Monday, June 2, 2014
OECD, which originally stood for Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development nations, given the intractable link between what I refer to as the three E's of Economics, Environment and Energy, needs to have its acronym's meaning modified to better reflect the ever-changing reality. Maybe Overindulgence in Energy Constitutes Delirium, or Oblivion from Environmental Constraints and Destruction, Outmoded Economics Controls the Downtrodden, but keeping it closer to its original intent and name, Organized Economic Coercion Dogma, seems best able to fit the ($) bill.
If citizens of the OECD countries looked at what was does to them a little less self-consciously, they would be able to see what is veiled from their eyes, but only with their complete insistence on this obfuscation, for if the Central Banks of Democratically elected regimes can force the citizens of said Democracies to assume the liabilities of the richest of their private citizens who took out-sized risks in order to rake in unconscionable profits from the Dream machine of Capitalist engines, and those risks were taken by them solely because they had complete and (as it turns out) justifiable faith that should those risks prove untenable, they had the Government's and Fed's assurances that they would not be left holding the bag, it takes less than a genius to imagine the built-in repression that autocratic governments impose on their populations to pay back similar bad investments that the heavily-armed OECD-protected MadMen made in those countries, half of which the Autocrats, such as those in Ukraine, stole right off the top.
What this should be shouting out loud and clear to anyone who is actually interested in either Capitalism or Democracy, is that the very people who so loudly proclaim its virtues, have absolutely no belief in the very dogma they so vociferously preach. If the language begins to sound suspiciously like religion rather than science, that's because that's whats it has now become. One must constantly reiterate the Cant to get the populace to follow the leader, because the reality it forces them to live in is less and less convincing of the superiority of the god it pays obeisance to.
Can't house its citizens, it is structured now to make money for the Rich by throwing the poor into the streets
Can't respond to changing realities, it has become more calcified than the Communist regimes it destroyed
Can't slow climate change, it only accelerates it.
Can't exist without environmental destruction on a global-scale.
Can't exist without the enslavement of entire populations for the Freedom of the minority
Can't be separated from Imperialism.
Can't be maintained without force of arms and a military mindset inculcated into entire generations.
Can't induce the Rich to risk any of their hoard without a Government guarantee.
Can't pay its workers enough to create demand for their products, and therefore,
Can't exist without a strong central government to heavily tax its population to pay for legislated demand.
Can't self-regulate, it would rather self-destruct.
Can't build even the most basic of its needs, infrastructure, as it needs to, but
Can't deliver what it promises as a benefit for the natural structures around which people built their lives for millenia but which must be destroyed to make their lives modern.
For all these reasons and more, Capitalism is here to stay, because, like all religions, it would rather see all of human kind destroyed and its cities smoldering in the ashes of its defeat than admit that even one of its assumptions of which there is no proof and no empirical evidence, is false. It is however, worse than religions in the sense that, even the most rabid of religionists admits that their beliefs are built on nothing more than the gaseous substance of "faith": they believe it because they believe they should believe, it not because they think it's actually true. Whether it's JC, Yahweh, Allah or Buddha, their followers know that they can't prove that they exist, because they are, by definition, gods, and gods are figments of the imagination, Supernatural beings that exist, as their name implies, outside of nature, and therefore beyond the reach of anything so mundane as proof.
Capitalism, however, insists it's underlying economics is a science because it claims that so many of the modern conveniences we enjoy would be impossible without it, and that is the proof that it is real and behaves according to stated principles and manipulable by arcane formulas subject to the rigors of mathematical deduction.
But no matter how rigorous one is in one's math, as anyone who enjoyed Geometry knows, if your initial assumption proves erroneous, all the elegance of the mathematics you used to prove your thesis is perhaps as beautiful and clever as you claim, but the structures built thereon will nevertheless collapse. This is, of course, equally true of Capitalism.
If you build your entire edifice on the rather bizarre belief that oil is just another commodity, or that growth can, or really, even should, continue unabated, or that financial instruments can be dreamt up that hide risk and then use those instruments as leverage to support the rest of the system, when, by your own definition, the core of that system depends on the flushing out and exposing of risk so that it may be properly priced, rewarding those who then assume it but punishing them with losses when they are wrong, then, not only is the collapse of the house of cards inevitable, as its built on shaky ground, but those who keep it inflating higher and higher are apostates disguised in priestly robes, equivalent to the Catholic priests preaching chastity while they practice pedophilia on the youngest and most vulnerable of their adherents (adherents who must continue to profess their belief in the defiled deity or risk eviction, which may sound heartless, but since they all KNOW that god kicked A&E out of the garden for merely smoking a joint, it seems perfectly reasonable to religionists to slam the door on their own progeny for reasons just as arbitrary).
This adherence of the OECD group of nations to its dogma of despair is now being further emphasized by its remarkable cognitively dissonant reliance, since the 2008 Financial debacle, Credit Crunch and Liquidity Crisis, on the BRIC's and other "Emerging Markets" for the growth and productivity gains on which its very existence depends. But no one questions this reliance or attempts to flesh out what the reliance of the richest, most productive and powerful economies of the world, ie the Developed World, as they used to call it, are saying about Capitalism's built-in destructive forces, when they depend for their very existence, on the stability of underdeveloped economies which are only developing, because the developed ones had no more use for one another and needed the outsized gains they could reap from plowing it into parts of the globe where petty tyrants and easily-bought dictators could be bought on the cheap and convinced to buy into the protection racket of procuring highly destabilizing, but necessary and highly profitable, military hardware to protect themselves from the rabble, and thereby guarantee these 'investor's" profits.
Brazil: drought of historic proportions, devaluing Real, making their energy bills higher, as their fuel is derived from sugarcane, not a crop known for its drought tolerance. Historically ruled by military dictatorship
Russia: peak oil, geopolitically ambitious, anti-western in all but a flimsy facade, Siberia's burning up, and Ukraine's blowing up, it's already defaulted once, causing a financial crisis and the collapse of LTCM, (which the Fed illegally made whole: YOUR risk, a fact that was completely, and is now, that is the point of this entire post AND IS NOW your UNCOMPENSATED risk buried and hidden as they collect and hoard, without a nickel of taxes, their profits). Was a totalitarian regime.
India: the most democratic, in every sense of the word, meaning that, with the lack of electricity to residents of its rural communities baking in an unprecedented heatwave, mobs are threatening to tear down the power plant that, along with Monsanto, destroyed their livelihoods, yet that can't even provide the AC they so desperately need and were promised. Historically a vassal of the British Empire.
China: in a housing slowdown that is resetting property values and destroying people's hope for retirement, and slowing the growth upon which the rest of the world has come to take for granted ("take for granted" in financial terms means used as collateral, and priced into bonds, as though it were an actuality instead of a forecast, remember "Mark to market"? It worked so well at Enron, everybody adopted it). Most undemocratic and monolithic totalitarian government in the world.
Turkey, Thailand, Vietnam, Nigeria, hell, all of Africa, these are the governments and economies upon which the west has built its hopes, and by built its hopes, I mean invested their futures, ie their capital, or, even closer to home, the pension you think you've saved. And when these investments don't turn out as the Super Rich envisioned, ruled as they are by the fog of delusion inspired by dogma, it will be once again, the US populace, who will be easily persuaded to employ their "Heroes" and Warriors", ie stooges and mercenaries, to once again fight for our "freedom" to go anywhere and take anything, armed to the teeth with the latest in military hardware and computerized technology to bomb burn and bamboozle the stone-age armies of the locals into seeing the futility of resisting the wishes of the hegemon and its chosen agents of extraction.
That is the face of Capitalism much of the world sees today, and although I consider the fact that it's this stark because of the fact that the energy it needs to run the machine is in short and dwindling supply, and therefore procured and sold at an untenable price, those who defend it the most vociferously are the very people who deny there's anything approaching the reality of peak oil, or peak anything, for that matter, so, as per their blind faith, this is just how it works; so get used to it: you have no home, no job, no pension, no healthcare, and War is not a some time thing, it is all War all the Time, that's just the way we let freedom wring, so grow up.
Posted by Robert Lowrey at 1:33 PM