Real change

Just read the Unwinding by George Packer.  It’s about how America has lost it’s vision of the Disneyesque American Dream.  Hard to argue with that although a careful reading of America’s history might suggest that it is simply fulfilling it’s just-as-early darker vision of creating Empire.

The elite of the good ol’ USofA thrives off of war and that business (in a world economy gone flat) seems like it is still a pretty good one.  The military-industrial stocks go up no matter what.  And the elite in power still seem to have a very firm grasp on the reins – i.e the money, the missiles and the media.  Put more succinctly, the American Dream may no longer be working but the American Nightmare certainly is.

Peter Thiel of PayPal and Facebook fame had a good line, “It was 1973 (that the age of innocence in America ended), the last year of the fifties.”  That resident rich guy, deviant, savant, Libertarian and contrarian is so profoundly disillusioned with Mom and her GMO apple pie that he is investing billions in ending aging.  He figures that if he can live forever, he can maybe fix some of the problems eventually (but, as a Libertarian, it is not clear if he intends to live forever alone or share the technology with others…..?  I think it depends on the market.  And how weird is that?)

My own take is also somewhere in Lalaland.  I am kinda hoping for the Messiah.  A really big one.

Thiel may be right about the age of innocence ending in 1973 but it’s end days began much further in the past.  The American Revolution was about who controls the printing of money and the US wrested that ability away from the Brits way back in 1776.  Since then they have managed to control the printing of money for the entire world – for the most part, anyway, long before even the Federal Reserve and Bretton Woods.  And he who controls the money controls everything.  Unless someone or something magical comes along pretty soon, that is the way it is going to be for the foreseeable future.

And how do you change that?  The very concept of money is a huge, behemoth of a construct.  It is one that is truly too big to fail.  But it needs some changing.  It needs changing drastically.   We could use a little magic right about now.  Good magic.  The rare kind.  We need a Messiah.

But Thiel points out that the only magic we have seen for a long time is silly techie-magic and 99% of that has been for infotainment.  Technological progress is mostly manifested in phones!  He claims we have not progressed as a species but instead have regressed, in fact, because we are focused in the wrong area – fun.

Well, the mlitary-industrial guys are still focused on their business and they are more than just 1% but his point is well taken.

My problem is that I don’t see how even the Second Coming might work.  How would the Messiah get his/her mojo on without proper media coverage?  And the media is now a corrupt, hollowed out institution owned by the bad guys anyway.  Our Saviour would have a hard time getting noticed.  Or worse, he/she’d be Oprah’ed and Jerry Springer’ed into our living rooms.  Hard to get the rapture on from even a big flat screen Blu-Ray.  And, anyway, I am sure he/she’d be sued or ‘interrogated’ or otherwise occupied so that only his or her cell-mates would see the light-and-magic show.

The point of this ramble is an odd one…..

…..I am getting there…..

Despite the omnipresent gloom, I feel change in the air.  Maybe it is just autumn.  Maybe I am just aging and I am getting those disorders where old people ‘feel’ things in their bones.  I dunno.  But I kinda feel a change is comin’ on.  Bigger than the didn’t-quite-happen but promised Obama-change. Bigger than a Homeland-held Messiah-in-jail kinda change.  Something big.  I have no idea what.  Not a clue.  But I feel it (more like the beginnings of it) and one cannot ignore one’s feelings.

The closest I can come to describing this feeling is that it feels as if more voices are dissenting at the status quo of more issues.  More feelings of anti-establishment are being voiced.  Politicians are bumping into more walls of resistance to their greedy proposals.  Anarchy, chaos and dissent are more the norm around the world and the 1% are escalating their ‘forces’ to squelch it with increasingly heavier means.  Divides are widening on political levels but the ‘little guys’ are merging and compromising their differences.  Civil discourse is no longer the standard – even civil disobedience is not being tolerated as much – but personal tolerance for personal differences is increasing.  I guess what I am saying is that there are indications of social stress caused by government and industry but there are indications of greater unity amongst the people.

If the people are slowly putting aside their petty differences (racism, sexism, gay rights, aboriginal rights, etc.) and the powers that be (police, Homeland Security, economic pressures) are increasing the stress on them anyway, something is going to break.

And that makes for change.


10 thoughts on “Real change

  1. JPMorgan Chase & Co will pay regulators $920 million after losing more than six times as much(5.5 billion) in derivatives trading last year(2012). The trader in question, nicknamed the “London Whale,” is now cooperating with prosecutors. The banks continued to trade suspect derivatives in the full knowledge that five years ago the world went through a financial crisis that put us on the brink of a depression and crashed the economies of many countries in the greedy quest for more. I read above, “Despite the omnipresent gloom, I feel change in the air.” I sense change also as those spastic sphincters release convulsively and the world goes down the dumper for ten more years. It seems destruction of the world economy is the goal of many bankers and as the world economy tanks there goes the middle class.


    • Well, I have a lot to say on the matter (as you might have guessed) but the strangest thing is this: we are all partly to blame. Innocently, of course, but the system is based on our participation. And we participate. We were born into it. We have all bought the big LIE : that with hard work, a good education and a bunch of other sops, we too can do well and prosper.
      It simply ain’t true. If you do all that (that they tell you to do) and you do prosper, you are likely exploiting others and/or ruining the planet. Or borrowing against your kids future. Because it can’t be done otherwise. We live in an institutionalized parasitic system that starts and ends with the monetary system. An ‘interest-based’ banking system, a monetary policy controlled by an elite cabal and a total focus on consumption and comfort makes us all complicit at the very least. Put more bluntly: the system is both the drug and the cop. Ya can’t win. You want a revolution? Start ‘trading’ goods for services and vice versa. Stop paying interest to the system. Stop feeding the beast. And I doubt that that will ever happen. Money is just too easy and convenient means of transaction – and a means of control. That it controls us rather than we controlling it just hasn’t been recognized yet.
      But, it will.


      • It starts with slogans such as free enterprise and capitalism and the average understanding of these ideologies is a mile wide and an inch deep. let’s educate our citizens in the ‘isms’ so that a thoughtful discussion is possible. Many,many socialist countries have thriving economies, high employment and low rates of poverty. But investing in one’s future citizens is not a priority in all developed countries. Having a cleptocricy seems to be more important.


      • I agree with just about everything but copying the socialist countries. I am sure that things would be better with a form of socialism/capitalism but I don’t think we are limited to those choices. I honestly believe that we have more options than the ones offfered by Smith and Marx. Sadly, I am not smart enough to articulate them (or even concieve of them). NATURAL Capitalism (Lovin et al) is a good start – for the planet saving part, anyway. But still falls short. Paul Hawken has been pursuing a ‘new’ concept for decades but he,too, is still looking for the right program. All I know is that this one is too unfair, too environmentally destructive, completely immoral and requires too much violence to manage.


  2. Right. I knew that. Shoulda said….. but what I meant was that the incentive in Capitalism seems real. People need the motivation. We have a greed gene. Certainly a competitive one, anyway. So that part has to still be allowed if not actively encouraged (in true innovation). The problem is that there seems to be no morality to it. We predators will kill and eat our own to get ‘so-called’ ahead. Whatever system emerges has to recognize the basic instincts of the animal but somehow contain it in a moral framework that is embraced by all – even the sociopaths. If you can’t thing GOD, think DOG. They, like us, are basically wolves but somehow they have bonded to a higher order in loyal servitude (we fooled them into thinking it is us). We may need the game but we also need the rules.


  3. What are the incentives for the mother working for minimum wage and paying $850 a month for infant daycare. Ayn Rand suggests that such situations are a matter of personal responsibility and ought not to trouble governments nor the businesses paying poverty wages. Poor choices have consequences and Ayn would have the single moms pay for their mistakes. This is the American exceptionalism that protests giving those in poverty money. “Capitalism seems real. People need the motivation.” True folks need motivation but how about a living wage? “Those Canadian workers who have an hourly wage below $10 do not earn enough. They represent 25% of all Canadian workers, 20% of adult women workers age 25-54, and about 10% of adult male workers.” Is this our meritocracy at work? And socialism will not help this situation? (rhetorical question)


  4. Reported by Michael Moore the top four hundred riches Americans have a net worth of two trillion.
    “Four hundred obscenely wealthy individuals, 400 little Mubaraks — most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion-dollar taxpayer bailout of 2008 — now have more cash, stock and property than the assets of 155 million Americans combined.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.