Americans Refuge In "Matrix Of Rackets" Is Failing

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Howard Kunstler via,

You might not know it, given all the ambient noise of the moment, but beyond the torments of news and propaganda there is still something called the nation. It’s more than just a political compact. Until not long ago it was also a culture, an agreed-upon set of values, practices, and customs that amounted to an identity: I’m an American. If you canvassed the crowd in Yankee Stadium one summer afternoon in 1947, I imagine each person would answer that way rather than saying I’m a wounded war veteran, I’m a WASP, I’m an oppressed housewife, I’m a negro, I’m Italian, I’m a Jew, I’m a union member, I’m a communist, I’m queer, I’m a rape victim….

These days, the hardships of history are shattering the nation and our response politically has been to take refuge in a matrix of rackets. Most of these rackets are economic, because it’s the essence of racketeering to extract the greatest benefit possible from the object of your racket at the least cost to the racketeer. In plain English, it’s an organized way of getting something for nothing. The identity politics of our time is another form of racketeering — extracting current maximum benefits on claims of mistreatment, often bygone, specious, or only imagined.

And so one of the truly existential questions of the moment is whether we’ll continue to be a nation, even geographically, and a lot of sentient observers aren’t too sure. Apparently we’re not too sure we even want to be. This is why the campaign slogan of Hillary Clinton, “Stronger Together,” rang so false when the Democratic Party worked so diligently in 2016 to construct separate identity fortifications and then declared culture war on the dwindling majority outside the ramparts. And you’re surprised that Donald Trump won the election?

Trump won by making promises that he’ll never be able to keep under the current circumstances. The main promise was to restore the standard of living enjoyed in bygone decades by former industrial workers and clerks. His promise was based on a misunderstanding of history: the notion that the industrial organization of daily life was a permanent part of the human condition. You could detect by the early 21st century that this was not so anymore. That was exactly why we tried to replace it with an economy of rackets. When there’s nothing left, a lot of people are going to try to get something for nothing, because there’s nothing else to do.

Hence, the financialization of the economy. In the 1950s, finance made up about five percent of the economy. It’s mission then was pretty simple and straightforward: to manage the accumulated wealth of the nation (capital) and then allocate it to those who proposed to generate greater wealth via new productive activities, mostly industrial, ad infinitum. It turned out that ad infinitum doesn’t work in a world of finite resources — but the ride had been so intoxicating that we couldn’t bring ourselves to believe it, and still can’t.

With industry expiring, or moving elsewhere (also temporarily), we inflated finance to nearly 40 percent of the economy. The new financialization was, in effect, setting a matrix of rackets in motion. What had worked as capital management before was allowed to mutate into various forms of swindling and fraud — such as the bundling of dishonestly acquired mortgages into giant bonds and then selling them to pension funds desperate for “yield,” or the orgy of merger and acquisition in health care that turned hospitals into cash registers, or the revenue streams on derivative “plays” that amounted to bets with no possibility of ever being paid off, or the three-card-monte games of interest rate arbitrage played by central banks and their “primary dealer” concubines.

Some of what I’ve listed above may be incomprehensible to the blog reader, and that is because these rackets were crafted to be opaque and recondite. The rackets continue without regulation or prosecution because there is an unstated appreciation in government, and in the corporate board rooms, that it’s all we’ve got left. What remains of the accustomed standard of living in America is supported by wishing and fakery and all that is now coming to a climax as we steam full speed ahead into Murphy’s law: if something can go wrong, it will.

When all of America comes to realize that President Trump doesn’t know what he’s doing, it will make last November’s national nervous breakdown look like a momentary case of the vapors. What can go wrong awaits in markets, banks, currencies, and the immense dark pools of counterparty obligations that amount to black holes where notions of value are sucked out of the universe. There is so much that can go wrong. And then it will. And then maybe that will prompt us back to consider  being a nation again.

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Stuck on Zero's picture

Trump needs a war to institute changes that would otherwise be unacceptable.

Rebel yell's picture

I believe that you have it backwards. Trump needs to institute peace because war is unacceptable and leads to the unacceptable consequences that we are currently facing. Sky high deficits and national debt, mass corruption, cronyism, and a demoralized population. We have been at war 224 years out of 241 years of our existence. I think that we have had enough war.

Itsarap's picture

And don't forget to add to your list of "unacceptable consequences",(GUARANTEED)disruption of commerce,economic collapse,martial law and a NWO!!!!!!!

Pinto Currency's picture

600M docs released by a new Snowden through legal system with ACLU attornies showing 150K Americans illegally surveiled including 30 residences and phones on Trump for a decade and ZERO coverage by MSM.

Nothing even from ZH. Incredible.

Super Snowden Whistleblower Releases 600,000,000 Pages Of Illegal NSA Spying

Documents Show Obama Surveilled Entire Trump Family For 8 Years

New NSA Whistblower Goes Public About Trump Surveillance


Ignatius's picture

"Stronger Together," meaning we are united in our victimhood.  --  HRC, in a nutshell

JamesBond's picture

Trump won by making promises that he’ll never be able to keep under the current circumstances.

New to politics, I'm assuming.


emancelf58's picture

If Trump drained the swamp !especially! by exposing the medical fraud the stock market would blow up and all of the Republican buddies in House and Senate would not get reelected because their Kickbacks would cease to exist. künstler fails to mention any kind of path forward and this is the dialogue I believe we all need to be engaging in. When he says people don't realize Trump doesn't know what he's doing I think what he should add nobody has the balls to do what needs to be done. Trump comes off as the guy with the big balls yet draining the swamp would require extreme resolve. Can't see the other factions of the universe going along with that to any degree so hope he has a nice bunker to hang out in should he decide to give up his niceties and do the right thing. I'm 59 years old and draining the swamp is going to start a monetary and civil collaspe me thinks. To what degree I don't know. The swamp will be drained either voluntarily or not and clearly our government is incapable of navigating that future. I don't care who would have won pain is pain and it's coming. Now history will have someone to blame (probably the guy with the biggest mouth).

cue in cue's picture

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do...

DownWithYogaPants's picture

Kuntslur swings and misses again.  Let's examine this "Trump does not know what he is doing" statement.

Exhibit #1: Barry Sotaero: If anyone was a clueless idiot BS was.  Yet the deep state made him look smooth by him just going along with their program. my response is:  If a little chaos and uncertainty is required to start rolling up the deep state and intelligence services of the USA then I say let there be much chaos.

DaveA's picture

Yes, but war breaks a lot of stuff so you can have a few decades of "growth" rebuilding it all.

BobEore's picture

Without wars going on somewhere, the last pillar holding up the American economy - the "defense" industry - goes belly up. Nobody - outside of hobbyists or collectors - buys 'made in America' teapots, vaccuum cleaners, or computers anymore. They buy 'weapons systems.' No exports = no jobs. So let's put that idea aside.

And examine Kunstler's premise - that 'racketeering' has replaced a hollowed out economy as a way of 'doing business.'

 Racketeering  = "obtaining or extorting money illegally or carrying on illegal business activities, usually by Organized Crime. A pattern of illegal activity carried out as part of an enterprise that is owned or controlled by those who are engaged in the illegal activity."

That 'financial services' - such as make up the majority of whatever lingering economic activity there is left - are a species of 'racket' isn't much of a stretch of the imagination. Money begetting money is the very defintion of a situation where production of value is replaced by the sterile 'racket' of destroying value in order to transfer wealth into other hands. Look up the resumes of most of the guys like Mnunckin - you see a monotonous regularity of background - 'restructuring' failed enterprise - aka breaking up businesses in order sell off components for a profit. Use the proceeds to buy control of productive businesses, arrange their 'misfortune,' rinse n repeat.

Ok, all well and good - Kunstler's definitely onto something there. So why the fluff which follows?

"The rackets continue without regulation or prosecution because there is an unstated appreciation in government, and in the corporate board rooms, that it’s all we’ve got left."

No - the rackets continue because those who's traditional control of them are not interested in seeing things change. Kunstler - like almost everyone else writing in the media today, alt or lamestream - is a limited hangout artist... writing more to conceal than reveal.

We know that rackets - as defined above - were the traditional preserve of those Eastern European immigrants who spoke Yiddish and never paid retail. We know that they used Scilian front men to hide the evidence of their pervasive control of "rackets" such as drugs, prostitution and gambling. We know that sometime in the 80's, with their overt control over the Reagan "presidency," a new wave of Russia-based immigrants of the same ethnic affiliation arrived in NYC and quickly moved into positions of power and influence over those same rackets -

from where they launched themselves - like Rudy Guiliani - with amazing speed into positions of political power! But guys like Kunstler will never let on about any of that - their stories are long on shadowy forces and short on names. Names from the very same pedigree of Russian-Ashkenazi immigrants who now literally control the purse strings of the very same government which Donnie Drumpf supposedly elected to cleanse of swamp creatures. Did he? No. eh, why not? Let's see - names?

Fred C. Trump of Jamaica, N. for instance - a down to earth kind of guy who hung closely with Bunny Lindenbaum - a bigwig  of secret ultra orthodox Lubavitch Movement and the Educational Institute Oholei Torah, the Flagship school of Chabad – Lubavitch, who presided over New York Major Robert Ferdinand Wagner, Jr.’s city planning commission.

A federal HUD investigator looking into their various affair posited that:

"Messrs. Trump and Tomasello obtained loans of $53,500,000 more than the apartments cost. Then, said McKenna, they collected rents from their tenants of $1,700,000 before they made the first payment on their mortgage. They loaned $729,000 to affiliated corporations and they still have $3,000,000 in the bank, he added.” (see also, Irving Weifeld, HUD Scandals, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, NJ (1992)"

So let's stop being so cute here shall we - in these articles and postings supposed to be heart-rending examples of the desire of everyone involved to 'drain the swamp.' Donald Drumpf knows everything there is to know about 'racketeering' - he grew up in the middle of it, and made a bundle from following in dad's footsteps. Kunstler know far more about it that most of us ever will - he grew up in a background of those whose special contribution to "American values" which he so frequently speaks of was the introduction of 'racketeering' as a way of life.

Cue the pathetic bleatings of those so trapped in their unwitting allegiance to the moneypower that they are compelled to lash out at anybody who dares just say the obvious here.

HRClinton's picture

Your post has truth, facts and astute observations.

But the reaction to it is another fine example of ZH voter bias.  Most people here, like anywhere else, vote on popularity, not merit.

If you make an argument that is contrary to their deeply held views, you will be ignored at best.

Eventually - 6 to 18 months from now - Trump's base will realize that they got swamp dredging, not swamp draining

BobEore's picture

Yes, I think of it as a kind of 'opportunity cost' of participating - if not prepared to get regularly doused by the outpourings of effluvia released by the moron fringe...

best to stay away completely. But once one realises that - in addition to their 'deeply held views' the characters whose sole recourse is to their vote buttons, ad homs, and/or foul tongued fopperies also have deeply held fears - surrounding identity issues for the most part - which lead them to suppose that every one here is guided by concern for their measure of 'popularity,' and can be blown off by the slightest negative feedback...

things begin to loosen up. To the point where it becomes fun to work those insecurities of ego on the part of the audience which lurks in the shadows, never daring to come out and play. You get to know when you've hit a bullseye... and tweaked the beaks of those who can't speak... for themselves.

I was always awed - and inspired - by the early version of 'let them eat rand'... not the current incarnation...

whose ability to weather endless storms of abuse and downvotes was a veritable phenomena of persistence and fortitude. Much more hombre than the pantywaists who pass themselves off as players here now.


BrownCoat's picture

What you don't see are the numbers of foreign workers leaving this country. Generally, they use social services (public and private) to augment their income. Their money often gets sent back to their home country.

Real wages should go up. Uninsured motorist costs on autos should go down. Some of the burden of welfare should also drop (but the primary beneficiary of welfare programs are the government workers who run them, so the money will never make it back to the taxpayer). 

Bottomline: some of the "friction" in this economy will get reduced.


not dead yet's picture

Oh please, you quote some unheard of chickenshit website as gospel. Within sight of my house there is an apartment building for seniors where the corporation that built it got 125% financing. Same with other complexes they built and it's AOK with the government. People putting up apartment houses, especially for the poor or the old, are eligible for sweetheart financing as an incentive as they could have spent the money on projects that are more profitable and less hassle than collecting rents and dealing with deadbeats. Mr Rich Dad Poor Dad bragged about it in one of his books. Notice it's financing not a gift or freebee. So The Donald and his partners legally financed for more than the project was worth, like so many other developers, and haters make out like it's a crime. So it's you that's a piece of shit for throwing mud on Trump instead of doing real research on the subject while using some chickenshit pointless rambling Trump hating site to justify your ignorance. Say hi to the Hildabeast for us and our best regards to the HUD investigator that's on Obama's and Hillary's payroll. We should color your whole post brown as it's just a bunch of shit.

BobEore's picture

Oh please, you quote some unheard of chickenshit website as gospel.

Err, no, not quite hoser. I gave the reader a quote from a federal investigator's report on the activities of Fred C Drumpf, as taken from a blog which I gave the appropriate nod to via link, and then

just to make sure that no one - not even the extreme dimwit type known to infect these pages - could possibly miss the fact that multiple sources were reporting the same details, referenced the presence of another publication pon the same topic! Did you miss all that cause you were playing with your feces? That would seem to be the case, since, as with the dopeyest of the dopes who cannot avoid putting their anal fetishes on display here, the rest of your turgid turd of a response is made up of references to your fave flavor of brown!

Heck of a job Brownie! Now go sink back into your swamp of pathetic remorse for having drunk the hopey-changey foolaid, and found yourself so quickly up Schitz Creek!

ebworthen's picture

Y'all need to remember that for a big slice of the most active true Americans Trump is the last chance; he is the choice between voting and revolution, of taking the legal path or tearing this fucker down.

That, or get the hell out.  Talk all you want about politics, that is so last 104 years it isn't funny.

Last straw, few realize it, all will feel it.

Itsarap's picture

If any major war breaks out at this point.It'll lead to total tyranny and a Global(NWO)Goverment.

BuddyEffed's picture

Either that or it will end back at the horse and carriage much sooner than later.

HRClinton's picture

Whether Trump knows what he's doing is a misdirection and secondary to whether he will be allowed to make the changes that he seeks.

Never ever forget that all modern Presidents since Wilson are servants of unelected powers.

A more useful question is not if Trump can run the dying system - he can't - but whether Trump can lead it toward and through the Reboot.

conraddobler's picture

We are not going to be a nation again.

Just fucking look around.

There is a near diametrical opposition of life views between those who think government is the solution to every problem aka statists and fascists who believe big business is the answer and then finally the dwindling number of people that still work for a living and fucking know better.

It's humans versus the system now.

You are either pro human or part of some scheme or scam that more or less has the express unstated goal of destorying anything real or good about humanity.

There will be no quarter given.


Got The Wrong No's picture

This video shows what is happening and what they have in store for us in the future. They expect to connect our brains directly to the cloud by 2030 and other things like sexual neutrality and genetic manipulation to increase evolution to make humans godlike.

wcole225's picture

It's good vs evil. Good prevails but only God knows what the interim brings. It's going to be epic and bloody that's for sure.

HRH Feant's picture

Cunt'sler can't shut up about his FIRE economy. Give it a fucking break, dude. Enough. Most people don't want to grow lettuce and live in the sticks.

Ryan Langemeyer's picture

There may come a time when there is no choice except to "grow lettuce and live in the sticks". Better buy those seeds just in case.


Dragon HAwk's picture

You mean buying a bunch of Bank Stocks is not going to make me Rich?

  but everybody is in Financials. ( or health care )

Mini-Me's picture

When a country decides to ditch its roots as a constitutional republic, where individual rights are supreme, to one in which democracy favors the majority over the minority, you get the shit show we have today.

Maybe we should get back to what worked.  But we won't. 

Let the collapse happen.  We'll see what happens on the other side.  In the meantime, keep stacking.

Dr.Carl's picture

Now you make more sense than this article.

economessed's picture

So by the recent math, we had to borrow $4 to get $1 of GDP growth.  This is only a matter of trying to time the collapse, not avert it. 

The only solid manufacturing industry we have left is debt manufacturing.  And the rest of the world is trying to take those jobs away from us now too.

The Federal Reserve has to be the most ridiculous entity left on the planet.  They pretend to "manage" the economy, and the ambulatory colon polyp who runs the place spouts off piles of bullshit about how smart they think they are. 

Nobody wants to confront problems anymore.  They are all too large.  This is what a post-growth economy is like in the early stages.  It does not get better -- just various degrees of worse.

AGuy's picture

"The only solid manufacturing industry we have left is debt manufacturing."

Well that's not really correct. The US also has it's "manufactured lies" business (spans both public & private sectors) to keep the economy afloat /sarc

worbsid's picture

I see a whole flock of black swans that no one will see coming.  At least Trump is trying to do something good.  Evil Hillary would thrive and make lots of money now. 

Itsarap's picture

Trump loves NSA spying and said Snowden needs executed??????(BTW Alex Jones is a CIA/MOSSAD COIN-TEL MISDIRECTION/CONTROLLED OPPOSITION AGENT).Pssh,Youtube it!!!!!

Got The Wrong No's picture

You are more than likely a Soros Stooge. Now that is misdirection. 

malek's picture

Yawn, another Kunstler hit piece why Trump is even worse than the spineless dems

gespiri's picture

Of course we can be a nation long as you kick out the people who do not want to be united as a nation.

If they are not part of the solution, then they are part of the problem.

Omen IV's picture

country is very fucked up - the civil war made more sense 150 years ago and murdering 500,000 "real" americans to own slaves? who you could probably buy cheaper by the hour than owning?  - then what is going on today

beleive the FBI Director who is a soothsayer divining Putin's "hate"? for Clinton based upon what ? / sick stupid system of criminals all trying their own scam

sick - game is over

Aquarius's picture

Yes, the War is now between evolving Humanity and the static, status quo, Zchizophrenic Paedophiles that form the  ëlite", and hence "govern" Humanity through criminal racketerring. and oppression.

Paedophilia has now become a thriving Political Protected Industry for the sexual abuse of children, the snuffing (murdering and torturing) of children through circulating media, and the traficking of children; all for Pleasure and Profit and is running a close dollar parallel to the illicit drug industry.

Attempts to circulate this information to the public via the Internet are being enthusiastically and intensely curtailed by algorithmic censorship by the USA IT Industry.

Racketeering; Yes.

The UN: Poverty: The Signature of Failure

Amongst the Last Bastions of Schizopheric devolved proto-humans

Ho hum


Latitude25's picture

My god thats a freakish plastic ass.

lasvegaspersona's picture

I've seen presidential changes since Truman. I have never seen the losers behave so badly. 

My guess is that this is about more than Trump. I think the leaders of the losers feel they have something reallly big to lose. Whether it is pizzagate or whether the hidden (slightly hidden) near collapse of the economy has driven people to the brink, or maybe the water has been spiked...but something is really different.

If folks know what is coming maybe there is fear of losing livelihoods or benefits or worse. Folks should be worried about these things because they will happen but behavior is way way out of historical norms.

south40_dreams's picture

Truman was before my time, but not that much.  This is so different in my lifetime that I don't know how to put it into words, but I totally agree.  Foreign interests are behind this, of that I am convinced.

Miss Informed's picture

The fifth column within the country who are foreign wherever they go

Sledge-hammer's picture

It is not the American Matrix.  It is the Jew Matrix, and you want to unplug from it as soon as you can.  Once you do that, the scales fall from your eyes, the fog clears from your brain, and you see that much of what you thought was the American Matrix (the American Dream), was actually a debt-trap and lie to keep you enslaved within the Jew Matrix.  Unplug and know the truth and true freedom.  You will see that the bits of metal and plastic and kitsch for which you enslaved yourself were meaningless and a chasing after the wind.

Maestro Maestro's picture

Right, typical back-stabbing American reflex of blaming the Jews when they can no longer legitimize their own abominable behavior in the international arena with guns and propaganda movies.

Ron Jeremy did not force American sluts to open their legs and more in porn movies. The Jew paid them and the Americans sold their honor with glee. Likewise, the American soldiers were happy to literally incinerate human beings in Iraq whilst listening to American Heavy Metal blaring "Burn motherfucker, BURN!" in their M-1 Abrams tanks financed by Goldman Sachs.

Fuck you, American.


Elentari's picture

Yes, but - look into this.   Israel and these people own ane command America.


Maestro Maestro's picture

You cannot deflect responsibility for your own actions. That's even more written in stone than any law of physics. When the Jew said "Jump!" it was YOU that jumped; not the Jew nor somebody else.

Miss Informed's picture

We were taught to feel bad about the 6 gazillion. Our good manners compelled us to jump. If "God's chosen people" tell me to jump, who am I to argue?