Entries Tagged 'Collapse' ↓
December 14th, 2011 — Collapse, Economy, General, Peak Oil
Ron Paul stands for a lot of things that I think are nutty, like his untried libertarian utopian ideas. Under normal circumstances, I would never consider urging my American neighbours to vote for a libertarian.
These are not normal circumstances.
The US has reached a point of political-economic crisis – you cannot separate the two – and as a result the responses are limited and non-ideal. In a crisis you must take decisive action or events may overwhelm you – they may anyway, as a crisis is by definition somewhere between bordering on chaos and all-out anarchy.
At this point, the urgent need is to neutralize the power of corporations and the rich over the US government or nothing else will matter. Yes, climate change, peak oil, the current depression, and so on are all serious crises. The sad fact is that they all exist to the extent they do largely because of corruption in the United States government.
Until this corruption is rooted out, there is little chance of serious action on climate, on oil dependency, or of the US and world economy recovering. If you disagree with me, please show me what President Obama has done that will make a real difference with these crises.
You can trade an Obama for a Romney/Gingrich/whoever and things will get worse faster, but either way the crises we face will not be addressed.
Ron Paul has some scary ideas and libertarianism is untried utopian lunacy, but because of the extent of the corruption in the US government, he’s the only candidate who has a chance of stopping the American slide – and they’re going to drag a lot of us with them – into a police-state plutarchy.
I don’t say this lightly; electing Ron Paul is potentially a dangerous step but far less dangerous than hoping for change from Obama or any of the other Republican candidates. Ron Paul is anti-empire, anti-police-state, and pro-Constitution, which Americans desperately need to remember matters before it’s too late.
November 15th, 2011 — Collapse, Economy, Spirituality
Many people are upset about the mess and disruption caused by the Occupy protesters. Some counter by saying that the preservation of freedom and democracy is often messy and disruptive, and this is true enough.
The more immediate point is that the OWS protesters are saying the same thing, albeit less coherently, as many prominent economists and most religious leaders: Greed is a vice, not a virtue. We cannot build a stable, secure, prosperous economy or society on a foundation of greed and corruption. The longer we ignore this fact, the longer the recession will drag on, all-the-while the banksters and their cronies collect fat bonuses.
While the OWS protesters may be driven out, the problem remains: Our economy and even our society’s morality at the upper levels is founded on the vice of greed. (I speak primarily of the US economy; other countries have not elevated greed to such a high level and are thus more stable.)
Greed is not good. Taking greed as a primary virtue, as the ideology of libertarianism (think Ayn Rand) and the elites of the United States have done, means bad things will happen, and unfortunately not just to the greedy. If greed is a virtue, then selflessness clearly can not be, as it is in direct conflict. To be greedy means to be selfish, and greed knows no bounds; there is no ‘enough’ for a greedy man.
The greedy don’t want to contribute to society, they want to line their own pockets. They don’t necessarily want to steal from you and me for themselves, but ultimately they must to feed their greed. Greed, like all vices, is addictive; there is no satiation point, no enough. Like any addict, when the easy fix runs out, they must take from whoever and wherever they can.
Picture the heroin addict: perhaps at first he can support his habit from his income, but soon the need for a fix destroys his ability to work and he must rely on theft to feed his addiction. Late-stage addicts will lie to and steal from anyone – friends, family, gullible good Samaritans.
There is not much difference in this way between a drug addict and a money addict. Bernie Madoff ripped off those close to him even though he already had billions. Greedy bankers will – just about did – destroy the economy for their fix, even though many were fantastically rich already.
So while you may mock the OWS protesters, remember this: An economy built on greed will collapse, probably viciously. And while many of the greedy will escape with their billions to safer places, you and I will be stuck here in the smoking ruins of a once vibrant economy. If the Occupy Wall Street does not accomplish its goal of rooting out greed, our future is bleak indeed.
October 11th, 2011 — Collapse, Economy
Lots of folks slamming the Greeks for being self-entitled, lazy, and so on for rioting over ‘austerity’ plans for their country. True, their country owes a mountain of debt. But why are the citizens of Greece paying the price for this while the banks are being bailed out (again)? Don’t banks have a responsibility to ascertain the ability of a borrower to repay? And if those banks make bad investments…why are others paying for it?
The usual argument is fear of economic collapse if the banks are allowed to fail, but that seems backwards. Rewarding incompetent or foolish investors harms the market. And how much truth is there to the bank failure fearmongering, anyway?
Look at it this way:
Imagine all the banks that loaned money to Greece are allowed to suffer the consequences of their bad decisions and some even go bankrupt:
- The average Greek will still owe, and be expected to pay, his or her mortgage, credit card debts, car loans, etc.
- The average Greek small and large businesses will still owe, and be expected to pay, their various loans, accounts payable, etc.
Hmm. So the economy continues for you and I and most businesses, but a few foreign banks go bust? Nobody is saying that the Greek government hasn’t done bad, even crooked things. But if certain banks knew about that – in fact, even helped them do those crooked things
– why are they being bailed out? Because that’s where the money is really going.
Goldman Sachs, which orchestrated a financial sleight of hand that enabled Greece to hide its extravagant ways.
Also aiding Greece’s debt habit were some of Europe’s biggest banks. By 2004 it was widely known that Greece had cooked its books and that its financial condition was not nearly as sound as advertised. Still, major banks like France’s giant BNP Paribas and Germany’s Commerzbank bought billions worth of the ill-fated bonds.
In other words, Europe’s big banks and pension funds bought Greek debt, ignoring the risks, because it was profitable.
Which brings up a key point: the Eurocrats aren’t so much bailing out Greece as they are bailing out themselves. The continent’s banks, and in particular the European Central Bank, are the biggest holders of Greek debt.
So now the plan is to have European taxpayers bail out the banks (again) and stick the Greek taxpayers with the debt. Where’s the ‘free market’ in that? Where’s the real accountability? Billionaire bankers get bailed out again so they can continue paying themselves huge bonuses, while the average Greek taxpayer – citizen or corporate – gets stuck with the bill.
Damn right they should riot.
August 9th, 2011 — Collapse
This article resulted from an online suggestion that nonviolence was unlikely to be successful when those in power lack the capacity to feel shame and empathy. A fair case could be made that there are plenty of dictators and far too many executives incapable of shame and empathy. Here’s what Hyperion1144 said, in a discussion about Martin Luther King Jrs views on rioting and in the context of the riots in the UK:
The problem with non-violent resistance is that your opponents must be capable of both shame and empathy.
The financial elite of this world have neither.
So, without rioting or non-violence, what is left?
In my view, this is quite an interesting point when it comes to how we fix the corruption that has infected the highest levels, from greedy CEOs to the crooked politicians they buy. If the people at the top truly have a different morality – perhaps due to their inability or unwillingness to feel certain human emotions – then how do we defend ourselves and restore civil society?
Because they don’t care if you die. They are indifferent to it, as long as their position is maintained. Given this, nonviolence could still work but would require most of us working together and still a lot of people would die. I say it would work because I believe there are not enough sociopathic individuals to run any sort of economy (i.e., they need us or no food, never mind yachts or butlers), and they would constantly be trying to steal each other’s stuff. They’re sociopaths.
At the same time, to defeat them nonviolently we would have to shut down the means of production. It’s a reverse John Galt: Let the Job Creators flip their own burgers, make their own cars, pick their own fruit, put out their own house fires. Clearly it would never work; they need people to willingly or otherwise do all these things for them.
If we’re no longer willing, then conscienceless people must force us by any means necessary – they’re not concerned about the morality of their means. So nonviolent protests of any sort – mass demonstrations, strikes, rallies – would be put down. Lots of people would be killed, unless they could hide.
At what point would these sociopaths stop? I’m sure many in Syria and Egypt are wondering the same thing. You might as well ask the greedy man, How much is enough?
Given this, how do we right the ship? Because sociopaths can’t stop themselves.