It is true that many of the more radical items on this administration’s wish list have yet to be realized. But make no mistake, the full agenda is still there, lying in wait. And there is one thing that could unleash it all: a large-scale crisis.
Large-scale shocks are frequently harnessed to ram through despised pro-corporate and anti-democratic policies that would never have been feasible in normal times. It’s a phenomenon I have previously called the “Shock Doctrine,” and we have seen it happen again and again over the decades, from Chile in the aftermath of Augusto Pinochet’s coup to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina
There is, and it’s a rather grim energy fairy tale. This one shows how the world’s economy depends on the quality of energy burned, and not the amount of money spent. When economies spend cheap oil, GDP rises; when they switch to costly and unconventional stuff, growth comes to a screeching halt. In this unfolding story, cheap credit played a big role. It allowed an industry to carelessly borrow trillions to chase ultra-expensive and risky resources such as bitumen and shale oil. An energy industry laden with toxic debt is now earning less money than what it costs to shovel bitumen or frack shale. And this kind of debt is not going to end well for financial markets. Or for ordinary people. But the darkest character in this fairy tale is the monster called diminishing returns.
What’s happening now is a permanent contraction. Well, of course, nothing lasts forever, and the contraction is one phase of a greater transition. The cornucopians and techno-narcissists would like to think that we are transitioning into an even more lavish era of techno-wonderama — life in a padded recliner tapping on a tablet for everything! I don’t think so. Rather, we’re going medieval, and we’re doing it the hard way because there’s just not enough to go around and the swollen populations of the world are going to be fighting over what’s left.
“Capitalism, it turns out, will not be abolished by forced-march techniques. It will be abolished by creating something more dynamic that exists, at first, almost unseen within the old system, but which will break through, reshaping the economy around new values and behaviours. I call this postcapitalism…”. – Paul Mason Zoran Opalic: Could we call it a Modern Soft Slavery/Communism? We live in a fluid phase of modernity, in which social forms are constantly changing at great speed, radically transforming the experience of being human…
The price of oil is down. How should we expect the economy to perform in 2015 and 2016? Newspapers in the United States seem to emphasize the positive aspects of the drop in prices. I have written Ten Reasons Why High Oil Prices are a Problem. If our only problem were high oil prices, then low oil prices would seem to be a solution. Unfortunately, the problem we are encountering now is extremely low prices. If prices continue at this low level, or go even lower, we are in deep trouble with respect to future oil extraction. It seems to me that the situation is much more worrisome than most people would expect. Even if there are some temporary good effects, they will be more than offset by bad effects, some of which could be very bad indeed. We may be reaching limits of a finite world.
Climate change aside, to survive, we would have to change the way we live…Totally. Not only would we have to shift our energy paradigm, but we’d have to share sustainable dwellings, land, electronics, transportation, everything.. or there simply wouldn’t be enough to go ‘round. People keep saying they want world peace and an end to war, but they aren’t willing to put all of humanity on the level playing field that is required in order to end the fighting. We must rid ourselves of the very concept of personal ownership. Most native peoples understood this.
The effects of government-imposed austerity[iv], erroneously claimed to restore fiscal responsibility and restart economic growth, are a reflexive (or cybernetic[v]) reaction to protect the economic interests of wealthy elites at the expense of other citizens.[vi] The funding and operation of the public health system and the array of socioeconomic factors that ultimately ensure a nation’s health[vii] are damaged by austerity
While most people are paying attention to Europe’s financial woes—and they are serious—there’s a lot of instability in other places…places you might think don’t matter much, but they do. In a world of global finance, global industry, global climate, and global instability, it all matters, as all of these systems are interconnected and inter-related. It’s been called “a perfect storm of catastrophic confluences.”
Election wars are masking the fiscal cliff that America is destined to drop off in early 2013, warns the Congressional Budget Office. History tells us our politicians will slowly drive America off the fiscal cliff and into a mid-1930s-style sinkhole. Why? Because no matter who’s elected, our dysfunctional government will continue to be driven by secretive super-PAC billionaires obsessed about either holding on to or regaining the presidency in 2016.