Posts Tagged ‘Collapse’

Quote note (#320)

The dark tide:

Ultimately, democracy itself will be called into question. A remarkably small number of people will be contributing anything in terms of technological progress or economic growth. In the post-work world, the vast majority of people will simply be consumers, passively absorbing increasingly degraded cultural products which cater to their worst instincts. But because of universal suffrage, these masses will still have the political power to direct more public goods their way, even as the entire System becomes financially unsustainable. A major crisis is all but inevitable. …

January 5, 2017admin 27 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Trends
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2017

A little illustrative sang froid:

Naemi has heard all the predictions of the dam’s imminent demise. “Sure, we have problems,” he says. “But the Americans are exaggerating. This dam is not going to collapse. Everything is going to be fine.”

I mean, come on, it’s not as if the 2016 effect could actually escalate.

(Via.)

January 1, 2017admin 11 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Realism
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Quote note (#318)

If this is a realistic left re-emerging, bring it on (it’s a feast of insight and sharp sentences). The conclusion in particular, if a little repetitive, is radically sound:

Under such [impending] conditions, the future of progressive and future-oriented mass politics of the left is very uncertain. […] In a world set on objectifying everybody and every living thing in the name of profit, the erasure of the political by capital is the real threat. The transformation of the political into business raises the risk of the elimination of the very possibility of politics. […] Whether civilisation can give rise at all to any form of political life is the problem of the 21st century.

Depoliticization is the only thing the right should be serious about doing.

December 29, 2016admin 37 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy
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Kurt Eichenwald’s Bad Day

I wouldn’t have thought it could get any worse than this, either.

But then

ADDED: ‘Open Blogger’ at AoS also delicately questions the quality of Eichenwald’s performance.

December 16, 2016admin 22 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Lunatics
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Quote note (#314)

Political economy as it ought to be done:

When business in the United States underwent a mild contraction in 1927, the Federal Reserve created more paper reserves in the hope of forestalling any possible bank reserve shortage. More disastrous, however, was the Federal Reserve’s attempt to assist Great Britain who had been losing gold to us because the Bank of England refused to allow interest rates to rise when market forces dictated (it was politically unpalatable). The reasoning of the authorities involved was as follows: if the Federal Reserve pumped excessive paper reserves into American banks, interest rates in the United States would fall to a level comparable with those in Great Britain; this would act to stop Britain’s gold loss and avoid the political embarrassment of having to raise interest rates. The “Fed” succeeded; it stopped the gold loss, but it nearly destroyed the economies of the world, in the process. The excess credit which the Fed pumped into the economy spilled over into the stock market, triggering a fantastic speculative boom. Belatedly, Federal Reserve officials attempted to sop up the excess reserves and finally succeeded in braking the boom. But it was too late: by 1929 the speculative imbalances had become so overwhelming that the attempt precipitated a sharp retrenching and a consequent demoralizing of business confidence. As a result, the American economy collapsed. Great Britain fared even worse, and rather than absorb the full consequences of her previous folly, she abandoned the gold standard completely in 1931, tearing asunder what remained of the fabric of confidence and inducing a world-wide series of bank failures. The world economies plunged into the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

With a logic reminiscent of a generation earlier, statists argued that the gold standard was largely to blame for the credit debacle which led to the Great Depression. If the gold standard had not existed, they argued, Britain’s abandonment of gold payments in 1931 would not have caused the failure of banks all over the world. (The irony was that since 1913, we had been, not on a gold standard, but on what may be termed “a mixed gold standard”; yet it is gold that took the blame.) But the opposition to the gold standard in any form — from a growing number of welfare-state advocates — was prompted by a much subtler insight: the realization that the gold standard is incompatible with chronic deficit spending (the hallmark of the welfare state). Stripped of its academic jargon, the welfare state is nothing more than a mechanism by which governments confiscate the wealth of the productive members of a society to support a wide variety of welfare schemes. A substantial part of the confiscation is effected by taxation. But the welfare statists were quick to recognize that if they wished to retain political power, the amount of taxation had to be limited and they had to resort to programs of massive deficit spending, i.e., they had to borrow money, by issuing government bonds, to finance welfare expenditures on a large scale.

The Great Depression myth is among the most disastrous ideological catastrophes in history.

The article (all good) is by a young Alan Greenspan, which is a cautionary lesson in personal degeneration.

December 8, 2016admin 39 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy
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Quote note (#313)

West:

One of the reasons many people are sceptical about democracy is because they’re right to be. There is a fair amount of research suggesting that people power is not necessarily the best system of government. For example, one paper suggests that ‘hereditary monarchs with lots of legal power choose better policy than other systems do, including democracies, non-hereditary dictators, and weak hereditary monarchs, and this is reflected in higher growth.’ On top of this there is evidence that democracy does not help economic growth. Most important is the finding ‘that institutions and the rule of law matter but democracy doesn’t,’ a conclusion found in numerous papers. […] People tend to credit democracy with lots of good things that preceded it, such as the rule of law, political stability and economic freedom. These are all prerequisites for universal suffrage, rather than products of it; indeed when these things are not present the introduction of a ballot box tends to be tragic.

(XS was on this in August, but you all know that.)

December 6, 2016admin 11 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Democracy
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Sentences (#82)

Hawking:

This is inevitable, it is progress, but it is also socially destructive.

He’s not wrong about any part of that. Providential Protestantism is a bitch.

December 3, 2016admin 25 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Realism
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Quote note (#310)

Greer on the recent media fail (among other things):

It turned out that Clinton was playing by a rulebook that was long past its sell-by date, while Trump had gauged the shift in popular opinion and directed his resources accordingly. While she sank her money into television ads on prime time, he concentrated on social media and barnstorming speaking tours through regions that rarely see a presidential candidate. He also figured out early on that the mainstream media was a limitless source of free publicity, and the best way to make use of it was to outrage the tender sensibilities of the media itself and get denounced by media talking heads. […] That worked because a very large number of people here in the United States no longer trust the news media to tell them anything remotely resembling the truth. That’s why so many of them have turned to blogs for the services that newspapers and broadcast media used to provide: accurate reporting and thoughtful analysis of the events that affect their lives. Nor is this an unreasonable choice. The issue’s not just that the mainstream news media is biased; it’s not just that it never gets around to mentioning many issues that affect people’s lives in today’s America; it’s not even that it only airs a suffocatingly narrow range of viewpoints, running the gamut of opinion from A to A minus — though of course all these are true. It’s also that so much of it is so smug, so shallow, and so dull.

[I’ve corrected one trivial (and uncontroversial) typo without marking it.]

December 1, 2016admin 7 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Media
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Quote note (#307)

Some insightful sadness at The Guardian:

However, I’ve come to realise that the specific nature of the horror frequently isn’t the primary reason for the glee. It takes a certain level of callous disregard to respond to human suffering in such a manner, but the real target of derision is most often People Like Me. That is, socially liberal, middle-class do-gooders piously informing people that they should care about these various issues. In the words of Rage Against the Machine, the message being conveyed is clear: “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.”

November 25, 2016admin 17 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Chaos
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Quote note (#306)

Dark thoughts from Carl Bildt:

When Trump receives the jubilant British anti-Europe campaigner Nigel Farage before seeing other foreign politicians, he is sending the worst possible signal to Europe. By design or by default, he transmits a signal of support to those dark forces in various countries trying to undo what generations of U.S. and European statesmen have worked to achieve.

(Via.)

How could anyone fail to appreciate their work?

November 21, 2016admin 21 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Collapse
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