Guest Post: The Pursuit Of Happiness And The Sociopathology Of Prosperity

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

The Pursuit of Happiness and the Sociopathology of Prosperity

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have been distilled into a sociopathology of consumption and unrealistic expectations of "prosperity" that do not lead to happiness or well-being.

What's the point of prosperity?

Though few people ever voice this question openly, the general assumption is that prosperity and wealth increase happiness.  The pursuit of happiness (famously grouped with “life” and “liberty” in the Declaration of Independence as an inalienable right) has become the pursuit of prosperity and wealth.

That physical comfort and security grease the skids of happiness is self-evident; living a hand-to-mouth existence inside a cardboard box is not as conducive to human happiness as having a comfortable home and secure income.

But it is equally self-evident that a secure dwelling and income do not guarantee happiness; rather, they provide the physical foundation for the much more elusive qualities of happiness.  We can make the same distinction between the civil liberties that underpin the pursuit of happiness and the actual pursuit of happiness.  The first is a political system devoted to safeguarding liberty; the second is a messy, dynamic process that continues through all of life.

If the basic political and material foundations for the pursuit of happiness are in place, we might anticipate a broadly happy society.  If prosperity and wealth are causally linked to greater happiness, we might expect to find that prosperous people are generally happy.

America has great material wealth, but is happiness as abundant as wealth? And if not, why not?

Numerous psychologists have made a career of studying happiness, and as with all social sciences, the field is wide open for cherry-picking data to support a prepackaged view.  But data from studies of happiness is suspect for the usual reasons.  People tend to report what they sense is expected of them; they tend to make themselves appear more successful (i.e., “happier”) than they really are, and the results can be skewed by the questions and procedures of the study.

The vast majority of such studies of happiness are conducted within a specific cultural mindset.  Happiness is an individual issue.  Fundamentally, “it’s all in your head” and “the system enables happiness, so unhappiness is your fault alone.”

The “fix” for unhappiness in this paradigm is a carefully apolitical network of pressure relief valves – counseling, therapy, motivational speakers, and so on – all focused on “fixing” the flaws within individuals that are assumed to be the exclusive cause of their unhappiness.

As a result of my work writing Resistance, Revolution, Liberation: A Model for Positive Change, I now question the assumption that our happiness is disconnected from the society and economy that we live in. What if unhappiness is not only just an individual failure, but also the consequence of a deeply distorted society? If this is the case, prosperity in the sense of material wealth cannot possibly yield anything but the fleeting pleasure of consumption.

A Radical Critique of Happiness

Though we think of happiness as a private pursuit, in aggregate the pursuit of happiness becomes what we might call a “public happiness.” As author Garry Wills observed, public happiness is the test and justification of any government. If individual happiness is made difficult by the State, then that State must be judged a failure.

Public happiness is not just the aggregation of individual happiness; it is a reflection of the social and political orders' success in enabling the common good, one expression of which is the potential for individual fulfillment.

In our carefully cultivated cultural atmosphere of individuality, it feels like heresy to question the assumption that individual fulfillment is apolitical.  This Status Quo breaks the causal connection between private alienation and the political order so that the atomized individual doesn’t connect his own unhappiness with the sociopathologies of the consumerist-State social order.

The isolated “consumer” doesn’t look at the social order as a potential contributor to his unhappiness, but instead looks to religion, psychotherapy, or medications as private solutions to the sociopathology he inhabits.

The spiritual and psychological traditions of religion and psychotherapy serve as coping mechanisms for individuals as they navigate the many challenges of human existence.  Intended to provide insight and solace for the voyage through life, these traditions were not designed to analyze pathological social orders. They are apolitical because they address problems from the point of view of faith and inner understanding.

That we have no field exclusively devoted to understanding systemic sociopathologies is not surprising once we understand the politics of self-interest.  How many mortals would place their own prosperity at risk by undermining the intellectual foundations of the Status Quo to which they belong?  History suggests that few individuals have the courage to risk status and wealth by undermining the social order that bestows their perquisites.

Social orders that excel in creating and distributing what I term social defeat will necessarily be populated with unhappy, depressed, anxious, and frustrated people, regardless of the material prosperity they possess.

In my lexicon, 'social defeat' is a spectrum of anxiety, insecurity, chronic stress, powerlessness, and fear of declining social status.

One aspect of social defeat is the emptiness we experience when prosperity does not deliver the promised sense of fulfillment.  Here is one example:  A recent sociological study compared wealthy Hong Kong residents’ sense of contentment with those of the immigrant maids who serve the moneyed Elites. The study found that the maids were much happier than their wealthy masters, who were not infrequently suicidal and depressed.  The maids, on the other hand, had a trustworthy group – other maids they met with on their one day off – and the coherent purpose provided by their support of their families back home.

The “American Dream” (as well as the “Chinese Dream”) presumes the opposite would be true, and this explains why reaching material abundance is not the promised fount of fulfillment: It fails to recognize the other necessary conditions of human happiness. It is a monoculture of the spirit, as brittle and prone to collapse as any other monoculture.

Sociopathology and Stress

The physiology of stress illuminates many of the dynamics that we see manifesting in the poor mental and physical health of the American populace and in their passivity in the political and financial realms.

There is a growing body of evidence that unremitting stress has a number of subtle and destructive consequences to both mental and physical health. In addition to the common-sense connection between chronic stress and hypertension, evidence is mounting that obesity and other so-called “lifestyle” diseases are causally linked to stress-related conditions such as inadequate sleep and chronic inflammation.

Western medicine traditionally divides physical and mental health, but it is self-evident (as Eastern traditions have long held) that the mind and body are one.  The physical consequences of mental stress make this abundantly clear, as the powerful hormones that we experience as “mental stress” erode the immune system's responsiveness.

Behaviorally, stress fuels addictive disorders by breaking down the self-control that inhibits destructive bingeing, impulse buying, unsafe sex, and drug/alcohol abuse.

The consequences of chronic stress are multiplied by our reliance (or perhaps more accurately, our addiction) to digital media and communication.  Clinically, these manifestations have recently been termed Attention Deficit Trait (ADT), a broader, more inclusive term than the more familiar Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

ADT manifests as distractibility, inner frenzy, impatience, and difficulty in setting priorities, time management, and making informed decisions.  As these loop into positive feedback, previously competent people become harried underachievers who berate themselves for their inexplicable loss of competence.

ADT, unlike post-traumatic stress disorders triggered by a single event, arises not from a single crisis but from a chain of events that in less stressful times would be considered “a bad week” but in chronic stress are experienced as an unending series of emergencies.  The response – to try harder to keep up and successfully manage the crises – only increases the stress load and sense of failure as the ability to rationally analyze and pursue plans degrades with each perceived emergency.   Making matters worse, the conventional American “solution” to being overwhelmed is to avoid expressing these difficulties lest this be interpreted as complaining or an equivalent personal failure.

This is the consequence of pathological chronic stress being normalized.  An accurate description of the condition is dismissed as whining, and the truth-teller is instructed to keep his head down and his nose to the grindstone.

With the rational mind and self-control centers suppressed, we are prone to zombie-like passivity – in effect, “sleepwalking” though life. This dynamic may help explain Americans’ remarkable political passivity as their civil liberties are curtailed and their financial insecurity increases.

The stresses created by these pathologies are not abstract; rather, they lead to the self-destructive behaviors that are now ubiquitous in America: impulsiveness, addiction, abuse of drugs and alcohol (which are often attempts to self-medicate social defeat), obesity, impoverished sense of self, low level of fitness and vitality, inability to concentrate or complete coherently organized tasks, high levels of distraction and passivity, and a loss of resilience and self-reliance.

This is not to say that all disorders arise solely from pathological social orders.  A percentage of the human population is genetically vulnerable to mental disorders, and life itself is filled with challenges and unwelcome surprises that create stress.  Since it is self-evident that the financial and political order we inhabit influences our mental and physical well-being, what are the long-term consequences to individuals living in a sociopathological system of financial neofeudalism, an autocratic, expansive Central State that enforces extremes of wealth and power and an unparalleled corporate marketing/media propaganda machine?

Anyone who claims these pathologies have negligible effect on individuals’ well-being is either in denial or is a well-paid shill for the Status Quo.

The net effect of chronic stress results in the ability to implement coherently organized positive plans – the foundation of fulfillment – being severely impaired.  This explains why happiness is so difficult to understand and why it is even more difficult to sustainably pursue in a pathological system that disrupts our capacity for rational analysis, self-control, and coherent action.

Consumerism, Happiness, and Power

The notion that increased consumption leads to increased happiness is self-evidently false, yet consumption remains the focus of our economy and society.  The appeal of consumption is understandable once we grasp that it is the only empowering act in a neofeudal society where we are essentially powerless.

In the mindset of the consumerist economy, purchasing something feels empowering because the act of consuming is experienced as renewing our sense of identity and social status. But since that identity is inauthentic, the sense of euphoric renewal is short-lived and soon defaults to the base state of insecurity.

Since the consumer is only empowered by buying and displaying status signifiers, the balance of their lives is experienced as powerless – that is, a chronic state of social defeat.

In the act of consuming, the only feature that continues on after the initial euphoria fades is the debt taken on to make the purchase.

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Sock Puppet's picture

Did you see his retirement home in Hawaii?  It is beautiful.

OT.  I have a couple of seasoned Zero Hedge avatars for sale to the highest bidders.  You know more Sock Puppets.  It will be a good investment for any one looking to spin bad news.

Element's picture

netynahwho will be chuffed

bigdumbnugly's picture

Since the consumer is only empowered by buying and displaying status signifiers, the balance of their lives is experienced as powerless – that is, a chronic state of social defeat.

so it's not my loud farting in public places then?

 

WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot's picture

CHS is spot on with this one. And, as he notes, most of that consumption is fueled by debt. Thus, they get the "stuff" (and the accompanying fleeting ego stroke) only to realize that they have only further submitted themselves to slavery. Freedom might not be the end all be all, but its hard to be "happy" (whatever that means) if you're a slave.

KK Tipton's picture

Of course.

 

The "consumer" is not actually a person or human being.

When you hear marketers or government types say this word, they are referring to "slaves" (or worse).

Think I'm joking? It's a sick construct.
Never use that word if you are speaking of an actual human being.

 

It's now being used in mental health situations and elsewhere:

Origin of term 'consumer' to refer to developmentally disabled people? - words definitions healthcare | Ask MetaFilter - http://bit.ly/RiOSuS

Straight up Orwell 1984 language manipulation. Going on daily.

WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot's picture

Good points. Thanks for the link. We are beyond 1984.

KK Tipton's picture

Yeah, pretty much.

And it's not gonna get better if we don't rewire some brains. People need to reject this crap.
Especially when "taught" in school.

Consumerism = 1. Advertisement - 2. Planned Obsolescence - 3. Credit :
These 3 stages of modern business are worth noting regarding the promulgation of today’s world wide consumer system which is presently stripping the natural wealth of the planet for all inhabitants, including man.

Stage 1 (Advertisement), and 3 (Credit) are well known and often discussed in the mainstream arena.
Stage 2 of the consumer process is much less talked about.

Stage 2 - Planned Obsolescence..
Obsolescence is the state of being which an object, service or practice is no longer wanted, even though it may still be in good working order.. (bar say one ’irreparable’ defect.. in this case of the planned variety.
(Plus, often compulsory for those entering into an established market.. i.e. permitted to remain in the fold.)

 

Phoebus cartel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - http://bit.ly/RiU9Th

"The Phoebus cartel was a cartel of, among others, Osram, Philips and General Electricfrom December 23, 1924 until 1939 that existed to control the manufacture and sale of light bulbs.

The cartel is an important step in the history of global economy because of their alleged involvement in the creation of great-scale planned obsolescence. The cartel reduced competition in the light bulb industry for almost twenty years, and has been accused of preventing technological advances that would have produced longer-lasting light bulbs."

They fined companies for making bulbs that lasted beyond the 1000 hour mark.

Great documentary:

The Light Bulb Conspiracy | Watch Free Documentary Online - http://bit.ly/RiUO7m

Much good info in this one. And not just about the lightbulb.
They constantly refer to "consumers" throughout the film...so many times. Like they are trying to reinforce the word.
Even refer to the guy selected to be in the iPod court case as a "consumer" and not a person or human.
Watch for that part. Not surprising, as the legal system does this on purpose.

Basically, there is BIG MONEY in limiting technological advances. This is the mindset and course that has been set in our societies.

It all comes down to control eventually.

 

Bicycle Repairman's picture

OK light bulb guys can get away with this, but that could never happen with energy.  Just too many regulators and academics on "Energy's" case.

KK Tipton's picture

Heh. Yup, everything's gamed.

When people "manipulate" anything to gain personal advantage, we all lose.

The light bulb was just one of the first products chosen
Almost *all* the things you buy in human society today are "manipulated".

Massive problem. Bad practices.

Controlling energy sources and creating inferior items *always* leads to war and destruction.
No exceptions. This is the *current* state of affairs.

 

Oh regional Indian's picture

KK, looks like we share a wavelength.

Check this out, if you think words do matter:

via etymonline.com

consumer 
early 15c., "one who squanders or wastes," agent noun from consume. In economic sense, "one who uses up goods or articles" (opposite ofproducer) from 1745. Consumer goods is attested from 1890. In U.S., consumer price index calculated since 1919, tracking "changes in the prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of goods and services" [Bureau of Labor Statistics]; abbreviation CPI is attested by 1971.
ori

Oh regional Indian's picture

KK Tipton is spot on. Great stuff. My take:

http://aadivaahan.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/the-deep-perversion-of-language/

Language is pretty much EVERY-THiING. because first there was the WORD... ;-)

ori

KK Tipton's picture

Get this.

 

Off topic but...."illuminating".

galacticwacko's channel - YouTube - http://bit.ly/QUhkTw

Watch his "Wackotica" series 1-9. He drops some interesting concepts (and acts nutty, but who cares).
He says consonants are "hard and controlling". Vowels are more open.

What language was the first part of "the bible" written in? A language with no vowels.
It came from Egyptian and Phoenician roots.

This guy found the mathematical stuff in there:
Meru Foundation Research: Hebrew Alphabet, Genesis, Geometric Metaphor, and Kabbalah - http://bit.ly/QUhEl0

He finds the sacred geometry and even has a pyramid in his logo. Only admits a tiny, tiny, bit about the Egypt link.
But it's very blatant. Egyptians had the geometry thing (and much more) down pat.

As an aside, their hieroglyphics were basically individual sigils I think.
How do you make a sigil? Write down a phrase...and remove the vowels:

Grant Morrison - Sigil - YouTube - http://youtu.be/ibpudvSTU4o

Language and the WORD "have magic in them". And can actually manipulate our reality.

 

PS - The Egyptians didn't use "magic" to build the pyramids though.
That was plain flat out mastery of chemistry:

Geopolymer Institute » Pyramids (3) The formula, the invention of stone - http://bit.ly/SOxJp6

 

Oh regional Indian's picture

Awesome links KK. Many thanks.

Have you watched/heard and Manly P Hall on the tube?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=bts6demgbog

Language.... what a fall to the present.

isn't it? So, see, vowels are disappearing again! Text/chat speak has made many present young folk vowel/spell-ing (wink wink) illiterate.

ori

KK Tipton's picture

Yes.

 

Debase the language and kill the culture.
Things you do to your enemies right?

 

Another of wacko's vids:
Order of the Golden Pedophiles - YouTube - http://youtu.be/PVp2GtZ30TA

Title is shock value of course. And that's a good thing.
Listen 10:50 to the end especially. Great points.
Ultimate basement wisdom.

"Your word is not enough? How sad is that?"

Oh regional Indian's picture

De-base = Remove the foundation.

Collapse is guranteed.

ori

KK Tipton's picture

Indeed.

 

That was no accident ;)

Cathartes Aura's picture

ooh, fun little tangential space, thanks for sharing the corners. . .

words fix concepts in time, express thoughts in order to share verbally (not necessarily necessary, but, yeah), but also in the NAMING of THINGS comes a form of OWNership, as if the named thing is dis-covered, when in fact all things already exist without name-ing.  no thing is dis-covered, it merely get inCORPORATED into the common mind-set, expanding later into dialogues, etc.

are things yet to be named non-existant?  who benefits when the non-existance is revealed with a fixed wording?

in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all Things Were Made.

or named.  once the Word started to get distributed past the gatekeepers (Gutenberg), All Things Were Made (conceptually). . .

shout out to Glasgow early 80's DIYkulture, and co-incidence.

 

ThirdWorldDude's picture

Bullshit!  It's never been about the "regulators & academics", which, by the way, are on big corps. payroll, and thus, have a roll to suppress any new technology and protect their paymaster's business intrests.

Aldo Costa's Gravity motor;

- Hydrosonic pump to cold fusion;

- Perendev & Bedini magnetic motors.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

Take it easy 3rdWorldDude.  We agree completely.  I was just being sardonic.

JimBowie1958's picture

A good BBC documentary on the 20th century's rise of the consumer market driven policies and cultural changes gave some compeling information about how all this stuff started with Freuds nephew, Edward Beernays, who invented 'public relations consultant' as a proffession because 'propagandist' seemed too sinister. He developed a thing called 'engineered consent' and honed it over decades.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Century_of_the_Self

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays

We now see the effect in the sheeple that mindlessly consume to their own personal destruction and insist on being able to continue to do so.

Cathartes Aura's picture

thanks for that link KK Tipton, interesting exchange going on there. . .

I like that you point to language manipulation, as that's a huge part of the shifting sands we all call reality nowadays, the use of words that have been redefined by the "agency" that uses them.  I had a conversation recently with someone who was jumping through the hoops of "unemployment services" - he was pointing out how the voice recordings one is forced to listen to repeatedly when put in the inevitable call queues refer to the listener as a "valued customer" even to the extent of adding "your call is important to us" - the corporate governance culture no longer hides, but is right out in the open!

things are being altered daily, down the memory hole it goes, paying attention can be a full time ehrr, occupation, ha.

formadesika3's picture

Mrs Scar thinks I'm upstairs whacking off. Little does she know I'm reading Zero Hedge.

edifice's picture

I think the thing to do is try to shift into producerism. Take that $50k you'd spend on the BMW and plow it into partial ownership in an oil well. Do something, besides getting into debt for no reason. I know, it's not easy, but it is truly rewarding.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Serious question;  Let's be optimistic and say everyone becomes an efficient producer on the whole planet.  Tell me, who will the earth be trading with in order to balance it's books with respect to capital and resources?

Better get that civilization on Mars built quick.  But yes, at least with partial ownership of an asset that actually produces something real, it won't be a loss so long as oil comes out.

Poor Grogman's picture

Silicone was just sand until recently.

And would have remained so except for the power of capitalism.

Next question....

centerline's picture

Huh?  What does that have to do with exponential growth, but finite resources?  Except for maybe pointing out that if we did it right we might have that Mars colony and be looking for the next jump.  Yeah, tech is great and our future is hopefully founded in more of it... but, a massive human ponzi has occured in the process.

Poor Grogman's picture

This is a valid point of real concern, but ponder this.

We are also part of the closed system and are able to expand in number and living standard as we constantly find new ways to use otherwise dormant resources. ( oil for example) I'm not saying that everything is fine or that a correction will not occur, I just am not confident betting against human ingenuity.

Especially in extremes.

Cheers

centerline's picture

+1.  Is a good point.  Paradoxical in some ways though.

My daughter is taking AP Human Geography right now and in her book they actually have a huge section devoted to stuff like this.  (Sort of ironic timing huh?).

The premise was that baseline population growth theory predicted one particular outcome (not a good one).  Along comes some other folks and say "no, it's wrong" because technology will afford for more... make better use of resources.  Along comes yet another who claims it is wrong because resources are not properly allocated.

Anyhow, I found it all quite funny because they were all right in some sense.  The baby had been thrown out with the bathwater per se by the critics.  Technology did in fact allow for more, and bent the curves of the original theory.  Distribution has always been an issue.  But neither suggested a point of diminshing returns or that exponential growth can continue forever.

I am not betting against humanity though.  I am betting against the status quo continuing too much longer.

Nothing To See Here's picture

No producer can produce without intrants. An oil well needs machinery, human resources and knowledge before it can be operated. Thus, the idea that the Earth could have only producers and need a colony on Mars to sell its stuff is absurd.

disabledvet's picture

Because without growth "the consumer" simply ceases to exist. In effect "he/she becomes an economist"...apparently doomed to living in a hole something of that sort. Anywho to start putting some meat on this abstract bone...Americans move things around like no other people on earth..so it is simply a "false flag" to talk in terms of "the consumer as evil." the problem is at a certain SIMPLY technological. For example "why aren't all electronic devices required to run on solar power? Why are the all required to have a battery?" ask this simple question...and answer it correctly...and understand why we truly are getting ripped off by energy companies...in collusion with the Government of course. And that's but o e example...would you like me to name a thousand more?

centerline's picture

Growth and profit are both human constructs.  Virtually everything is geared around this now.  Technology gone wrong for sake of advancing a few instead of a species.  No need to name a thousand examples.  They are all around us.

Part of this paradigm is growth in populations, social complexity, etc.  Technology in this regard allowed for the greatest expansion in human population ever seen in history.

Of course, this leads right into really problematic philosophical issues which don't have very good answers.  So, instead of going there... I am just pointing out that the trend is unsustainable.

steve from virginia's picture

 

 

Producerism: "Take that $50k you'd spend on the BMW and plow it into partial ownership in an oil well."

 

Since when does capital extraction 'produce' anything? The oil from the well becomes waste, the well becomes empty, beneficiary of the well is a handful of executives and owners of 'BMW Inc.'.

 

Maybe after teeing off on the American Way of 'Non-Happiness' Charles Hugh can clobber the myth that industries are productive. Industries are debt-dependencies that destroy value -- the oil in the well -- and offer money returns for the industry's owners. These money returns are borrowed, the repayment is the obligation of the industries' customers.

 

Why do you think the establishment is so desperate to get people into the stores again, anyway? ... to restart consumption? The world's tycoons are massive borrowers, they need customers in order to repay the debts they -- the tycoons -- have taken on in the customers' names.

 

 

Flakmeister's picture

Wow, they make caulk and breast implants out of sand?

Crumbles's picture

Silicon - Glass and computers

Silicone - fake boobs

Silly - you, idiot.

Flakmeister's picture

Did you trace what my comment was in reply to?

I damn well know what the difference between silicon and silicone is...

Do I have to put a /sarc flag on every fucking post where there might be a hint of doubt????

Totentänzerlied's picture

An entirely different mode of society is required. One that is capable of allocating and using resources at maximum efficiency without literally killing everyone.

Whether you think that means a free market, no market, or something else, you know it's true.

AnAnonymous's picture

Let's be optimistic and say everyone becomes an efficient producer on the whole planet.

_____________________

That is indeed being overtly optimistic (or 'american' for some other reasons)

Production being consumption, how would every productive member be able to maintain their consumption act without trading?

Sure, sure, when you are used to stealing environment as 'Americans' are, this basic necessity of trading is easily forgotten...

akak's picture

Your ability to mindlessly babble in a meaningless melange of nonsense, while still managing to maintain your consistent and malicious anti-American bigotry and hate, is truly remarkable.

centerline's picture

Your ignorance is all consuming.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

.

Production being consumption, how would every productive member be able to maintain their consumption act without trading?

This is a rhetardical question as it is based on an absurd premise.

AnAnonymous's picture

What premise? That production is consumption?

akak's picture

No, the premise that virulently bigoted Chinese Citizenism trolling (your specialty) can be equated to intellectual (and obsessive) defecationalism and hypocritizenism.

AnAnonymous's picture

Well, it is all a matter of fantasy then.

Ah, 'americans', their resiliency to live in their own lies is astounding.

'americans' can know they are lying, inventing, fabricating, and that their lies are old, they will keep clinging to them, no matter what.

The 'american' project, all about truth, justice and freedom...

akak's picture

AnAnonymous, do you know why you are such an extreme douchbag?  It is because you do NOTHING but make sweeping, simplistic and bigoted assertions with utterly no facts, no arguments, and no logic behind any of them. Just repeating the same tired claims endlessly does not make them true.

Nor do you ever try to engage in any form of honest debate here --- you just monotonously dump your blanket anti-American accusations and generalizations in this forum and then run away like the anti-intellectual coward and troll that you are.  And the few times that you do ever respond to other posters, we get nothing from you but circular arguments, evasion and diversion, with NEVER any attempt to either defend your blind assertions and accusations or to logically challenge other posters' condemnations or refutations of those same naked assertions.  Clearly, you are here for no reason at all other than to spread your sick and obsessive anti-American hatred.

You idiotically attempt to blame Americans for every single thing wrong in the world today, while never acknowledging the role that your own consumption-mad nation of China, for example, plays in the madness that is the economic and political world of today.  No, according to you, EVERYTHING that is bad in the world can be laid at the feet of the citizens (each and every one of them) of only one nation in the world, the USA --- never our sociopathic leaders in Washington, never our financial overlords, but ALL of us collectively.  That kind of irrational thinking is known as prejudice and bigotry, and is your (only) stock in trade.

There are plenty of posters, most of them in fact (myself included) who are perfectly willing to condemn our psychopathic leaders in Washington, our hopelessly corrupt political system, and many perverted aspects of our US society and "culture" (such as it is). But you are not content with limiting yourself to such logic --- no, according to you, EVERY American alive today, or who has every lived, is responsible for ALL the sins of the world.  That is collectivism in its most perverse, extreme and idiotic form.

You are dishonest, irrational, hate-filled and close-minded, and that is why no other sincere poster here ever agrees with you or upvotes your ridiculously bigoted and nonsensical comments.

dhengineer's picture

Nobody can produce everything they need, but, if you produce the thing(s) you are capable of doing, then you can trade the fruits of your labor for those of your fellow producers.  It's the old "division of labor" thing.  In it's pure sense, "money" is a way of distributing your productivity through society in general without having to trade directly with each and every other producer.  That's why gold and silver are so important, because they have a recognized value in a productive society.  When the bankers and hedgies (who produce nothing whatsoever) decided to print too much money, there was no way to truly value the production going on in society.  Left to itself, a truly productive society will have enough for everyone, with "savings" left over to retool and invent new stuff.  Once the bankers come in with their great skimming devices, taking away the savings, productive society falls into the "gimme, gimme" mode that we have now.

Unprepared's picture

Doing the opposite of what you perceive is wrong would not necessarily end up as a good deed without the foresight of where exactly you should stop. It may look vertuous in the short term - while the nefarious effects of the status quo gets erroded, but over the long run, it is just setting the stage of the next centrally planned status quo.

 

What stands at the other side of an evil is usually another evil.