Rising Social Disorder Is Inevitable: Here's Why

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

We can do better, and if we don't, the only possible output of such an unequal system is increasing social disorder.


We are in a very peculiar point in history. On the one hand, we're reassured that all is well because Every One of the World’s Big Economies Is Now Growing. (NY Times)

Yet at the same time, we read that "Something Is Very Wrong With The Global Economy": Richest 1% Made 82% Of Global Wealth In 2017 and are asked, Can the World Survive a Winner-Take-All Global Economy?

Even the authors of the rah-rah NY Times piece on the wonderfulness of the global economy expressed concern that this "growth" may not be distributed any more equally than the previous 10 years of "recovery."

We already know absolutely nothing will change because neither the inputs nor the feedback loops in the economy have changed. As Donella Meadows explained in her seminal paper Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System, the only ways to change a system's outputs (in this case, widening income and wealth inequality and rising social disorder) is to change the inputs or add a new feedback loop.

The status quo has not changed the inputs or added any new feedback loops, so the output of the system--extremes of widening income and wealth inequality--cannot possibly change.

The portmanteau word "precariat" (precarious + proletariat) describes much of the modern work force--those in the less specialized sectors of the gig economy, informal/black market economy or in the traditional corporate-employment economy but with irregular work hours and little in the way of benefits.

Since the corporate media (MSM) is largely a haven for well-educated bourgeois with some family wealth and upper-middle class social circles, media coverage of the slow drip of financial anxiety in the lives of precariats is sparse.

If you talk to people working in the lower-pay service sector, you get a snapshot of a great many people living paycheck to paycheck, worrying about any unexpected expense (car repair, dental work, etc.) and mundane things that don't vex a "protected" upper middle class employee like scraping up the cash to buy their child a new pair of shoes for his/her birthday.

If we compare this reality with financiers and their technocrat worker bees skimming millions from what Adam Taggart calls "the river of money" (mostly credit, of course), we have to wonder why the US hasn't already exploded in class warfare.

The fuse is lit, as "fixes" like Universal Basic Income (UBI) that are embraced by the likes of Mark Zuckerberg don't actually re-enfranchise precariats, i.e. offer a real stake in the nation's productive capital. As a result, they're just Band-Aids over a sucking chest wound.

Much of my work is focused on explaining the intrinsic limits of the two "solutions" offered by conventional ideologies, think tanks, pundits, etc.: the market (i.e. the neoliberal fix for everything) and the state (government can fix everything). As I have explained, our problems are now exacerbated by markets and centralized power, not fixed by these dynamics.

I've endeavored to lay out a Third System that is decentralized, democratic and not dependent on either the financialized, globalized marketplace or the centralized Savior State in my books A Radically Beneficial World and Money and Work Unchained.

The core dynamic of my system is the universal opportunity to acquire productive capital in all its forms. The core dynamic driving the current extremes of wealth/income inequality is the system's rewards go almost exclusively to owners of capital and those closest to the central bank credit spigots.

The conventional solutions ("tax the robots," UBI, more job training, etc.) don't actually change the reward structure or the opportunity to acquire capital. This is why they have failed and why they cannot do anything but fail: they don't grasp the problem and they don't actually change any inputs, incentives or add new feedback loops.

There are solutions, but they lie beyond the status quo of stale, failed ideologies that have lost touch with the real economy and those being left behind by a system that radically favors owners of capital and those closest to central bank credit spigots.

We can do better, and if we don't, the only possible output of such an unequal system is increasing social disorder.

Gordon Long and I discuss social disorder in Part 2 of our series 2018: Year of Accelerating Social Change (15 minutes):

This essay is drawn from Musings Report 4, the weekly email sent exclusively to patrons, contributors and subscribers who pledge $5/month or more. Thank you for financially supporting my work. My new book Money and Work Unchained is $9.95 for the Kindle ebook and $20 for the print edition.  Read the first section for free in PDF format. If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.


???ö? Shitonya Serfs Tue, 01/30/2018 - 12:58 Permalink


Illegal immigration is promoted by Democrats because their metropolis blue constituents in the restaurant and hospitality business need cheap, undocumented labor in order to profiteer from Democrat labor-machine cronyism. The hospitality industry is a liberal institution, payola and all. The Democrats do nothing for the illegal immigrants in the hospitality business, except keep them slaves to black market conditions where there is no paid healthcare, no social security, no pensions, no workers compensation, no parental leave, no vacation accrual, you name it. Oh, there are PROFITS of course. The Democrat party is the poster child for hospitality industry PROFITS. Anything for their political donors in the restaurant, entertainment, travel, and leisure business. And all Democrats, not only the politicians, could care less that the immigrant workers are slaves, just so long as the dishes get washed, the floors get mopped, the grease gets wiped, the beds get made, the toilets get scrubbed, the grass gets cut, the cars get waxed, the clothes get cleaned, the children are watched and the dogs get walked.  That's it.  Oh ... and the wine has to breathe for 30 minutes. Liberal paradise brought to you by the Democrat party courtesy of illegal immigration, with its associated crime, drugs, disease, and illiteracy, precision marketed by the Democrat crime syndicate and paid for by equally high taxes for everybody, red or blue, whether or not they live in Snowflake City. It's no coinicidence that the hubs of the hospitality industry are also the hubs of the Democrat party. Blue. Blue. Blue. That's the way they like it. Democrats prefer keeping Snowflake City and all the amenities just for themselves anyway. Sharing is preposterous. So red hats, you're not even welcome there. As if.


In reply to by Shitonya Serfs

ThinkerNotEmoter ???ö? Tue, 01/30/2018 - 13:08 Permalink

Well, at least I have all of my bitcoins to spend when things get bad.  Just like what people did in Puerto Rico after that hurricane...


Oh, yeah... and FREE $HIT FOR EVERYBODY(!!!!!) is the answer.  Just look at the paradise of Venezuela.  All are now on the same social playing field so there is no social discord.  Well, the gubmint people are fat, dumb, and happy but they should be becasue they are the "smart" ones in charge.

In reply to by ???ö?

SofaPapa two hoots Tue, 01/30/2018 - 14:17 Permalink

I'm going to beat an old, dead horse.  Let's beat it some more!!

Sound money:

What is money today?  Money IS credit.  That is now a tautology.  Money was taken from the standard of being equivalent to some tangible good (gold/silver in the best known standard), and was turned into a credit-based system (i.e. Treasury Notes, various bonds, and bank loans - all ARE debt - literally create money. That's what "dollars" ARE now).

Now for a while, this was informally tied to oil (the petrodollar).  Because people had to use dollars to buy oil, the dollar was loosely "backed" by oil.  While this was not the same as the gold standard - because the price of oil floated - at least there was some physical good which underpinned some notion of "value" in the dollar.  But the petrodollar is clearly dying.

Without the petrodollar, we are reverting to a truly pure credit-based dollar.  Let's think about that... what does a credit-based dollar mean, exactly?  It means that the person or group who can convince someone else to "loan" him/them money gets the money.   NOTE: the person/group who convinces someone to give them money does NOT have to be productive.  They just have to convince those in charge of creating/dishing out the money to give them some.  Sometimes this may mean that productive people get "currency" and do something productive with it.  BUT it also allows people who produce nothing but are good at bullshitting to GET MONEY.


What is sinking us is what I term the "bullshit standard".  If credit (the ability to convince someone to loan you money) is the foundation of the system, then the system will sink under the bullshit of those who are good enough liars to convince those "creating" the dollars (who are also bullshitters of the highest order) to give them "money".

The article describes the unequal division of "wealth".  Of course the wealth is divided unevenly and unfairly.  The tokens allowing accumulation of that wealth are gifted in significant quantity to those with the best ability at... BULLSHIT.

Does this describe what we see around us?  I think it does.

/End of Rant

In reply to by two hoots

CHX13 SofaPapa Tue, 01/30/2018 - 14:30 Permalink

That is why honest money, old money, REAL money will win in the end, and the current elite are fighting this with tooth, nail and the kitchen sink. But we have a long ways to go and some major period of mayhem ahead. I pray that some sort of sound money based system reboot will occur, but time will tell. The NOW is a complete farce, a charade, or just an unjust fraud (depending on who you ask) but it is the system we still have, it is up and running until, well... GLTY+A, hope to see many ZHers and fellow stackers on the other side...  

In reply to by SofaPapa

sgorem SofaPapa Tue, 01/30/2018 - 17:40 Permalink




noun: tautology

  1. the saying of the same thing twice in different words, generally considered to be a fault of style (e.g., they arrived one after the other in succession ).
    synonyms:pleonasm, repetition, reiteration, redundancy, superfluity, duplication

    "avoid such tautology as "let's all work together, everyone, as a team" by saying simply "let's work together""


In reply to by SofaPapa

Cloud9.5 two hoots Tue, 01/30/2018 - 16:40 Permalink

The moral thing to do is try and save the remnant. There is a reason the church retreated to the monasteries during the dark ages.  Had it stayed in the mainstream it would have disappeared during the conflagration.  Imagine an upset that was so great that the ability to create concrete was lost.

In reply to by two hoots

shocktherapy ???ö? Tue, 01/30/2018 - 13:12 Permalink

Illegal immigration is promoted by Democrats and Republicans 


The Top 6 Anti-Immigration Activists Caught Using Illegal Labor

Lou Dobbs, Meg Whitman,  Mitt Romney, Lorraine Henderson, 

Linda Chavez and Michael Huffington

And the Big One

Unsealed Documents Show Trump Used Illegal Immigrant Labor To Build Trump Tower

Read more at: https://www.bisnow.com/new-york/news/construction-development/unsealed-…

In reply to by ???ö?

shocktherapy InflammatoryResponse Tue, 01/30/2018 - 14:12 Permalink

Must be nice living in that bubble of yours.

I guess you don't understand how things are done in NYC. Trump has built a least 20 projects in and around NYC. 

The best estimates from the Pew Research Center suggest that at least 15% and possibly as many as 33% of construction workers in New York are undocumented.



Are you suggesting Trump is a Dolt and didn't know ?

In reply to by InflammatoryResponse

icedoc shocktherapy Tue, 01/30/2018 - 20:40 Permalink

No, Trump is not a dolt, he did not know the legal status of the grunt labor on his project, and neither would he care. And since 33% of grunts are likely illegals then nearly anything built there is suspect. Fact is, probably over half of construction grunts in the USSA are illegals. And there is nothing we can do, either really, except rant in comment sections. but the statement about Rs and Ds both supporting illegals as a cheap labor source is absolutely correct.

In reply to by shocktherapy

Bryan Tue, 01/30/2018 - 13:00 Permalink

+1 for valid use of the word "portmanteau".  We do it all the time (mostly trying to be original and cute - and not being either one), and there is a word for it.


Other than that... yeah, we'll eventually end up like Greece or Venezuela because of the hubris of politicians and the looney Left.  It just might take longer though, because we still have the 2nd amendment for now.

steve2241 Tue, 01/30/2018 - 13:02 Permalink

The starting point for reducing the "unequalness of the system" might just be, don't you think, reducing immigration from third-world shitholes???

abgary1 Tue, 01/30/2018 - 13:02 Permalink

The 1%ers are not the problem, excessive government and taxation are.

You can't avoid taxes but you can avoid purchasing the goods and services of the 1%ers. You have a right to choose, so exercise it.

Everyone should aspire to be a 1%er not a ward of the state.

The government is a bigger threat to our wealth and freedom than the 1%ers.

Socialism does not work.

snakedogs Tue, 01/30/2018 - 13:05 Permalink

All bullshit, and who will fight the wars if you can sit back smoke dope, shoot up drugs, impregnate the Ho's, get up at 2PM with free shit all day? Or are the savage dogs like in "Animal Farm" controlled by the Pigs going to get more? As soon as one person looks over the table at another person's plate and sees more, shit will erupt into anarchy.  At some point AI will replace the peons by the 1% after a planned controlled pandemic" as the peons get their "free antivirus shot" to ensure a perfect world! Eat Shit And Bark at The Moon!

Is-Be francis scott … Tue, 01/30/2018 - 17:08 Permalink


You demand proof?

Would that be inductive proof or deductive proof?

I cannot bring you proof, but I can offer evidence.

Great strides are being made in AI by mortals greater than I, who merely gaze in awe, mouth agape.



There is hope, fellow Apes, that we may soon be governed by an intelligence vastly superior to whatever passes for stewardship these days.

And why should you, hairless smelly Ape, care if you are not grasping for the reins of power?

And if so, fie upon you!

In reply to by francis scott …

Jack's Raging … Tue, 01/30/2018 - 13:11 Permalink

We don't need books on this topic. It really comes down to one thing.

  1. Revoke State authority in the issuance of money, currency, credit, debt, or any other such financial instrument. Furthermore, prohibit any legal tender laws mandating the use of any given form of payment. This would also preclude delegation of such issuance to any other charter, as they would have no authority to issue it themselves.

That is about the only thing you need to solve the overwhelming majority of the world's current problems. I would prefer abandoning the failed religion of The State, but people will cling to their false gods for a long time. The above bullet would be a very productive step forward.

Bemused Observer Tue, 01/30/2018 - 13:16 Permalink

Well, what does anyone expect when you keep pulling the rug out from people?

Apparently, someone has convinced themselves that by doing so, they can 'force' those people to keep putting all their efforts into staying upright, and thus keep them 'working'. But, just like the European leaders, I'll bet these theorists do not have children. As a mother, let me explain what will actually happen...

Your child will 'play along' for a bit, amusing you with his efforts. But suddenly, just as you think the game is under way, he will plunk himself down on his butt, and continue doing whatever it was he was doing, from a SEATED POSITION. A position he will now maintain for the rest of the 'game' (which is now over...).

Just like that, without a word, a gesture, or even a dirty look, the kid says "Fuck you, I'm not playing anymore." And there is nothing you can do about it.

Go ahead assholes, yank on that rug one more time...

August Bemused Observer Tue, 01/30/2018 - 16:31 Permalink

>>>But, just like the European leaders, I'll bet these theorists do not have children.

Thanks for pointing that out.  (Somewhat dated) Information borrowed from one Phil Lawler:

• French president Macron has no children.

• German chancellor Angela Merkel has no children.

• British prime minister Theresa May has no children.

• Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni has no children.

• Holland’s Mark Rutte,

• Sweden’s Stefan Löfven,

• Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel,

• Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon—all have no children.

• Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, has no children.

It stands to reason that the above pols have only a passing interest in what their societies will look like in 50 years.

At least here in America, Obama was a family man.

In reply to by Bemused Observer

semperfi Tue, 01/30/2018 - 13:16 Permalink

Until we get full 9/11 truth discloser from govt and MSM, I take EVERYTHING that they say as a LIE.

And it doesn't matter what the names or political parties are of those in office.

govtsucks Tue, 01/30/2018 - 13:20 Permalink

Last time I looked, anyone has the opportunity to obtain capital, however first you have to stop wasting your money on useless shit so that you can actually have money to obtain the capital. Most of the less well off (I don't use the word poor because nobody in America is really poor) are in their predicament because they are stupid, lazy, or some combination thereof. They make awful decisions about how they spend their money, who they vote for, and just about anything else that affects their lives.