Change they don’t believe in
James Howard Kunstler | Apr 20, 2015
The unfortunate consequence of not allowing the process of “creative destruction” to occur in banking and Big Business is that the historic forces behind it will seek expression elsewhere in the realm of politics and governance. The desperate antics of central banks to cover up financial failure can’t help but provoke political upheaval, including war.
It’s a worldwide phenomenon, and one result will be the crackup of economic relations — thought by many to be permanent — that we call “globalism.” The USA has suffered mightily from globalism, by which a bonanza of cheap “consumer” products made by Asian factory slaves has masked the degeneration of local economic vitality, family life, behavioral norms, and social cohesion. That crackup is already underway in the currency wars aptly named by Jim Rickards, and you can bet that soon enough it will lead to the death of the 12,000-mile supply lines from China to WalMart — eventually to the death of WalMart itself (and everything like it). Another result will be the interruption of oil export supply lines.
The USA as currently engineered (no local economies, universal suburban sprawl, big box commerce, despotic agribiz) won’t survive these disruptions, and one might also wonder whether our political institutions will survive. The crop of 2016 White House aspirants shows no comprehension for the play of these forces, and the field is ripe for epic disruption. The prospect of another Clinton–Bush election contest is a perfect setup for the collapse of the two parties sponsoring them, ushering in a period of wild political turmoil. Just because you don’t see it this very moment, doesn’t mean it isn’t lurking on the margins.
This same moment (in history) the American thinking classes are lost in raptures of techno-wishfulness. They can imagine the glory of watching Fast and Furious 7 on a phone in a self-driving electric car, but they can’t imagine rebuilt local economies where citizens get to play both an economic and social role in their communities. They can trumpet the bionic engineering of artificial hamburger meat, but not careful, small-scale farming in which many hands can find work and meaning.
The true genius of Hillary is that she manages to epitomize every failure of our current political life: the obsessive micro-manipulation of image, the obscene moneygrubbing, the tired cronyism, the entitlement masquerading as sexual equality. Mostly, though, she has no idea where history is taking us, in case you’re wondering at the stupefying platitudes offered up as representative of her thinking. I’m not advocating for this gentleman, but it will at least be interesting to see Martin O’Malley jump into the race and call bullshit on her, which he will do, literally, because he has nothing to lose by doing it. The eunuchs on The New York Times Op Ed page certainly won’t do it.
What happens on the world financial scene will determine the flow of events up into the 2016 election. The built-up tensions and fragilities are begging for release. The defining instant might be Greece’s unwillingness to fork over another debt payment, or the death of the shale oil “miracle,” or some act by Saudi Arabia’s enemies, or some chain of exploding booby-traps in the shadow banking netherworld. The great surprise for America especially will be the recognition that our current living arrangements have no future. That’s the only thing that will prompt a new consensus to form around some alternate, more plausible future, and the emergence of a generation willing to fight for it, even if it requires some real creative destruction of the things that are killing us anyway.
Reproduced with permission from James Howard Kunstler’s blog, Clusterfuck Nation. Kunstler’s books are available at the usual places. He urges you to support local bookstores.