“Most people who had a positive view of capitalism were thinking of the modified and regulated form practiced in the 1950s and 1960s in the US. That was not really capitalism at all, but highly regulated economy deeply influenced by socialist models. This, however, is the real stuff. Enjoy, compliments of the chef!”
Peter Y. Paik:
“Don’t forget the central banks.”
“Central banks? those playthings of sovereign wealth funds and billionaires?”
Peter Y. Paik:
I think they won’t be big enough to paper over the next collapse.”
“That is exactly right. And that stuff they circulate will be exactly that: ‘paper.’”
Peter Y. Paik:
“We’ll have to find new ways of thinking about what will come after.”
I am not a political scientist, but I felt compelled to coin a new term to describe the new form of governance we see emerging around the world.
I refer to this model as “psychopathocracy” a term which describes the rule by psychopaths, those who are mentally unstable in a sense that strips them of their humanity and makes them incapable of determining what is in their own interests, or in the interests of others.
This state often features paranoid obsessions.
When Donald Trump’s National Paranoia Advisor John Bolton spoke with Martha Raddatz of ABC News and stated that he was convinced that not only Russia, but Iran, China and North Korea would meddle in the Midterm Election, he was giving voice to precisely such paranoid views (granted their political value to him).
“I can say definitively that it’s a sufficient national security concern about [in addition to Russia] Chinese meddling, Iranian meddling and North Korean meddling [in the coming election] that we’re taking steps to try to prevent it, so it’s all four of those countries, really. I’m not going to get into the – what I’ve seen or haven’t seen, but I’m telling you, looking at the 2018 election, those are the four countries that we’re most concerned about.”
We have to wonder whether that election will ever take place.
I also want to mention Thomas Mann’s insight:
“The insipid is not synonymous with the harmless”
Mann suggests that many mistakenly assume that because the actions of certain people are foolish, dreary and banal they are therefore of little consequence. But as Mann learned in Germany of the 1930s, the banality of political discourse has nothing to do with its potency, or with its destructiveness.
We are so accustomed to a functional political system in the United States that sets standards for the world that in this transitional period it is quite difficult for many to conceive that massive institutional decay is taking place in Washington, D.C. , that will only accelerate and, if not handled well, risks both global war and domestic conflict far beyond what we have seen so far.
That means we had better get serious about an accurate interpretation of current events in the U.S.or risk having events overwhelm us.
First, we must move beyond the simplistic opposition between conservatives and liberals in American politics. We have to stop trying to shoehorn the contradictory information that we observe into this meaningless dichotomy. The Trump administration is a radical, not a conservative, political movement and its opposition, in that it exists in Washington, is not liberal.
We are witnessing a “three-way fight” in the U.S. that defies assumptions about politics over the past 70 years. A complex battle has reached a peak and it is what has allowed Trump to become president, and to remain in power thus far. Read more of this post
Some people naively assume that when this government shutdown is over, the government will be up and running after some last minute political deal. But that is hopelessly naive.
This new generation of politicians is planning to destroy everything, like anarchists.
Many ask, why the Republicans would want to shut down the government if they control all three branches?
The answer is rather simple. The Republicans do not control all the bureaucrats. A lot of them are still thinking people, even Democrats. People who are educated and increasingly people who are more interested in governance than anyone in the Congress. So they need to destroy the government itself to achieve the absolute power they crave.
Maybe government officials can be replaced with automated kiosks? Don’t rule it out. There may not be much government left when we get back.
I cannot agree more with this statement by the author Richard Reeves given in his book Dream Hoarders.
” I never thought I’d say this but I sort of miss the class consciousness of my old country which I grew up hating. The reason I miss it is because at least we’re aware of it. It seems to me that in the U.S. you have a class system that operates every bit as ruthlessly as the British class system but under the veneer of classless meritocracy. There isn’t even a self awareness.”
The book describes in gory detail the manner in which the upper-middle class hoards opportunities for themselves while remaining entire oblivious to what they are doing.
The point of this quote is that what is truly grotesque about America is the degree to which Americans try to deceive themselves about the emergence of class struggle.
As I once wrote,
“Americans love equality. In fact they love it so much that if they meet anyone in their neighborhood who is not their equal, they move away to a expensive suburb.”
If you are trying to understand the significance of the recent firing of the FBI director James Comey by President Donald Trump, and the related political games taking place in Washington D.C., you would be better off reading through Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century and staying away from the sensationalist and unenlightened reports in the mainstream press. This unbelievable conflict is a product of the complete degradation of the government institutions in the United States, which no longer serve as legitimate institutions dedicated to service or country, but rather function like mercenary armies for the wealthy. Some of those super-rich may have good ideas, but the trend is clear and negative.
The problem is that Trump and his billionaire friends view the government with complete contempt. So great has the gap in wealth in the United States that government can no longer serve its purpose and cannot take any action whatsoever against one the rich elite. The super rich have become an untouchable ruling gentry. Piketty suggests that disparity in wealth will reach such a serious degree that society is torn apart and we see here that one must be aligned now with a billionaire have any political standing. The entire Federal government, perhaps, is falling apart not just because of the incompetence of its employee but rather because of its inability to compete with wealth and power of the billionaires–they are now trying to develop the next generation of cartels. The media increasingly takes a courtier mentality in approaching Trump, Kushner, Gates or Buffett. Treating them as enlightened souls because of their class status.
Many are breathing a sigh of relief this week because the Trump administration has taken a step to play down its escalation of tensions with China, and has even suggested it will have to accept the comprehensive agreement with Iran for the removal of sanctions and normalization of relations. But although we may not be facing the apocalypse this week, we should not consider that we are out of the wilderness.
The threat is not merely that Trump will start some other military conflict up elsewhere, but also that the very manner in which he governs will guarantee a systematic breakdown in the United States that will be a tremendous threat to the United States and to the world.
We first have to understand the breakdown in American politics and governance which led to Trump’s victory.
It is not the case that a madman suddenly and mysteriously took control of the United States. Rather the entire structure by which policy is made and implemented in the United States has become so decayed that anyone who showed sufficient audacity, and who actually wanted the position, could seize it. Policy making has been outsourced to private consulting firms and investment banks. Whereas half of the graduating class from Harvard Law School went to work in government back in the 1960s now it is closer to 5%. Government is increasingly administered by corporations and what government employees remain lack the self-confidence to resist increasingly barbaric politics.
Trump’s success in the 2016 election can be read like this: imagine you had a solemn cathedral built of solid stone and someone started running up and down the stairs pounding the walls with his fists. Everyone would take him for a madman and dismiss any possibility that he had any authority. But then, suddenly, his fists started going through the stone walls and the entire cathedral started to shake and crumble from his tiny blows. At that moment the madman takes on a magical power because he is able to tear apart institutions which were assumed to be solid. In fact, Trump’s political antics proved that the entire government in the United States has been reduced to a shell over the last twenty years of privatization and that it can be easily torn apart.
And tear apart is exactly what Trump intends to do. He and his people, like corporate raiders, intend to strip off all the assets from the United States for their own profit and leave behind a rotten carcass.
He has appointed a cabinet full of vultures and hyenas whose function is not to run the government, but rather to tear it apart. His chief adviser Steve Bannon has stated explicitly that he is like Lenin in his desire to destroy the state. But Bannon is just the tip of the iceberg. Secretary of Educatio Betsy Devos is dedicated to destroying public education, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt is a climate change denier who is deep in the pocket of big oil, as is the Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Trump could care less if he is impeached. His intention is to make as much of the commons into his private possession as quickly as possible.
The radical and rapid decay of the United States federal government has implications that go far beyond the challenges facing American citizens. As the American system falls apart, America’s problems are going to become the world’s problems.