Earth's Economy Glorifies Waste, Exploitation, Debt, Expediency, & Magical Thinking

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Humanity appears to default to magical thinking when faced with untenable situations that demand systemic change.

How would extraterrestrial anthropologists characterize Earth's dominant socio-economic system? It's not difficult to imagine their dismaying report:

"Earth's economy glorifies waste. Its economists rejoice when a product is disposed as waste and replaced with a new product. This waste is perversely labeled 'growth.'

 

Aimless wandering that consumes fossil fuels is likewise rejoiced as 'growth.'

 

The stripping of the planet's oceans for a few favored species of edible fish is also considered 'growth' as the process of destroying the ocean ecosystem generates sales of the desired seafood.

 

Even more perversely, the resulting shortages are also causes of rejoicing by the planet's elites, as their ability to purchase the now-scarce resources boosts their social status and grandiose sense of self-worth.

 

This glorification of waste is the same dynamic that destroyed the civilization on Zork.

 

Earth's economy also glorifies exploitation, as this maximizes profits, which appears to be the planetary equivalent of a secular religion that everyone believes as a Natural Law.

 

Thus slavery and monopoly are highly valued as the most reliable sources of profits. If ethical concerns limit the actual ownership of humans, Earth's economy incentivizes feudal arrangements that share characteristics of servitude and bondage. In the current era, the favored mechanisms are over-indebtedness (debt-serfdom) and taxation by the state, which extracts approximately 40% of all labor via threat of imprisonment.

 

Earth's elites exhibit a pathological preference for micro-managing the commoners via criminalizing much of everyday life and imposing extremely harsh punishments for any dissent or resistance to elite domination.

 

This is the same dynamic that doomed planetary civilizations in the Blug system.

 

Earth's economy is currently dependent on depleting fossil fuels and borrowing from the future to fund consumption in the present, i.e. debt. Rather than face the reality that this is not sustainable and pursue other arrangements, Earth's elites have chosen expediency, responding to the inevitable crises caused by depletion and dependence on debt with expedient but ultimately destructive policies that paper over the crises but at the cost of generating greater crises in the next iteration.

 

Humanity appears to default to magical thinking when faced with untenable situations that demand systemic change. This is eerily parallel to the now-lost civilization of Frum.

 

It seems Earth's dominant species has selected the most destructive policies and mindsets to glorify and worship. Earth's current civilization is doomed, with near-zero prospects for the necessary transition to a more sustainable, less exploitive arrangement.

 

Earth's decline is a tragi-comedy, much like the one on Ononon that entertained our home planet audiences for a time."

In case you missed it, here's a snapshot of total debt as a percentage of median household income: from 79% to 584%.

If this strikes you as "healthy growth" because "debt doesn't matter"-- welcome to the Wonderland of Magical Thinking.

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. . . _ _ _ . . .'s picture

Population will top out at 9B and start to decline, naturally.

toady's picture

Sustainability, NOT growth.

Bes's picture

 

UNRESTRAINED CAPITALISM Glorifies Waste, Exploitation, Debt, Expediency, & Magical Thinking

there, fixed it for you

 

techpriest's picture

A handful of industry groups, central bankers, and tax-hungry government from local to national, aka crony non-capitalists Glorify Waste, Exploitation, Debt, Expediency, & Magical Thinking

there, fixed it for you

Bes's picture

we said the exact same thing.  haha. 

techpriest's picture

No, we said the opposite. (no downvote from me, btw)

Here's something I said from further down the thread:

There is capitalism along the lines of what I would call "corporate globalism," which runs on the assumption that everything can be broken down into numbers and mathematical functions, including people, therefore we must give power to a handful of the most effective number-crunchers: a network of government bodies, NGOs, and attached corporations. This would be "George HW Bush style" capitalism.

There is another kind, however, which is the "leave us alone" capitalism. This kind assumes that the best decisions are made locally, and that people should be free to make their own choices, so long as they don't harm others. Some people do get very rich, but a lot of corporate empires also get buried over time in this system, because bigger means less agile and less able to adapt.

A great real-life example were the bank bailouts. What should have happened was for Lloyd Blankfien to be holding a cardboard sign in the street after GS went bankrupt, while smaller, more responsible banks ate the remains of his company. That is "unrestrained capitalism." However, government came in and restrained this process, and cut the big banks a check equivalent to ~$2,100 per American. How that can be called "unrestrained capitalism" doesn't make sense to me.

I have a few other posts on this thread illustrating other cases where governments large and small are restraining capitalism to the benefit of select companies. There is nothing natural about our current system.

HoyeruNew's picture

sorry to break the news to you but what you're describing in the 2nd, so called "another kind" is NOT Capitalism at ALL, but Socialism. Time to read some Marx.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

Time to shoot yourself to cure your mental suffering.

mary mary's picture

Aka fascism, aka socialism.

HoyeruNew's picture

deliberatly mixing definitions again I see. Fascism or what we have now Corporitism has NOT nothing to do with Socialism. Tiem to read some Marx.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

Go fuck yourself! Idolizing a total parasite and promoting the fantasies of someone who exploited friends and famiy during his entire lifetime is a good example of incurable insanity...

"The only antidote to mental suffering is physical pain" - Karl Marx 

  The Bolshevik Jew Marxist NKVD and Chekists, and the Mass-Murdering Maoists sure proved that point...they "cured" millions of people who suffered at the sadistic, democidal/genocidal hands of Marxism! Now, the Trotskyite subversives are pining and planning for a modern-day replay of the "good" old-ways..

mary mary's picture

Unrestrained capitalism is actually fascism, aka socialism.  In the world of nature, there is no such thing as "unrestrained".  No matter what you build, nature finds ways to restrain it.  To overcome nature's restraints, you need government's help: subsidies, legislated monopolies, and conquests.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

Exploitative Unrestrained Predatory Capitalism... A TURD by any other name is still a TURD. Even whacked-out cokeheads with deviated septums can smell SHIT a mile away!

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

The three E's of Agenda 21 have morphed into Agenda 2040, a globalist strategy of "opportunity" (survival) for tomorrow's snowflake youth. First though, the Unicorns must be convinced that they will experience no harm, and that they should come out of hiding to share in the promised Utopia of Happy Happy Joy Joy.

ToSoft4Truth's picture

Jesus has been trying to kill-off Africans for over 500 years now.  White folks insist on "Saving them" with free travel, free water, free food, free inoculations, Section 8....  yet they continue to die in record numbers. 

 

 

John Kerry-Heinz's picture

i guess the genetically engineered HIV plan, failed.

toady's picture

And the crack plan.... but it did weed out the more violent ones.

CPL's picture

Anyone stop to consider explaining that everyone needed to keep the head count down or everyone connected to the system dies?  It's weird, no one actually seems to want to talk about that elephant in the room that's obvious.  At this moment in time the outcome is this:  Nobody wins, everyone loses is the outcome.

John Kerry-Heinz's picture

prepare for the loss and fight when it arrives.  its the only logical plan to have.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

When you figure out that the dice are loaded, just stop playing.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

Not yet. It has only paused for the harvest of pharmaceutical profits, then the implementation of new and improved versions that have creative labels.

mary mary's picture

HIV virus mutated, and became Can't-Do-Arithmetic Virus, CDAV, which wipes out the portions of the brain which do simple arithmetic. 

Already, Congress, MSM, DOD, and 17 Am-I-A-Spy-Or-A-Propagandist-Boss? agencies are 99% infected with CDAV virus.

The PURPLE ties are for the CDAV Survivors Support Group.  As pink ribbons are for the Cancer Survivors Support Group. 

People wear the PURPLE CDAV tie to announce, "I too am a victim of CDAV virus.  I can't do arithmetic anymore.  But I need to work.  Luckily, Congress/MSM/DOD/17Spy was looking for CDAV virus survivors, and, God bless them, now they are paying me $17k a day to work part time on the internet, just repeating whatever things they tell me to say.  By the way, Russians are not human.  Saudis are, though.

GUS100CORRINA's picture

If this strikes you as "healthy growth" because "debt doesn't matter"-- welcome to the Wonderland of Magical Thinking.

My response: While much could be said about POPULATION DEMOGRAPHICS and the FALLEN NATURE OF MAN, let's discuss just FEDERAL DEBT for a minute. Below is something I published yesterday.

If you take a look and the US DEBT CLOCK data and the rate of change of that data, one very quickly draws one conclusion: America's financial path is NOT sustainable for very much longer. Why? Below is just one reason that answers the question why.

US Federal Spending is rising at a staggering $428,253,120 per day

US Federal TAX Revenue is only rising at $129,857,760 per day.

So the US Government at the federal level is spending about $300,000,000 more per day than it is taking in via TAX revenue.

My challenge for our elected officials in Washington DC is this:  Why can't you people just work on getting the above two line items to be in alignment. What it means is that there must be spending cuts and progowth programs to make these two figures meet.

The challenge is to bring the 300,000,000 per day delta to zero over the next 60 days.

LET'S START HERE AND FORGET THE "RUSSIAN" CRAP FOR THE NEXT 60 DAYS.

toady's picture

Anyone holding U.S. debt is screwed.

techpriest's picture

The "pro growth" program is simple: cut spending.

By definition, every dollar not going to the government will go back to the people, where it will pay off debt, invest in the next source of jobs, directly pay someone, be saved and contribute to reducing the pain of the next crisis, etc.

HoyeruNew's picture

and most of that spending has to to with the fictitious "war on terror". 5 -7trillions spent already and counting, where eveyr single second adds a few millions more.

all-priced-in's picture

"The challenge is to bring the 300,000,000 per day delta to zero over the next 60 days."

 

Yes it is -

 

The trap we are in right now -

 

Spending > tax revenue

 

But the current level of economic activity is based on this level of spending.

 

Companies don't see any difference between a customer that pays with savings or current income  - or borrows the money to buy the item.

 

So if the government cuts spending without cutting taxes - or raises taxes without increasing spending (or any combo that reduces the deficit)

 

It lowers ecomonic activity and slows things down - that causes people to lose their jobs - which causes them to spend less - and that lowers economic activity - which causes people to lose their jobs and spend less.

 

You get in a downward spiral. Plus this causes less tax revenues to collected and increases government spending ("safety net" spending increases)

 

I have thought a lot about this - and don't see many options that don't cause pain.

 

When given a choice - do you want to have one of your nuts cut off today - or at some point in the future have both of your nuts removed - most people take the option of greater future pain.

 

What we really need to do is get people to accept some significant pain today to avoid even more pain in the future.

 

Good luck with that.

 

It is easier to just say we want to tax the rich more - even though that is not a valid solution - it sounds better than having one of your nuts removed.

 

 

 

 

INTJ Economist's picture

You published this?  Honey, you shouldn't have; it makes you look a fool.  Only in the "Wonderland of Magical Thinking" does US Gov't spending have to equal tax revenue.  Where do you think USD comes from?  Do you think that your taxes fund federal spending?  You think the US Gov't needs your tax dollars in order to spend?  Who creates USD?  Who spends USD into existence via keystrokes?  The Federal Reserve.  Who banks with the Federal Reserve?  Treasury.  If the Fed creates USD via keystrokes then it doesn't really need your tax revenue in order to spend, does it?  People need to stop thinking that the US Gov't is like a household; it's getting fucking annoying.  Morever, I would encourage you to look into the sectoral balances approach developed by Wynne Godley.  Here's a nice picture for you:

http://z822j1x8tde3wuovlgo7ue15.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploa...

mary mary's picture

The $300-million is actually stolen from the savings of citizens, stealthily.

Every dollar the USA spends in excess of its tax revenue is supplied by the FED, when it "prints" dollars out of thin air and loans them at its Discount Window to its member banks at 0% interest, so they can loan them to the USA at interest. 

The key point in that sentence is that the FED prints those dollars out of thin air.  Every dollar it prints out of thin air devalues every dollar that citizens have in savings.  Citizens' savings are being devalued at a rate of $300-million a day.

No wonder citizens are buying bitcoins.  As yet, the FED is not able to print bitcoins out of thin air.  I think the FED is working on that, though, by working with the Wall Street Moneychangers which own it, who are working to create "ETFs" which will attempt to manipulate bitcoins.  If you can manipulate a currency, you can debase it in order to steal from those using it, and that can be almost as good as printing that currency, although it's a bit more work.

mary mary's picture

Thanks.  I read that as, roughly, Africa's population increasing from 300 million to 1,200 million over the last 50 years.  Nobody is "killing off Africans".

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

Guarantees of food and medicine ensure that a population will increase until a point is reached, wherein a population explosion occurs, wherein total extinction by famine, disease, and war is ensured. Diabolical, ain't it?

mary mary's picture

We shall see.  Even the current situation seems pretty diabolical to me.

CPL's picture

Did you think the guidestones written in every language were a recommendation or a light suggestion? 

There weren't and it's also why no help is coming.  Let it burn on the date that's been discussed by the quorum for awhile.  Offer no assistance.  Take in no refugees.  Starting from scratch is the direction now. 

mary mary's picture

I'm not sure what "the guidelines" mean.  Arithmetic is a universal language.

I agree that, when a nation already has unemployment, and especially when it has citizens on "Welfare", that nation should take in only the barest few immigrants, and those only with very special skills.  Surgeons, for example.  Mathematicians.  Scientists.  Not lawn mowers and tree trimmers and concrete pourers.

Anteater's picture

Overconsumption. Americans are, for lack of a polite word, pigs. That's why we have our fast food, bling and Teslas.

When the Chinese and Bangledeshis and all our other slave states refuse to starve, we will starve instead, because

The Chosen have converted our health & human services, our SS and MC, into 'debt' service and a MIC police state.

95,000,000 jobless or homeless, ...but we are 'GO' for MAGA and Mission Mars, the sign of the pentangle goat god.

"How could this happen to us!?" the People wailed.

"Get back in line for the showers!" The Chosen warned.

mary mary's picture

Africans and Middle Easterners who pump out 7 children per mother are, for lack of a polite word, pigs.

Indians and Bangladeshis and Brazilians and Filipinos who keep pumping out too many children when there are no jobs for them - because their Muslim, Hindu, or Catholic "spiritual leaders" tell them to - are, for lack of a polite word, pigs.

mary mary's picture

You say it's overconsumption, not overpopulation.  Who consumes?  All consumption is by people, aka population.  More people, more consumption.

Basic arithmetic. 

And does anyone know anyone who is underconsuming?  I don't.  I never met an underconsumer.  If there are no underconsumers on the planet, how do we decide how much consumption is overconsumption?  Does ownership of an automobile, or even a motorcycle, make you an overconsumer?  Is heating your house, except with wood you chopped yourself on your own forested land?  Why don't you even own that forested land?  Because of overpopulation.

Which is the nation of underconsumers?  There is no such nation.  There are only overpopulated nations and miserably and dangerously overpopulated nations.

Who teaches people to ignore, and then shout down, basic arithmetic? 

Who chooses to spend his life ignoring, and then shouting down, basic arithmetic? 

Do you think angels will show up and dish out the proper amount of consumption to you because you voted for the Church candidates?  Hasn't happened yet, and the angels have had thousands of years to show up.

Jim in MN's picture

Well, if huge national banks suppress interest rates to encourage borrowing and consumption, that might be one clue.

How would it be if house and car loans were closer to 8% than 2%?

mary mary's picture

6% would be way better than 2%.

Historically, I think it is extremely difficult to find a time and place when people actually loaned other people money for only 2% interest.  Not real money.

INTJ Economist's picture

Look at you, trying to sound all smart and failing.  Overconsumption is a relative measure, not an absolute measure, you fucking dumb ass.  It has to do with the resources that the earth is able to "naturally" replenish in a given year.  When we talk about needing 1.6 earths to fund our current consumption/lifestyle, THIS is overconsumption.  Look into the ecological footprint index to better educate yourself before you speak again.

mary mary's picture

If humans are consuming at 1.6 times the rate Planet Earth is able to provide, then that 1.6 is a scientific, and therefore an absolute, measure of the amount by which humans are overconsuming.

Look at the ecological footprint in Africa.  Poor "low-consuming" people, slashing and burning more of natural Africa every year to replace it with croplands to feed too many children.  The number of acres lost to those croplands is actually a measure of the overconsumption by those "underconsuming" Africans.

Same thing in South America.  Brazil, for example.

Same thing in India, Bangladesh, the Philippines.  Except, there, already amost no natural lands left, because too many people already for many centuries.

So, you don't have to be rich to "overconsume".  You merely have to pump out children.  Once you have pumped out children, you have to destroy natural lands to convert them to croplands to feed those extra children.

alone in the crowd's picture

the population of government payrolls is way too high

 

at 90% too high, what is the birth rate of bureaucrats? they need some contraceptives

Creepy_Azz_Crackaah's picture

If you don't like my Waste, Exploitation, Debt, and Expediency you can fuck off.

It's none of your business.

But some "think" that the gubmint should crush people who don't follow their religious beliefs.

Get the gubmint OUT of it. Let markets work. If I want to spend like a drunken Obama, so be it. Let the bank actually take a risk by giving me a credit card or loan.

Mercury's picture

Earth's economy is currently dependent on depleting fossil fuels and borrowing from the future to fund consumption in the present, i.e. debt. 

 ----------------------------------------------------------------------

The term for that is: "civilization".

 

 

This is the same dynamic that doomed planetary civilizations in the Blug system.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wait.....what ?!?

BigJim's picture

Ah, mighty Zork! Beautiful Blug! Long lost Frum! Who does not weep, who does not pine for thee? Who, with dry eye, can look back upon their towers of Debt, pillars of Qe, the very walkways paved with purest Usury!

A is A's picture

Though you are proof that there are exceptions to the rule, you can be a capitalist and not be a planet destroying asshole at the same time. No?

techpriest's picture

This is where we get the famous confusion of terms - socialists love doing that.

There is capitalism along the lines of what I would call "corporate globalism," which runs on the assumption that everything can be broken down into numbers and mathematical functions, including people, therefore we must give power to a handful of the most effective number-crunchers: a network of government bodies, NGOs, and attached corporations. This would be "George HW Bush style" capitalism.

There is another kind, however, which is the "leave us alone" capitalism. This kind assumes that the best decisions are made locally, and that people should be free to make their own choices, so long as they don't harm others. Some people do get very rich, but a lot of corporate empires also get buried over time in this system, because bigger means less agile and less able to adapt.