The Next American Revolution

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

Some July 4th thoughts on revolution as a process rather than an event.

The next American Revolution will not be an event, it will be a process. We naturally turn to the past for templates of the future, but history has a way of remaining remarkably unpredictable. Indeed, all the conventional long-range forecasts made in 1900, 1928, 1958, 1988 and 2000 missed virtually every key development--not just in the distant future, but just a few years out.

The point is that extrapolating the present into the future fails to capture sea changes and developments that completely disrupt the supposedly unchanging, permanent Status Quo. The idea that the next revolution will take a new form does not occur to conventional forecasters, who readily assume the next transition will follow past critical junctures: armed insurrection against the central authority (The first American Revolution, 1781), civil war (1861) or global war (1941).

I submit that the next American Revolution circa 2021-23 will not repeat or even echo these past transitions. What seems likely to me is the entire project of centralization that characterized the era 1941-2013 will slip into irrelevance as centralization increasingly yields diminishing returns.

Everything centralized, from the Federal Reserve to the Too Big To Fail Banks to Medicare to the National Security State depends on the Federal government being a Savior State that must ceaselessly expand its share of the national income and its raw power lest it implode. All Savior States have one, and only one trajectory-- they must ceaselessly expand and concentrate wealth and power or they will fail.

They are like the shark, which dies once it stops moving forward: the Savior State must push forward on its trajectory of expansion or it expires.

Stasis is not possible, nor is contraction; the promises made to the citizenry cannot be withdrawn without political instability, but the promises cannot be kept without fatally disrupting the neofeudal financialized debtocracy.

You see the dilemma: The Savior State cannot stop expanding, but the financial system that generates its revenues can no longer support its vast machinery of debt and phantom collateral. This is why I suggest all the centralized concentrations of wealth and power will either implode or fade into irrelevance.

If all the phantom wealth and collateral vanishes in a market clearing event, the Federal Reserve will simply become irrelevant to the vast majority of people. A handful of nimble speculators may well benefit by picking over the carcass of financialization and centralized omnipotence (i.e. central banking), and perhaps the 1/10th of 1% will still have enough assets influenced by the Fed to care, but the forces of disruption will replace centralization with decentralization.

Here is another example: Medicare may not cease to exist, but it will become increasingly irrelevant to most people because it will not longer function. The remaining doctors willing to treat Medicare patients will be working 13-hour days for sketchy pay, and as each one burns out and leaves the system, the system contracts. Eventually it contracts to the point of irrelevance.

The revolution will be in work and social innovations enabled by technology. The conventional view is that technology will magically enable the permanence of the present; this will be proven incorrect, as what technology enables is not the waste, entitlement and centralization that characterize the present but social innovations, some of which are already visible.

If we sought to summarize the profound transformation ahead in one sentence, it would be this: wages are no longer an adequate model for distributing the surplus generated by the economy.

The current Savior State model responds to this by increasing taxes on the dwindling minority with fulltime jobs and increasing entitlement payments to all those without government or private-sector jobs. This model will collapse, politically, socially and economically, as no society or economy can squander half or more of its productive labor force while increasing the burden on the dwindling cohort of productively employed. The inevitable result of this dynamic is a destabilizing Tyranny of the Majority. Tyranny of the Majority, Corporate Welfare and Complicity (April 9, 2010)

Technology is not just disrupting old industries and companies, it is disrupting the entire Savior State/cartel-capitalism model. The disruption has barely begun, but it will pick up speed over the next decade.

I suspect the next American Revolution will begin in the 2015-16 timeframe. A series of interlocking crises will lead to reforms that preserve the Savior State/ cartel-capitalism for another few years, at a lower level of consumption, i.e. burn rate.

But the process of revolution will be far from complete; this initial response of the centralized neofeudal debtocracy will buy time for the Status Quo, and every conventional onlooker will be infused with optimism and hope that the system established in the Great Depression, World War II and its Cold War aftermath--the secular religion of consumerism (i.e. aggregate demand), permanent war footing and the National Security State, and universal dependence on the Savior State and its ceaseless expansion of concentrated wealth and power--will continue.

But this Springtime for the Savior State/cartel-capitalism partnership will be brief, and by 2018-19 all the systemic flaws and disruptive trends will reassert themselves with renewed vigor.

The entire current model of governance, social order and the economy will be revolutionized not by overthrow but by the process of irrelevance. What will become relevant will no longer be in the control of the Savior State or its partner, financialized cartel capitalism.

Those currently holding all the concentrated power and wealth cannot believe they will become irrelevant, but that's the result of projecting the present as if it is permanent and immutable.

The new system will be better, more humane, more flexible, more transparent, with more opportunity, for it will be everything the current corrupt, sclerotic, parasitic and exploitive system is not.

Three video programs for your viewing pleasure:


Gordon Long and I discuss Window of Opportunity: Blown!

Longtime contributor and fellow writer Zeus Yiamouyiannis discusses his new book Transforming Economy: From Corrupted Capitalism to Connected Communities with Max Keiser

Kerry Lutz of Financial Survival Network and I discuss the future of work and education--though Kerry titled the show more provocatively....

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TeamDepends's picture

The next American Revolution may not be an event, but it will be sparked by an event.

iDealMeat's picture

If everyone globally simply cut their consumption in everything by 40% it would bring down the FED, Primary Dealers, and Fortune 1000. They only exist because of the debt based system and its derivatives.


STOP YOUR PERSONAL SPENDING!!...   Be a part of the Revolution and cause a total reset.

F. Bastiat's picture

Ditched my cable TV service in 2005; one of the best decisions I've made.

francis_sawyer's picture

"but history has a way of remaining remarkably unpredictable."


Who is this guy?... Yogi Berra?

AldousHuxley's picture

"but history has a way of remaining remarkably unpredictable."




there is nothing really new if you go back far enough in history.


1) you are born

2) you learn primitive skills

3) go to school

4) go to work

5) get married

6) have children

7) buy stuff (house, car, computer, toys)

8) have grandchildren

9) get sick

10) die

samcontrol's picture

1) they used forceps when i was born, crushing my skull
2) i learned how to get hit and hit .
3) used number two in school.
4) tried working, no point if you have money.
5) i am 45 soon to be married to my 27 year old girlfriend.
6) i hope my kids don,t turn out like me.
7) buy more stuff , instead of dad.
8) won,t reach grandchildrem, i would be really surprised.
9) get sicker.
10 ) die

11) resurect and read zh.

DanDaley's picture

Good luck to you. I met my wife when I was 46 and she was 28.  Stay in shape, cradle robber.

Poor Grogman's picture

Where does the invention of Differential Calculus fit into this neat plan of yours?

Or is this just your own personal experience?

BLOTTO's picture

The next American Revolution will be video taped and posted on fb and utube...


Zombies (narcissistic, unmoral, self gratifying spiritless gadget obsessive consumers) vs the few...

kaiserhoff's picture

You can see a lot by just looking.

                      Yogi Berra

He's got his whole future ahead of him.

                  also Yogi ( for the benefit of the youngins )

                  One of the great all time hitters, before becoming a legendary strategist and coach.


DanDaley's picture

Q.  Hey, Yogi, what time is it?


A.  You mean right now?

CH1's picture

Yogi: The future ain't what it used to be.

DaddyO's picture

The author makes a valid point that the centralization portends the ever increasing debt.

This is the Achilles heel of the CBs and is the answer to why deflationary episodes are defended so vigorously by the FED.

Bernanke's main mission is to inflate, inflate and then inflate some more.

Pretty soon you run out of breath or the ballon won't hold air any longer...


knukles's picture

Or your liver fails



and Steve Jobs gets the one you'd waited for.

BigJim's picture

Too much GMO popcorn will do that.

ie, moderate your ZH reading time. Or buy Organic.

Smegley Wanxalot's picture

History is actually perfectly predictable.

It's the future that is "remarkably unpredictable."

All Risk No Reward's picture

Predictable in the sense that the oligarchs conceal the good stuff from the masses, maybe.

The stuff they teach in "history class" is mostly distraction.

They leave out the good stuff that paints the crosshairs on the private interests that fought, tooth and nail, to control the money of the varioud nations.

The Secret of Oz

marathonman's picture

History is constantly changing.  What was learned a generation ago, is unlearned in the new generation who had no idea and were guided around the truth.

Unknown Poster's picture

Churchill took a swipe at the Soviets by saying that their history was unpredictable.

All Risk No Reward's picture

Tight prarphrase:

There was a Second American Revolutiion in the late 1800s.  It was not won through force of arms, but through force of insight into creating public opinion.
~John Taylor Gatto

The Ultimate History Lesson

The Underground History of American Education
An Intimate Investigation into the Prison of Modern Schooling
, by John Taylor Gatto (2001)

Audio Book Format

"You either learn your way to writing your own script in life, or you unwittingly become an actor in someone else's script."
~John Taylor Gatto

NidStyles's picture

I grew up in a house without one, so I never bought one. We were "computer people".

August's picture

Ditched my cable TV service during Reagan's second term.  Have I missed anything?

CH1's picture

Not much, August, not much.

zerozulu's picture

Sooner rather than later world will apart its ways away from USSA and this country will be left alone to rot, if you allow me to say so.

UP Forester's picture

Bring your guns and a handful of silver:

TeamDepends's picture

Sure, we all must vote with our dollars.  And if you think we can get through this without getting our hands dirty and/or bloody well, um, we hope you are right.  But 2 billion hollow-point bullets don't lie. 

McMolotov's picture

Those bullets are for National Security™. They're for The Terrrrrrrists™.

No need to worry about them unless you're a Terrrrrrrist™.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

A potentially even bigger impact than opting out, is to STOP ENLISTING in the LEAs and Military.

Force them to conscript, if they want to, but now it opens up a whole can of worms, if the middle class or upper crust have to bleed and die for Wall St.

knukles's picture

The upper crust and middle class have never bled for Wall Street.  It was the black children of GM assembly line workers from Pontiac or inner city youth went off to Nam.
In spite of the "lottery" system, which was eminently game-able.


Which Jimmy Carter resurrected to scare the Ruskies into submission.

TheObsoleteMan's picture

You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. First of all, if your folks worked for GM back in the 1960s, YOU WERE MIDDLE CLASS. Ask me how I know dumb phuk. Was the draft lottery "gameable"? Of course it was. But anybody could do it, race didn't figure into the equation. All you had to do was join the National Guard, go to college, become a minister like Big Al and Jesse did or like Arlo said in his song; tell them: "I want to kill. I want to kill,,,,,I want to kill, kill, kill, kill!!" I heard it said once by a Vietnam vet:"The only guys that went to Vietnam, were the guys that either wanted to, or were court ordered."

DrData02's picture

This, indeed, is the key.

DaddyO's picture

Looks like things may be getting a little traction...

I haven't heard of this event or I would have been there.


spine001's picture

I respectfully disagree with you Tyler. A process entails order, and the evokution of the system we are inmersed is ruled by chaos theory, as any respected physicist can explain to you, therefore the transition from one stable attractor to the new one will be disorderly, no choice around that. Its out of human control at this point, it's just boring math. Where younare correct is in that we can't predict the path it will take, nor what attractor it will lead us to. What youdescribe is just one of many possible attractors or system stability points in the future. Again both the path and the end point infinitely depend on the initial conditions.

kito's picture

It's Charles not Tyler.....

McMolotov's picture

Reading is fundamental.

Hulk's picture

I approve this message !!!

knukles's picture

The "Laws" of Physics" may not apply as equally well to the state of the Human Condition.
Just sayin'

TeamDepends's picture

We thought he was talking to us!

123dobryden's picture

there was a famous quote in old czechoslovak movie that took place few years after WWII 'I am giving bolshewik 2-3 years maximum'....well, we got 40 more years, so much for the timing of revolutions


yet, even when the change came, it was very same people from comunist elites who took economic power as they were the ones connected, they took over national assets in fire-sale, so called privatization in other words robbery.


untill its not revolution in french/gilottine or russian/gulag way, where majority of elite class was executed and masacred, the real power will not change hands, just look at the poor Hitler, who never really thought this thing through

mofreedom's picture

that's cause they thought the US was comming to rescue them...didn't realize they wanted them enslaved a titch longer.

max2205's picture

...and it will suck big time

BeaverFever's picture

My wife sucks on her Cheetos and lets them dissolve in her mouth before she swallows them. I buy her large bags of them. I call it our quiet time. When the revolution begins I'm going to get cable, sit back and buy some popcorn. You know, the stuff in the black bag coated with white cheese...

"After all we're just another brick in the wall"

HermesHiccups's picture

oh to be young and innocent!

JuliaS's picture

Now that Egyptians are done rioting, perhaps they could lend us their signs and posters. We promise to return them in time for their next revolution.

sgorem's picture

"They are like the shark, which dies once it stops moving forward." FALSE. I like CHS, but I've gotta get the grill goin for the Cat Food Burgers, so WE ALL can celebrate another day surviving Wall Street, the NSA, ObummerCare, $100+oil, Fucking spineless, traitorous politicians, a couple trillion government beauracrats getting fatter doing nothing, Bleeding Heart Liberals trying their damnest to give every fucking one in the world a free ride off the US Taxpayers back, a Moron president and his racist wife (or is it the other way around?), Gay this & Gay that, the trampling of the Constitution, Wars, and Moar Wars, inflation, manipulated markets, an unfair tax system, poor healthcare, illegal immigrants, currency wars, fake fiat, the coming stock market collapse, smashed PMs, drones, wiretaps, terrorists, lies, fraud, graft, bullshit, and last, but not least, douchebag trollers on ZH. Have a great DEPENDENCE DAY, you've earned it. 

marathonman's picture

Well played gorem.  Well played.