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The Second Biggest Delusion In US Culture

Tyler Durden's picture




 

Submitted by James H. Kunstler of Kunstler.com,

The debate over Thomas Piketty’s new book Capital in the Twenty-First Century is as dumb as every other issue-set in the public arena these days — a product of failed mental models, historical blindness, hubris, and wishful thinking. Piketty’s central idea is that wealth will continue to accumulate and concentrate among individual rich families at ever-greater rates and therefore that nation-states should take a number of steps to prevent that from happening or at least attempt to correct it.

The first mistake of Piketty fans such as New York Times op-ed ass Paul Krugman is the assumption that the dynamic labeled “capitalism” is an ism, a belief system that you can subscribe to or drop out of, depending on your political correctitude. That’s just not true. So-called capitalism is more like gravity, a set of laws that apply to and describe the behavior of surplus wealth, in particular wealth generated by industrial societies, which is to say unprecedented massive wealth. The human race never saw anything quite like it before. It became both a moral embarrassment and a political inconvenience. So among the intellectual grandiosities of modern times is the idea that this massive wealth can be politically managed to produce an ideal equitable society — with no side effects.

Hence, the bold but hapless 20th century experiment with statist communism, which pretended to abolish wealth but succeeded mainly in converting wealth into industrial waste and pollution, while directing the remainder to a lawless gangster government elite that ruled an expendable mass peasantry with maximum cruelty and injustice.

In the other industrial nations, loosely called “the west,” the pretense to abolish wealth altogether never completely took, but a great deal of wealth was “socialized” for the purpose of delivering public goods. That seemed to work fairly well in post-war Europe and a bit less-well in the USA after the anomalous Eisenhower decade when industrial labor enjoyed a power moment of wage arbitrage. Now that system is unraveling, and for the reason that Piketty & Company largely miss: industrial economies are winding down with the decline of cheap fossil fuels.

Piketty and his fans assume that the industrial orgy will continue one way or another, in other words that some mysterious “they” will “come up with innovative new technologies” to obviate the need for fossil fuels and that the volume of wealth generated will more or less continue to increase. This notion is childish, idiotic, and wrong. Energy and technology are not substitutable with each other. If you run out of the former, you can’t replace it with the latter (and by “run out” I mean get it at a return of energy investment that makes sense). The techno-narcissist Jeremy Rifkins and Ray Kurzweils among us propound magical something-for-nothing workarounds for our predicament, but they are just blowing smoke up the collective fundament of a credulous ruling plutocracy. In fact, we’re faced with an unprecedented contraction of wealth, and a shocking loss of ability to produce new wealth. That‘s the real “game-changer,” not the delusions about shale oil and the robotic “industrial renaissance” and all the related fantasies circulating among a leadership that checked its brains at the Microsoft window.

Of course, even in a general contraction wealth will still exist, and Piketty is certainly right that it will tend to remain concentrated (where it isn’t washed away in the deluge of broken promises to pay this and that obligation). But he is quite incorrect that the general conditions we enjoy at this moment in history will continue a whole lot longer — for instance the organization of giant nation-states and their ability to control populations. I suppose it’s counter-intuitive in this moment of the “Deep State” with all its Orwellian overtones of electronic surveillance and omnipotence, but I’d take the less popular view that the Deep State will choke to death on the diminishing returns of technology and that nation-states in general will first degenerate into impotence and then break up into smaller units. What’s more, I’d propose that the whole world is apt to be going medieval, so to speak, as we contend with our energy predicament and its effects on wealth generation, banking, and all the other operations of modern capital. That is, they’ll become a lot less modern.

As all this occurs, some families and individuals will hang onto wealth, and that wealth is apt to increase, though not at the scales and volumes afforded by industrial activities. Political theorizing a la Marx or Thomas Piketty is not liable to deprive them of it, but other forces will. The most plausible framework for understanding that is the circulation of elites. This refers to the tendency in history for one ruling elite to be overturned and replaced by another group, often by violence, and then become the new ruling elite. It always happens one way or another, and even the case of the Bolsheviks in Russia during the industrial 20th century can be seen this way.

In any case, just because human affairs follow certain patterns these days, don’t assume that all these patterns will persist. I doubt that the Warren Buffets and Jamie Dimons of the world will see their wealth confiscated via some new policy of the Internal Revenue Service — e.g. the proposed “tax on wealth.” Rather, its more likely that they’ll be strung up on lampposts or dragged over three miles of pavement behind their own limousines. After all, the second leading delusion in our culture these days, after the wish for a something-for-nothing magic energy rescue remedy, is the idea that we can politically organize our way out of the epochal predicament of civilization that we face. Piketty just feeds that secondary delusion.

 

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Mon, 04/28/2014 - 18:39 | 4705665 HedgeAccordingly
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well the iBankers are delusional but still rich...

http://hedge.ly/1m2WClD

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 18:56 | 4705705 unrulian
unrulian's picture

a great prep is 1/4" Dyneema rope, whether it be a lynching, a limo tow job or lifting 5 tons http://phillystran.com/product-catalog/12-Strand-Braids-Spectra-Dyneema

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:53 | 4705991 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

"industrial economies are winding down with the decline of cheap fossil fuels."

Aren't hours worked per unit of oil pretty constant over the last four decades?

Industrial economies are winding down because of unrestrained government growth. Too much taxation, too many laws, too many regulations, too much surveillance, too much lying, too much propaganda, too much printing, too damn much government, and ...

too little freedom.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:02 | 4705715 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

All the ISM's would work if there weren't so many sociopaths and assholes running around, even capitalism. 

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:28 | 4705745 Future Jim
Future Jim's picture

Even in the absence of sociopaths and psycopaths, communism doesn't work.

The free market is the absence of isms. 

Suppose I invent an innovative product or service because I think others will find it helpful enough to trade me enough of the fruits of their labor to make it worth my effort. Of course, I do not cheat them because my future sales depend on my reputation. Now consider that they have something to trade me because they are doing exacly the same thing. It is the free market, and it is entirely voluntary. It is self regulating, and it rewards those who are most helpful. It also created innovation, order, and benefit that did not exist before. The free market makes the pie bigger. iPhones did not exist in 2000 BC. It is a win-win. It is not a zero sum game.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:37 | 4705792 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  The free market is the absence of isms. 

But, not in the absence of sociopaths and assholes.   The "free-market" is a fantasy of human perfection.  Sure, it would be grand if the smart-n-savvy people didn't use their brains to manipulate the markets and the dumbasses, but - they do. 

You can't have "free markets", or Communism,   or socialism, or the Rightous Sword of Libertarian Justice, or honest government,  or (well) anything nice until people - or a society - figures out some way to identify and control the sociopaths and assholes.     

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:22 | 4705903 Future Jim
Future Jim's picture

You have it completely backwards. All attempts to get government to regulate the sociopaths is having the opposite effect.

The free market is most compatible with our genetic programming, and thus depends on people being imperfect.

In a free market, assholes would be real nice or they would end up getting shot. Governments protect assholes.

If there were any problem, such as smart people trying to manipulate others, then people will have an incentive to provide a profitable solution, but such solutions don't exist because governments protect such manipulators.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:36 | 4705938 knukles
knukles's picture

"Don't feed the Marxists"
When anybody asks me about this guy's (Piketty's) tripe, I laugh and roll my eyes.
Then they (the Progressives) mention Paul Krugman..
And I have a Lewis Black moment, waving my arms, looking possessed pointing out that this is precisely the shit that got us here in the first place, FFS.
Then when my Progressive buds ask if I like Lewis Black, I say yes, they nod their appreciation and then I point out that he's a Libertarian....

 

This guy Piketty is not worth responding to...
I do not negotiate with Marxists

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:34 | 4705954 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

So-called capitalism is more like gravity, a set of laws that apply to and describe the behavior of surplus wealth, in particular wealth generated by industrial societies, which is to say unprecedented massive wealth.

 

You know, capitalism is just like gravity, in that no one understands what it is and no theory has yet been devised to consistently describe its behaviour. Rather clever comparison mr. kunstler!

In a free market, assholes would be real nice or they would end up getting shot.

First law of the free market, assholes get shot. Second law of the free market..

 

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:55 | 4705998 nmewn
nmewn's picture

First law of the free market, assholes get shot. Second law of the "free market"..

...the assholes partners-in-crime calls upon "the law".

See, its really not our (capitalists) fault that the cost of doing business under a tightly regulated regime is so high.

Fair dealing has a way of sorting these things out ;-)

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:50 | 4705985 Jack Burton
Jack Burton's picture

You are on to something Jim. In a free market, assholes would be killed by the majority. In fact, back in our hunter gatherer and even early neolithic eras, it is most probable that assholes and greedy people were either driven out or killed. We need to consider that for almost all human existence, we were not in this modern world. Government did indeed provide the greedy and assholes protection from the majority, and we are now totally under their power. I offer you today's United States Govenment as proof positive of what I say.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 22:08 | 4706250 samsara
samsara's picture

Hey Jack, Sometime watch The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean. You see the entire procession in the span of one man's life. Paul Newman was great.

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 04:52 | 4706839 Acet
Acet's picture

In a Free Market the assholes with the fewer moral self restraints would get some guns and some buddies with just as few moral restraints and take overybody else's stuff by force.

What the purist Free Market types don't get is that a system with no State is called Anarchy and history shows again and again (most recently in Somalia) that Anarchy always turns into Warlordism - i.e. the assholes with the most guns have the power.

The truth is that just like Nature always ends up conquering a newly raise wasteland which is a volcanic island, so will a free-for-all chaotic human society naturaly see ever larger centers of power come to be as people get together for self-protection (or to raid other people's places in force). It is the natural state of things that people gather together for protection from the assholes (and the assholes gather together in response to maintain their strength) and that when people are together rules are need to figure out were one man's rights end and another men's rights start and to resolve any such conflicts (lest they blow up out of control and threathen the cohesion of the group), at which point you have the beginnings of law and order, i.e State.

The Free Market No State purists view of their utopia is about as deluded as the Communist utopia of equality for all: it simply doesn't work given that man is flawed and there will always be collisions where multiple people's idea of "what are my rights" clash against each other.

 

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 10:05 | 4707513 Pickleton
Pickleton's picture

I've noticed that what people like you do is liberally conflate a free market with 'no State' and or anarchy.  I believe purposely.  Of course, that's utter rubbish which makes your entire argument rubbish.

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 19:25 | 4709890 Jack Burton
Jack Burton's picture

Bravo!

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 03:23 | 4711053 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Not so fast. Could it be war-lording was imported, and structure removed in the face of dependancy, as the cause of "anarchy" not working? Or could it be that a culture of independance and morals and of everyone being equally armed resists warlords? If everyone in Somalia was as well-armed as the war-lords when they first rose they wouldn't have got far. I haven't researched the details of their rise to power so I just don't know.

As for 'order' or 'law' we as humans do tend to have built-in morals. They don't always agree on fine-details but generally they do agree. We want peace most of the time, mating, offspring & resources, and humans to tend to co-operate or compete in non-lethal ways to do this. Many other animals also compete in non-lethal ways or co-operate, or use both strategies within a species.

Perhaps the missing ingredient here is that society must first be weaned of dependancy if there is any.

Perhaps another ingredient is that so long as a populace is disarmed it can never turn to productive anarchy because it's like leaving a bank vault wide open (obviously olde timey banks that actually stored gold in vaults, not the modern-day nonsense). Defense is necessary. Defense requires resources like weapons & training and a moral personal constitution that permits you to injure or kill for the good of self, family & community without being an asshole, so as to resist the power of true asshole warlords when they try to take hold.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 21:30 | 4706111 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Your mistake is the belief that all people should partake in the benefits of civilization, even if they are counterproductive to it.

There are 7+ billion people on earth, there isn't a sane rational argument for including socio/psychopaths in anything.

Confine them somewhere where they can only harm each other and maybe they will go extinct.

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 00:31 | 4706567 Nick Jihad
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You know, there is a name for this category of idea that "everything would be just peachy, if we could get rid of the evildoers who ruin it for everyone." It's a childish way to think. The progressive left believes that their Utopia could be realized, if only the conservatives were in someway neutralized. For Staliniists, Kulaks were the problem. 

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 14:28 | 4717013 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Isn't that the basis of the government lovers beliefs.

That getting rid of all competing ideas of government run societies is the ideal solution.

Almost no one believes utopia is attainable, so nice straw man argument.

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 05:56 | 4706897 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Sociopaths are smarter than most people & able to produce totally fake personae on-demand which means you can't just identify them and isolate them. The only reason today it seems so easy is because they are so all-powerful they have no fear of you knowing who they are. Any who approach will be killed, captured or punished, who mean to do them harm, and you know it.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:49 | 4705815 what's that smell
what's that smell's picture

let's say i invent a system where the bottom line is the greatest virtue.

walmart, pollution, debt slavery, plastic toys, black fridays, brain dead consumers.

capitalism? you bet your sweet ass!

can we move on beyond the rantings of british aristocrats centuries old?.....

capitalism is no more gravity than the smell coming outta my unsweet ass.

embarrasing are the defenders of this silly bygone ideology and their endless tinkerings with the definition of what is and what isn't capitalism...

jeeeez!

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:41 | 4705968 Future Jim
Future Jim's picture

You have contradicted yourself. You criticize a system where government exercises absolute power over business, academia, individuals, and the media, but you call that system capitalism (a.k.a. freedom a.k.a free markets).

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:53 | 4705833 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

The free market can work if there is rule-of-law.

Problem being; societies have been infested with lawyers interested in money versus justice, and judges interested in power versus the law, and governments more than willing to support and participate in the parasitism.

Enter MBA's and HR Departments, equivocating mandarins who have never worked the production line or done an hour of honest work, and their CEO overlords who get paid 300 times what the average worker does (and a monkey could do their job).

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 23:09 | 4705947 Future Jim
Future Jim's picture

Free markets don't even need rule of law. Competing transparent institutions would natually evolve to meet any real need regarding contracts, arbitration, reputation, regional security, self-defense, insurance, property, right of way, borders, ownership, etc. They would mostly be for-profit businesses who would quickly go out of business if their reputation slips because they can't print their own money.

CEO work really is 300 times more valuable in the perverse system of incentives created by government.

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 00:34 | 4706573 Nick Jihad
Nick Jihad's picture

A quibble perhaps, but you can see what happens when rule of law is absent. It works, but not as well. Investment tends to follow family ties, to the detriment of efficiency and profit. And capital tends to migrate to places where rule of law is present. For example, South America versus North America.

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 05:50 | 4706882 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

True but unlike a simple curve or line such a situation, plotting corruption & damage to society over time, would be very spikey just like a price-chart in a real market. Sometimes people would "figure it out" and stomp the fraud, then smarter frauds would get the better of the markets for a while, and it would keep co-evolving.

It's probably for the best, in the same way we don't anywhere near have any idea how to manufacture our own immune systems and yet they are with us and do a better job than most of our medicines. Our medicines are patch-ups for what exceptional situations can't be handled, like anti-biotics or transplanting organs (and then using immunosuppresive drugs). If we actually depended on that like we depend on food we'd be dead a long time ago, all of us. The immune system, a thing evolving that we barely understand at all in reality, does all the heavy lifting.

A market of markets, sufficiently evolved will do the same, but the risk is very high. Some will assuredly be killed by it because of weakness or bad circumstances. Some will survive & flourish who very clearly ought not to but that's sometimes how nature is.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:15 | 4705746 Hobo Sapien
Hobo Sapien's picture

+1 LOL

"The Pilgrims simply weren’t producing enough food, so their first solution was to institute beatings for those who did not work hard enough. This had little effect on productivity, and it increased discontent. "

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:41 | 4705806 Hobo Sapien
Hobo Sapien's picture

Have to add a quote from Not-Tyler Brad Pitt:

"We're alllllll MONKEYS."

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 18:40 | 4705670 screw face
screw face's picture

MOAR DATA NEEDED

 

fc

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:23 | 4705762 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

In a society that allows one to believe anything yet know nothing, resorting to the use of "they" is often necessary.  Kuntsler dogs this out probably because of his aversion to the possibilities of "conspiracies".  We know by observation and logic that the decisions are not being made on the surface by the politicians, yet with all the institutional secrecy in our National Security State what else are we to do?

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:30 | 4705770 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Perhaps his aversion is to observation and logic?

He did recently admit to being a two-time Obummer voter.

Cuz somebody's gotta polish that turd!

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:35 | 4705786 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

We can therefore assume then that you think everything will proceed forward exactly as it is now only more so.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 23:18 | 4706425 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

Valid point, NA.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 18:43 | 4705674 trader1
Mon, 04/28/2014 - 18:45 | 4705675 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

much as i would enjoy watching the maggots dangle at the end of a rope it probably won't end like that either. eventually people will be unwilling to do their bidding for a few (or many) measly clownbux. without servants they will wither and die naturally because let's face it, without that they are at the bottom of the survival of the fittest process.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 18:48 | 4705687 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

I think there'd be a glorious war in there someplace.

 

1) People unwilling to do bidding...

2) Glorious wars with lots of slow-motion eagles and flags vs other country's bullshit symbolism.

3) New sociopaths to rule us all !

Something like that...

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 18:55 | 4705697 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

yeah, but after the wars and desolation the misery will eventually be spread across the entire population in a much more egalitarian manner. ;)

When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose. [/Bob Dylan]

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:17 | 4705907 sleigher
sleigher's picture

And right when you have nothing to lose, you lose it.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:34 | 4705958 swmnguy
swmnguy's picture

I started out with nothing and I've still got most of it left.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 18:44 | 4705678 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Ahh....  I feel so much better now.   

Nobody can drain the hopium/anti-hopium like Kunstler!  

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 18:46 | 4705680 mumbo_jumbo
mumbo_jumbo's picture

this guys is a one trick pony and has been screeching peak oil for a decade now, i'm sure there was a guy just like him when whale oil started to become scarce

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:01 | 4705714 Schaublin
Schaublin's picture

Two trick pony actually. 

 

1. Industrial economies are winding down with the decline of cheap fossil fuels.

That is the first one and it is patently correct.

2. Visceral hatred of Europeans.

 

He rarely rants about peak oil and suburbia et al without slipping in a few snide remarks about "rednecks"

 

Commissar Kuntsler would like nothing better than to oversee the FEMA camps.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 21:16 | 4706070 Mike in GA
Mike in GA's picture

and he really doesn't like southerners or anyone who actually enjoys NASCAR racing.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 18:47 | 4705683 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

Is Alibaba the Iceberg?

That thing would have to go off perfectly...and I'm not talking fees here.

"The purpose of raising capital is to raise capital" not to create a market panic and the collapse of sayyyyyyyyy...Little Rock.

Of course this is Wall Street...so "MAKE WAY...

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 18:51 | 4705693 MedicalQuack
MedicalQuack's picture

This article just described what I call "The Grays" with people not being able to tell the difference between virtual and real world values.  The rich have become very smart at how to bring virtual values into the real world to make money.  It hurts the real world.  Why do you think they are edging out of commodities, decisions and gambles there hurt the real world. 

This is why it is not fair as all the virtual values run on servers, we are humans, we don't run on servers. 

http://ducknetweb.blogspot.com/2014/03/virtual-worlds-real-world-we-have...

The sad case of the VA in Phoenix where 40 people died as they entire administration was so wrapped up in their virtual worlds of efficiencies, and we need those too, but they couldn't see the forest for the humans to make a left turn to help some get appointments with doctors.  This is where the virtual values are killing the real world and people can't separate them at times.

http://ducknetweb.blogspot.com/2014/04/va-hospital-in-phoenix-broken-mod...

So here's some more virtual money makers..Verizon..going to follow you all over your home computer now to get some data to sell and is SAP acting as the broker as they wanted to do to make even more money off our data.

http://ducknetweb.blogspot.com/2014/04/data-selling-grows-bit-more-today...

There's the frigging delusions with virtual and real world values and again the wealthy know how to use the virtual world to take from the real world. 

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:31 | 4705712 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Yeah,   it's tough for people to admit but sometimes the smart-n-savvy people are really just smarter-n-savvier that the average human, and have more loot as a result.   Running scams,  being able to comprehend the "virtual world" (as you said), bullshitting the dumbasses for fun-n-profit, being able to represent a guy able to throw a round object at 100mph with his left hand, ...  these are skills that some people are born with or their parents educated them about.

We call can't be the winners in a predatory society.  

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 15:00 | 4717131 shiftless
shiftless's picture

"Yeah, it's tough for people to admit but sometimes the smart-n-savvy people are really just smarter-n-savvier that the average human, and have more loot as a result. "

You know what your problem is? You are clearly too stupid to see that these "smart and savvy" idiots whose nuts you are continually swinging from are NOT smart. Not even close. God laughs at their plans, just as he rolls his eyes at your ignorance. Those who embrace evil WILL always lose in the end. Look around you. You think a world of 7+ billion people was built by cheating and corruption? The force of creation is greater than the force of destruction. Your idols are the dumbasses who think they are smarter than God, and can successfully ignore God's rules for eternity with no consequences. You couldn't be more wrong if you tried. You and they are nothing more than zits on a mosquito's ass compared to the Truth of the Universe. Stop with this "smart and savvy" idiocy. Pull your head out of your ass.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:08 | 4705730 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Anyone buying my data is a sucker.

I stopped buying things because they were packaged in red and had cowboys on em when I was 10.

We bought stuff that 'fell off a truck'. That happened a lot back East.

The ultimate value shopper.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:58 | 4705853 novictim
novictim's picture

Kinda liked that...thoughtful!

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 18:57 | 4705708 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Don't subscribe to the oil argument because the sun makes up 99.9 % of all matter in the solar system and that fucker is hot

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:04 | 4705722 Schaublin
Schaublin's picture

I know - all we have to do is to go and get a few buckets of sun and we are good to go for the next hundred years.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:37 | 4705794 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

nice

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:21 | 4705916 SunRise
SunRise's picture

I picked up 2 buckets of it last week and haven't slept since.  It's great stuff - a real energizer: Trust me!

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 05:41 | 4706875 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Sure, once we convert the entire ocean around the planet into a tidal energy extractor, and then use that to build a dyson sphere around the sun, we're good to go. Or... back in the non-Star-Trek world... peak oil means we better soon switch to fuel cells, bio-fuels & thorium nuclear AND conservation. Once upon a time our ancestors lived off fucking candle light and small wood fires. Try it. Learn something about living with less and suddenly the desires to exceed sustainability will diminish.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:21 | 4705758 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

It is the simplest thing:

The criminals of government take more and more of the product of the people and destroy the returns on labor and capital. They use some of the stolen loot to subsidize "non-labor" and monopoly, subsidized capital, and further devalue labor and capital.

While the criminals of government are destroying the economy directly, the banksters are allowed to steal any wealth the people may still hold. Firstly they counterfeit money, currency, and steal from people's wallets and accounts. Secondly they foreclose or call in counterfeit loans to take title to the underlying real property.

The pols, crats and banksters are not rich, they are conniving thieves and murderers.

 

"My guillotine will solve inequality."

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:25 | 4705760 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Hey JHK, you are gonna love this: I feed Jon Corzine to a fook'n tiger!

Get a load of this act:

http://fedtoatiger.blogspot.com/2014/04/jon-corzine-is-fed-to-tiger.html

Classy, huh? Am I right?

Oh fuck me I nearly forgot, your favorite guy in the world Paul Krugman:

http://fedtoatiger.blogspot.com/2014/04/dr-paul-krugman-is-fed-to-tiger....

It's working for you, I just know it is.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:31 | 4705771 Two-bits
Two-bits's picture

Way to keep raising the bar.  Your best one yet.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:39 | 4705802 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Thanks, but I can't take all the credit; Corzine is such great material.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:47 | 4705819 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Hell cougar, that was worthy of an autographed Milo Moiré painting ;-)

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:51 | 4705827 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Man seriously? That's great. Oh wait ... I don't suppose you have anything by WB7 instead do you?

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:57 | 4706002 nmewn
nmewn's picture

He sent me a great coffee mug ;-)

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 22:40 | 4706343 Al Huxley
Al Huxley's picture

Nice.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:29 | 4705769 malek
malek's picture

While the second half of the article is dead wrong (industrial economies are winding down or will collapse because of lack of energy),
the first half is a great summary of false beliefs on "capitalism"!

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:38 | 4705795 Hobo Sapien
Hobo Sapien's picture

wait...

"The techno-narcissist Jeremy Rifkins ...among us propound magical something-for-nothing workarounds for our predicament, but they are just blowing smoke up the collective fundament of a credulous ruling plutocracy."

Last book I read of Rifkin's was 1980's "Entropy", which it seemed to me at the time was a strong argument for the opposite. Human energy use evolves from cheap sustainables to more expensive-to-extract sources, requiring ever more expensive centralized planning & organization. Think firewood>charcoal>coal>oil>>nuclear.

Similar with consumer durables: fur>wool>cotton>nylon>polyester, etc.

I admit I haven't kept up, more reading to do.

 

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:41 | 4705804 Escrava Isaura
Escrava Isaura's picture

Andreas Söderlund, at You Tube

 

More money = More debt, so using statistics and theories to "prove" that money makes the world better is either completely ignorant or propaganda.

 

GDP is linked to the exponential growth of the debt, which makes it a completely unreliable long-term measure.

 

A statistic approach ignores the elephant in the room: Banks controls the money, which controls the economy, which controls the politics.

 

Financial slavery is not a good thing. Ignoring how the money that drives the economy is created hides a crucial detail. And now we're at the end of the road, only one generation later.

 

Massmedia and growth propaganda is a candy filled with poison, which the world swallowed a while ago, and soon there will be consequences.

 

Borrowing means a different economic situation (work to pay your debts). Not to mention extremely time-limited, since we cannot have infinite growth in a finite world, which the interest-bearing debt requires.

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 08:25 | 4707115 gcjohns1971
gcjohns1971's picture

Money and debt were not always the same thing.

Nor did banks always control it.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:44 | 4705812 kellycriterion
kellycriterion's picture

The running out of resources canard yet again? But I suppose if repeated a million billion trillion quadrillion times it'll be true.

We're drowning in an ocean of corruption and destruction, potential has been thrown away with both hands for decades, so let's use these circumstances to extrapolate what's possible. Or not.

1. The resources in this solar system are so vast and of such magnitude it's beyond our imagination.
2. An amazing thing about modern physics is that there are so few limits. An astronomical number of engineering problems but not absolute limits.

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 05:35 | 4706870 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

"The resources in this solar system are so vast and of such magnitude it's beyond our imagination."

Idiot. That's not vast and not ours: we can't reach them. You'd have to use up all the fuel on Earth to try to get to one of those rocks hoping they had what you need and if you were wrong you're dead, never coming home, and everyone else on Earth will have no fuel either.

The stuff's that far away which means it isn't vast. What's vast is the giant empty space between resources and that, silly rabbit, is cost, not a resource to benefit from.

#2 : no, wrong on so many levels. Limits abound on everything from conservation of momentum to light speed's limit and of course the total amount of energy you can extract from mass, E = M c2 and so on.

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 15:02 | 4717142 shiftless
shiftless's picture

Clearly you know nothing about anything. One day I will make a trillion dollars mining the asteroid the belt; even while fools such as yourself argue that it's impossible. You quote "E=MC^2" like that makes you smart. LOL. You are clueless. Good luck with your life.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 00:59 | 4742449 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

First of all one day a loaf of bread will be a trillion dollars.
Second of all, the energy required to get you with a mining rig to the first asteroid will consume most of the fuel on Earth if you bring enough to operate a mining rig & to push it there.
Second of all, if there's nothing on it, you got nothing.
News-flash, idiot: you can't tell what's in a rock in space until you get there and by the time you are there it's too late to pull back with minimal loss (of fuel) and try again. You'll be finished.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:53 | 4705832 novictim
novictim's picture

"Piketty and his fans..."  

 What fans?   This guys mother doesn't even know him!  Nobody heard about this lone, hard working economist before last week!  

 

Thus we see the conspiracy mindset in action.  Way to go, Zero HEdge.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 19:54 | 4705834 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

I agree with Charles Hugh Smith: if the rentier class ends up just having to give away 20% of guaranteed state-protected (and insured!) profits YOD, just to keep up the appearance to the plebs to keep them "content" (different than happy).......that is some fantastic ROI right there.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:04 | 4705875 Cloud9.5
Cloud9.5's picture

Kunstler nails it.  The entire economic and political system is built on the mime of never ending growth.  In a contraction, capital cannot be wisely invested.  Debts cannot be repaid and entitlement promises cannot be met.  Whether Obama was an acolyte of Cloward and Piven does not matter.  What matters is that cheap energy is being replaced by expensive energy.  As a result, we are being drug kicking and screaming back to the 19th century.  Economic activity, energy production, population levels and government control will drop below 19th century levels before they begin to recover.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:17 | 4705905 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

I am glad someone actually gets it. Had the Free-Market been allowed to exist it is very likely that humanity would have solved this problem already. 

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 21:54 | 4706198 samsara
samsara's picture

Great Job. Kunstler may be wrong about many things BUT he understands the bottom line.

Ron Patterson(From TheOilDrum days)has a article;

Is Peak Oil Waiting for Godot?
http://peakoilbarrel.com/peak-oil/

Production is not rising. The price of oil is not rising. Capital Expenditures are rising dramatically. This cannot continue.

It is my opinion that Godot will arrive no later than 2017 but I expect him a year earlier.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:17 | 4705885 novictim
novictim's picture

"So-called capitalism is more like gravity, a set of laws that apply to and describe the behavior of surplus wealth, in particular wealth..."

Tyler, you  are describing the Free Market.  

Capitalism is the -system- where by the Industrialist/Owners and corporations leverage their power of employment/unemployment against the workers power to withhold work/starve thereby allowing the exploiting of the worker, generating profit, and growing  further capital.

Capitalism WORKS!  

Marx loved capitalism.  But he and most economists who honestly consider it know that capitalism is fatally flawed.  Wealth inequality is the logical and toxic byproduct of poorly constrained capitalism.

Capitalism is a system just as Feudalism was a system and Communism was a system.  Social capitalism is a accurate description for the majority of economies today...I cannot think of a single economy outside of North Korea that does not employ the system of capitalism when it comes to ownership, labor, and profit taking.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:09 | 4705888 Alternative
Alternative's picture

I predict more of the same for the next 100 years. Most likely outcome.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:13 | 4705895 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Closer to 20 years, but yeah in general. Most likely.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:51 | 4705986 GooseShtepping Moron
GooseShtepping Moron's picture

Nothing will be materially different as long as the Baby Boomers are still consuming. That helps to explain why our society has been able to "kick the can" long past the point where most of us thought the asphalt ended. But once the Boomers have nothing left to spend and become net wealth eaters, then look out below. It should be about 5 or 6 years from now.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:23 | 4705921 whoopsing
whoopsing's picture

Delusions tend to be broken...rapidly, twenty years is a long time IMHO

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:23 | 4705922 robnume
robnume's picture

The first big delusion in American culture is that there is an American culture. The sad fact is our leaders are all fucking FASCISTS. And we just sit back and let it happen. Bring on the chaos!

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:23 | 4705923 Porous Horace
Porous Horace's picture

A product of failed mental models, historical blindness, hubris, and wishful thinking? Sounds like it will not only be a best-seller, but it will be a blueprint for government policy for years to come.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:32 | 4705949 kedi
kedi's picture

A capitalist system is not inherently bad. But any system that does not correct it's bad results either through internal self correcting methods or externally applied ones is a damaging system.

Right now, the worst continuing uncorrected damage being done in capitalism, is dead money. Money that is used as a numerical measure of worth, instead of it's worth as action. Be it real money or imaginary derivatives attached to and dragging on real money.

Stacking up stagnant money and paper as a measure of personal or business worth. Mistaking a bunch of numerical decimal places to the left as real wealth, industry and worth. When all that is being done is accumulation, not creation.

It is a destructive counterproductive mindset. One that will cripple any system. In a communist type system it is always outright theft, due to the nature of that system. In a capitalist system it is legal and a measure of a certain type of success. But it is destructive all the same.

This destructive behaviour can continue to be successful to those who practce it, even as it lowers the vitality and wealth of the overall system. They will be the richest ones in an ever lowering general economy.

Hoarding ever more of the wealth that needs to be spread out to ensure a continuing real wealth and progress.

The King at some point may have all. But there will be nothing more. For the King or anyone else. Just decline, decay.

Capitalism is now just greed. That is not capitalism. It is a worst human failing, as a system. A dead end.

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 05:28 | 4706866 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

This so-called "dead money" is actually delayed money.

I have to save so I can pay for food. Some now, some when I'm too old or injured to work, or what one might call "retirement" (cough, cough).

The richest aren't "saving" or "hoarding", some are good & investing (which does spread around wealth & has attached risk of getting nothing in return) and some are evil and stealing (which means it's your wealth, not theirs, if you can figure out when/how the theft is happening). That's the diabolical nature of printing money: the value is stolen from your wage-hours & sellable goods (that you may produce or re-sell like a pawn shop) but you never see inventory or cash-balance change to indicate this. Those who are privileged to be near the money-printers (anti-capitalist) are getting money for free. Those fiat units become a confiscatory conveyor belt that transfer purchasing power away from you and to the friends of the money-printers.

In capitalism there's lots of incentive to make more money & get more resources by investing, by lending, by risking, and when it returns you are happy with the excess and the others who borrow from you are happy because you created opportunity where before none could happen. A lumber mill can't run if it can't buy wood and a grocery store can't operate if it can't buy inventory there either, and so on.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:49 | 4705981 Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

There are loads of people who still have a naive faith in technology, believing that it will, if given free rein, always find "more energy" (somehow...) and allow them to continue driving their cars to Walmart forever...

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:54 | 4705993 Escrava Isaura
Escrava Isaura's picture

Kreditanstalt

 

"There are loads of people who still have a naive faith"

 

I am afraid you [we] haven't seen anything yet... as humanity moves towards its lower common denominator.

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 05:15 | 4706855 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Easy solution. Build bunkers into the side of every walmart with walmart delivery scooters as it expands. Put the rent on the EBT and subtract it from the wages: lobby the government to make EBT cover rent if you live in a wal-mart bunker and then hire the same fat fucks so they are in the store regardless. A nice happy symbiosis of 'americans'.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 21:22 | 4706088 Yardfarmer
Yardfarmer's picture

this and the Russians and Chinese pulling the plug on the petro dollar are going to make all of these semantic exercises superfluous and irrelevant.

http://www.debka.com/article/23874/Russian-and-Ukrainian-armies-shaping-...

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 21:30 | 4706108 james.connolly
james.connolly's picture

I like it when folks actually post links to DEBKA, ... if you want to KNOW what the MOSSAD is thinking, DEBKA.COM is the place to go, sadly everything used to free, but they too have gone nickel collecting.

 

Know your enemy, Know yourself. - Sun Tzu, Art of War

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 21:34 | 4706128 Yardfarmer
Yardfarmer's picture

.....superfluous and irrelevant.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 21:57 | 4706206 james.connolly
james.connolly's picture

No where in that article talk about anybody pulling the plug on the dollar, it simply states that if PUTIN moves in to retake the UKRAINE that OBAMA will not do shit.

This doesn't effect the USD one way or another, but it will show that Syria, and now UKRAINE didn't fly, which means that the GAME of grabbing new oil assets by the CIA/MOSSAD is "GAME OVER".

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 21:40 | 4706145 james.connolly
james.connolly's picture

Probably the difference between OBAMA and SAY BUSH, is that BUSH all the FIAT to INFINITY would go to war making, but under OBAMA and the DEMOCRAT system of entitlement all the FAUX FIAT to infinity is fed to brussels to feed people and enrich political elite.

What I'm saying is that NOBODY wants the TRILLIIONS to go towards WAR, they will steal what they can steal for FREE, say UKRAINE, with a small $5B USA investment ( lurch/hillary ), but when it comes to a multi-trillionaire dollar WAR, say IRAQ or AFGHANISTAN, NATO(CIA/MOSSAD) doesn't have the support from the liberal politicians in either europe or the USA.

The debka article makes clear in a world of NOISE that the TEL-AVIV already knows that UKRAINE has been lost and the RUSSIANS will kick their ass, essentially this article is telling is telling both NULAND and YAKKY its time to run back to TEL-AVIV and hide.

Obama has a lot of problems, but his number one problem is TRILLIONS of dollars going to the Free Shit Army, and KEEPing the DEMOCRATS in power.

My GUESS is that the NEO-CONS are FUCKING GOD DAMN PISSED,, and expect them to do some thing NASTY TO FORCE THE LIBERALS TO GO 'HOT'.

Most likely the NARRATIVE will be that PUTIN has over-played taking UKRAINE back, and that will rally the HITLER by HILLARY narrative against PUTIN.

The DEBKA article talks about reality, but me thinks that the NEO-CON's running the show, have far from giving up their dream of destoying EUROPE&RUSSIA, and making ISRAEL/SAUDI the sole supplier of OIL/GAS to CHINA.

 

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 08:55 | 4707214 gcjohns1971
gcjohns1971's picture

Actually and factually it goes to war anyway.

The only POSSIBLE difference is the object of the warfare.  Bush focused the wars overseas.

B-O seems intent on making war on his own population.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 21:28 | 4706100 james.connolly
james.connolly's picture

To have a 'soft' liberal WHO voted for OBAMA-OREO TWICE, ... lead us out of the desert, and lecture us about ECONOMIC's is well fucking sick. Period.

Kunstlet is/was every bit a part of the LIBERAL post 1960's Free-Shit-Army as any other LIBERAL, but funny know that the ANNOINTED one can no longer be voted for KUNSTLER turns against him, meaningless on face value.

Now I'm sure in coming day's KUNSTLER will go soft on HILLARY-HITLER for some dumb fucking reason.

AIPAC created the fucking problems, and they have all these 'loyal oppostion' OP-ED's by Charles Smith, and KUNSTLER that offer us a way out of the wilderness. Trouble is this is insane for 50+ years KUNSTLER nad his AIPAC cheap Editorial whores have repeated the game, ... vote for DEMOCRAT's and "PRAY for CHANGE", when that fails change the subject. Wait to the next election and repeat.

Like the man said "If elections meant anything, they would be illegal".

Funny Kunstler has turned on KRUGMAN, but they're both on the same team, telling indeed.

The RESET is coming and ZH is offering us new SAGES to lead us out of the wilderness, trouble is all these 'writers' haven't done shit in their entire lives in the real game of capitalism.

The problem with CAPITALISM in AmeriKKKa is well disscussed by AYN-RAND, "What the Government don't steal, they tax", ... Enough said, that is why CAPITALISM fails in the USA, and its why real entrepreneurs say "FUCK IT, and do a GALT".

 

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 21:42 | 4706150 CactusLand
CactusLand's picture

What I find fascinanting is that Piketty actually insinuates at what the problem is, he circles around it getting close enough so the dogmatists of the regime feel like they are covered if they jump on his bandwagon, Kunstler being one of them.  Piketty's point is that the financialization of the economy begets massive inequality in wealth.  But he, as well as Kunstler, avoid the point that those that can create money, the 0.1% crowd and their cronies in the 0.9% crowd, (financial, media and military class) are entirely unproductive.  The have become wildly wealthy without producing anything, simply because they are able to create wealth out of thin air.  Solve that problem, and you solve the problem of wealth inequality, where being wealthy, for the most part, means not only being uproductive, but reducing the wealth of people who are productive.

"In fact, we’re faced with an unprecedented contraction of wealth, and a shocking loss of ability to produce new wealth."  I think Mr. Kunslter should take a trip to China and SE Asia, this is absurd.  The world is wildly more prodcutive then it ever has been.  We just have one simple problem, the control of money.  Of course societies have inequality, which is healthy and is not a problem.  But when the equality is based on simply who gets control of the presses, then it becomes a pathological.  Here is a qoute from MarketWatch today, read this carefully,

"The U.S. Treasury expects to pay off $78 billion of debt in the third fiscal quarter, compared to an earlier projection, given in February, that it would pay off $40 billion, the government said Monday. This will be the largest amount of debt the Treasury has paid off in any quarter since April-June 2007. In a statement, Treasury said the changed projection relates to higher cash balances. For the fourth fiscal quarter, which begins in July, the government expects to borrow $169 billion. This assumes quarter-end cash balances of $130 billion on June 30 and on September 30. The department will announce on Wednesday the sizes and terms of the auctions that it holds four times a year to finance a portion of its borrowing needs."

I did not make this up.  Who is making a fortune on this shell game?  Tax payers work, produce goods ands services, pay taxes.  Bankers buy debt with money created out of nothing, and are paid in work for it by taxpayers.  This Marketwatch story says it all, no need for 600 pages of Mr. Piketty's book.

People here rant and rave ad nauseam, maybe we do something?  Stop using banks, use cash, cancel the cable TV contracts and stop paying all bank debts and taxes.  No shots fired, no one hurt.  If only 10% did this, we hit the reset, worldwide in 6 months, return to hard money and billions come out of poverty and the plutocracy dies.  It's that simple. 

We don't need Kunstler to tell us the world is dying or Piketty to give us more taxes.  What we need are a few brave and dedicated men and women who are capable of waking up and seeing that we are being controlled by a monetary matrix that is built on smoke and mirrors and which can be destroyed with one, small, well thrown stone.

 http://www.thecactusland.com/

 

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 08:52 | 4707203 gcjohns1971
gcjohns1971's picture

The problem is not wealth inequality.

The problem is productive inequality, with the proceeds flowing to the least rather than the most productive.

Your economy will behave much like your car if you direct the gasoline away from the engine and toward the passenger compartment; it will splutter and die, and go nowhere, while becoming progressively more stifling and intolerable until the occupants either die or leave.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 21:52 | 4706190 Dutch
Dutch's picture

There are limits to growth, and when people sense that those limits might not be too far off, then they start grabbing for what they can get, right here, right now, while they can. Not much different than the Rodney King rioters sacking the storefronts, back in the day, while they could. All Piketty is doing is describing the process, as it goes on, and mislabeling results as causation.

The 1% ought to be paranoid, because many people know who they are, where they are, and where much of their stash is stashed. Thanks to the all-seeing state, operated by those in the upper-middle part of the 99%, and who will be first in line to help themselves when the sh!t hits the fan.

True capitalism would have pushed the approach of such limits much further out into the future, and would have done a much better job of spreading the wealth around in the meantime. Instead, false capitalism failed in 2008, and the looting began, from the top down. A vicious cycle, as the looting begets the short run, grab-what-you-can attitude, which begets more looting. The essence of a third world economy, right there. Jon Corzine hit and ran just slightly ahead of time.

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 05:09 | 4706850 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

2008! That's funny. I've watched the unravelling accelerate since 1990.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 21:53 | 4706192 james.connolly
james.connolly's picture

FSA and the 'oil problem' in the USA.

I think most of you and KUNSTLER get it all wrong, just like FSA (WELFARE) for the masses all ameriKKKan citizens enjoy MURDER of ARAB/PERSIAN infants by way of CHEAP FUEL.

Anywhere else on earth you might pay $10/gallon for fuel, and in the USA a few years it was  quarter, then a dollar, and then $3, .. but its still cheap, and that the USA public love cheap OIL, and politicians deliver.

I pay about $8/gallon for fuel, but I can be honest I don't buy any as I prefer to ride my bicycle, and the only my motorcycle uses fuel, and that means $1-2 a month.

>>>

Yes, the USA will change, when the USD goes into the TOILET, instead of FREE-FIAT to infinity to make GAS/OIL cheap for the entire FSA in the USA, you will all have to pay probably MORE than anyone else.

The USA has enjoyed a FAUX economy post WW2 by way of murder and your all 100% complicit, and fuck KUNSTLER for ignoring this truth, but then he's an AIPAC whore, and will offer another narrative about OIL costing more money in future, perhaps if the USA hadn't burnt all their FREE OIL, they wouldn't be in this pickel of "ADDICTION TO CHEAP OIL".

 

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 08:48 | 4707186 gcjohns1971
gcjohns1971's picture

How much of your $8 per gallon gas is tax?

 

Yes.  When you subtract your owner's cut, the price is a commodity price on both sides of the Atlantic.

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 23:07 | 4706403 teslaberry
teslaberry's picture

IIjust watch back to the future II which was actually set in 2015. so we're getting closer. 

the world is not going to end just because the western middles classes are heading towards mass poverty. they can stay poor for  a long long long time. you think there will be a revolution? is there one in china? you think the west has LESS capabilitie for deflecting problems than china?

 

we have mastered the soft power of propoganda far better than ANY civlization in the world or hisotry. our ability to frame the world and create implicit biasses and interpretations BEFORE even publishing the 'news' to the populace is unparraleled. the chinese government is no where near as good as this, has a lot more starving mouths to deal with , and there's no revolution yet. 

 

we are not 18th century france, not yet, people won't be starving to death for a while. until i hear the u.s. has less than 5% obesity , i'm not so convinced there will be enough starving masses to rebel. let alone 'succeed' 

ha!

 

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 01:13 | 4706636 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

An 'american' acknowledging the definite superiority of 'americans'... This is unusual.

By the way, the french revolution was an 'american' revolution, led by the burgeoning middle class that seized power over a firmly established older order in a blood bath.

Poors were, as it later turned an habit in 'american' societies, instrumentalized.

But the main goal of the 'american' middle class in France was to turn that territory into an integrated free market, which was not the case under the french King.

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 08:47 | 4707182 gcjohns1971
gcjohns1971's picture

The Jacobins?

Hah, hah.

If the French revolution was an American revolution then a turd is a dish of caviar.

If the goal was to turn France into an integrated free market then it was a bust right from the beginning.  Or need we recount the currency manipulations?  Or the levee en masse? 

And by the way, how is it possible to have a free market when people are not free to decline serving?  Is labor not also a commodity?

You've presented a nice fantasy for a frenchman.

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 08:41 | 4707160 gcjohns1971
gcjohns1971's picture

It depends on how you define 'Obesity'.

The Euro and Eastern trick for this kind of propaganda is to change the definitions of terms to make their own situations seem more favorable to a credulous peasantry.

Thus we don't talk about MURDER rates.  We talk about HOMICIDE rates or Gun deaths or we define out of existence a whole class of killings.  Or on the topic of weight, we cross compare incomparable populations, like the youth and the middle aged.

The Euro and Eastern elites feed their people a steady diet of propaganda about how rude, unrefined, and boorish Americans are.  So when they come to the US, they see what they expect to see.

But how does it work in reverse?  How does an American see a Euro?  We see them as not much different - but very self important about it.

Having been there to see, having looked at the photo's of the generations in 'the old country' and having travelled a great deal I can tell you this:

Americans look about like the people in the places their anscestors came from.  That's the plain fact of the matter. 

Virtually all of the other supposed differences are alternately propaganda or exaggeration by arrogant snobs meant to tittilate the underclasses and impress them with the wideness of the snob's travels and the 'exotic' locales the snobs have visited.

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 01:08 | 4706627 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

It is funny. 'Americans' and their urge to monopolize speech. 'Americans' usually never debunk anything. It is always substituting an unwished fraudulent version by their own fraudulent version.

Starting with what? Capitalism, maybe, that thing that 'americans' are unable to define but that should be considered much like gravity, which is supposed to be linked to surplus wealth.
But what is surplus wealth? 'Americans' know no surplus wealth since they can consume it all. This 'american' would like to confuse between the capacity of acquiring surplus wealth and the capacity of consuming faster and faster, which characterizes 'american' societies.

As this 'american' propagandist tries to sell the falsehood that surplus wealth is something else more but an 'american' perception far, far from what gravity is, it is tied to the idea that 'americans' were somehow interested in building an egalitarian society.

Which is the opposite. 'Americans' are much interested in inequal societies as they favour what their 'american' economics are about: transfer of wealth and concentration of wealth.

As an 'american', this propagandist author cant cope with the reality and the consequences of the land grabbing from the Indians (among other things)What it meant on the rather short term in regard of human history (only a mere 200 years before seeing them)

The fetish attraction to peak energy is as always comical. The 'american' middle class has satured its environment at a global scale in all fashions possible.
What if the world was bathing in "cheap" energy as 'americans' like to say?
Nothing. It will solve nothing. The saturation by the 'american' middle class is complete. Adding energy to the deal will change nothing. Much more than energy should be added to keep sustaining an 'american' middle class society.

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 08:32 | 4707136 zipit
zipit's picture

It's all America's fault.  Everything!

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 01:27 | 4706661 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Going medieval?

'Americans' have always this thing with time, they think things can be reversed. As usual with 'americans', they claim to debunk things in order to place their own bunk.

The belief that things can be reversed is a much needed feature in 'american' societies as 'americans' so often suspend their own laws. They help the denying by claiming that in the end, they will make things right.

For example, when the US was started, people knew that enslaving negroes exposed 'americanism' for what it was. But the thought of being able to right that later helped 'americanism' to take wings.
It was also shown later, that all things cant reverse and that 'americans' are much unwilling to mend the incredible damage they made by running in parallel their natural rights theory system and maintaining human beings in slavery. Price to pay to mend is too steep so 'americans' wont pay.

With the story of going medieval, it is even better.

'Americans' would like to sell the idea that they could return the world to the stage that allowed to give birth to 'american' societies. It is extremelly ballsy as this article deals with the issue of 'american' resources overconsumption.

What is the plain, straightforward difference between medieval times and an 'american' world?

'American' times. In the between, 'americans' have put humanity on the path of exhaustion of resources on a world scale.

The resources that enabled the 'american' world to come to reality are no longer, consumed by 'americans'.

So how to return to a previous state? This shows how weak the 'american' thought is.

Everything to deny that the current state of the world is the result of an 'american' effort.

The world is not going medieval. Going medieval is no longer possible as the medieval world was plenty of resources that allowed the 'american' world to take off.

The horizon is not a medieval horizon. The future is and will be 'american'.

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 08:24 | 4707110 gcjohns1971
gcjohns1971's picture

Piketty’s views are stunning in their blindness, twenty-some years after the collapse of communism and mere months since the blogosphere was declaring "no self-respecting academic would be caught dead promoting marxism anymore".

However, Mr Kunstler's views are only marginally better because he confuses the all-encompassing term "Energy" and its constituent "Oil".   

Apparently he does not know that the industrial revolution preceded oil by some decades.  And that industry was first wood, then coal fired.

Apparently he does not know the physical truth of the matter is that the statement "running out of energy' is precisely and exactly the same thing as saying, "running out of matter"  or popularly "running out of reality".

Apparently he does not know that the middle ages he says we've escaped from only due to oil, were a memory hundreds of years BEFORE oil - or even coal - came into wide spread use.

So why should we believe we must return to the middle ages in said oil and coal's absence?

Energy is litterally ubuiquitous.  The trick is finding energy in a usable form, and addressing transition costs related to retooling to use it. 

The world's top-down dominated homogenous mega societies aren't very good at much of anything.  The contributions of generations who have been born and lived within them have only managed to recycle and refine the discoveries of previous generations. 

Yes.  I am saying our prosperity is based on physics and economics, and neither one have progressed much in over a century.

But these top-down dominated mega-societies are particularly bad at addressing change - because those at the top are insulated from consequences and fully invested in the status quo.

So, a collapse sufficient to dislodge the insulated intractable elite is coming.  There's no reason to think another Dark Age will be required to do that.

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