In times of universal deceit, telling
the truth is a revolutionary act.
         - George Orwell


Napoleon once observed that "history" is a set of lies agreed upon. In an era of ubiquitous fake news and information warfare, this has never been more true. The very concept of objective truth in history is fading out of our world. Pure propaganda and outright lies are passing into our history textbooks as unquestioned truth, condemning future generations to false views about historical reality. But the task of sifting through the lies and propaganda is overwhelming, limited by the ambition and time constraints of most observors. Only those who have dedicated their lives to sorting reality from falsehood are qualified to rewrite "consensus" history as a duty to humanity. The contributors to this site endeavor to do just that.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The American Polity is Disintegrating Before Our Very Eyes

       As I noted yesterday, the political culture in Washington is descending into complete and utter madness. On the one side you have the president and his supporters, who are trying to chip away at the culture of crime and corruption which have infested every state agency, epitomized by pizzagate. On the other side you have the Deep State and its mainstream media accomplices who are desperate to protect the corruption ratlines that profit from covert operations and institutionalized crime.  They fear that if Trump is successful, tens of thousands of politicians and employees of the federal government would end up going to jail, and the outrage would spark a Second American Revolution.
       These are two diametrically opposed forces. Mainstream media (with the occasional exception of Fox News) is fully behind one side in this battle. 95% of the population is completely unaware just how bad the crime and corruption are in Washington.  Trump's hands are tied. "Left" and "right" are digging their trenches, and a new civil war is only One Impeachment away.  America is fragmenting, and the future is looking ugly.

       For the sake of humanity, we need to envision a way forward out of this morass.

Consider the following article, which looks at the root causes of the current crisis:

Why We're Fragmenting: The Status Quo Is Disintegrating

Tyler Durden's picture
The system is disintegrating, and slapping a "reformist" coat of paint over the dryrot cannot renew the structural timbers that have rotted to their very core.
I confess to being amused by the mainstream media's implicit view that everything would be peachy if only Trump wasn't president. Memo to MSM: the nation is fragmenting for reasons that have nothing to do with who's president, or indeed, which party is the majority in Congress, who sits on the Supreme Court, or any other facet of governance.
The nation is fracturing and fragmenting because the Status Quo is failing the majority of the citizenry. The protected few are reaping all the benefits of the Status Quo, at the expense of the unprotected many.
As I have outlined many times, this unsustainable asymmetry is the only possible outcome of our socio-economic system, which is dominated by these forces:
1. Globalization--free flow of capital, labor arbitrage
2. Nearly free money from central banks for financiers and corporations
3. Pay-to-play "democracy"
4. State protected cartels that privatize gains and socialize losses
5. A system stripped of self-correcting feedback and accountability
Once you understand the inputs and structure, you realize there is no other possible output other than unsustainably expanding debt and wealth/income inequality. Policy tweaks cannot change the output; all they do is provide an illusion of reform that serves the need of those at the top to obscure the systemic injustices and unsustainability of the extractive, exploitive, predatory, parasitic system that's enriching them.
What do people do when centralized systems fail to deliver what was promised? They fragment into smaller "tribes" and find fewer reasons to cooperate in centralized systems. As historian-economist Peter Turchin explained in his 2016 book Ages of Discord, human history manifests cycles of social disintegration and integration in which the impulse to cooperate in large social structures waxes and wanes.
Turchin identified 25-year cycles that combine into roughly 50-year cycles, comparable (though not identical with) Kondratieff's proposed economic cycles.
These 50-year cycles are part of longer 150 to 200-year cycles that move from cooperation through an age of discord and disintegration to a new era of cooperation.
These long cycles parallel the cyclical analysis of David Hackett Fischer, whose masterwork The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History I've referenced many times over the years, most recently in We've Entered an Era of Rising Instability and Uncertainty (July 18, 2016).
Turchin's model identifies three primary forces in these cycles:
1. An over-supply of labor that suppresses real (inflation-adjusted) wages
2. An overproduction of essentially parasitic Elites
3. A deterioration in central state finances (over-indebtedness, decline in tax revenues, increase in state dependents, fiscal burdens of war, etc.)
These combine to influence the social order, which is characterized in eras of discord by declining loyalty to self-serving special interests (disintegration) and in eras of cooperation by a willingness to compromise for the good of the entire society (integration).
As I have often explained, centralization is now a disruptive drag rather than a benefit. Centralization provided widespread gains in efficiencies in its boost phase, but now that it is sliding down the S-curve, it only benefits the few at the expense of the many.
The returns on centralization have diminished to less than zero: centralization's primary outputs are now corruption, lack of accountability, cronyism, complexity moats and bureaucratic thickets that obscure the self-serving nature of centralized power.
The structural failure of our political-economic system cannot be remedied by electing a new president or swapping failed political parties. The system is disintegrating, and slapping a "reformist" coat of paint over the dryrot cannot renew the structural timbers that have rotted to their very core.
Identifying cycles can be a parlor game, but there is no denying that we're deep into a disintegrative phase that will probably come to a head between 2021 and 2029.

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