Monday, February 13, 2017

The Oligarchy Inches Towards Implosion

The New York Stock Exchange After Trump's executive order to partially bar Muslims from entering the U.S. caused markets to dip.
Following the death last year of the infamous noliberal trade deal the Trans-Pacific Partnership, its creators are now trying to bring it back in a new and even more dangerous form. The Trade in Services Agreement, in addition to including the TPP's aspects of allowing corporations to sue governments over lost profits and making it so that still more American jobs would be shipped out, expands on the TPP's unreasonably extended copyright laws in that it calls for the elimination of internet neutrality. In other words TiSA is the Christmas list of an oligarchy that didn't get what it wanted last year. And the worst part of this is that Donald Trump, the supposed champion of a fairer American trade model, may well be the one who passes it.

Trump, in addition to having rather suspiciously still not revealed his stance on TiSA, seems likely to pass it because he's deeply tied to one of the interests that would benefit from him doing so, by which I mean (you guessed it) Goldman Sachs. While Trump didn't take any money from the bank throughout his campaign, he's just as beholden to it as Hillary Clinton was, with much of his cabinet being made up of former Goldman executives. Telling from this, one could speculate, Goldman Sachs has pulled off a cruel bait and switch on the Rust Belt voters who decided the 2016 election. They've presented to these economically insecure whites a candidate that seemed far more likely than his opponent to prevent more U.S. jobs from being shipped out, and then made it so that he would sign a trade deal that posed even more of a threat to the livelihood of (for now) working people.

Assuming all of that is the case, the benefactors of the neoliberal order have stooped to a new low in their forty years-running quest for more. They've presented the victims of their plunder, tauntingly it seems, with a completely false way out of the vicious cycle of economic inequality. And their next power grab will be even more extensive and vicious.

As quickly and shrewdly as possible, the Trump administration is working towards full control over society for both the alt-right and the corporate state. Already, Trump and his far more sinister and intelligent puppeteers have begun to dismantle some of the fundamental facets of our democracy, having worked to dis-empower dissenting forces within the government as many of their lower-ranking allies have attempted to take away the public's right to peacefully protest.

And this is just a hint of what's coming. Throughout the following months, the Trump government, with the help of a terrorist attack for which they'll be inadvertently responsible, will conduct a staggering coup within the U.S. government. Opposition to the state and its ideology will be silenced. Mass incarceration and the authority of police will be expanded indefinitely. The glorification of nationalism, war, and violations of human rights that we experienced after 9/11 will repeat itself, this time to a far greater significance. The increased consolidation of economic and political power that's occurred for the past half-century will become turbocharged, along with the effort to suppress dissent from the public.

That is, if the public doesn't disable the state's authority do so so beforehand.

The resistance-by which I mean the resistance against not just the Trump regime but the neoliberal order in general-has gotten off to a more than respectable start. Around a third of the days since Trump's election have seen protests against him, organizations like Justice Democrats and the ACLU have experienced a massive surge in donations, and the various strikes and boycotts planned for Trump's term are gaining great momentum. But despite the massive energy we've seen building in opposition to the coming autocracy, I fear not enough is being done to avoid the fate mentioned above.

Too often do I see my fellow progressives dismissing the notion that Trump poses a threat to the republic as fearmongering spread by neoliberal Democrats. Too many Americans continue to regard Trump and his agenda as fairly nonthreatening, with just 46% opposing Trump's partial ban of Muslims, only 53% trusting a federal judge more than the president to decide the fate of a law, and a far too low 49% (citing a poll from last May) viewing Trump as a fascist. And most discouragingly, just 25% of Americans, and that's including just 40% of Democratic women, intend to become more politically involved.

And without a vast majority of Americans being firmly behind the resistance, its cause stands a good chance of failing. "We don’t have much time," one of this movement's leaders Kali Akuno is quoted as saying last week when talking to Chris Hedges. "We are talking two to three months before this whole [reactionary] initiative is firmly consolidated. And that’s with massive resistance."

The irony of all this, though, is that all the time, with every appalling action Trump and Friends take, they move themselves closer to a political black hole. And they may draw themselves into it within the time frame that Akuno mentions.

For the last eight years-or perhaps far longer-the world economy has been heading towards a crash that may be the 21sy century Great Depression. This lurch towards collapse has been due to a wide series of problems with how our economy is structured, most ominously among them the wind down of oil production that's been happening for the last several decades and will continue to happen, to disastrous effect, throughout the several decades to come. But in the shorter term, this depletion of resources has mainly been causing trouble in how we've chosen to order our economy.

Following the 1970's recession largely brought on by 1972's all-time peak in oil production, the advocates of a more elite-oriented economic system were provided with an opening for pushing their agenda. The political establishment, persuaded by the pitch that money needed to be saved amid the economic downturn, abandoned the model of restrained capitalism introduced by FDR and took on an economic worldview of free market fundamentalism. As a result, the economy has grown highly unstable since then, with a refusal on the government's part to provide a level economic playing field having increased poverty and stunted growth while lack of sufficient taxation on the wealthy has driven up the national debt. This unsustainable dynamic of a top-heavy economy, which has been present for the last forty years in not just the U.S. but in most other major countries, is setting us up for a repeat of the crash of 1929 (which, predictably, was also caused by extreme economic inequality). And this Judgement Day for neoliberalism is approaching very quickly.

As was also the case with the Great Depression, the next financial crisis will be set off by an American banking system that's come to be based on fraud. For the past twenty years, our economy has become more and more controlled by more and more corrupt financial institutions, starting with Clinton's Wall Street deregulations. After the crash that resulted from those policies, the government, incredibly, took an even more destructive course of action, having allowed the big banks to become further consolidated and powerful. Now the economy is in a better position than ever for failure, being highly financialized in addition to the two other problems I mentioned. And Donald Trump, with his tendency to disrupt markets and economically destabilizing ultra-neoliberal policies, is sure to speed up the arrival of the new financial crisis, which is expected to come sometime this year regardless.

When Trump and the neoliberal order push the economy off a cliff, though, it's possible they'll go right down with it. A great deal of those who for now remain politically apathetic, along with many current supporters of Trump and the status quo he represents, will no longer be willing to stand by when the consequences of the establishment's self-serving actions culminate in a sudden hollowing out of the middle class. Amid the staggering disappearance of wealth, a political vacuum will form in the ruins of Trump's coalition. And it will be filled by a movement to take the country back from moneyed interests that's strengthened by the newfound support of millions of the regime's former supporters.

From the start, the oligarchy has been gradually setting things up for its own demise. And it's reasonable to expect that very soon, the conditions will become right for a transition towards a sustainable and just society.


  1. I've been saying since the 2008 bailout and congress's failure to enact meaningful financial regulation and break up the big banks, that we are heading for another financial meltdown that will be worse than the Great Recession. It's a matter of when, not if.

  2. Well, I've been fully fleeced by 2008 crash. Nothing left to lose, like many senior citizens.