and storing it in ice. That would explain why the western US is turning into a desert. And it isn’t a stretch to imagine all the rivers drying up. That would explain the recent aggressive move to open up all the dams; promoting the use of rain barrels; and of course a very nervous government. If it weren’t for climate catastrophe messing up all our plans we could go on exploiting the planet – but without water… maybe not. So anarchy looms even in the minds of rational people. The thing that is feared is “Anarchist Violent Extremists”. But how anarchic can you be when it’s anarchy to begin with? Anarchy because the very basis of our economy is being shut down. Worldwide. I think they are planning to distribute mood enhancers along with food and other staples. The human race could go into a long and fruitful era of introspection. Better than molotov cocktail parties.
I have read that the Antarctic is net-net losing ice as well, though at a slower rate so far. Does anyone have any information to the effect that actual volume of frozen water is actually increasing on-around Antarctica?
The last thing I read from Jim Hansen was about 4 years ago. He had begun to focus on ocean currents and their effect on Antarctica and the Gulf Stream. His concern was the cold waters of melting ice flowing northward and messing up the currents in the north Atlantic. So science is definitely looking at Antarctica – but no comment yet, I guess. One question is, Is global warming interfering with the ice formation in Antarctica? because that means worse ocean rise. Makes me wonder if that is the case and if it is too late to prevent it. That would be one reason why Jim Hansen isn’t telling us much these days.
“If you think you need weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s…”
If you want to defend the government with F-15s, you need to be really sure of the loyalty of all your maintenance technicians, not to mention the loyalty of your pilots. And you need to move all of their families to secure areas.
Readers will also note that the Taliban is currently winning, and their message ill-received in many areas..
“… look at how the Democrats successfully kneecapped a mere social democrat like Sanders in the primaries.”
Is it really kneecapping when Bernie hands them a hammer and then asks that they hit the other knee too, “just in case”?
I’ll bet you $100 that Bernie leads the Congressional “fight to help fight” for Patriot Act 2 – The Domestic Terrorist Edition. The Sanders-Taleb Save America Act sounds about right.
Bernie, AOC etc do nothing but run their yaps. They will vote for that horrid infrastructure bill, no doubt about that, then turn around and wag their fingers at Biden about their reconciliation bill which will never see the light of day. I saw one of them yesterday talking about how we must have the reconciliation bill. Climate change and all that, he never broached the Joe Manchin bill at all. They are giving cover to Mark Warner, Manchin and the rest of the right wing democrats.
I agree with you. Bernie Sanders is a fraud. The Democrats created Sanders so as to give “hope” to those who desire real change and thus prevent the rise of someone who really will rock the boat. Sanders is not and has never been a genuine agent of change. His endorsement of Hillary Clinton in 2016 is all you need to know about Bernie Sanders.
Sanders had to pre-agree to endorse whomever the DemParty candidate ended up being in 2016 in return for the DemParty not obstructing his run through the primaries as a “Democrat”. So he probably felt he was honoring his promise.
Now, if he had been a more Gingrich-type of personality, he might have said the promise was already broken by the DemParty when it conspired to defraud him of a fair chance at winning the nomination. A psychological Gingrich-type would have talked nasty about Clinton and the Dems and then run Third Party or done something in order to burn down Candidate Clinton and the DemParty to assure a DemParty defeat. He could have called it ” the Revenge of the Left”.
But Sanders was never going to be the ” Pink Gingrich”.
Ahhh! What an honorable man! How come he masqueraded as a leader of the left and then let them down a second time? Were those not promises? I can’t cut him any slack. At his age he should have gone down fighting. All that talk about him being independent is a sham when he caucuses with the DimRats.
This is complete and utter tripe. When Sanders tossed his hat in the ring in 2016, he was polling at 1%. His odds of getting anywhere looked so remote that Tom Neuburger had to point out that some past Dems polling at that point in time at 1% had gone on to win the nomination. Sanders was looking to get his message heard and then I think was unprepared for how it caught on. Matt Stoller, who remember was once his staffer, said that Sanders didn’t have enough bench depth in his campaign apparatus.
You also forget that to have any chance of winning, he had to succeed in what amounted to a hostile takeover of the Democratic party. The rousing success of the Greens shows how the deck in stacked against third parties. And as a candidate who’d never been a party member, there was ginormous resentment among professional operatives.
In 2020, Sanders built a better machine and then was hostage to it. He had more pros but a lot of the pros wanted him to take up idpol messaging, which diluted his focus on economic injustice, which helps keep out groups in their place.
Oh, and you would have us believe that Dem sandbagging had nothing to do with what happened in 2020? He had his win in Iowa stolen from him. Imagine the tail wins if he’d been deemed the victor in Iowa and then racked up New Hampshire. He would have been the presumptive nominee, with the press and donations that go with that. And how about the night of the long knives, courtesy the Democratic party machine?
As for Sanders withdrawal, he was faced with what amounted to a revolt by half his staff, who urged him to quit. Had he continued, they would have been at best unenthusiastic or would have resigned. Having his troops in disarray would be taken up by the Dem-friendly press as proof that his campaign was falling apart. Coverage like that creates its own reality.
Honestly, stop fantasizing that the left could have been rescued by a Jewish Jesus and acquaint yourself with the fact that politics is a blood sport. And the Christian message hardly took off like wildfire; it took generations of proselytizing by loyal followers for that to happen.
Right, and how about Warren repeatedly stabbing him in the back, starting with even running at all. Why was she even a candidate? And that brings up the clown car of candidates appearing out of nowhere to dilute the votes and water down the debates, including Mike Bloomberg ffs. Oh and the debates… anyone remember THOSE? And all the other abysmal media coverage of him and his campaign? It’s a really a damn miracle the guy got as far as he did. Just goes to show how much Americans actually liked him and his messages. Yeah he made some big mistakes for sure but I still can’t brook with calling him a fraud.
As far as what’s going on now well, the Biden administration fog is all over everything and who knows what’s going on any more. We’re not hearing much from Sanders, same as it ever was I guess. In spite of Trump being out and the ostensible lifting of the coronvirus weight, these are not happy times.
> .Why was she even a candidate?
One word: Spoiler. The Democrats really pulled out all the stops.
I don’t know guys… and gals. Every time I peruse the comments section lately here I just get a sad feeling, like deflated. I can’t even muster the will lately to push back against the seemingly inevitable reactionary tide. It seems to be infiltrating every nook and cranny of every discussion, and of society as a whole. The truth is becoming so finely atomized and mixed in with deception and falsehood that one doesn’t even know where to begin to try and separate them any more. There’s too many layers of bullshit, and I think that’s helping to drag the comments into bickering, name-calling and a host of logical fallacies more often lately. I see a lot of (sometimes well deserved) criticism leveled at ostensibly left movements and people but not a lot of actual leftist revolutionary talk coming from those same vectors. So I have to wonder where they’re really coming from. I guess this isn’t a very fruitful or post-relevant comment so I apologize for that. I’m just trying to clarify my own feelings here, and maybe I’m simply moving in a direction that is taking me away from NC and I should just let it go. That would be ironic since I recently fought so hard to be reinstated here as a member of the commentariat.
I don’t understand, NC is one of the only websites with a comment section that isn’t dominated by mud-slinging over who are the “real” leftists. Yeah, I’d like to read more about organizing and ideas, so I regard anyone who accuses others of “dividing the left” as sus. I don’t care about who “wins” Twitter wars, what we need is to be very explicit about the future we want to create. The Biden Admin attempt to criminalize anticapitalist organizing is dangerous in part because we can’t create what we can’t imagine. Labelling anticapitalists as DVEs is a tactic to suppress discussions of how we can create something other than a dystopian future.
But Biden or Harris or any other elite showpiece can claim to be a “leftist” too, and who are you to tell them otherwise? ;)
NC’s own Lambert Strether has provided a simple working definition of leftism, by its effect on the constitution of the working class. Simply, liberals seek to divide the working class, leftists seek to unite it. Entryism has been a deliberate and relentless strategy on the part of liberals to prevent the left from making due changes to the social order against liberal interests (see also the DSA). Excising liberal (i.e. anti-working-class) interests and pieties from the term “leftism” is absolutely right and necessary for those who wish for leftism to continue to describe a program and not be appropriated as yet another disconnected brand collateral for (inherently reactionary) elites to use to manage conflict to their benefit.
Personally, I’m tired of liberals calling themselves “left” while working to perpetuate Puritan economics and social orders as if these were worthy ideals. “Libertarianism” was already stolen from the left once, and there isn’t that much language left to describe the grand project of abolishing the bourgeoisie. There is no reason for a liberal to call themselves a leftist that doesn’t harm the left. Which is the reason they do it and the reason it’s important for leftists to police the term against those who can speak more loudly on our behalf but without our consent.
Are they though? I mean maybe in some cases they are trying to paint themselves that way but it’s really the hard right that is constantly conflating the two, even to the ludicrous point of saying i.e. Biden is a Communist. Day after day they are pounding this and other equally insane and irrational ideas into their listeners’ heads.
Agree that the abuse of terms by the far right is far worse (e.g. DNC as “commies”), but there are indeed many liberals calling themselves “left” who then proceed to trash members of the working class for not being sufficiently woke. I’ve had many such encounters with people who consider themselves “politically left” and I’m pretty sure that I’m not alone.
Fair enough, it does occur on both sides. And if I say there is positive side to the woke movement, then I also acknowledge that there is a down side.
There is a left<->liberal<->conservative triangle (radically oversimplifying).
Each apex to the triangle tends to think the other two apexes are a single apex (i.e., to make linear and binary what is a multidimensional terrain). So, there are really three varieties of “horseshoe theory.”
To me, nobody could possibly think Biden is a communist (or Obama a socialist). Thinking that way is just unserious. But perhaps those words do not mean the same thing to me that they mean to a conservative.
UPDATE Adding, the DHS chart, where a liberal Democrat administration throws anarchists and white nationalists into the same bucket, is doing exactly this.
“To me, nobody could possibly think Biden is a communist (or Obama a socialist)”
it would take me longer to get to town than it would to find 5 people there who believe exactly that.
the 40+ year Mindf&ck has been very effective out in these hills.
oh…and we saw a trump train(one truck, driving around with flags) in san antonio, last friday.
dude was not crosseyed, or wearing camo.
looked like a paint salesman.
nice, newish truck…but with 15 big flags flapping all over it.
almost 9 months after the election.
I know that bickering among leftists and bad jacketing others as not “real” is a problem on some sites, but that’s not really what I mean about NC, nor is it what I’m trying to do myself. I mean NC is not even necessarily a leftist blog at all, and I don’t actually expect it to be. It’s a blog about finance, economics, politics and power of course, and I appreciate that there are different points of view here. It’s hard to put into words exactly what I mean, but I just see more and more attitudes and rhetoric that is coming from the hard right and it seems to be coming from every direction. It’s not just here. Our entire society feels like it’s about ready to tip even further to the right than it already has.
There’s a positive side too, to Bernie Sanders, antifa and to the woke movement even. There is something real there. But every day all I see is constant shit being slung at those entities and ideas, and it lines up just a little too much with the same shit I hear on Hannity, Mark Levine and Rush every day. And some of the most prolific posters tend to be channels for this stuff, and I don’t’ know if that’s intentional or not. Anyways, I feel isolated a lot. It’s hard to say my truth often, cause I don’t even know where to start, when there is so much confusion and misdirection. Once again I apologize for taking this post off topic, but I hope that it is at least tangentially related to Biden’s little announcement and the comments about it.
> Our entire society feels like it’s about ready to tip even further to the right than it already has.
I am astonished that the anti-maskers seem to have been able to muscle the Biden Administration, and that “freedom” has somehow become identified with not wearing a mask, as opposed to living in a community that’s not full of infectious people.
I appreciate this comment. There’s good analysis on this site, and there used to be good commenters, but its reaching a point of inconsistency and conspiracy that is… not helpful? This obsessive “PMC” focus leads to strange bedfellows, and not really sure its productive or politically effective anymore.
> This obsessive “PMC” focus
See Adam Tooze here. The truth hurts, of course. You can’t have a blog about finance, economics, politics, and power without at least a rough sense of where the power lies.
I wish y’all would put my response to this comment back, but I suppose you have your reasons. Maybe it’s for the best.
See the site policies on whinging about moderation.
There have been more than a few new handles showing up in comments. I too have noticed more bickering, name-calling and logical fallacies creeping into comments lately, but I associated that trend with the influx of new handles.
Your sadness that there is “not a lot of actual leftist revolutionary talk coming from those same vectors” to match their criticisms is ill-considered. Do you really believe it would be a good idea for this blog site or any of the commenters here to spout leftist revolutionary talk — especially now — especially after giving some regard to this post? These are times befitting nuance and subtle hints rather than leftist revolutionary talk.
I hear you, and I don’t think that NC should be a revolutionary leftist blog or comment forum. I’m just saying I would give a lot more leeway to posters who are always criticizing the “so-called left” if they would indicate once in a while that they were down with some anti-capitalist ideas and/or revolutionary change.
Given the transition of capitalism to Neoliberal capitalism, just quoting a little Adam Smith could be viewed as anti-‘capitalist’.
Haha true. These words are not well defined which only contributes to the lack of understanding and communication in general.
I’m a “new poster” but I’ve read a helluva lot of NC comments in the last few months. I see very few that really criticize the left from a genuinely right-wing perspective. Maybe it seems that way when the poster is upset about a particular thing (identity politics, anyone?), and focuses completely on an attack. Mostly I feel that I see good principles at work, and from a progressive ((Whoops—they’ve co-opted that word , haven’t they? Can’t use it anymore)) or leftist point of view. I also feel like I get to “know” a poster, and read the critical comment in the light of previous comments they’ve made. —It’s midnight; my coherence turned into a pumpkin :-)
> Do you really believe it would be a good idea for this blog site or any of the commenters here to spout leftist revolutionary talk — especially now — especially after giving some regard to this post?
I once subcribed to every DSA site on Twitter I could find. Basically, they went dark. They seem to be wining elections at the local level, so I would speculate that was a deliberate strategy.
So Biden thinks that the military/police will defend the PMC/oligarchs/wealth addicts/yada yada yada from the hordes, does he? The Shah of Iran thought so,too. Look how well that worked out.
Sometimes I think the game is “THIS time we’ve finally got the surveillance/weaponry/social control so well worked out that we can arrest/eliminate ANY number of revolutionaries/ protestors. We got it made!” I suppose at some point the technology advances to where that is true. Maybe we—I mean they—are there now. I hope not, but I have no idea.
When the intelligent commentariat here at NC begins talking about civil insurrection with even a little enthusiasm, it is time to start preparing.
What will be the catalyst? I think it might just be Joe Biden’s belief that he can keep on the same track as in the past: neoliberal economics and a neocon foreign policy. Accelerating climate catastrophe and inequality, no minimum wage increase, no student debt relief, no Medicare for All or even a public option, rising military spending to support the new Cold Wars, and endless political theater in Washington where corruption has become so accepted that they no longer bother to hide it (see FDA’s approval of Biogen’s Alzheimers drug Aduhelm).
Ashburn: “When the intelligent commentariat here at NC begins talking about civil insurrection with even a little enthusiasm, it is time to start preparing.”
I agree completely.
And therefore feel very apprehensive.
With cancel culture now a thing, (Doesn’t matter whose doing it. Both parties love it.) I have been thinking we will start having our own versions of samizdat, soon.
The problem is that the US has more tools and weapons at its disposal to put down insurrections or rebellions than any nation-state has had in the past and probably will not hesitate to use them if a rebellion really did start.
Yes, I am sure that there will be a lot of angry people rioting very soon, but all it takes is a few drone bombings or missiles aimed at a few densely-populated areas and people will be thinned out or demoralized rather quickly. There might be some initial resistance on the part of some military personnel at the idea of murdering citizens, but it will soon wear off and they will become used to it just like people have done with the forever wars.
That’s why things like mass leaderless passive obstruction, uncivil obedience ( ” I obey but I do not comply”), targeted economic activity slowdowns, developing Superior Green Better-Cultures, etc. might be safer for longer enough to be more effective than rioting, insurging, etc.
Or even demonstrating, once the forces of government decide to seed every demonstration with false-flag brick-throwers and so forth in order to fake-create the needed conditions for police etc. to hose down the crowds with Raytheon Oven Rays, LRAD eardrum-melters, cancer-gas drone sprayers, etc.
That presupposed organization and solidarity. Neoliberalism has been very effective in conditioning people to see themselves as isolated individuals. We predicted long ago that in the US, you’d see more and more desperate and violent acting out, like mass shootings, and not campaigns. I don’t see any reason to change that prediction.
Even some small groups operating in a more cohesive and deliberate manner won’t change the picture. How much change did the once notorious and feared Weatherman, to give one of many US examples, actually achieve?
You’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head,Yves.
My wife is in the hospital right now (she’ll be fine, soon, thank you!), leaving me at home contemplating
the nature of Loneliness. I came to the conclusion
that loneliness is a really big deal for our society.
I myself have always been one of those rare people
who have never felt this way. I don’t know whether
this is a good or bad thing, but I am aware that
loneliness is a central phenomena for the
way that the way the powers that be controls all our
lives. For a man or woman with a whole, ‘completed’ psyche (rare), the snares of the political/commercial/ advertising State do not
seem particularly interesting. But for most of
us the human ‘social animal’ have been completely
and systematically exploited (Facebook, anyone?).
The Internet has been well documented as crucial
factor in people feeling anxious and isolated from
each other. This sense of ‘incompleteness’
has caused people to search for connection any way they can. Few actually ‘need’ a new IPhone,
or a truck with a tailgate that folds down, origami
fashion. Cocooned in our living rooms with
endless entertainment options, there is
little need to seek actual physical contact in the
way previous generations did- dancing on Saturday
night, bowling alleys, poker/bridge gatherings,
promenades on Main St. etc. The pandemic, of
course has fostered this thinking, mightily.
Heat waves cause people to stay home with their
My contention is that this media ‘poison’
has fangs that belong to the government/commercial/media/internet reptile.
The actual venom itself comes from the ad industry,
which has also largely taken over the political establishment as well.
Thank you, Yves. Your comment more or less
crystalized my recent thinking process!
Maybe, but the union movement as well as the communist and socialist parties all took off during the Great Depression despite the use of machine guns, assassinations, goon squads, the police, and the army to keep them down before and during the depression.
When it becomes obvious that they intend for you to go die, and there is no one else helping you, people tend to become violently obstreperous. Threatening someone, whose whole family is sleeping in rain with a few hundred other people, with prison or with death by cop becomes less effective. Then there is the increasingly obvious contempt by the government and ruling class for everyone else as well as their incompetence. Want, hunger, misery, humiliation, and rage are strong motivators.
There will be a trigger. What it will be and what will the results be is the mystery, but that it is coming is not.
> When it becomes obvious that they intend for you to go die, and there is no one else helping you, people tend to become violently obstreperous.
Rule #2 of neoliberalism.
I don’t think the political class would classify this as political, but there’s a ton of union organizing going on. More, people turning down work because the wages and working conditions are lousy (and the owners whinging and wielding the whip) is also a new thing. I think it would be quite clear any “essential worker” that they have been written off during the pandemic, and by whom. These are pre-political trends, but with a little work could become political.
At the same time, I don’t think we should think of upheavals as necessarily good. I shouldn’t like one by armed White Nationalists*, for example, as much as the wokists are attempting to force all those with white skin into the White box.
NOTE * At some point, I suppose, we shall see how effective the people with guns actually are. McVeigh, for example, achieved nothing systemic.
The whole project was doomed to failure.
We just haven’t realised we are at the end of the road.
Neoclassical economics is the economics of the Roaring Twenties, the Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression.
The trouble is the “Roaring Twenties” phase does look pretty good, allowing everyone else to jump on board before disaster strikes.
At 25.30 mins you can see the super imposed private debt-to-GDP ratios.
No one realises the problems that are building up in the economy as they use an economics that doesn’t look at private debt, neoclassical economics.
As you head towards the financial crisis, the economy booms due to the money creation of unproductive bank lending, as it did in the 1920s in the US.
The financial crisis appears to come out of a clear blue sky when you use an economics that doesn’t consider debt, like neoclassical economics, as it did in 1929.
1929 – US
1991 – Japan
2008 – US, UK and Euro-zone
The PBoC saw the Chinese Minsky Moment coming and you can too by looking at the chart above.
The Chinese were lucky; it was very late in the day.
The Chinese had done the same thing as everyone else, but worked out what the problem was before the financial crisis.
China was the last real engine of global growth, and they have made the same mistake as everyone else.
China did see the financial crisis coming, but the debt fuelled growth model they have been using since 2008 has reached the end of the line.
They need to find out how an economy really works.
Neoclassical economics is the economics of the Roaring Twenties, the Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression.
You’ve had the financial crisis and are now facing a Great Depression.
Japan could study the Great Depression to avoid this fate.
How did Japan avoid a Great Depression?
They saved the banks
How did Japan kill growth and inflation for the next thirty years?
They left the debt in place and the repayments on that debt killed growth and inflation (Japanification)
Japan discovered how to avoid a Great Depression and deliver Japanification instead.
The West copied this solution after 2008 and can’t work out why things haven’t been the same since.
We have been systematically wrecking the global economy.
It’s the end of the line.
What about India?
India started to liberalise their economy.
Why do they always start with financial liberalisation?
The next thing you know, you’ve got a real estate ponzi scheme on your hands and it collapses.
Now they need to recapitalize their banks.
Their financial system is in a bad way, and recovery isn’t going to be easy.
Wrapping old economics in a new ideology, doesn’t fix its problems.
But it buys the “winners” more time!
How did we get here?
Economics, the time line:
Classical economics – observations and deductions from the world of small state, unregulated capitalism around them
Neoclassical economics – Where did that come from?
Keynesian economics – observations, deductions and fixes for the problems of neoclassical economics
Neoclassical economics – Why is that back again?
We thought small state, unregulated capitalism was something that it wasn’t as our ideas came from neoclassical economics, which has little connection with classical economics.
On bringing it back again, we had lost everything that had been learned in the 1930s and 1940s, by which time it had already demonstrated its flaws.
The classical economists identified the constructive “earned” income and the parasitic “unearned” income.
Most of the people at the top lived off the parasitic “unearned” income and they now had a big problem.
This problem was solved with neoclassical economics.
Rentier activity in the economy has been hidden by confusing making money with creating wealth.
Rentiers make money, they don’t create wealth.
Confuse making money and creating wealth and you get into real trouble with banking.
Banks create money, not wealth.
Bankers make the most money when they are driving your economy into a financial crisis.
On a BBC documentary, comparing 1929 to 2008, it said the last time US bankers made as much money as they did before 2008 was in the 1920s.
They are doing something they shouldn’t, and the economy booms on the money creation of unproductive bank lending.
1929 and 2008 stick out like sore thumbs.
At 18 mins.
Keynesian ideas come to the fore after the disaster of the 1930s.
After a few decades of Keynesian, demand side economics, the system became supply side constrained.
Too much demand and not enough supply causes inflation.
Neoclassical, supply side economics should be just the ticket to get things moving again.
It does, but it’s got the same problems it’s always had.