I was given a LINK to a talk by Dmitry Orlov the other day. It was quite long, over an hour, so I just book marked it for viewing at another time. Well I finally got around to watching it and it was well worth the time I spent. I do not say this lightly because I am more of a doer than a watcher, rarely taking time to watch movies or even television these days. I highly recommend it, it is worth the time. Here is the LINK.
Now I am not one of your average run of the mill people who goes around yelling the sky is falling. I live in Florida right now. You know the place that gets hurricanes (ho humm…what a pain) and some really bad wild fires (ho humm…cough..cough..what a pain) and am a techie that works with high voltage electronics on occasion, so it takes a bit to even get my interest up some times. So when I say this needs to be payed attention to, it has to be important.
And apparently I am not the only one who thinks so. Take for instance this piece in Salon from late last year.
Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003.
Future historians are likely to identify the Bush administration’s rash invasion of Iraq in that year as the start of America’s downfall. However, instead of the bloodshed that marked the end of so many past empires, with cities burning and civilians slaughtered, this twenty-first century imperial collapse could come relatively quietly through the invisible tendrils of economic collapse or cyberwarfare.
But have no doubt: when Washington’s global dominion finally ends, there will be painful daily reminders of what such a loss of power means for Americans in every walk of life. As a half-dozen European nations have discovered, imperial decline tends to have a remarkably demoralizing impact on a society, regularly bringing at least a generation of economic privation. As the economy cools, political temperatures rise, often sparking serious domestic unrest.
Available economic, educational, and military data indicate that, when it comes to U.S. global power, negative trends will aggregate rapidly by 2020 and are likely to reach a critical mass no later than 2030. The American Century, proclaimed so triumphantly at the start of World War II, will be tattered and fading by 2025, its eighth decade, and could be history by 2030.
Or this one from CBS MarketWatch from 2009.
Has capitalism lost its soul? Guys like Bogle and Faber sense it. Read more about the soul in physicist Gary Zukav’s “The Seat of the Soul,” Thomas Moore’s “Care of the Soul” and sacred texts.
But for Wall Street and American capitalism, use your gut. You know something’s very wrong: A year ago, too-greedy-to-fail banks were insolvent, in a near-death experience. Now, magically, they’re back to business as usual, arrogant, pocketing outrageous bonuses while Main Street sacrifices, and unemployment and foreclosures continue rising as tight credit, inflation and skyrocketing federal debt are killing taxpayers.
Yes, Wall Street has lost its moral compass. It created the mess, but now, like vultures, Wall Streeters are capitalizing on the carcass. They have lost all sense of fiduciary duty, ethical responsibility and public obligation.
Here are the Top 20 reasons American capitalism has lost its soul:
Yes, he even lists the reasons for it. And these are not what I would consider raving tin hat types. And I could go on and on. A google search yields page after page of references on this subject.
Now I must state that I find this all so absolutely ironic as to be the definitive example or irony. To be used by historians and literature professors for years and years to come.
Two great ships setting sail at different times both seeking utopia. One heading east the other west. Both convinced that their course is the only correct one. Both passing some very nice places along the way but refusing to stop because they are sure they will find utopia. Only to be dashed on the rocks and their ships sunk because their really is no utopia to find. A ZEN saying come to mind here.
The only ZEN one finds on the tops of mountains is the ZEN one brings with them.
But all of this is going right past nearly everyone in this country because they cannot accept it. It simply is not possible for them to even consider, let alone believe, that the country will completely fail. That their view of capitalism was as doomed to failure as the Soviet Unions view of communism. And this has nothing at all to do with politics since both parties, yes even those on the fringe like the greens and libertarians, are incapable of accepting this truth. So they continue on fighting and growing more and more resentful and refusing to see or listen. Both of the major political entities are sure that they can make it work again. Unfortunately they forget this one truism about capitalism and business. That the primary or rather the exclusive driving force is to make money. The product is of secondary…ye…I would say tertiary importance. If one can make become rich producing products that are of little or no real use to society as a whole, they will do it. And if they can get rich without making any products at all, that is even better. But this is also based on an expanding imperialist economy and it is not possible to have this on a planet with finite resources. You will hit a brick wall. And if innovation, creativity and exploration are being replaced by greed and profit – your economy is bound to contract and eventually collapse all together. And this my friends is what is happening now. I could go into historical detail here, but for brevity will not do so. Just lets say the last real innovation occurred over 50 years ago and there is nothing new on the horizon. Nearly all research and experimentation is now done in some government or University Lab where it is written up in some journal and promptly forgotten about. Never being put into production as no one is willing to take the risks to do so or sees any large profit in it.
And with are energy resources dwindling and not real effort being put into replacing them, our ability to even maintain even what we currently have will become nearly impossible. Now I am not suggesting, and neither is anyone else suggesting an instant The Day After or Mad Max scenario here. After all these people have to sell their movies and books so bit of exaggeration is to be expected. But a slide into a situation where local, state and federal governments will be unable to give the social support anywhere near what we have now. Where joblessness will be the norm for nearly everyone and more and more areas will crumble.
But there is a bright side. (Oh really…you mean I don’t have to shoot myself ?) No…you do not. Because from this we may be able to build a sustainable society if we have the will to do so. Remember that last Great Depression ? A lot of new and vital ideas and things came out of the middle of it. There is immense freedom in not having and not being and not doing. It frees the mind and the soul to explore areas that one has been afraid to explore previously.