The Virtual Recovery or Major Structural Change

(4 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Paul Craig Roberts is, in many ways, one of the most interesting political commentators of our time. I’m not going to say he is always right but he is very happy to think outside the box of our traditional political arrangements. He is on the left and the right–he is an example of the sort of thinking we need that will transcend the traditional “liberal/conservative” categories which have become just our version of competing soccer hooligans. My few years of commenting on Daily Kos showed me how vicious so-called liberals are when confronted with ideas that go beyond slogans.

Robert’s latest essay deserves some attention and is available here. What he is saying, essentially, is what he has been saying for some time that our “recovery” is not really a recovery if you factor in real inflation. He makes the point that current government announcements about the economy are similar to government announcement on the wars we undertake, i.e., they are false.

I would go further I don’t believe we are in a long-term depression or recession in the traditional sense–what we are undergoing is a major structural change in our political economy and our society that reflects the current cultural reality.

The single most important thing to understand about the culture we live in is that it is now not based in creating a vibrant economy or even maintaining and expanding an empire. Its focus is on enabling most Americans to live in a world of custom fantasies because, for a variety of reasons, that is what most Americans want. Most Americans do not want to face reality or think beyond their daily tasks that put them in a position to watch reality shoes, sports, pursue various addictions and create their little interesting dramas. Larger-scale interests where we act in common are devalued. The source of meaning for us, increasingly, lies in fantasy role-playing because, without ever realizing it, the plutocrats have cut off our political legs by creating a system of propaganda and mind-control, sometimes using science and often just creative genius, to make people believe that they need product X or need to vote for candidate Y. The ability for the corporate state to control its subject population through capturing, not so much its consent, but its subconscious is what marks our age. Thus we do not question the phony statistics on inflation or unemployment or anything else. Thus we are unable to put two and two together to make four unless some authority says it’s so.  


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  1. banger

    or no thoughts? Either way is ok.

  2. tahoebasha3

    articles over the years.  I suppose, because of his past experience in government, he is able to slice through the veneer to see the reality of so much.  Certainly, the reality of the picture he paints in this current article is no exception to his abilities.

    The ultimate possible scenario with China, I think, is one of completely possible, if not, probable, outcomes, if we continue on the same path in relation to them and, sad to say, it would be our recompense, or as the phrase is so widely used, our “collateral damage.”  

    Anyway, without meaning to sound utterly hopeless, no matter what corner you look in, global warming, economy, environment, etc., the future of just about anything is not looking very good.

  3. Mike Taylor

    IMHO, this “structural change” has been going on for quite some time and we’ve already been living under one-world government for quite some time. Once international trade policies have been captured, the economics of unrestricted world trade will eventually ‘harmonize’ all human rights standards (resulting in lower human rights and living standards for US citizens, if continued unrestricted or ‘free’). International trade relationships ultimately dictate the individual sovereignty of citizens within participating nations/states (by virtue of ‘competitive’ global economic forces, if the trade relationships remain ‘free’/unrestricted). IMHO, one-world government is old news. We shouldn’t have to wait for the official announcement, if we have a solid understanding of the connection between international trade policy and human rights standards (and the ultimate political ‘harmonization’, if the trade relationships remain ‘free’/unrestricted).

    There is no fundamental difference between the unrestricted importation of sweatshop labor goods and running those actual sweatshops here (and it’s just a matter of time before that happens).

  4. Lasthorseman

    Google it first to see the negative comments.

    Also CVS aisle signs tell you to get your flu shot.  I mean one can barely get down a single aisle but the CVS I was in did not have these flu shot advert signs in the cosmetic aisle not the Hallmark cards aisles.  I had to wonder why.  Lots of people get paid to study these marketing memes.

    Roberts I like,  Catherine Austin Fitts and Charolette Iserbyte too.

  5. banger

    While I think there is a virtual or emergent world government dominated by financial markets, the system is fundamentally chaotic and is made up of uneasy arrangements of plutocrats and nation-state bureaucracies particularly the security and military services. I don’t see any evidence of a single and organized entity that rules the world, in part, because if there is such a government it is sailing the ship of state steadily into disaster.  

  6. banger

    Yes, flu shots all day every day–what exactly is that about–why such a push? If I wasn’t suspicious of flu shots before I would be now.

  7. terryhallinan

    The stats like always are arguable and pinning down sometimes whether a disease is flu or flu-like makes it worse.

    One of those people not in the long lines for flu shots is me.

    Well you see…

    No maybe you don’t since I don’t myself.

    I had a brother-in-law that somehow contracted necrotizing fasciitis (“flesh-eating bacteria”).  The number of people that suffer from that monster in a year in the whole damn country is in the hundreds I think.  

    That is some bad stuff and weird too.  No one knows why ordinary bacteria go wild.  My sister sat in the waiting room as her husband lost three days under heavy sedation and yet his screams could be heard in the waiting room as the “galloping gangrene” – a better name – raced up his arm while nurses and doctors poured on the antibiotics and cut away the rotting flesh.  

    There was a vaccine in development against that and other strep diseases but they never quite overcame the prohibition against the vaccine. In the case of rheumatic fever, vaccines sometimes caused the very disease they were supposed to prevent.

    I believe I would get in line for that vaccine if I could despite the threat of rheumatic fever.

    Best,  Terry

  8. terryhallinan

    I don’t believe we are in a long-term depression or recession in the traditional sense–what we are undergoing is a major structural change in our political economy and our society that reflects the current cultural reality.

    But that is what a depression (not a recession, which is an inventory adjustment) is.


       A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.

    The Devil’s Dictionary

    Liberals posting on Dkos are rarer than commonsense in a lunatic asylum even though the place is owned by an actual liberal IMO.  

    To blame liberals – or much worse, Progressives – for the current state of affairs is an obvious fallacy.

    All that said, I am grateful for your introduction of Paul Craig Roberts, who this ignoramus had never before heard of.  

    I might have some quarrel with him.  

    The price of a vacuum tube computer that filled a very large room and required an army of operators, programmers, mechanics, engineers and helpers and had an uptime measured in minutes was vastly more than that of a $5 hand-held calculator that has far more power.

    That is deflation with a vengeance.

    All in all though it appears he, and you, know vastly more than I  but it would be most helpful to we peasants if you could just straighten out a language problem.

    Best,  Terry

  9. banger

    …about the language problem but I’ll try to clarify a little. And don’t apologize for not knowing things–what’s of paramount importance in where your heart is, so to speak. I’m much more interested in the human spirit than social arrangements–I just believe that one mirrors the other.  

    Economic depression is not what we are going through or are likely to go through. We have, today, a managed economy wherein the money supply always increases to fuel growth. We have two means of doing that one is through gov’t spending the other through “printing” money. The social change I speak of is, essentially, a system of debt-peonage and a social system moving towards neo-feudalism as a result. People will be “owned” by banks who will use the power of the state to dominate the lives of the peons. Economic growth will continue but the rewards will go to the people at the top of the pyramid who may or may not shower the populace with money. Certainly those that produce luxury goods and offer sexual services will do well in this system. Also, it will take a while to mature so most people will not notice it as most people have not noticed that we no longer live in a Republic but an Orwellian state that is perpetually at war and thus neither the Constitution, international law or domestic law is or can be enforced except at the discretion of those who hold state power.

    Elizabeth Warren did some great work on the declining middle class. She took what it cost a middle class family to live in the 1970s and what it cost in 2004 or 5, well before the financial crisis and showed that our standard of living has, in fact, declined due largely to the increased costs in housing, medical care and other essentials. She, and others, have shown what most of us who remember the way back in time, that a good middle-class job was sufficient to live on and have a family, save money, and educate children. Families were more able to meet emergencies because emergencies cost less and also, since one person was working, the other could go to work and the family could make do and, of course, the safety net was much more generous back then.

    Computers, while being neat pieces of technology and great tools that have allowed a dramatic rise in productivity have done little to increase what I would consider the quality of life. They are, as a matter of fact, often more of a distraction than a benefit and have contributed to our inability to be articulate and thoughtful in my view and in the view of an increasing number of cultural critics. In addition, those productivity gains have not gone towards higher wages for the average worker but in dramatic increases in the income of the ruling class.

  10. banger

    This is the problem of state control and the libertarian’s best argument in favor of their pov. I believe we have the right, as adults, to take in whatever substances we want. I believe that this is essential to human dignity. Now if these substances cause us to go on a rampage then we ought to suffer the consequences of our decision. That is basically a matter of human dignity. The state and their corporate masters want us to be children at best and serfs/slaves at worst. Medicines of all kinds should be freely available and tests and studies should be published for the public to see online and in print. Let us make our own decisions.

    This notion, however, depends on people being educated in learning how to learn and learning how to think critically. This is possible but it is most certainly not current educational policy.

  11. terryhallinan

    Elizabeth Warren did some great work on the declining middle class.

    No liberal should have any particular concern for the middle class.  The middle class has always been the middle management, highly paid professional class.

    The Clinton/Gore DLC polluted our language so that an amorphous frankenstein could end concern for the working classes and poor – the vast bulk of the population.

    Since no one today can say what the middle class is – from an unemployed gas station attendant to a millionaire executive – what is the meaning of decline of the middle class?

    I was surprised by much of this graph of poverty but not by recent history [I would post it but I am wrestling with my new Linux OS after some of the usual computer disasters]:


    Romney’s hail mary pass toward the end of the campaign may have been unique in being no lie.  Poverty is indeed increasing very rapidly with little mention.

    In place of LBJ’s War on Poverty, we have a War on Poor.

    Doesn’t seem to me to be a great idea.

    Best,  Terry

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