The Status Quo's Model Of "How The World Works" Is Broken

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

The Status Quo is dysfunctional because its model of how the world works is broken.

Much has been written about the dysfunction in Washington D.C. Pundits have been wringing their hands for years over the rise of bitter partisan politics and the resulting gridlock. The impact of this--what I have termed profound political disunity--extends beyond the narrow confines of domestic politics, a reality reflected in Foreign Affairs new survey of our winter of political discontent, Dysfunction Junction.

But all these discussions of our dysfunctional politics ignore the larger truth, which is the entire model of the Status Quo is broken. Even if reformers succeeded in ridding the political system of cronyism and favors-for-campaign-contributions--two essentially impossible reforms, given the legalistic cover provided for cronyism and bought and paid for representatives, the basic model of "how the world works" that dominates the world-view of leaders across the political spectrum would remain broken.


There are only three alternatives:
1. The current gridlock continues, and the policies in place grind on with minor tweaks.
2. The Democrats win a sweeping victory and are able to unilaterally impose their reforms.
3. The Republicans win a sweeping victory and are able to unilaterally impose their reforms.
Why do we know the entire model is broken? Because all three alternatives lead to a continuation of the same ruinous model of "how the world works":
1. A continued reliance on Keynesian Cargo Cult "stimulus," i.e. borrowing and blowing trillions of dollars to prop up inefficient, bloated, corrupt, wasteful crony-capitalist cartels and politically untouchable fiefdoms.
2. The continued destruction of open, transparent markets via intervention by the central state and bank.
3. The continued expansion of the Welfare State, i.e. entitlements such as Medicaid and ObamaCare subsidies and implicit entitlements such as farm price supports, corporate tax breaks, mortgage interest deductions, etc.
4. The continued expansion of the National Security State, whose premises are A) everyone on the planet is guilty until proven innocent and B) only Total Information can protect "us" (i.e. the National Security State itself) from threats.
5. The continued erosion of civil liberties via death by a thousand cuts.
6. The rising dependence on borrowed money to fund standard government services.
7. The rising dependence on manipulated/gamed statistics to manage perceptions that the Status Quo is eternal, powerful and improving everyone's lives, even as it serves the narrow interests of self-serving Elites and insiders.
8. The expansion of a Permanent War State that recognizes no boundaries between domestic and international threats, hence the militarization of local police forces and the rise of private mercenaries in the guise of for-profit domestic prisons and police forces.
9. A central bank (the Federal Reserve) that will continue to support the most rapacious, opaque and self-serving financial Elites with free money for financiers.
10. The continuing purchase of political favors by monied Elites via lobbying and campaign contributions.
11. An ever-rising dependence on generating the appearance of stability, transparency, competence and expertise as a substitute for actual stability, transparency, competence and expertise. In other words, an expanding reliance on gaming dysfunctional systems rather than actually repairing dysfunctional systems.
12. An increasing reliance on zero-interest rates, debt and free money for financiers as the "fix" for every economic ill.

The Status Quo is dysfunctional because its model of how the world works is broken. It won't matter if gridlock remains in place or one of the parties gets to impose its "brand" of policy-tweaks; since no one on the political spectrum has any concept that the current model described in these 12 points is broken, fixing the political dysfunction won't fix the systemic dysfunction.

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dontgoforit's picture

Everything changes, but nothing ever changes the same.

Headbanger's picture


The Status Quo is dysfunctional because it's been dumbed down and can't face nor fathom reality any more and only wants to believe in myths and fantasies.

It's all fucking la la la la land now.

philipat's picture

So, nothing will change until it breaks? Bring it on....

MeMadMax's picture

The whole thing needs to be trashed and start over again....


Unfortunately, the sheeple will pay for this in blood, and it will not be coming from the government: It will be with themselves.


The reality of the situation is the gov'ment, despite the cries of the tinfoil parade, couldn't even manage a donut shop, let alone a town(ferguson latest example), or a major crisis(katrina comes to mind)...


What makes you think they could put the entire country on lockdown?


Not gonna happen.


Your true enemy is your neighbor...

espirit's picture

It's all about trying to take a Nickel off of everybody you can.

.Gov provides Nickels to those who are broke, from those that have an extra one.

Velocity, Bitchez.

Urshilikai's picture

If the government more effectively redistributed wealth we would be in a much better place. Total wealth of the US is 52 trillion, the top 5% control 62% or 32 trillion. If we took even just 75% of their wealth (still leaving them with millions) we could pay off the entirety of the national and private debt in the country with many trillions leftover. There is no shortage of money people, it's just all in the hands of the rich.

Stuck on Zero's picture

There is no dysfunction.  Congress continues to pass thousands of pages of legislation to loot the treasury in perfect harmony.  Our elites are perfectly happy.

luckystars's picture

The Zioinist plan is to destroy the United States via nuclear war with Russia, China, Pakistan.

this big war will collapse the US dollar, the war has already started as proxy wars in Syria and Ukraine.

The big fireworks are about 10 yrs away.

The christian zionists are going to hell along with the zionist jews.

after the big war which the zioinists lose, comes the final judgement.

Headbanger's picture

Another looiney tune drawn to ZH

espirit's picture

Lots of them lately.

Purveying other doom sites is just too depressing, at least Fight Club provides eSpiritual Guidance.

espirit's picture

WooHoo, lookit them red ones.

Somebody dropped off a box of rocks here at ZH.

germanycalling's picture

So much crap in one posting. Do yourself a huge favour and get rid of that idiotic vision you hold of some sort of a God. Something I have never understood with Americans is the fanatical belief in some devine bieng. You are the same as the ISIS dickheads.

luckystars's picture

God denying atheist, satans little friend.

The Wizard's picture

Atheists have religion, it is in the god of this world, better known as self. Everyone believes in something, thus everyone has a religion.

cosmictrainwreck's picture

Well I'd hardly call it "fanatical"...more matter-of-fact. My observation of humans indicates a strong correlation - no matter the issue - between beliefs and perceived need. I am equally baffled by folks like you who, by some twist of fate, have managed to escape the most difficult vicissitudes of life. Not many athiests in foxholes.

And, in your spare time, just for fun, please explain to me the Big Bang, a scientifically accepted fact. Theories don't count.






cosmictrainwreck's picture

Ooops...I guess BB is technically still a Theory. My argument evaporates. Ha. Oh, well.... small loss

PrecipiceWatching's picture

REAL Americans do not give a shit what smug, know-nothing, secular Europeans think.

Not one shit.


Least of all, their envy-driven, condescending, vastly ignorant opinion on Americans, themselves.


Now go back to your hilarious worship of Mother Gaia, or more apropos, your miserable self.




dontgoforit's picture

Those whose god is money are going to be really disappointed in the end.

NoDebt's picture

One thing for sure, until borrowing and printing money stop working, they will continue to borrow and print money.  It's a large part of what allows all those other things to keep happening.

What's Japan's Debt/GDP?  250%?

I'd say we've got a long way to go yet.

Captain Willard's picture

And the 250% is just public debt. Including private debt, it's a lot more (600%+). Of course, they owe it mainly to themselves.

In our case, the external debt burden is already higher than theirs. And yes, we have a long way to go. 

agent default's picture

Japan hasn't managed to piss off the entire world though.  I suspect the plug will be pulled on the dollar pretty soon, without much warning.

Dr. Engali's picture

Charles the model isn't broken, it is working out just as they want it. For them it's great, keep the country divided amongst racial and ethnic lines, pretend there is an actual difference between the two parties, and while we are distracted rob the country blind. 

BadDog's picture

Correct.  Also, the Fed has been a rousing success at doing what it was intended to do, i.e. a wealth transfer agent from bottom to top.  As far as I can tell the system is working perfectly as it was designed to.

odatruf's picture

A successful parasite won't kill its host. “They” haven’t wrecked it all yet, but it certainly isn’t because of any restraint or forethought on their part that this hasn’t occurred.

11b40's picture

Problem is, we have multiple parasites feasting on the same host.  If it was just one, you might be right, but with so much competition among the parasites, the only goal is grab all you can before the host dies and the corpse rots.

odatruf's picture

A valid point, but even parasites engaged in this grab-fest have to know that their own days are done when the host dies.

So, are we saying that we think they do recognize this and are limiting themselves to what they view as being the carrying capacity of their rapaciousness? Or, are they grabbing for themselves only and have no concern for even their own offspring?  Or, are we in the prisoner dilemma where each thinks the other parasites will blink first? The difference to those bleeding out may not be that important, but the answer will inform and set the path of repair if we can ever get to that.

Edit: And the answer will also let us know how many lengths of rope to prepare.

11b40's picture

These are questions without answers.

There are no solutions available to us until there is a gigantic re-set.  We are captives of the parasites, and we will be sucked dry.  This is essentially what this article is about.

odatruf's picture

There are other paths, but the discomfort caused might be greater than under a reset.

viedoklis_lv's picture
Russia Is Pumping $6.6 Billion Into Two State Banks Hit By Sanctions
CaptOveur's picture

I think what the economists are forgetting is that things are different after you change everything.

yogibear's picture

It's the globalist banksters demonizing Russia because they won't play ball with them and adhere to their rules.

These banksters own the media as well Western politicians.

SickDollar's picture

The system was never designed to help (us) the peasants. The elite discover way back that the best way to control the peasants is by giving us the illuision of choices

in the 1700,  the Peasants were forced to work the land, now you wear a suit and tie  and drive a car and you think you are free and that the system  works for you

quote from the matrix: "ignorance is a BLESSING"




LawsofPhysics's picture

Simply put, in a fiat money system, all that matters to the status quo and oligarchs is maintaining the "Full faith and credit" of the population under their control.

ToNYC's picture

It's perfect for looting; not dysfunctional for the dividers and the collectors of remainders.

percyklein's picture

Too simplistic.  The alternatives presented are false. Either party getting a majority in both houses of Congress will break the logjam, especially if it also gains or keeps the White House.  Not all of it, but some. That's the way it is supposed to work -- and will if the Dem/Repub split there is resolved. Many elements of the "ruinous model" are true, but no solutions are offered. More work for you, Charles! 

11b40's picture

Sorry to break it to you, but what Charles knows is that there are no solutions that can ever be aplied until after it all implodes.

Read the article again to gain insight about why.  You may come to understand that we are essentially owned by our masters, as is the system.  Are you ready to overthrow your masters and start carrying your own yoke of responsibility?  Most are not, and until they are, noting will change, especially the big re-set that is required.

all-priced-in's picture

It is a simple decision tree -


When faced with a decision - which alternative will cause the least amount of pain / most pleasure RIGHT FUCKING NOW!

If you can do something that makes you feel good NOW - even if know that at some point in the future it is going to rip your face off and hurt you 1,000X more - then just do it - worry about the pain later.


This is the American way - it is how many individuals live their life -

Eat that extra Big Mac - you are already 145 pounds over weight - your scooter doesn't care.

Buy the latest electronic POS with your Master card - that $45K in CC debt is manageable on your minimum wage salary.

Get an Education / learn a skill - that sounds like work - I will just have another baby -

This is also how government thinks -

Raise taxes - cut spending - someone will get mad - better just borrow another trillion - once I am reelected I can blame someone else for the debt.

I wish I had the solution - but I don't -








Fix It Again Timmy's picture

“It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

Mark Twain

Kantbelieveit's picture

Hatred of government is even less sustainable as a policy platform than central planning. Ask the Somalis if you have any doubt. What the Libertarians really want (and need) is honest, efficient government. Unfortunately, all governments are to some degree corrupt and inefficient - and so are corporations.

If even a tenth of the energy expended in hateful screeds on ZH were directed at practical political action, we would be well on our way to a renaissance of sound government in the USA. Unfortunately, spouting anger is easier and more satisfying than constructive pursuit of reform.


all-priced-in's picture

So when you just can't take it any longer -

You grab your AR and a few spare mags - and run out into the street - thinking the time to do something is now - the time for revolution - to take your country back has finally arrived!

Only to find yourself alone in the street -

You quickly figure out that the time is not right - you must be early - so you go back in the house.



Raoul_Luke's picture

"If something cannot go on forever, it will stop."

Herb Stein

q99x2's picture

Shut down Washington D.C. because anything they do makes things worse. Then rebuild the functions of government based on the constitution and rule of law into open source software. You can elect to have the open source software packages of your choice represent you. Instead of Hillary Clinton you could vote for lethal-bitch-- Her opposition in the form of Ron Paul could be called drrpai-constitutional-crypto- and so on.

MATA HAIRY's picture

I can dig where you are coming. I understand.


But you fail to understand the real forces at work here.


If you could only read the seminal documents of the USA and understand them. You have to understand that federalism, that Washington, was created to weaken democracy.


The source of the problems you list above is lack of democracy, lack of control of the people over their own government.

The so called founding fathers discarded the Articles of Confederation and illegally installed the Constitution because of "an excess of democracy," to quote founding "father" Elbridge Gerry. The father of the constitution, Madison, wrote that the federal structure of government would prevent the majority from ruling the nation and allow the elites to rule. The EU was created for the same purpose--to weaken democracy in europe.


I say this to because you have to get rid of the Constitution in order to change anything. Nothing will happen until then. Destroy the power of the federal govt and we can have real change. Not until then.


The federal govt was created BY the constitution. As long as the constitution remains in place, unaltered, we have little power. That is why the elite crammed constitution-worship down your throat when you were an impressionable youngster. They know where their power lies. You do not.

Structure. Think structure. The structure of the fed gov is the basis of their power.



Majikat's picture
1. The current gridlock continues, and the policies in place grind on with minor tweaks. 2. The Democrats win a sweeping victory and are able to unilaterally impose their reforms. 3. The Republicans win a sweeping victory and are able to unilaterally impose their reforms. 4. War.
joethegorilla's picture

Doing anything right now is akin to giving a small businessman who should go bankrupt another $10,000. It won't help, it will only delay the inevitable. First he must go bankrupt, then you give him $10,000 and let him start over.

This economy should have gone through this in 2008.