They rule over dysfunctional ruin, but they rule
Since 2008, we have lived in a western world shaped by the ‘permanent state’ or by our managerial technocrats -- label to choice.
This ‘creative class’ (as they like to see themselves) is particularly defined by its intermediary position in relation to the wealth-controlling oligarchic cabal as ultimate big money overlords on one hand, and the dullard ‘Middle Class’ below them -- at whom they sneer and deride.
This intermediary class didn’t set out to dominate politics (they say); It just happened. Initially, the aim was to foster progressive values. But instead, these professional technocrats, who both had accreted considerable wealth and were tightly congregated into cliques in America’s large metro areas, came to dominate left-wing parties around the world that formerly were vehicles for the working class.
Those who coveted membership in this new ‘aristocracy’ cultivated their image as one of cosmopolitan, fast-moving money, glamour, fashion, and popular culture -- multiculturalism suited them to perfection. Painting themselves as the political conscience of the whole of society (if not the world), the reality was that their Zeitgeist reflected primarily the whims, prejudices and increasingly psychopathies of one segment of liberal society.
Into this milieu arrived two defining events: In 2008, Ben Bernanke, Chair of the Federal Reserve, gathered together in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, a room-full of the wealthiest oligarchs, ‘locking them in’ until they found the solution to the unfolding systemic bank failure.
The oligarchs did not find a solution but were released from their lock-up anyway. They opted instead, to throw money at structural problems, compounded by egregious errors of judgement about risk.
And to finance the resulting massive losses – which were over $10 trillion in the US alone – the world’s central banks began printing money -- since when they have never stopped!
Thus begun the era in the West where deep problems are not solved, but simply have freshly-printed money thrown at them. This methodology was whole-heartedly adopted by the EU also, where it was called Merkelism (after the former German Chancellor). Underlying structural contradictions were simply left to accumulate; kicked down the road.
A second defining characteristic of this era was that as the great oligarchs retreated from industrial production and threw themselves into hyper-financialisation, they saw advantage in adopting the burgeoning Metro-Élite agenda centred around utopian ideals of diversity, identity and racial justice -- ideals pursued with the fervour of an abstract, millenarian ideology. (Their leaders had almost nothing to say about poverty or unemployment, which suited the oligarchs perfectly).
So, espying advantage, the Oligarchs too, turned radical. Led by such as the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, Big Philanthropy and Business, they adopted woke speech and thought codes. And endorsed putting wealth directly into the hands of those who have been systematically victimized, through history. But again, deep structural change in society was addressed superficially - as simply moving money from ‘one pocket to another’.
The real problem flowing from the 2008 crisis however, wasn’t essentially financial. Yes, the losses were shifted from failing institutions balance sheets to the Fed’s, but the real structural problems were never addressed. So, people soon believed that almost every problem could be solved by speech and thought codes -- married to the printing press.
Political trade-offs were no longer to be considered a requisite. Costs no longer relevant. In this environment, no problem was too big to solve through behavioural management techniques and the central bank. And if there wasn’t a crisis to mandate and ‘liquify’ agenda change, then one could be invented. And, sure enough, as soon as the US Fed began to return to ‘normal’ policies in 2018 and 2019, a new, even bigger crisis was found.
Not surprisingly, in the context of what was seen as failed Civil Rights and New Deal reforms, the activist movements being funded by the Oligarchic ‘wealth funds’ turned more radical. They adopted a revolutionary cultural activism deployed to “solve problems once and for all” – aimed at bringing about deep structural change within society.
This meant shifting power once again away from the liberal Middle Class ‘who were so often white and male’ -- and were therefore part to society’s structural injustice. Put simply, the western Middle Class became seen by the technocrats as a pain in the backside.
The point here is what was missed in all the talk of ‘positive discrimination’ paths in favour of ‘victims’ was the other side to the coin: Negative harmful discrimination practiced against those ‘blocking the path’ -- those failing to get out of the way.
Scott McKay’s Revivalist Manifesto calls this hostile discriminatory process, ‘weaponised Government Failure’ -- such as the induced government dysfunctionality in US cities to drive the Middle Class away. “‘White flight’ is a feature. It’s not a bug”, its advocates preached. The urban socialist Left wants a manageably small core of rich residents, and a teeming mass of pliable poor ones, and nothing in between. That’s what weaponized governmental failure produces, and it’s been a wide-scale success.
New Orleans votes 90 percent Democrat; Philadelphia is 80 percent Democrat; Chicago is 85 percent. Los Angeles? Seventy-one percent. None of those cities will have a Republican mayor or city council again, or at least not in the foreseeable future. The Democrat Party barely exists outside of the ruins that those urban machines produce.
The bigger message is that ‘induced dysfunctionality’ can produce a society that can be ruled over (made compliant through unpleasantness and hurt) -- without having to govern it (i.e. make things work!).
This process is evident too, in the EU today. The EU is in crisis because it has made a hash of its governance in respect to sanctions on Russian energy. The leadership class thought the effects of EU sanctions on Russia to be ‘slam dunk’: Russia would fold in weeks, and all would return as it was before. Things would go back to ‘normal’. Instead, Europe faces melt-down.
Yet, some leaders in Europe -- zealots for the Green Agenda -- nonetheless pursue an approach parallel to that in the US -- of ‘weaponised failure’, conceived as a strategic asset to achieve Green Net Zero ends.
Because … it forces their societies to embrace de-industrialisation; accept carbon footprint monitoring and the Green Transition -- and to bear its costs. Yellen and certain EU leaders have celebrated the financial pain as accelerating Transition, like it or not, even if it pushes you out of employment, to the edge of society. Dysfunctional European airports are one example to discourage Europeans from travel and adding to the carbon load!
Put simply, this is another noxious trait that has emerged with the 2008 ‘turn’. Sociopathy refers to a pattern of antisocial behaviours and attitudes, including manipulation, deceit, aggression, and a lack of empathy for others that amounts to mental disorder. The defining characteristic of the sociopath is a profound lack of conscience -- an amorality however, which may be hidden by an outwardly charming demeanour.
‘Nudging’ us to compliance through cost, or making life intolerable, is the new way to rule. But our world is rapidly fracturing into potted zones of ‘old normal’ and surrounding pools of disintegration.
Which brings us to the big question: As the West skirts economic systemic failure again, why not then call together the billionaire Oligarchs, as in 2008, and lock them in a room, until they find a solution?
Yes, the Oligarchs may hold themselves in high regard (being so rich), but their last effort gave no solution, but rather was an exercise in self-preservation, achieved through throwing freshly printed money at broad structural problems, thus easing the transition of their empires into their new financialised identity.
However, something does seem to have changed around 2015-2016 -- a reaction began. The latter originates not from Oligarchs but from certain quarters in the US system who fear the consequences, were the mass psychological dependency on the printing of ever more money not to be addressed. Their fear is that the slide to societal conflict as wealth and wellbeing distortions explode apart, will become unstoppable.
The Fed however, may be attempting to implement a contrarian, controlled demolition of the US bubble-economy through interest rate increases. The rate rises will not slay the inflation ‘dragon’ (they would need to be much higher to do that). The purpose is to break a generalised ‘dependency habit’ on free money.
The only question from market participants everywhere is when does the Fed pivot (back to ‘printing’) … when? They want their ‘fix’ and want it quickly.
So many are ‘dependent’: The Biden Admin needs it; the EU is dependent on it; the Re-set requires printing. Green requires printing; support for the Ukrainian ‘Camelot’ requires printing. The Military Industrial Complex needs it, too. All need a free cash ‘fix’.
Perhaps the Fed can break the psychological dependency over time, but the task should not be underestimated. As one market strategist put it: “The new operating environment is entirely foreign to any investor alive today. So, we must un-anchor ourselves from a past that is ‘no longer’ - and proceed with open minds”.
This period of zero rates, zero inflation and QE was an historical anomaly -- utterly extraordinary. And it is ending (for better or worse).
A small Fed ‘inner circle’ may have a good grasp of what the new operating environment will mean, but any detailed implementation simply can’t extend faithfully down a long trickle-down chain of command oriented to the obverse ‘Growth’ paradigm pleading for ‘pivot’. How many of the people currently involved with this transition understand its full complexity? How many concur with it?
What can possibly go wrong? Starting the shift at the top is one thing. However, the cure for ‘induced governance dysfunctionality’ as an operating strategy in a ‘permanent state’ staffed by sociopath Cold Warriors and technocrats selected for compliance is not obvious. The more sociopathic may tell the American public F*** you! They intend ‘to rule’ -- ruin or not.