Things Fall Apart

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

– Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

You’re not losing your mind, everybody else is. Things are crazy and getting crazier. Something must be done. Somebody, please do something.

If paying attention to global events overwhelms and results in a combined sense of dread, concern and bewilderment, you’re not alone. It’s not simply because humans have more access to more information than ever before that you feel this way, there does appear to be a quickening in the pace of the unfolding of humanity’s latest chapter. Things are genuinely falling apart, but things are always falling apart. Likewise, things are always being built and created. Governments come and governments go, as do global empires and monetary systems. Everything is dying and being born all at once, constantly and forever. This will not change. Day Of Deceit: The Tru... Stinnett, Robert Best Price: $1.77 Buy New $8.10 (as of 04:25 EST - Details)

That said, there are periods in history when the entire paradigm you’ve been accustomed to living under changes rather abruptly and for good. A change of this nature alters the entire game on a global basis and happens perhaps once in a lifetime. The last such shift happened during World War 2 and we’re living in the next one. How big of a change this will represent in the context of human history remains unknown, but we know it’s big. Really, really big.

The most significant challenge most of us face when confronted with such a moment is to remain focused and emotionally stable during the transition. This doesn’t suggest apathy, but it does mean staying grounded and not giving in to the constant news and pundit cycle of incensed outrage and anger about every single event that unfolds. After all, it’s important to recognize that almost everything you see in the news is a symptom of something far bigger happening in the background. Namely, that the global order most of the planet has known in the post-WW2 period is coming apart at the seams. If you don’t stay focused on the big picture, you’ll be easily and hopelessly manipulated without even knowing it.

The primary shift that’s occurring is the U.S. empire has lost its ability to dictate all terms to all countries at all times. This capacity to dictate has been enforced via a two-pronged approach for decades. The prongs are global military dominance and control of the financial system.

The first is threatened by the fact we’ve already entered a world in which it’s easier to frustrate global empire than it is to maintain it. We’ve seen this manifest in numerous places over the course of the 21st century. The war in Afghanistan is an ongoing failure despite it being the longest conflict in U.S. history, and the Iraq war (based on fake news) resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands and merely strengthened Iran’s position in the region. Meanwhile, U.S. regime change plans in Syria were thwarted despite the empire’s best efforts, and Trump’s deranged crew of neocons still can’t even get rid of Maduro in Venezuela. Deny it all you want, but the geopolitical map has fundamentally changed.

Meanwhile, the financial system itself (a tremendous source of U.S. imperial power) is also fundamentally broken. The first major failure in this regard happened back on August 15, 1971 when Richard Nixon closed the gold window. Whether you believe this was a primary contributor to many of the negative trends that emerged afterwards likely depends on your personal ideology, but it’s undeniable that shortly after this event we started to see a major ramp up in the financialization of everything as well as a stagnation in median wage growth. A global buildup of financialization and fraud-based financial products played a key role in bringing us to where we are today, and also culminated in the second major failure of the global financial system in 2008.

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