Feeling like the daily dose of objective "truth" from Tim Geithner's latest media circuit has got you down? Fear not: here is MarketWatch's Paul Farrell summarizing the 10 ways in which the very system is destroying America, to lift your spirits up. To wit: "Doomsday Capitalism? Capitalism is killing America? Yes, that’s the message in my tenth book. “Doomsday Capitalism, 10 Self-Destructive Trends.” But you’ll never see it in print. No one, even book publishers want to read this truth: Capitalism is destroying America. Why? Super-Rich Capitalists get rich off these macro trends. They want happy talk. Back in 2007 Vanguard founder Jack Bogle called my warnings “prescient.” But that didn’t stop the meltdown. Next time financial historians warn of a bigger meltdown; a total collapse has been the destiny of every nation for eight centuries. This time, capitalism is the saboteur." Cheerful stuff.
Capitalism has become a religion for the Super Rich, with many such “saviors.” Heresies must be denied, such as this one: Doomsday Capitalism is destroying America from within. Here are highlights, with links to a few of the earlier hundred columns on topic. Ten macro trends building to a perfect storm, a critical mass, a flash point:
1. Doomsday Capitalism: Death of the American dream, spirit, soul
After our bankrupt Wall Street was resurrected in 2008 — thanks to their Trojan Horse, an ex-Goldman CEO inside the Treasury conning trillions from a clueless Congress — it became obvious that capitalism is killing America’s soul. Nobody trusts government. And no matter who’s elected, wealth, Wall Street and the Super Rich rule America; total collapse is coming.
Why? Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent from Vermont, said it best: “There is a war going on in this country … the war waged by the wealthiest people in America on the disappearing and shrinking middle class of our country. The nation’s billionaires are on the warpath. They want more, more, more. Their greed has no end and they are apparently unconcerned for the future of this country if it gets in the way of their accumulation of power and wealth.”
2. Doomsday Democracy: ‘Mutant Capitalism’ killing ‘We the People’
Stop kidding yourself, democracy is dead: “All men are created equal” is a quaint political fiction. The public has no real say in a nation where wealth buys votes, a naive public is easily manipulated and elected officials have a price.
In “The Battle for Soul of Capitalism,” Bogle warned us the “Invisible Hand” no longer serves “We the People” nor the public welfare. Today, Wall Street and the insatiable Super Rich 1% rule America. And they are obsessed with restoring the same unregulated free-market Reaganomics that loves gambling in the same speculative $580 trillion derivatives casino that triggered the 2008 meltdown.
3. Doomsday Conspiracy: Wall Street takeover, the new ‘Invisible Hand’
The Super Rich have always had some hand in America’s destiny, operating from the shadows. Today, this conspiracy of Wall Street, Corporate CEOs, politicians and Forbes 400 billionaires operates openly, with absolute power and an arrogance that is corrupting the nation’s soul, their souls, your soul. This conspiracy has no moral compass , yet ironically, is legal.
Why? Wealth can easily buy favorable laws, making even the most unethical, selfish, corrupt behavior legal by fiat. And their high-priced lobbyists all over Washington, Congress, government regulatory agencies and the Fed all have the power to grab the rewards of capitalism for the Super Rich, while transferring the liabilities to the other, clueless 99% of America’s taxpayers
4. Doomsday Politics: Monopoly of Super-Rich Anarchists rules America
Forget buzzwords like oligopoly, plutocracy, socialism. Today Washington is a pure anarchy, a game played by tens of thousands of high-priced lobbyists squeezing the best deals out of America’s budget, solely for their clients’ interests, never the general public. Our economy is a monopoly of Super-Rich Anarchists. They know the only votes that count are in Congress. And they’re for sale.
Lobbyists are “brokers.” Today there are 261,000 lobbyists brokering special interests, all fighting for the maximum possible slice of a $1.5 trillion federal budget pie — special regulations, exemptions, loans, tax loopholes, earmarks, access, agency appointments, defense contracts, you name it — endless gambits that further consolidate the power and wealth at the top for Super-Rich Donors
5. Doomsday Economics: Growth is a numbers game for politicians
The principle of grow or die, once a given in economics and politics, is being challenged by new “growth and die” research, while a bizarre numbers racket is used by economists as propaganda to hide the truth, manipulating investors, consumers, voters, the public.
All economists tend to be biased, work for banks, politicians, corporate CEOs, think tanks and the Fed, all with political agendas. They’re more speech writers, supporting partisan slogans like “drill baby drill,” ignoring long-term consequences. For example, global population will increase 50% by 2050, yet old-school economists keep pretending natural resources are infinite.
6. Doomsday Psychology: The broken promises of behavioral science
Back in 2002 behavioral science offered investors hope: Psychologist Daniel Kahneman won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics, exposing Wall Street’s myth of the “rational investor.” Their promise: We’ll help you understand your brain, make better decisions. You’ll be “less irrational,” control your brain, be a successful investor.
Wrong. That will never happen. Why? Because your brain will always be irrational. Worse, Wall Street quants are always light-years ahead of our home-school brain rewiring; they know you’re vulnerable, easy to manipulate. They also hire the top neuroscientists for their casinos. No wonder the house always wins.
7. Doomsday Technology: Innovation, derivative casinos, the singularity
Sophisticated new technologies, mathematical algorithms and neuroscience all guarantee Wall Street insiders huge margins gambling in their derivative casinos, leveraging deposits from Main Street’s “dumb money.” Today Wall Street is even more obsessed, grabbing for high-risk profits in a tough “new normal” of high volatility, increasing risks, lower returns.
Average investors are no match for Wall Street’s high-frequency traders who easily win by huge margins on this rigged playing field. Still, naive Main Street investors keep betting despite warnings that the more you trade the less you earn.
8. Doomsday Warfare: Pentagon math: population + commodities = wars
The Pentagon predicts that by 2020 “warfare will define human life” as global population explodes 50% to 10 billion in 2050. Powerful commercial, political and ideological forces drive globalization. Emerging nations compete for scarce resources. This is “the mother of all national security issues,” warns the Pentagon.
“Unrest would then create massive droughts, turning farmland into dust bowls and forests to ashes. Rather than causing gradual, centuries-spanning change, they may be pushing the climate to a tipping point. By 2020 there is little doubt that something drastic is happening. As the planet’s carrying capacity shrinks an ancient pattern reemerges: the eruption of desperate, all-out wars over food, water and energy supplies and warfare defining human life.”
9. Doomsday History: This time really is different — the final meltdown
Bubble/bust cycles have been well documented for eight centuries. But the lessons of history are never learned. Euphoria blinds us in boom times. We deny risk. Bubbles blow. Meltdowns happen. We will always recover.
Wrong. Many now challenge that naive assumption. Financial historian Niall Ferguson comments in his “Rise and Fall of the American Empire:” “Collapse may come much more suddenly than many historians imagine. Fiscal deficits and military overstretch suggests that the United States may be the next empire on the precipice. Many nations in history, at the very peak of their power, affluence and glory, see leaders arise, run amok with imperial visions and sabotage themselves, their people and their nation.”
10. Doomsday Investing: Survival strategies in the post-capitalism era
Former Morgan Stanley guru and hedge fund manager Barton Biggs, offers his Super-Rich Investors a doomsday strategy in his “Wealth, War and Wisdom.” He warns of “the possibility of a breakdown of the civilized infrastructure.” No hippie radical, he says “think Swiss Family Robinson, your safe haven must be self-sufficient, capable of growing food, well-stocked with seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes. And be ready to fire a few rounds over the approaching brigands’ heads, to persuade them there are easier farms to pillage.”
Farrell's conclusion: eat the rich... more or less
Has America passed the point of no return?
Can’t we deflect the trajectory? Yes, but America would need a fundamental shift in how our leaders think, says Jared Diamond in “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.” We need leaders with “the courage to practice long-term thinking and make bold, courageous, anticipatory decisions at a time when problems have become perceptible [like in 2011] but before they reach crisis proportions.”
Bottom line: Underneath America’s endless political drama lie deep wounds that are widening the gap between the Super Rich and the other 99% of America, wider today than before the 1929 Crash. And now as then, we know the Super Rich don’t really care about the needs of the rest of America — witness their agenda in states like Wisconsin and Michigan, and the GOP’s new “Path to Prosperity” budget, a rush to restore failed Reaganomics policies.