Thursday, August 4, 2011
The End of the Consumer-Demand Economy
Nobody really wants to admit it, but the Deficit Crisis Crisis Deal has sealed the End of the Consumer-Demand Economy in the United States.
The only way to revive it temporarily under the circumstances is through inflating another bubble, with plenty of profit-taking at the top and even more thoroughgoing misery everywhere else when the bubble inevitably pops.
That's it. Period. Done.
The Consumer-Demand economy that we Americans were used to all those years has now shifted to China and India and most of the rest of Asia, somewhat to Latin America and isolated parts of Africa.
Maybe Russia under the Oligarchs will provide a model of where we're headed, I don't know, but if it is, it is hard to imagine that the proles won't be restless. The way they manage popular discontent in Russia is interesting. Apparently, it's largely a matter of propaganda from the now-free-and-independent media, mocking and suppressing truth-telling dissident voices, and raking an Oligarch over the coals from time to time (including show trials) to prove that the Government is on the People's side. Yay.
Apparently Putin and his Mini-Me, Medvedev, are wildly popular among the suffering masses, too, because "They Care!" and "They Do What's Necessary!" Yaay.
The implosion of the Soviet Union was quite a spectacular thing, given the constant propaganda in this country about how Evil and Powerful it was. I doubt the United States is going to go through exactly that sequence of disillusion and dissolution, with a handful of predators scarfing up everything of value left by the State before its final collapse, all in a period measured in months. But you never know.
It could happen if it were in the interests of Our Nation's Owners to let it happen.
The implosion of the Soviet Union is also what enables the current rounds of Austerity (for Thee) Economics throughout the West. This is what happens when global governing theory is a monopole. When there is essentially no counterweight to one form of governance and economic activity then that One-ness will tend to consume itself into oblivion.
That remains to be seen, doesn't it?
Lots of people are putting together their picture of what the Future will look like, and it is all dark and dismal and dreary.
At least it is in the West.
What makes Krugman, et al, so livid about what is happening before our very eyes is that it doesn't have to be this way. Even with Peak Oil and Climate Change and all the other overriding conditions that are supposedly pushing this outcome on everyone.
No, it doesn't have to be this way at all. The ending of a consumer-demand economy implies its replacement with some adaptation of a subsistence economy -- which was basically what the Communitarian hippies were all about back in the day. (The Liberationist hippies, on the other hand, became hedge fund managers and corporate and plaintiff's attorneys!)
In other words, we -- well some of us -- have already been down this road, figured out how to work it pretty well, and have no problem returning to (if we ever left) a subsistence way of life.
For the urban masses, it's a difficult transition, but it's possible.