Guest Post: Global Crisis - The Convergence Of Marx, Orwell And Kafka

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

Global Crisis: The Convergence of Marx, Orwell And Kafka

The global crisis is not merely economic; it is the result of profound financial, sociological and political trends best captured by Marx, Orwell and Kafka.

The global crisis is best understood as the convergence of the modern trends identified by Marx, Orwell and Kafka. Let's start with Franz Kafka, the writer (1883-1924) who most eloquently captured the systemic injustices of all powerful bureaucracies--the alienation experienced by the hapless citizen enmeshed in the bureaucratic web, petty officialdom's mindless persecutions of the innocent, and the intrinsic absurdity of the centralized State best expressed in this phrase: "We expect errors, not justice."

If this isn't the most insightful summary of the Eurozone debacle, then what is? A lawyer by training and practice, Kafka understood that the the more powerful and entrenched the bureaucracy, the greater the collateral damage rained on the innocent, and the more extreme the perversion of justice.

The entire global financial system is Kafkaesque: the bureaucracies of the Central State have two intertwined goals: protect the financial Elites from the consequences of their parasitic predation, and protect their own power and perquisites.

While Marx understood the predatory, parasitic nature of Monopoly Capitalism, he did not anticipate the State's partnering with Cartel/Crony Capitalism; in effect, the State has appropriated the appropriators, stripmining the citizenry to protect the financial sector from the consequences of their "business model" (leverage, fraud, embezzlement and the misrepresentation of risk). But the State doesn't merely enable ("regulate") the predation of financiers; it also stripmines the citizenry to fund its own expansion into every nook and cranny of civil society.

This is where Orwell enters the convergence, for the State masks its stripmining and power grab with deliciously Orwellian misdirections such as "the People's Party," "democratic socialism," and so on.

Orwell understood the State's ontological imperative is expansion, to the point where it controls every level of community, markets and society. Once the State escapes the control of the citizenry, it is free to exploit them in a parasitic predation that is the mirror-image of Monopoly capital. For what is the State but a monopoly of force, coercion, data manipulation and the regulation of private monopolies?

What is the EU bureaucracy in Brussels but the perfection of a stateless State?

As Kafka divined, centralized bureaucracy has the capacity for both Orwellian obfuscation (anyone read those 1,300-page Congressional bills other than those gaming the system for their private benefit?) and systemic avarice and injustice.

The convergence boils down to this: it would be impossible to loot this much wealth if the State didn't exist to enforce the "rules" of parasitic predation. In China, the Elite's looting proceeds along somewhat different rules from the looting of Europe and the U.S., but the end result is the same in all financialized, centrally managed economies: an expansive kleptocracy best understood as the convergence of Marx, Orwell and Kafka.

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flacon's picture

Don't forget Aldous Huxley:


“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.”  Aldous Huxley

Big Corked Boots's picture

Everybody forgets Philip K. Dick, as well.

Mix technology with modified/confused reality and welcome to 2012.

mcguire's picture

Also forgotton:  Max Weber, the sociologist and his "iron cage of rationality"..

Bob's picture

Also forgotten is the role of classical economics in eeking out gains for the common man from the landed nobility of feudalism.  Of course, this was when economics took the side of the common man in defining economic value in terms of material costs and labor, when earned income actually meant something beyond a line on a tax form. 

Now it's a neoliberal clusterfuck that mocks all notions of "fairness" and "public interest" while (especially in the current bankster getaway stage of the game) posing the Great Conflict as one of "socialism" versus "liberty." Government itself  is being privatized, corporate raider style--buy it with leveraged debt, suck out all value, and leave the mess for someone else to clean up once you've moved on.    Clearly government is the problem; blame the toxic waste, not the polluter . . . long as you don't fail to keep up your payments on the debt we hold, we can call it even.  Better yet, we can call it Liberty.

Michael Hudson: The Road to Debt Deflation, Debt Peonage, and Neofeudalism

The Road to Serfdom is long and, ironically enough, it hasn't been the one everybody was watching out for.  Which I suppose shouldn't really come as a surprise, if you really think about it. 

sgt_doom's picture

Damnit, Bob, you beat me to it!!!!

Well said and smartly articulated, sir!

And for the latest MKULTRA update:

MKULTRA Latest Update:…

It was reported (see above link for entire article, please) on July 23, several days ago, that US Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in Oakland, Ca., ordered the Dept. of Veterans Affairs to hand over further documents concerning drug experiments on thousands of Vietnam veterans (under the MKULTRA program).

Some interesting quotes from the article:

The Army and the CIA, with the help of Nazi scientists, used at least 7,800 veterans as human guinea pigs for testing the effects of up to 400 types of drugs and chemicals, including mescaline, LSD, amphetamines, barbituates, mustard gas and nerve agents, the Vietnam Veterans of America and individual soldiers claim in a 2009 class action.


The experiments in Army compounds at Edgewood Arsenal and Fort Detrick, Md., left many veterans with debilitating health problems for decades. Veterans say the government has since refused to provide proper medical care.

The judge's ruling contained some shortcomings on these matters, but at least was a step in the right direction.

Now, be advised, that MKULTRA was simply moved over to the Department of Defense during the 1970s due to ongoing investigations into the program while managed under the auspices of the CIA, it has continued on unabated, with endless refinement after refinement.

When Americans unthinkingly listen to the same stooges, or stooges from the same exact organizations, i.e., the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, the Heritage Foundation, the Peterson Institute, etc., etc., etc., on FoxFiction, on CNN, on ABC, on PBS and NPR, they frequently believe, regardless of age or educational levels, that somehow they are listening to differing views?

Truly, the end result of mass indoctrination and managing the message from the ultra of ultra programs, MKULTRA --- absolute population mind control!

This extends across all forms of media: TV and Cable "news" -- radio -- books, magazines, etc., ad infinitum.

A few years ago I read a book by a neuroscientist who made some fairly overtly progandistic, or incredibly ignorant historical claims.

She used the introduction to her book to explain what a brilliant child prodigy she had been, and the difficulties she'd had in schooling in th sciences due to being a female (she wasn't that old!!!).

Throughout the book she drops unbelievably false historical tidbits: John D. Rockefeller saved America during World War II!

According to various government studies, Rockefeller made a fortune from financing the beginning, middle and end of the war; originally financing the rise of the Hitler's Third Reich, then selling oil (and who knows what else) to the Nazis through Switzerland and Spain during the war (also the Du Pont, Mellon and Morgan families bore some culpability as well).

Another tidbit, although perhaps not as important: that both Michaelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci "chose" not to get married nor have children!

Completely absurd as Leonardo had no such choice as it was legally against the law during that time for a man of bastard birth to marry or beget children. (Sixteen years and nine months after doing a series of protraits of attractive young women, Leonardo returned to the same village and took on a 16-year-old apprentice who was said to bear a physical resemblance to the great master.)

Obviously, not a brilliant neuroscientist but then her book, like so many other confusing books over the past several decades, was pre-financed!

Pertinent government studies:

The Pugo Committee's study on "Money Trust"

TNEC study (Temporary National Economy Committee) 1937 - 1939, published 1941

Cartels and National Security, Report No. 4, 1944 (Senate Subcommittee on War Mobilization)

Patman Report (from Wright Patman's committee) 1968

Structure of Corporate Concentration, US Senate, 1980


Anusocracy's picture

The Road To Serfdom is paved with both the good and the bad intentions of government.

Government is the equivalent of army ants running the ecosystem.

Spastica Rex's picture

No, Dick-Heads abound.

I'm a Dick-Head.

penexpers's picture


This whole fucking society is one Total Recall-esque mind fuck.



Blond Viking's picture

Also missing from the article, Samuel Beckett:

"Try. Fail. Try again. Fail better."

Which seems to be the perfect description of what is going on in the eurozone.

Born Patriot's picture

I thought this site was an economics site, but all I'm seeing is anti-American BS. "Rebeling" against our elected congress? "Overthrowing" our Federal Reserve Bank? This is just BS. Straight up domestic terrorism.

Lohn Jocke's picture

Domestic terrorism is holding our liberties, rights, and particularly our Tenth Amendment ransom, economics and politics are intrinsically linked.

 In England, fixing lending rates artificially low is a major scandal, over here it's 'monetary policy'.

mcguire's picture

dissent = 'domestic terrorism' 



Lohn Jocke's picture

Using fear and rhetoric to wean us off of our rights is most certainly textbook terrorism. The reason it works so well is because these terroris wear suits and don't have beards.

Paul Atreides's picture

Your flag sucking is making me ill, your elected congress is a fully owned subsidiary of Wall St. and the Federal Reserve Bank is a private institution so it is not yours.

If you are in fact trolling for laughs then try and throw in some decent humour like MDB, at least I can chuckle at his posts...

Born Patriot's picture

Our country's flag makes you ill? Am I really reading this?? Get a copy of our consitution buddy. You don't know what you're talking about son.

Winston Churchill's picture

I soggest you re read yours.Also the Federalist papers.

Sorry, there  are no pictures.

Lohn Jocke's picture

How about the stars and bars you had as your avatar twenty minutes ago you dumb twunt.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

@ Born Patriot.  We already have one jokester troll, Million_$_Bonus_Baby.  We don't need another.  Your avatar is not this country's flag and you are no nationalist.  Be gone.

midtowng's picture

Real patriots don't troll.

Lohn Jocke's picture

Can they troll the pro-gov't liberals?

azzhatter's picture

Patriotism is not flag waving. A true patriot fights to correct the wrongs in the system even if it requires violent overthrow. The country was founded on the rule of law and true patriots want rule of law maintained. We want criminals I.E Jon Corzine jailed. That's a true patriot, not some thumb sucking flag waver chanting USA USA USA while Bernanke's dick is in your ass

Treeplanter's picture

There is a lot of revolutionary masturbation here.  This is not Europe yet, so we can replace a corrupt White House and Congress.  So go suck your thumb.  A lot of us love that flag and the USA.

Bringin It's picture

[TP - Singing happy sounding normalicy bias to himself.]


Treeplanter's picture

This is a site for spoiled brats indoctrinated by a progressive education and lowest common denominaior pop culture.  At least in the comment section. 

Dr. Acula's picture

"Who is 'reactionary' and who is 'progressive'? Reaction against an unwise policy is not to be condemned. And progress towards chaos is not to be commended" - Ludwig von Mises

StychoKiller's picture

FREE markets != Marxist BS

Turn yer head 180° around (for the real perspective!)

Bringin It's picture

Ad Hominem BS.

Find a new approach.  You're boring.

StychoKiller's picture

Get thee hence, and obtain some knowledge -- google the werdz:  "Mandrake Mechanism"

ruffian's picture

I definitely have CHS overload.....take a holiday Charles

CH1's picture

This line rocked: what is the State but a monopoly of force, coercion, data manipulation and the regulation of private monopolies?

The state is a barbaric cult from 5000 BC.

Dr. Acula's picture

"Rothbard advocated abolition of coercive government control of society and the economy. He considered the monopoly force of government the greatest danger to liberty and the long-term well-being of the populace, labeling the state as nothing but a "gang of thieves writ large"—the locus of the most immoral, grasping and unscrupulous individuals in any society.[7][8][9][10]

Rothbard concluded that all services provided by monopoly governments could be provided more efficiently by the private sector. He viewed many regulations and laws ostensibly promulgated for the "public interest" as self-interested power grabs by scheming government bureaucrats engaging in dangerously unfettered self-aggrandizement, as they were not subject to market disciplines. Rothbard held that there were inefficiencies involved with government services and asserted that market disciplines would eliminate them, if the services could be provided by competition in the private sector.[11][12][13]" -

Questan1913's picture


Troublesome isn't it......when a writer sheds light in an area infested by cockroaches, squids, vampires and other assorted thieves, and Banksters.   Troll.

Paul Atreides's picture

Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.

Bob's picture

Fear is the mind killer, Paul Atreides. 

Psychology of Security:

Global Hunter's picture

As I write this I have the phone wedged between my ear and shoulder, been on hold to speak to representative at Ministry Transport Ontario since 10:15am, its now 11:36...

update: noon!

ATM's picture

Bureaucratic purgatory....

malikai's picture

I haven't read Kafka in ages. I think it's time to get back to the library.

Global Hunter's picture

I was thinking that until I realized it might hit too close to home right now and frustrate the hell out of me.

blunderdog's picture

Maybe just watch The Trial, instead.  Orson Welles' best flick, and it's very apropos.  Definitely captures Kafka's vision.

gjp's picture

The Trial was an incredibly creepy book, the images from that book have stuck with me like I read it yesterday.  Haven't seen the movie, I imagine it would be a fun one to make.

Bastiat's picture

Darkness at Noon was like that for me.

Lohn Jocke's picture

I hadn't thought of that, until I awoke one morning to find myself transformed into a gianto potato.

Bob's picture

Metamorphosis.  Sounds like you're regressing!

TNTARG's picture

The post is something, isn't it?

Don't miss Kafka nor Orwell and of course, Marx, even when reality has gone a lot further.

Bubble's picture

Is there a country where I can escape this 1984 b/s ?

SoNH80's picture

Antarctica.  Excellent seafood.