THE GOD OF TECHNOLOGICAL PROGRESS MAY WELL BE DEAD
The link above provides the thoughts behind this post. The podcast is well worth your time.
For the first half of my 78 years were years of gradual growth for the population as a whole. Then 35 years ago things started to change. Beliefs I held to be true started turning out not to be true. The American dream was alive and well till 1980 when the drift downward began.
The general population failed to see the changes that were coming. Tickle down economics to Globalization were sold to the masses as beneficial to all. Anybody who took a serious look at what they were proposing knew the end game would not be good for the general population. IT WOULD BE A RACE TO THE BOTTOM.
One had only to look at the precursors to 1929 to see the same actions occurring now as then and then perhaps expect a different outcome. Well surprise surprise the rich got richer and the rest of us took it in the shorts.
Even though the beginnings of this downturn were the same the outcomes have been considerably different. This time 50,000 factories were closed and or moved over seas and with them went a lot of the higher paid blue collar jobs. At the time we were told never fear those jobs would be replaced by nice clean white collar jobs only problem was in the end they turned out to be service jobs, bartenders, waiters, burger flippers etc.
We were led to believe that all was well while more and more of us struggled to get by. During the early part of my life,one job could support a family, buy a house and a car, put away a little savings pay into a retirement plan supported by the company he worked for and things were ok.
I remember in the 70's when the women's movement peaked and sent millions of women into the work force believing that any job could be more rewarding than being a homemaker. Even my household got caught up in the rush to the workforce. Never made sense to me that a woman with a job wouldn't have the same household chores she had before entering the work force. Most of them found out the hard way. Husbands were slow to respond to the change.
As the economic plight of the average person went down and down the need for an economic boost was needed so the financial system blew the tech stock bubble. As usual a frenzy to buy a tech stock any tech stock , didn't matter they would go up and up. P/E ration went out of sight, companies with no earnings were selling like they were blue chip stocks. Till somebody woke up and said these things are worth nothing and down the market came. The not so amusing thing about this downfall not many of the investment guru's didn't see it coming and lots of folk got taken to the cleaners.
No problem we'll just blow a real estate bubble. Across the country house prices started to rise and rise and rise. The big thinkers of the time believed it could go no where but up. They started a kind of new fad, flipping a house. That involved buying a house and putting it right back on the market at a handsome profit. That profit was aided by buying the house with little or no down and then sell it at a profit. This drove prices through the roof. It was just a matter of time before the price of a house was out of reach to the average worker. Never mind that they bought into spending the fast rising equity of their home as income and were left facing mortgages that turned deadly in the end causing many to loose their homes..
The other financial trick of the time was the birth of the mortgage derivative packages , the bundling of mortgages of varying quality, getting them rated by crooked rating companies as AAA and selling these bundles to pension funds, city and state investments. These institutions were sold this package of bomb grade material to gain a little extra interest income. Of course they blew up and institutions around the world are still paying the price for that caper.
Now we are blowing another stock market bubble fueled by 0 interest government loans to bail out the TO BIG TO FAIL BANKS. They used these funds to pump up the stock market and when that wasn't enough the FED through their PLUNGE PROTECTION FUND tailored the direction they wished to drive the market at the time.
Now the game gets serious Hedge funds, banks, the government heavily invest in derivative packages to drive a commodity prices in the direction they desire. The recent plunge in oil prices is the latest example of what they are able to accomplish. At the same time gold and silver are at all time lows driven there by the above mentioned. We all out here in deep denial that this is just another crooked game except this time a lot of folks have skin in the game since a lot have been driven to fund their retirement through 401K's. Don't take a rocket scientist to know where that will end up.
The banks have hundreds of trillion of dollars in interest rate derivative packages , when they end up on the wrong side of interest rates the game is over, the world economy will zero out. All brought about by bets just like at the casino.. I guess you could call this an ALL IN BET.
You have to be in deep denial to believe that America is still a world leader. Our once proud dollar was the reserve currency for the world.. When we started messing around in Ukraine with the intent of suckering Russia into a shooting war possibility resulting in a nuclear exchange. An exchange we believed we could pull off by a first strike that by some magic the world could survive. The most outrageous case of denial on record..Russia and China formed a new world financial system not based on the dollar and in competition with the IMF and World Bank.. Making us less significant in world money transactions..
We are in denial that our education system can be fixed by more testing. We are sold that BS by supposed high level educators who should know better but maybe they don't. Hot shots might have a hard time saying they were wrong. They are and we all know it but few dare to say it.
We are told that we have the strongest military in the world, yet we haven't been able to win against a bunch of goat herders twice and rice patty farmers in another. Our major defense is based on a BLUE WATER NAVY that consists of 12 carrier attack groups patrolling the major oceans. Just as battleships were not the answer to previous world wars today's carriers are just huge targets awaiting a missile or a torpedo to take them out. Although these are the most advanced ships in the world missile technology has advanced to the point of making large ship attack groups obsolete.
We spend more money on defense than the next ten countries . More than 50% of disposable budget on the military. A closer examination of how this money is spent will make a grown man cry. Boondoggle after boondoggle shows up often costing billions and sometime 100's of billion. Anti missile systems that don't work, air born lazier systems not powerful enough to do the job. High tech fighters that at some point do their job but large chunks of these babies don't work , aren't completed or badly designed. Despite loss after loss on the battlefield we still believe we are the best in the world. Other nations have built their defenses to address the carrier groups and their fixes are cheaper and deadly. A Chinese sub surfaced in the middle of a carrier group having never been seen.
You perhaps are a believer that we are now oil independent think again., This fracking business being touted as the final answer to oil is right now standing on the brink of the whole mess going bankrupt. At 50 dollar oil they are done. None ever showed a quarterly profit at 100 bucks a barrel and they are loaded with debts.. The banks are holding these loans magnified by huge sums of derivatives sold just like all other derivatives , plus they got caught with a lot of these junk loans on their books unable to unload them at any price. You know where this will end.
Peak Energy = Peak Economy
That's where we sit right now. Since fracking is a joke we are left at the mercy of our oil, coal and natural gas we always had. With the ME blowing up as we speak with the ultimate end being an all out world of Shiite against Sunni no possible way our oil supplies will be affected by that. Wanna buy a bridge.
We have depended on technology saving our behinds by some new energy source , perhaps we have run out of technology this time. Solar and wind has a chance to help here but we are far behind the curve in doing that. There is always nuclear but too many are afraid of it for it to happen. I have a bad feeling they will be more afraid if we run out of sufficient power.
Our infrastructure is falling down around our ears and supposedly we have no money to fix it. It all depends on your priorities, if you blow most of your money on weapons you have little left for fixing up the home front. If we insisted loud enough we might be able to change this fact, but not likely.
With the congresses of late you know that no legislation to correct these wrongs is likely.. In a corporate controlled country especially where they are not dependent on local manufacturing to come to our rescue they aren't going to budge.
All of the above is fixable but not in the current system.. How we can change a system controlled by big money is and unknowable at this writing. Sure there are a few in congress that have promise but even a Elizabeth Warren was to become president without a major change in the makeup of the congress her hands would be tied. What we need is a third party led by a firebrand to whip the masses to a frenzy to completely change the congress. A massive undertaking not doable as long as most of us are in denial of how bad things actually are.