neolibsorcery

mefacebookMore promises, more excuses, more ludicrous claims, more failures….on and on the financialised model of capitalism stumbles. But as criticisms of it arise, élite narratives get darker, and its reactions increasingly illiberal. Yet again, The Slog ponders what real motives are in play, and what end ‘synthesis’ the 3% have in mind: is there a conspiracy, or just a bunch of sociopaths with similar problems?

Having used Brexit as the culprit for the last few weeks, the markets are now looking towards the US Presidential election as the next reason why everything is upside down, facing backwards and slowing down at one and the same time. After that they’ll have the French Presidential contest to fire at, and months of nailbiting as to whether Le Pen will win and set off Frogxit.

But there’s a deal of Freudian slip on show from the skirts of Madamoiselle Néoliberale at the moment, and it’s this: the tone apparent in all this bleating reveals one thing in common being quietly pushed: ‘This pesky damned democracy is a pain in the ass’.

Schäuble kicked off the process in 2009 by flatly refusing to let Papandreou hold a referendum on the Greek debt he’d inherited. The Wizened Wheelchair then tried it again for the next Greek elections, but this time even Sarkozy told him to shutTF up.

The EU loathes democracy: it gets in the way. Why else would you have the President, the Executive Commission and the Eurogroupe fiscal committee completely unelected? Because the experience of the Sprouts has been that, every time they have an insane idea, the Irish, the French, the Spaniards and the Greeks vote against it. As Tony Benn wisely remarked years ago, from day one the idea was to create a corporate state bulwark between West and East: très Gaulliste, c’est sur…except that old Bigconk was a democrat who refused to give in to the Nazis.

For all his shady dealings and consciously misleading buffoon act, Boris Johnson was right to suggest that the current EU federalist drive is simply Hitler’s ambition for Europe achieved without all that messy Blitzkrief mularkey. Some self-appointed ‘experts’ have been trolling around over the weekend calling the parallel “mangled history” but it most definitely isn’t. If you look at the advertising and leaflets put out by the Nazis in the occupied territories after 1940, they are highly consistent in calling Europeans to join the “anti-bolshevik army” with their own special divisions. Many were embarrassed by this later, but the truth is that the Europäische Freiwillige (meaning “European Volunteers”) made up a staggering 38 Nazi non-German divisions by 1942, and the volunteers to be Waffen-SS exterminators came in thick and fast: the Freiwilligen made up one half of the entire Waffen-SS fighting force on the Eastern Front.

But this post doesn’t set out to be another ‘FFS look at the obvious and get out of the EU’: rather, it wants to shout the unmentionable. Which is, not only do some élites have the democratic political system as their next main target, a terrifying percentage of our electorates lack any real commitment to it.

This is not a planned conspiracy: as always, it’s a bunch of people with the same undeserved superiority complex coming to the same conclusion: “Basil Fawlty was right, this hotel would run better if the guests did as they were told and took what they were given”.

The tenor of the latest Bloomberg articles on volladiverdeeee is to position the democratic process as an anti-catalyst that delivers uncertainty to business. And of course, nothing must be allowed to get in the way of business: we must all show that we’re “open for business”…..even if that means the demolition of the Constitution, the impoverishment of the People, and the degrading of all-important elements in the socio-administrative infrastructure.

I find it bitterly ironic that fourth-rate Western politicians have rendered this a much easier argument to make to those of an ignorant and/or narrow intellect; for to be BoJo for a sentence here, the bickering clowns of Weimar had exactly the same effect. “Let’s just dump the lot of them,” suggested Dolfi – and so they did.

The irony is that the political class is useless because it only obeys the munnneeee….and the money comes from the giant banks, multinationals, and media companies. We the voters don’t get a look in: we merely get promised lots of goodies, and then get to see lots of baddies like Sir Philip Green, Rupert Murdoch or Gary Cohn evading the Law.


 

But one thing above all continues to confuse and at times mystify me: where do these allegedly clever élites think they’re going with their project to make mutual or public owership of stuff the work of the Devil? What do they see evolving out of their obviously flawed model of more credit and lower wages…of in effect, the wholesale transfer of power from labour to capital?

I recognise that regular Sloggers will see where I’m going here, because we’ve been down this road together many times before. But to be honest, I still don’t have what I would call an answer that is in any way convincing.

For example….one simple observation: robots don’t have tea and pee breaks or periods and broken bones – and they don’t want to be paid, just yet. But robots don’t consume either. So how are the humans left going to make up for non-robotic consumption? And more to the point, if the value of their wages falls 33% every twenty years, how will the humans earning less or getting less and less welfare be able to even keep consuming….let alone consume more.

We have an economic model which is by definition deflationary, and a banking model  that requires sovereign money printing….and so is by definition inflationary. Where’s that going – do they want me to believe that the one will cancel the other out?

Let’s say bank bailins become more common….as they must. So over a year, say, 450,000 people lose their deposits. How much consuming will they do afterwards?

Over in the UK, some 3.2 million older women are in the process of having their pensions put back by from 2-6 years. Work out what that will take out of the economy, and/or cost in other benefits.

Take my example: I worked out two weeks ago that 7 years of Zirp have cost me a staggering £28,400 in lost interest – and QE slashed my pension by a third as I’d gone into ‘bear notes’, expecting markets to decline….as of course they should have done. There are some 4.2 million baby-boomers in a similar position to mine. Do the multiplication: these are big numbers, and they all spell one thing – lost demand.

Extrapolating forward, none of it makes an iota of sense. More people on welfare, more currency printing to pay their benefits, higher and higher sovereign debts, falling global demand, higher and higher trade deficits, more privatisation of healthcare, fewer in the labour force that can afford such care, more days off work, more robots, less investment in education, fewer workforce skills developed, long term unemployment, more welfare, more money-printing, shrinking economies, more welfare cuts, banks unable to make a turn on Zirp or Nirp, more bank failures, more bailins, more lost demand, more welfare, greater and greater inequities of wealth, the decline of mass consumption, and thus the inability to kickstart a mass consumption economy based on credit nobody can afford (or they’re maxed out), more bank failures after collapsing credit sales, plummeting market valuations of banks and manufacturers, more QE, unrepayable sovereign debt alongside property asset bubbles, more affordable housing covering the remaining land given over to producing food…..

So with me – as this is so blindingly obvious – it always comes down to two possibilities:

  1. Are those in charge stupid?
  2. Are those in charge mad?

And there are those everywhere on the internet that say “It’s a conspiracy….there’s a plan”.


 

Stupid people don’t have the vision or skills to work out the details of a conspiracy, or ‘caper’ if you like. And mad people have plans that can only end in tears, because their belief system never fits reality. Furthermore, they’re useless at sharing in a conspiracy, because their world revolves around themselves: they squabble with others, and so either the entire mission collapses, or they purge the naysayers and become dictators.

I simply do not believe that the Bilderbergers, Elders of Zion, central bankers, military or media moguls are conspiring either as sectors or severally. If they were, we wouldn’t have such a variety of views, policies, models and goals. Summers goes to Davos, as does Blankfein; you couldn’t find two people further apart on policy. The BoJ is experimenting with Nirp, the BoE says it would never go near it, period. Murdoch is steadfast in his belief that paywalls can work, Dacre says no way.

I have long believed that the gold price is manipulated in the same way that Libor was: but those are cases where two relatively homogenous communities need to save their necks – respectively by stopping a gold rush away from stocks, and by ensuring profits during a period of acute cash flow and credit shortages.

Thus, to keep gold cheap – and then stop trading in it while revaluing it in bank accountancy – is again one consistent community cheating to restore their control. To abolish cash – and then rejig all the sovereign debt equations – is by contrast are far more complicated task assuming the same consistency of goals: and for the time being, not only does that not apply, it would move the ClubMed economies off the flatlining table and into the mortuary.

So are they all stupid, and convinced that can-kicking can just go on and on until “something turns up”; or are they mad, and stand ready to put some diabolical actions into operation?

At various times on various sites, I have seen the following theories:

  • The useless poor will be variously gassed/allowed to starve/eaten in order to get rid of ‘the problem’.
  • They will form a vast domestic and convenience class of slaves doing everything the 3% are too busy making money to do: gardening, delivering, servicing, painting, cleaning and so on. That means 32 servants for every megarich person: quite a retinue.
  • Everyone with an IQ below 115 will be covertly sterilised via welfare food supplies.
  • The 3% will retreat behind gated communities guarded by former navy seals, SAS commandos and crack Russian combat soldiers.
  • All manufacturing will be robotised to cater for very high-value items aimed at the 3%, and former skilled industrial labour will work tending the livestock, tilling the crops and weaving baskets.

I doubt if anyone beyond a few nutters who stroke cats and live under the seabed entertain ideas like those. But the startling thing is, project the current trends forward and that’s where one or more of those ‘solutions’ ends up….if the élites retain control of the situation.

And that’s where I differ from most soothsayers: I think the overwhelming majority of the shovers and makers are just greedy opportunists in denial, and capable of saying each and every morning that things can all work out. I don’t think they have a plan beyond ensuring that wealth, security guards and helicopter pads can keep them safe. Their goggly-saucer eyes see only advantage. Their ever-open mouths consume only full glasses of superb wine and cing-toque cuisine. Their plausible manners seek the total conviction of those they wish to persuade. And their compassion is absent….except when used on a sleeve as part of the persuasion process.

I think this 90% of the 3% will be wrong-footed by a random event or events. There will be a spark, followed by a social impasse, followed in turn by a panic. Following which – as the barons of the DDR found – no amount of satellites, surveillance, armed robocops or informants will be able to get a grip on seven things happening at once on four continents.

Nobody – but nobody – knows what will happen afterwards. The biggest danger is the filling of the vacuum (left after élite super-optimism collides with reality) by person or persons very likely to be unfit for the purpose of regaining some kind of balance between the material and the fulfilling.

Where’s Jeremy Bentham when you need him, that’s what I say.

From the Weekend Slog: The tricky task of waking up Middle England