I’ve been saying for a good while now (a year maybe?) that the PTB would find some way to create a ‘terrorism’ event – or huge distraction – as the Dow drifts down toward the 8-thousand level in order that economic wonks (like you know who) would not be able to make a rock-solid, conclusive argument that we’re in a Second Depression, Depression 2.0, Greater Depression, or whatever you’ve heard it referred to.
What’s become frighteningly clear, over the past several weeks, is that the Gulf Oil disaster certainly meets the criteria of the ‘expected event’ and that it is almost like someone besides Clif ( www.halfpasthuman.com ) has the ability to look into the future and set events in motion so that they will show up at about the right time to prevent mass recognition of the ‘true’ state of affairs on earth. Instead, the public gets hornswaggled into some tangential item (like an oil spill) which is a diversion from recognizing that in our question for additional zeros on paper, we’re systematically destroying the world. A kind of cosmic joke, if you’re in on it, like it or not.
With the US markets (nominally) closed this weekend and today, one could guess that things would be less chaotic on world markets. In Asia for example, we note that the Chinese market was down 63 points while Japan was up 63 points, Malaysia down 8 points, Korea up 3½; that sort of thing. Only Taiwan had an ‘outlier’ number – think of it as a gray swan – up 1.5%. Leading that rally were banks, which is about the last thing I’d pin any real recovery/growth hopes on, since banks don’t create jobs – they’re just part of the ‘global quest for zero’s – which I’d suggest is a game already won by Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, whose 100-trillion Z-dollar bills adorn my office walls to remind me how contagious certain forms of mental illness are in financial circles.
As I write this (about 05:30 local), most of Europe is down, but only slightly. The developing consensus around the net seems to be that although we have seen continuing problems in Greece, where this coming Thursday all the biggest unions are calling for a strike and this – to my simple way of thinking may coincide with a meaningful short-term bottom in global markets – the real issue is Spain.
I say Spain because they may be on the verge of becoming the poster-child for Depression 1.0 mistakes being replaced in modern times. As you may be aware, Spain is considering budget amendments designed to reduce spending. This in concert with the G8-G20 pap out last weekend.
While it’s true that Spanish unemployment was down in Spain’s latest reporting month, the current unemployment rate is still 11.7% percent higher than year-ago levels – a mighty and persistent problem which I suppose comes from internationalists (also called ignoramuses) calling in the financial shots from the sidelines. And that’s with those Texas companies gaining profits from operating toll roads in places like Texas…so go figure.
Moreover, the unemployment rate in Europe is holding persistently steady at elevated levels with no major improvement noted, yet despite these sobering numbers, the ill-advised G8/20 are talking about budget deficits like they’re a newly discovered economic function.
What governments worldwide don’t seem to appreciate is that we need to see higher general levels of employment because the quickest way to get global economics back in shape is through a robust – and busy – workforce.
To do this requires three things: A major global vision which can be articulated in unison comes first. Not to worry, though: No sign of that. We’ve got the US fighting our longest war ever in Afghanistan for reasons that almost no one can articulate, short of “Didn’t Dick Cheney’s friends want to build pipelines in there, or something?”
Next, you need a massive public works effort to build out new infrastructure of all kinds so that populations can grow into the infrastructure so created. This (at least short term) requires a LOT more deficit spending which no one seems willing to do. What I’d suggest, immodestly perhaps, is that if we want to raise global levels above poverty, we need a global attack on hunger, illiteracy, and health issues.
Armed with a vision and a plan next comes doing the thing – the action side of the verb “change” – not the noun side.
One of the cornerstones for the robust growth of the US economy following World War II was that the WPA and CCC projects of the 1930′s had overbuilt certain types of capacity which allowed the country to grow into them – almost like buying a shoe that’s a little big for growing kids. It’s always a matter of estimating how fast the kid will wear out a shoe on the one hand, and how fast they will grow on the other. (*This also explains why when you were a kid, shoes and clothes were just getting comfortable when they wore out and we replaced with new, less comfortable replacements.)
Yes, global clean water, stamping out AIDS, pushing everyone toward their highest intellectual limits, teaching population control as a rational choice, and supplying clean water, pesticide-free food, and a couple of lambda’s to every home in the world sounds ambitious, but it would sure be a worthwhile global vision to embrace in lieu of a simple ‘quest for zeroes’ supported by a servant class of ‘useless eaters’.
The fact that we have a narrow-mind business elite calling the shots reminds me of an old business-school axiom: “We don’t have bad employees in any company; only bad managers who ain’t getting it.”
As below, so above, in this case.
Scattered around the planet we have many examples of cultures that in the past have faced similar kinds of problems: Enemies which engendered a systemic/social response, as in the Chinese construction of their Great Wall.
A lot of The Wall was done by the Ming Dynasty in the mid 1400′s and arguably that came just before the Ming got serious about closing in their society, shutting themselves off from the rest of the world. This followed China’s discovery and mapping of what Westerner’s popularly think of as “Columbus’” discovery of The New World, which Chinese admiral Zheng He accomplished and announced to the Ming Dynasty in 1421. Promptly, the Emperor had the admiral’s ships set afire so as to block off further interaction with outsiders. Isolationism was set as China’s course.
[Recommended read: 1421: The Year China Discovered America .]
Oftentimes in history, the public works projects of the past don’t look so productive; Egypt’s pyramids, for example. Yes, their construction fulfilled an employment and control function, but where was the long-term value to society? One could argue that these spawned many major industries over the longer term (grave robbing and tourism come to mind) but in a way, not much else to their construction despite all the new-age speculations that these might have somehow been fusion power plants, or equally improbable structures which all seem to involve a spot in out-there theories where we need simply “insert magic here” for the speculations to hold water.
Having stood at the northern rampart of Machu Picchu in Peru, on the other hand, it is obvious that some massive constructions of the past had a general purpose such as providing protection from other warlike humans.
But let’s get back to the current line of public works and see what long-term benefits might accrue to us, shall we? As we do so, comparison must be made to the massive public works that ‘worked America’ out of its first Depression.
Measure the impacts of Grand Coulee Dam, whose construction began in 1933 not just in kilowatt-hours of energy output, but also its key role in providing irrigation to make Eastern and Central Washington bloom with bountiful wheat harvests ever since. Or, compare its lasting benefit to the Tennessee Valley Authority covering much of the nation’s midsection.
Ike’s highways expansions kept on building out public works that America would grow into over the next 40-years. Oh, and along the way showed that public works that grow America aren’t from just one sidfe of the political aisle.
Or, in your comparison, what was the impact of the lesser-known Rural Electrification Agency, which put down rooms in 1935?
Whether you’re looking at Machu Picchu, the Great Wall of China, or the last Depression’s Grand Coulee, TVA, and REA, or Ike’s Interstates, what is the underlying design pattern to behold?
Nothing more, or less, than building infrastructure which can support an improved lifestyle and which facilitates growth of the country.
Where I believe America is presently on the wrong track is that we are not expanding domestic infrastructure, but rather we are “going Ming” in the sense that we’re becoming intellectually isolated, witness the Internet kill switch which is a modern analog to the Ming burning of Admiral Zheng he’s ships because they might pose some kind of non-specific threat. Which is the argument for ‘net control’. “Terrorists” in today’s parlances is like “Westerners” or “outsiders” to the Ming dynasty.
The headline that “7.9 million jobs lost, many forever” is readily fixed by imposing a jobs tax on all goods manufactured with cheaper overseas labor. The horse-crap of calling prison worker wages is really just international slavery masquerading under the color of law. I’[m trying not to do business with anyone outside the US…simply so we can keep the remaining half dozen jobs in this country.
It’s against this background that we might ask a very, very serious question about the BP/GOM ‘Spill”/ blue ocean murder. We might be asking if its timing (a bit too coincidental for my tastes) and it’s ongoing magnitude, don’t somehow argue that it is less ‘accidental’ in nature – a bit too conveniently timed much as the events of 9/11 were too conveniently timed at precisely the moment in history which events would mask the onset of global financial depression in the wake of the Internet Bubble’s collapse, and thus set the stage for another decade of ‘zero questing’ by the Western PowersThatBe (PTB)? Might it be a thinly disguised public works project? Will huge areas of the Gulf Coast be subject to an elitist land-grab under the guise of environmental restoration down the road? I wouldn’t bet against it.
Not to belabor the point, but since we have a day off from client work and the day trading screens aren’t flipping their usual displays in my face, we have time to ponder such seriously inconvenient questions.
We still have an evolving economic decline, where are the mass-spending efforts that could provide for a vibrant economic growth model based on sound infrastructure for decades to come are being squandered on the least deserving exploitive financial minions. Say, where’s the new business model that doesn’t require us creating additional states in the Middle East?
Come to think of it, where the creativity, vision, and gumption gone that makes America (even in our declining state) still the best place to live and thrive in the world?
We stand on the verge of renewed greatest; only our inability to articulate a our demands for a larger dream, envision a new kind of growth, and engineer even more impactful projects than those of the First Depression stand in our way.
Nations seeking Big Ki need big visions and a road to get there. The quest for mere zeroes always has, and I expect always will be, beneath our dignity as evolving human spirits.
Another b-school axiom is that the role of a leader is to find ‘the dream’, and hold it up -articulate it, and then show how everyone in the organization owns a particular aspect of that dream’s achievement. An eerie silent is what I hear nowadays – more echoes from the past bad decisions.
That’s what people voted for in the last election – change. We want a vision and a leader who can evolve a national consensus. What we’ve gotten instead is a continuation of George Bush’s bankrupt policies. Come November that’s the measure I will be judging candidates by - Do they have a vision and an articulated action plan. Not just the ability to twist a verb into a noun and think that’s good enough for Americans.
It’s not. And Americans are above anything else, an impatient lot. We don’t long stand for waiting for anything. We need more, not less deficit spending, but we need to spend on projects that will benefit the whole of society, not some financial pleasure monkeys on Long Island. It sometimes helps to have a plan.
On the backside of a holiday, the thing that I find myself most wanting is the abolition of a noun and and a return to a verb.
NY Times Jittery?
A reader sent along a link to this weekend’s NY Times story by Jeff Sommer titled “A Market forecast that says ‘Take Cover’“.
“It’s almost like reading your site…” said the accompanying note.
Except, I wouldn’t be so nonspecific as to say ‘take cover’. I’d be a little more direct and say “Take short positions or take all your cash and put it in TreasuryDirect funds for now!”. But then again, I don’t offer financial advice, so pretend I didn’t say anything…that was just the wind.
Crash Window Day 15 tomorrow…if I’ve got my count right. Due to a lack of appendages I can’t ever seem to count past 21…
BP’s Other Sins
Not too much MSM coverage of “BP Texas refinery had a huge toxic release just before Gulf Blowout” makes an interesting read. Or, scary, depending if you live in downwind areas where there was virtually no action taken.
Cell Phones Kill Bees
According to a new study, anyway. Maybe it wouldn’t frustrate them to death if they were a little bigger and could text to the rest of the hive like humans do?
How the PTB Gob Smacked Poland?
Ah, the joys of democracy, people in Poland thought as they went to the polls to select a replacement for their last president, who died in a mysterious plane crash.
Only, a lot of things about the new present – like how he’s all tied in to the nobility of the EU just didn’t seem to come out before the voting.
What???!@!! Is democracy myth – again? Why sure, but at least feign surprise, would’ja? The PTB/blue bloods will take care of us…oh yessah massah corpgov, the new financial monarchy, still ruling the world after 1,700 years.