“It isn’t time”

Zero Hedge hosts a minor masterpiece by ‘Eric A.’ (submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith), orbiting the basic insight that calamity can’t be rushed: ‘A Brief History Of Cycles And Time’ (Part I, Part II). Economic rhythms set their own pace, within which even panic and euphoria are controlled. Why hasn’t the worst yet happened? “It isn’t time.”

So here we are, like those before us, warning of our own Great Depression, of our own World War, or of even larger cycles like the fall of the English, Spanish, or Roman empires. And so far as we can tell, few listen and nothing changes. Why?

Because it isn’t time.

The most remarkable fact — supported by a modest yet buoyant raft of data — is how much lucid anticipation has preceded the ‘shocking’ disasters of the past. It was quite clear what was coming, but that changed nothing, because it wasn’t (yet) time. The trend momentum of the aggregate — the ‘molar’ — is what decides. Beneath the waves are tides.

The conclusion (“make your own lifeboat”) strikes me as weaker than the analysis deserves. That is hardly surprising, since it comes packaged in the genre of financial consultancy rather than metaphysical exploration. It says a great deal about the structure of modernity that our most insightful Cassandras should appear before us as neatly-dressed gentlemen discussing the structure of our pension plans.

May 15, 2013admin 13 Comments »
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13 Responses to this entry

  • northanger Says:

    Keynes, Keynesians, the Long Run, and Fiscal Policy
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/04/keynes-keynesians-the-long-run-and-fiscal-policy/

    [Reply]

    Posted on May 15th, 2013 at 4:52 am Reply | Quote
  • northanger Says:

    {moldbug} Imagine you are the captain of a merchant ship, and you pick up a lifeboat in the Sargasso. In the boat are two men, one living and one who has just died of thirst, and assorted small body parts of a third. The living man explains that the third was a murderous cannibal who wanted to eat the other two, who had to kill him in self-defense. They have the wounds to prove it. Since he was dead, well… but then the survivor noticed an ugly glint in his partner’s eye, and the two faced each other down with marlinspikes until one died of thirst. The question is: what actually happened in the lifeboat? Did it contain one cannibal, two, or three? And do you want the survivor to come aboard, or should you just gaff him and push the boat back out to sea?

    Part 2: “Mass in the morning of Easter Sunday, in a large church crammed with people of all social classes, where several popes are celebrating the office simultaneously…this change of mood from the somber mystery of Good Friday to the uninhibited rejoicing of Easter Day…” This is how Rimsky-Korsakov described what he hoped his audience would experience as they listened to his Russian Easter Festival Overture. The piece was composed in 1888, along with his two other famous works, Scheherazade and Capriccio Espagnol, at the height of his compositional career. He is remembered as a great orchestrator and teacher, with a predilection for folk and fairy-tale subjects; his students included Stravinsky, Glazanov and Prokofiev.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPvbbeKVKRo

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    admin Reply:

    Manic much? (When you find yourself engaged in Krugman-spamming it’s probably time to cut down on the PCP.)

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    northanger Reply:

    whew! i’m starting to get the munchies!

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    Posted on May 15th, 2013 at 5:01 am Reply | Quote
  • fotrkd Says:

    It says a great deal about the structure of modernity that our most insightful Cassandras should appear before us as neatly-dressed gentlemen discussing the structure of our pension plans.

    I forgot to mention the bank advert next to the Chinese restaurant: ‘We’re all ears’. Also, my head hurts.

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    Posted on May 15th, 2013 at 8:24 am Reply | Quote
  • survivingbabel Says:

    The conclusion (“make your own lifeboat”) strikes me as weaker than the analysis deserves.

    The infection of radical individualism runs deep. I’d prefer to pool my work with a community, so we can together build only a few lifeboats, enough for everyone in the group, plus a couple spares for redundancy. Then, since we aren’t all focused on our own boats, we can see about making inroads from the shore.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Communities are micro-political experiments — and very challenging ones. Cases of substantial voluntary resource pooling (beyond close relatives) are quite rare, and tend to be fragile. In addition to their inherent problems, larger macro-social units (such as “America’s great experiment in self-government”) tend not to like them, and are always tempted to go Waco on those that seem to be breaking off. There’s also an engaging definitional issue (are they like churches, tribes, enterprises, or something else?). Which rough model of collectivity are you feeling drawn to?

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    survivingbabel Reply:

    Communities are micro-political experiments — and very challenging ones. Cases of substantial voluntary resource pooling (beyond close relatives) are quite rare, and tend to be fragile.

    Agreed, but personally I have no choice. I have no living family (although I am in the process of building one from scratch). However, I have always been successful in building niches in my environment with groups of people who work together well and get goals accomplished. Once is a fluke, twice is a trend, but five times is evidence that I have a skill at this.

    There’s also an engaging definitional issue (are they like churches, tribes, enterprises, or something else?). Which rough model of collectivity are you feeling drawn to?

    Currently, my mode of collectivity is Existential Threat. Reaction coalesces against the Cathedral in the same way that humanity would coalesce against a hostile alien threat. I can worry about whether I’d prefer to live in a pagan ethnostate, a Catholic theocracy, or a techno-futurist paradise once we have the Patchwork. (All three have their appeal to me.) For the time being, my focus is the Patchwork, and working with like-minded individuals. One thing I know is that solitude is a failure mode for me.

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    Posted on May 15th, 2013 at 2:42 pm Reply | Quote
  • Thales Says:

    @survivingbabel

    Oh, I think most people would prefer that, but it entails a 180° shift from standard Cathedral life. Unless you’re a Mormon living in SLC (where you might enjoy a six-figure salary and, if everything goes to pot, you’re already in your TEOTWAWKI community), it’s one or the other. You’re either in the big city or the ‘burbs which (as George Zimmerman discovered) has no real community, or you’re in the sticks and (hopefully) effectively Amish.

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    admin Reply:

    I was going to mention the Mormons — an early test of the Waco option (although thanks to Brigham Young’s leadership, they survived it).

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    Thales Reply:

    Essay question for the next mid-term: Compare and contrast Mormonism with Scientology.

    Short answer: Both are hoakey religions, but the former stood and stands against while the latter is completely parasitic of the Cathedral.

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    survivingbabel Reply:

    I see no reason why city living and reaction are incompatible. I don’t want our cities destroyed, I just want them under new management. There are over a million people in my metro area; assuredly at least a few thousand of them feel the same as I, and have the desire to move things forward. The Internet makes it easy to find each other, once we wish to be found.

    Further, is this not community-building? Would the techno-futurist not agree that community is no longer tied to the tyranny of location?

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    Posted on May 15th, 2013 at 3:02 pm Reply | Quote
  • Schlarlach Says:

    Communities are micro-political experiments — and very challenging ones. Cases of substantial voluntary resource pooling (beyond close relatives) are quite rare, and tend to be fragile.

    Yes, all the Utopian commune experiments in the American Northeast stand as testament to their fragility. Even ones founded by wealthy families tended to last only a decade.

    The most successful Utopian community was Oneida, a pseduo-millennial free love cult. It lasted for 30 years and grew to about 300 people. It succeeded precisely by not being terribly Utopian (by our standards today): their leadership was centralized in a single family and, quite frankly, in a single man, John Noyes; they were picky about who they let in; and they were capitalists, making lots of money by manufacturing silverware. In fact, when the Community disbanded, it didn’t so much disband as simply become Oneida Silverware, Ltd.

    I had a point to draw this back to the original post, but I lost it . . . Something to do with millennial cults, alternative communities, and the inevitability of their failure or their re-integration with the society they sought to exit (see Utah).

    [Reply]

    Posted on May 16th, 2013 at 2:34 pm Reply | Quote

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