Monumentally Tragic Disappointment on the Horizon

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Whenever the
herd mentality lines up along a compass point leading to “permanent
prosperity,” or a yellow brick road lined with green shoots,
or something like that, I tend to see the edge of a cliff up ahead.
We are now completely in the grips of the deadly diminishing returns
of information technology. The more information comes to us about
How Things Are, especially from TV, the more confused or
wrong the conventional view gets it.

A broad consensus
has formed in the news media and among government mouthpieces and
even some “bearish” investors on the street that “the
worst is behind us” in this tortured economy. This view is
completely crazy. It will only lead to massive disappointment a
few weeks or months from now, and that disappointment might easily
transmute to political trouble. One even might call the situation
tragic, except a closer look at the sordid spectacle of what American
culture has become – a non-stop circus of the seven deadly
sins – suggests that we deserve to be punished by history.

The reason
behind this mass delusion is not hard to find: it’s based on
wishing, especially the wish to retain all the comforts, conveniences,
luxuries, and leisure that had become normal in American life. These
are now ebbing away in big gobs for most of the population –
while a tiny fraction of the well-connected pile on ever larger
heaps of swag, enjoying ever more privilege. Those in the broad
bottom 95 percent were content as long as there was a chance that
they, too, could become members of the top 5 percent – by dint
of car-dealing, or house-building, or mortgage-selling, or some
other venture enabled by easy credit and a smile. Those days and
those ways are now gone. The bottom 95 percent are now left with
de-laminating houses they can’t make payments on, no prospects
for gainful work, re-po men hiding in the bushes to snatch the PT
Cruiser, cut-off cable service, Kraft mac-and-cheese (if they’re
lucky), and Larry Summers telling them their troubles are over.
(If I were Larry, I’d start thinking about a move to some place
like the Canary Islands.)

Too many disastrous
things are lined up in the months ahead to insure that we’re
entering a new phase of history: The
Long Emergency
.

  • Government
    at every level is worse than broke.
  • Our currency,
    the US dollar, is hemorrhaging legitimacy.
  • Inability to service old debt at all levels or incur new debt.

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the rest of the article

August
5, 2009

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