Why the US Will Never Again Have a Functioning Economy

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With arguments like this:

“It’s time to start filling out the “Fill-in-the-Blank Price Gouging Form” for Hurricane Harvey”

 

it becomes easier to understand why any substantive economic revival will never return.

Price gouging – and the defending of price gouging – in the wake of a natural disaster highlights why the US will never enjoy a functioning economy again. It serves as a microcosm of the larger economy: If any substantive, real demand would ever materialize in the wake of an economic revitalization, profiteers would quickly raise prices for any and all goods, causing inflation to soar, and negating any real gains in wages.

This would effectively shut down any nascent economic growth as a result.

We can witness this phenomena simply by watching commodity exchanges. As soon as traders get a half a whiff of a commodity shortage, that commodity jumps in price.

The only reason we have been largely sheltered from an onslaught in inflation has been the tepid economic performance from around the globe. A jump in a commodity price cannot be sustained for long before reality sets in, anticipated supply constrictions never materialize, and the price drops again.

But if real demand ever returned, it would be every trader for himself.

And households would bear the brunt of the subsequent inflation onslaught.

Until they couldn’t.

And then our economic doldrums return.

 

See also Profit Maximization is Self Annihilation.

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The Helix, Time and Light

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“Now, I (being very thin) think differently; and that so much of motion, is so much of life, and so much of joy–––and that to stand still, or get on but slowly, is death and the devil–––”

Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy, Vol. VII, Chp. XIII.

 

This post has nothing to do with politics or economics. Surprisingly, this discussion on time does fold back onto human dignity, however briefly, but even this is somewhat tangential. At its core, to be honest, it is simply a brain-fart conjecture that has been swimming around in my thoughts for some years. It is time to let this go public so I can get it out of my head.

So here is the brain-fart conjecture, posed as a question:

Is time best modeled as a helix?

A helix, as graphed by OS-X Grapher.

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Some millennials are attracted to socialism because…

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… they grew up under helicopter parenting. They grew up under the delusion that someone, something — even if mom and/or dad failed at this — should provide protection. The expectation is that paternal government should take care of them.

For those on the left, when “mom” failed to secure the White House in 2016, this held the traumatic equivalency of witnessing one’s parent or parents being shot in front of them. Of course, those on the right saw the cheered ascendancy of the last macho, stern “dad” enter the White House, still believing in the illusion that a few welts on the ass will cure all of our troubles.

In either case, these deceived Americans cling to the belief, despite so much evidence to the contrary in the 21st century, that government should not only attend to all social ills (positively or negatively), but that it is still capable of attending to all social ills.

In addition, millennials are unaware of the distinctions between centralized and decentralized capitalism. Millennials were not around when the last neighborhood grocery stores and independent hardware stores disappeared in the ’60s and ’70s (save for some neighborhoods in major urban areas), when the last vestiges of the decentralized capitalism mentality from earlier times finally faded, when corporations turned from being stewards of their hometowns to focusing solely on profit maximization.

All changes in the zeitgeist that came at the expense of society’s welfare, of ensuring a level playing field.

And thanks to that profit maximization mentality, present and future generations of Americans will lose their sense of self responsibility, of looking out for others in their neighborhoods and communities, of knowing the dignity that comes with substantive achievement, and substantive failures— not achievement manufactured in a bubble to protect “self esteem.”

They will never be provided a chance to find their place under the sun. From here on out, the focus will increasingly be about survival, about the continued unfolding of the Shitty Society, of completing the formation of the Wasteland of the Free.

And so, the individual’s reliance on social media to “create themselves” or “find themselves” will remain. When that flavor enhancer loses its saltiness, they’ll increasingly turn to the use of legal and illegal drugs, of alcohol, of virtual reality games, of adrenaline-pumping extreme sports, of travel, of anything that feeds their narcissism, that provides escapism.

And the last vestiges of American society will disappear with this surge in misdirected motion disguised as effort.

All that will remain is senseless American patriotic jingoism, a paper-thin veneer to convince us we still have a country.

Until that veneer rips in two….

A Reformation Program for the Federal Government

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Few Americans need more proof of our seriously dysfunctional Federal government. The latest Gallup poll reported Congress has an approval rating of 19 percent as of January (and likely lower by now). The president? His weekly average has been hovering around 37 percent.

We need a rectification.

The very next Constitutional amendment we need is not a balanced-budget amendment (somehow we all intuitively understand that Congress and presidential administrations would utilize creative accounting to arrive at a balanced budget, whether we truly had one or not). The next Constitutional amendment we need should include the following reformations:

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Racism, Sexism and the Consuming Society

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“Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life”

Inner City Blues – Marvin Gaye

When we build a society around a hyper-competitive form of centralized economics, generation after generation is indoctrinated with the idea that life is a zero-sum game. When one takes, another must lose.

Thus, we must live in a world of absolute scarcity.

All comers are in competition with me.

I must have a “better” address. I must have a “better” vehicle, a “better” job, “better” clothes, “better” memberships.

When I Jones my neighbors, I must be “winning.”

The comparisons are nearby, at arm’s length. The human brain more readily comprehends that which is local, not that which is distantly removed.

Yet, our world becomes increasingly globalized, and the negative effects of that globalization is what causes our lives to sink into oblivion. Continue reading

The Emotionally Immature Shall Rule

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In our contemporary existence, we live in the shadows of monolithic institutions, particularly political and economic institutions. We feel small, insignificant – outraged, perhaps, but nevertheless with a sinking feeling we are simply yelling at the walls that surround those institutions.

It was never supposed to be this way. Humans existed long before heavily centralized institutions came into view. And when more than one individual gathered, so did society. Government and the economy emerged only when we humans needed a) an impartial third party to sort out disputes between us and b) to create mutually agreeable arrangements by which we could meet our needs.

But as history moved forward, political and economic institutions grew, and eventually displaced the individual and society. Political institutions have always been problematic, since they attract the emotionally immature individual who desires power: Power attracts attention.

Economic institutions became problematic more recently in human history, when the industrial revolutions of the 19th century took a formerly decentralized form of capitalism and made it heavily centralized. The economic institutions that emerged also attracted the emotionally immature individual who desires power since, as we know, power attracts attention.

So now we have a bunch of emotionally immature individuals running the world. Here’s the background on this assertion.

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Freedom

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The one who meets his needs, but rises above his wants, has found freedom.

Syria’s Chemical Attack, and Fake News

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Every time the drums of war are pounded, young American men and women serving in the U.S. armed forces are marched off to risk life, limb and mind, not for the security of the U.S., but for a multinational corporation to secure a new market and more profits.

 

Now that news of a chemical weapons attack has splattered across the U.S. media, the fake news [1] war is on. Western media is pushing, hard, the story that Assad’s Syrian air force dropped chemical-weapon bombs. The Assad regime and Russia are pushing the story that Syrian air force bombs accidentally detonated a Syrian rebel group’s chemical-weapon stockpile.

And now, CNN is reporting that witnesses “saw chemical bombs dropped from the air.” And these civilian witnesses would know what a chemical bomb looks like, studying it carefully as it hurtled towards them, rather than fleeing for their lives, how?

The truth is not known, but will it be known?

 

Deja vu…

 

…all over again.

 

And the Syrian civil war has been overflowing with fake news from the start, when Syria was targeted for the “democratization” process.

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Turkey’s Crackdown on a Free Press, Free Speech and Asli Erdogan

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During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, a Trump supporter (background here) was photographed wearing a t-shirt that read: “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required.”

Perhaps the t-shirt’s message was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but the message landed with a dull thud. Free speech and a free press are pillars of the U.S. Bill of Rights, even if those freedoms are abused by certain quarters. There is little room to joke about such matters.

And such matters as a free press become more poignant in light of international attacks on a free press, particularly in Turkey.

There, in the wake of a coup attempt to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, mass arrests of journalists have been undertaken, media outlets closed, and many other civil and military purges undertaken.

To humanize the situation in Turkey, simply follow the stories (here and here) of Turkish novelist Asli Erdogan (no relation to the Turkish president).

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