History's Take on America

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tabletop's picture
tabletop
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 14 2009
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History's Take on America

How will history books cover American culture in 200 years? I am of
the opinion that history will see the American lust for credit and
insatiable desire for stuff with the same evolved disapproval that we
view the Ancient Roman lust for blood and violence. Over the past 30
years the word "entitlement" has come to take on a whole new
signification in America. No longer are the days where entitlement is
the assumed security blanket trio of Social Security, Medicare and
Medicaid. The new American entitlement is a guarantee of an endless
credit limit that allows an individual to purchase anything that their
heart desires regardless of whether or not they have the liquidity to
afford it.

This model has worked for us. The growing American
lust for stuff and availability of credit allowed our country to fund
incredible levels of innovation and growth across almost every sector
of our economy. Where the Romans, the British and other historic
empires had to expand outward to sustain consistent economic growth, we
found a model that was fueled internally and non-violently;
consistently drive higher demand while increasing availability of
credit to the entire society. The model spans from the ground up and
from the top down all at once. Our largest companies are as dependent
on credit as the individuals in our culture; so dependent in fact that
the current dry-up in credit availability threatens to throw the world
into unprecedented economic downturn. They also have the additional
vaporous revenue stream that is the speculation also know as
'investments' in the stock markets which are now little more than
legalized gambling after so many years of deregulation.

It
worked for many years. Even beyond the current crisis, it may work for
many more. Ultimately, it is a formula for implosion. The 700 billion
dollar government bailout was just the tip of the iceberg. This will be
the action around which future history books will write that
entitlements moved from being a security mechanism for the most needy
in the society to being blanket government coverage for any level of
irresponsibility, poor decisions or irresponsibility at any level of
the society. We are now starting to see the industry pile-on. Major
financial institutions led the way then an insurance giant and now the
auto industry has voiced what is little more than a threat that they
have only to year's end before running dry on funds to sustain the
$100,000 salaries of their union labor force and their long standing
lack of innovation.

The bailouts may work in the short-term. I
don't carry the expertise to refute this. Even the experts however seem
to agree upon the fact that our government spends way more than it
makes. Our 10 trillion dollar debt is a testament to this fact. Most
individuals in our culture are a mirror of this same behavior as our
government. It's acceptable. We never think twice about it. We want
something, we just get a loan or we put it on our credit card or we get
a payment plan. When terrorists bomb our cities, instead of directing
citizens to huddle as families and fill our grain stores, our leaders
tell us to go shopping.

When in the history of the world has
there ever been an entire developed society that is capable of
sustaining a model of spending more resources than they are capable of
regenerating without some form of territorial expansion? Expansion at
this point is probably not likely as we have created a global nuclear
deterrent that seems to hold the most powerful states on the planet
from driving too far beyond their borders. So, we must somehow restart
the flow of credit to both industry and individuals to subsequently
restart overall market growth and invite further investment in the
market. Rather than learn a lesson from our current difficulties, we
are doing everything in our power, including giving the government
mandate to spend more money that they don't have, to return to the
status quo.

Now that the precedent is set for bailing out
industry for a lack of accountability it is possible that we will begin
to see an increased frustration and pressure from individuals,
communities and small businesses for the Federal Government to provide
similar debt forgiveness. Who amongst us would not welcome it? I would
surmise that most Americans carry immensely greater amounts of debt
relative to that of any society in the history of the world. Why would
we, the individuals not eventually expect the same forgiveness as our
pillars of industry? What happens after several rounds of boom/bust
with the government providing increasing assistance to industry
regardless of industry's inability to retain financial liquidity and
stability?

If we cannot find a way to change course and
attitudes, I believe that the history books in 200 years might write
that this very point in history is where we laid the foundations of a
new kind of revolution, a revolution that could only be birthed out of
a system that encouraged unprecedented levels of debt and then pardoned
only a fortunate few. Imagine the scene after the government depletes
it coffers by saving an endless line of industry behemoths while at the
same time programs that benefit individuals will slowly and silently
start being cut from the budget. We aren't hearing it from any of our
politicians as such a statement is political death but rest assured
there is no way out of this without cutting something. The history
books in 200 years will tell of a new kind of revolution that took
place in the mid 21st century. This revolution will be a bloodless,
non-violent revolution where there is really no moral high ground. All
involved parties in this revolution, governments and individuals were
equally as guilty. The history books will tell of groups of citizens
essentially bringing down governments without so much as a word or
action but rather an inaction. After years of government bailouts and
growing government quasi-ownership of all major financial institutions,
citizens in the 21st century will be the first in history to bring a
government to it's knees with one simple collective show of spiteful
disapproval; not paying their credit cards.

tabletop's picture
tabletop
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 14 2009
Posts: 29
Re: History's Take on America

I should have stated that I wrote this piece above before taking the crash course.  You will see me make some assumptions in the piece that reflect my lack of big picture understanding. While I still stand by the general premise of this piece, I am ever grateful to Chris Martenson for giving me the even greater knowledge to truly understand our rapidly changing world.

Alex Szczech's picture
Alex Szczech
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 31 2008
Posts: 105
Re: History's Take on America

Nice essay crkeesey. I agree with the basic thrust of what you're saying, although I suspect we won't have to wait 200 years for history to pass judgement on contemporary times. Tongue out

Moreover, 200 years hence -- after runaway global warming has destroyed our biosphere -- there may no longer be any humans around to write history. Or the few surviving pockets of humans will have much more immediate concerns.

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