Archive for juli 2010

I går hadde selveste Dagens Næringsliv en liten notis med tittelen «USA vil splittes opp». For en finansavis som er mentalt forankret i status quo var det muligens et stort sprang å vie oppmerksomheten til slike profetier. Hadde proklamasjonen kommet fra utskjelte Johan Galtung ville den ha blitt latterliggjort og ignorert med forakt. Men når en tidligere redaktør i liberale Wall Street Journal og assisterende finansminister i den republikanske Reagan-administrasjonen sier det samme, får pipa en litt annen låt.

Immanuel Wallersteins dystopiske overmann er intet mindre enn Paul Craig Roberts, en av hjernene bak Reagonomics. Wallerstein og Roberts er nok skjønt enige om et apokalyptisk utfall for dagens system før en ny orden kan etableres. Men Roberts overbyr Wallerstein på timingen. Førstnevnte drister seg til å si at USA vil falle og oppløses allerede i 2017, hundre år etter den bolsjevikiske oktoberrevolusjonen…

Men stopp en halv: Har vi ikke hørt lignende profetier med ulik timing før? Og er det ikke slik at Paul Kennedy og Galtung har bommet? Vil ikke Roberts utsette seg for enorm fallhøyde her? Hva som ligger til grunn for at ting vil skje i akkurat 2017 vet jeg ikke, for boken til Roberts er fremdeles ulest fra min side [How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds].  Historien har vist at INTET varer evig, så hvorvidt et utfall inntreffer i 2017, 2034 eller 2060 spiller ingen rolle. Å si at det ALDRI vil skje er ikke mindre overmodig enn å våge en eksakt datering.

Jeg vil ikke øde bort tiden på diskusjoner for eller imot påstanden til Roberts. At han ikke fornekter seg er mer interessant av andre grunner. Når en mann fra den amerikanske eliten – politisk, økonomisk og akademisk – utsetter publikum for et slikt syrebad, er dette tegn i tiden man ikke bør ignorere. Han tar ikke prediksjonen fra løse luften, men ser derimot på strukturelle føringer over tid. Roberts er kanskje liberaler av legning, men har forsonet seg med at verden går mot en fundamentalt usikker postliberal epoke.

En av vår tids fremste hoffintellektuelle, Niall Ferguson, vil neppe gå så langt som Roberts. Han understreker dog at USA står ved et viktig og skjebnesvangert veiskille. På TV er han veldig optimistisk og snakker varmt om USAs fortsatt store potensial. Men i det skrevne ord overfor et mindre publikum er han noe mer reservert og åpen for radikale utfall. Slik som i Vanity Fair i 2006«The day when the Capitol in Washington, D.C., will be reduced to a picturesque ruin may seem to us infinitely remote. History—including the greatest historian of them all, Edward Gibbon—suggests that it may come sooner than we think».

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It was 2017.  Clans were governing America.

The first clans organized around local police forces. The conservatives’ war on crime during the late 20th century and the Bush/Obama war on terror during the first decade of the 21st century had resulted in the police becoming militarized and unaccountable.

As society broke down, the police became warlords. The state police broke apart, and the officers were subsumed into the local forces of their communities. The newly formed tribes expanded to encompass the relatives and friends of the police.

The dollar had collapsed as world reserve currency in 2012 when the worsening economic depression made it clear to Washington’s creditors that the federal budget deficit was too large to be financed except by the printing of money.

With the dollar’s demise, import prices skyrocketed. As Americans were unable to afford foreign-made goods, the transnational corporations that were producing offshore for US markets were bankrupted, further eroding the government’s revenue base.

The government was forced to print money in order to pay its bills, causing domestic prices to rise rapidly. Faced with hyperinflation, Washington took recourse in terminating Social Security and Medicare and followed up by confiscating the remnants of private pensions. This provided a one-year respite, but with no more resources to confiscate, money creation and hyperinflation resumed.

Organized food deliveries broke down when the government fought hyperinflation with fixed prices and the mandate that all purchases and sales had to be in US paper currency. Unwilling to trade appreciating goods for depreciating paper, goods disappeared from stores.

Washington responded as Lenin had done during the “war communism” period of Soviet history. The government sent troops to confiscate goods for distribution in kind to the population. This was a temporary stop-gap until existing stocks were depleted, as future production was discouraged. Much of the confiscated stocks became the property of the troops who seized the goods.

Goods reappeared in markets under the protection of local warlords.Transactions were conducted in barter and in gold, silver, and copper coins. Other clans organized around families and individuals who possessed stocks of food,bullion, guns and ammunition. Uneasy alliances formed to balance differences in clan strengths. Betrayals quickly made loyalty a necessary trait for survival.

Large scale food and other production broke down as local militias taxed distribution as goods moved across local territories.  Washington seized domestic oil production and refineries, but much of the government’s gasoline was paid for safe passage across clan territories.

Most of the troops in Washington’s overseas bases were abandoned. As their resource stocks were drawn down, the abandoned soldiers were forced into alliances with those with whom they had been fighting.

Washington found it increasingly difficult to maintain itself. As it lost control over the country, Washington was less able to secure supplies from abroad as tribute from those Washington threatened with nuclear attack. Gradually other nuclear powers realized that the only target in America was Washington.  The more astute saw the writing on the wall and slipped away from the former capital city.

When Rome began her empire, Rome’s currency consisted of gold and silver coinage. Rome was well organized with efficient institutions and the ability to supply troops in the field so that campaigns could continue indefinitely, a monopoly in the world of Rome’s time.

When hubris sent America in pursuit of overseas empire, the venture coincided with the offshoring of American manufacturing, industrial, and professional service jobs and the corresponding erosion of the government’s tax base, with the advent of massive budget and trade deficits, with the erosion of the fiat paper currency’s value, and with America’s dependence on foreign creditors and puppet rulers.

The Roman Empire lasted for centuries. The American one collapsed overnight. Rome’s corruption became the strength of her enemies, and the Western Empire was overrun.

America’s collapse occurred when government ceased to represent the people and became the instrument of a private oligarchy. Decisions were made in behalf of short-term profits for the few at the expense of unmanageable liabilities for the many. Overwhelmed by liabilities, the government collapsed. Globalism had run its course.

Life reformed on a local basis.


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Av Slavoj Žižek (2009):

«What most people know about Kravchenko ends in 1949. That year, he sued Les Lettres Françaises for libel after the French Communist weekly claimed that he was a drunk and a wife-beater and his memoir was the propaganda work of American spies. In the Paris courtroom, Soviet generals and Russian peasants took the witness stand to debate the truth of Kravchenko’s writings, and the trial grew from a personal suit to a spectacular indictment of the whole Stalinist system.

But immediately after his victory in the case, when Kravchenko was still being hailed all around the world as a cold war hero, he had the courage to speak out passionately against Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunts. “I believe profoundly,” he wrote, “that in the struggle against Communists and their organizations … we cannot and should not resort to the methods and forms employed by the Communists.” His warning to Americans: to fight Stalinism in such a way was to court the danger of starting to resemble their opponent.

Kravchenko also became more and more obsessed with the inequalities of the Western world, and wrote a sequel to “I Chose Freedom” that was titled, significantly, “I Chose Justice.” He devoted himself to finding less exploitative forms of collectivization and wound up in Bolivia, where he squandered all his money trying to organize poor farmers. Crushed by this failure, he withdrew into private life and shot himself in 1966 at his home in New York.

How did we come to this? Deceived by 20th-century Communism and disillusioned with 21st-century capitalism, we can only hope for new Kravchenkos — and that they come to happier ends. On the search for justice, they will have to start from scratch. They will have to invent their own ideologies. They will be denounced as dangerous utopians, but they alone will have awakened from the utopian dream that holds the rest of us under its sway».

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