Monday, June 15, 2009

Empires Seldom Decline Peacefully, Never Gracefully

There's a king-hell, big goddam shit-storm a'comin'!

This week, finance and economics officials from Russia, China, India, Singapore, Pakistan, and Iran--the more or less 'developed' states of Eurasia, from the Indian Ocean to the Moldau River, and the natural proprietors of the huge energy resources in the Trans-Casapian region--are gathering in the Russian city where the Russian Empire died (Yekaterinaberg--aka Sverdlosk--where the last Romanovs were assassinated) to decide the future of the American Empire.

Not whether that decline should occur--that's already baked into the bread. It's happening, and is unstoppable.

Rather, what's at issue are the questions "when," "how it should be 'managed' by its creditors," and "who gets what pieces of the corpse?"

Chris Hedges, perhaps the gloomiest pundit in America, writing for Bob Sheer's TruthDig, lays out both the scenario for the decline (which has already begun, is irreversible, and inevitable). Like just about every previous exemplar of the art, we will have "defended" ourselves to death: half of ALL USer so-called "discretionary spending" is on the military, either for support of aggressive USer militarism abroad, or for domestic production of the tools of the Imperium.

The US dollar will, in all likelihood, be removed as the 'defaut' or 'reserve' currency at these economic meetings (conspicuously without attendance by ANY USer representatives). What will this mean? Hedges quotes Brit historian/economist Michael Hudson on the consequences:
I called Hudson, who has an article in Monday’s Financial Times called “The Yekaterinburg Turning Point: De-Dollarization and the Ending of America’s Financial-Military Hegemony.” “Yekaterinburg,” Hudson writes, “may become known not only as the death place of the czars but of the American empire as well.” His article is worth reading, along with John Lanchester’s disturbing exposé of the world’s banking system, titled “It’s Finished,” which appeared in the May 28 issue of the London Review of Books.

“This means the end of the dollar,” Hudson told me. “It means China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Iran are forming an official financial and military area to get America out of Eurasia. The balance-of-payments deficit is mainly military in nature. Half of America’s discretionary spending is military. The deficit ends up in the hands of foreign banks, central banks. They don’t have any choice but to recycle the money to buy U.S. government debt. The Asian countries have been financing their own military encirclement. They have been forced to accept dollars that have no chance of being repaid. They are paying for America’s military aggression against them. They want to get rid of this.” (Emphases supplied. W.)
That looks bleak, and gets bleaker.
“We have in effect had to declare war to get us out of the hole created by our economic system,” Lanchester wrote in the London Review of Books. “There is no model or precedent for this, and no way to argue that it’s all right really, because under such-and-such a model of capitalism ... there is no such model. It isn’t supposed to work like this, and there is no road-map for what’s happened.”
What's happened and what's gonna happen are irremediably linked. With the fall of the dollar, conditions for "average Americans" will soon decay to desperation:
The cost of daily living, from buying food to getting medical care, will become difficult for all but a few as the dollar plunges.

States and cities will see their pension funds drained and finally shut down. The government will be forced to sell off infrastructure, including roads and transport, to private corporations. We will be increasingly charged by privatized utilities—think Enron—for what was once regulated and subsidized.

Commercial and private real estate will be worth less than half its current value. The negative equity that already plagues 25 percent of American homes will expand to include nearly all property owners. It will be difficult to borrow and impossible to sell real estate unless we accept massive losses. There will be block after block of empty stores and boarded-up houses. Foreclosures will be epidemic.

There will be long lines at soup kitchens and many, many homeless. Our corporate-controlled media, already banal and trivial, will work overtime to anesthetize us with useless gossip, spectacles, sex, gratuitous violence, fear and tawdry junk politics. America will be composed of a large dispossessed underclass and a tiny empowered oligarchy that will run a ruthless and brutal system of neo-feudalism from secure compounds. Those who resist will be silenced, many by force.

We will pay a terrible price, and we will pay this price soon, for the gross malfeasance of our power elite.
It's already too late to hold those sonsabitches to account.

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