Epocalypse: What Trends Shape the World after Global Economic Collapse?
To divine the direction the world will take after global economic collapse, you have to understand the prevailing winds and the underlying tides. Look for the megatrends that are influences against which all other forces have minor affect.
In predicting that global economic collapse would happen this fall, I pointed out the headwinds that would continue to grow in force against the economies of this world. I called attention to the holes of debt that would continue to open up beneath global economies. Most of all, I noted that the withdrawal of central-bank economic stimulus would burst the recovery illusion because the mirage was not sustainable without that stimulus. Even if the stimulus continued, its effectiveness was almost depleted. Those were the megatrends I saw aligning to bring global economic collapse.
In another article, I wrote about what should have happened for recovery to be real (but didn’t) I’ve also written about the new solution that is now necessary — a global economic reboot. A Year of Jubilee, as it is called in the Jewish tradition, needs to happen; but it won’t because it is anathema to the global banking powers that enslave others.
Now, I want to turn your attention to why it is that am I certain the right course to recovery will not be taken. In short, it is not the direction that the prevailing winds and tides of this world are moving, and it is those mega forces or megatrends that will determine the future. Not what ought to be. Not what will work. The right path has very little chance of being accepted in the face of such overwhelming forces, which have broad public support. Let me explain why.
What megatrends drove the world after the last global economic collapse?
There is no better predictor of the future than the past.
We knew we had a problem that was a mortgage crisis — a huge overhang of debt that could not be supported and that collapsed. What solution did the world take? Was it to shrink debt? No. All the nations of the world pursued the path the US pursued, which was to do everything possible to make credit more available again and to entice people to take out more debt in order consume more. We pushed back up housing prices as much as we could, pushed up stock prices. Bigger, bigger, bigger.
We are big on buying. We are bigger on big buying. We are big on debt to make that possible and bigger still on big debt. There is no limit to how much debt we are willing to take on. We are big on bigness, and debt gets us to that image of bigness faster. So, we took the bad debts of individuals and businesses and piled them up into mountainous debts of nations so that individuals and businesses could take out more. Since the Great Recession began, indebtedness has become vastly bigger than it was when it was already too big to avoid collapse.
We knew that a second part of our problem was banks that were too big to fail. We had let banks become so big that a failure of even one of them would be catastrophic. Did we solve the problem by breaking big banks down into smaller components? No. We solved the problem by making them bigger. The Federal Reserve actually forced struggling banks to merge as the main framework of their answer to the problem of banks that were too big to fail. The masses did not complain about this solution but passively let it happen.
Nor did we solve the problem by letting big banks fail and then creating new money in small, healthy banks for the depositors. Instead, we created vast amounts of new money in the accounts of the big banks that already ruled the world. Bigger holes of debt and vastly greater sums of money flowing into them.
We didn’t stop mortgage-backed securities or derivative investments with junk loans buried inside. We created more of them.
When we give tax breaks to stimulate the economy, do we give them to the consumers that we hope to entice into doing big buying? No. We give them to the “job creators” in the form of capital gains breaks and other investment breaks that help primarily the top 10%. The masses readily go along with this in the belief that the rich are the successful ones who have the knowledge to save us. The money will trickle down, the masses keep saying; but it hasn’t and won’t.
We all know that the middle class has shrunk, so we have no excuse not to know the money did not trickle down. We can all see that the rich got richer (bigger) while the middle class stagnated, but did that stop people from voting for and arguing in favor of trickle-down economics? No. The belief that the big are big because they are smartly successful and, therefore, better equipped to save us prevails. We believe in big and admire big. It is the prevailing wind to go even bigger in search of answers.
When we looked for answers to the crisis, did we look for the obscure names that had not been listened to? No, we looked exclusively to the big names who created the crisis or who, like Ben Bernanke, failed completely to see it coming. Even though they created the greed and corruption or failed to regulate it or to see it as a problem, we looked exclusively toward them. They were famous (had big reputations), so they must surely be the people who could save us. In fact, congress, rather than working out the solutions, gave the entire job over to those same big people who run the world’s biggest bank — the Federal Reserve.
Did we audit the Federal Reserve or restructure it since it was the architect of the last global economic collapse? No. We empowered it even more. We made the big head of the nation’s biggest bank the Rescue Czar. We gave him unconditional power to bail out banks secretly, to choose what banks get bailed and which ones fold and to create as much money as he could possibly want to create at will. We gave him almost absolute economic power. In the process, the almighty congress abdicated its responsibility and forfeited its own power by not taking control.
Did we put big people in jail? No. They’re too big to jail. They have big friends in government.
How far back does the addiction to bigness go?
To understand how pervasive our desire is for big answers and how ready we are to cede power to bigger government, let’s look all the way back to George Bush II. He, too, ceded power to the colossal, and no one raised an eyebrow. He claimed he was big on capitalism, but said that he had to give up his capitalist principles when the global economy collapsed by bailing out the biggest failed capitalists. Capitalism, when it is truly practiced, is as decentralized and democratic as an economy gets. It allows the amorphous non-entity called “the market” to decide who wins, who fails, etc. The market is nothing more than economic democracy in a Capitalist society. When the mighty fall, they fall hard; but George Bush intervened with the power of big government to save the mighty who were falling.
Look back further. Everyone has believed that Republicans are the party that is against big government. That isn’t true. Both parties ARE government. Both parties want to be as absolutely big and powerful as they can be. The only difference is which part of government they want to grow — the welfare state or the warfare state. The Democrats favor the former as an area of government growth; Republicans, the latter.
Thus, for George Bush, the answer when intelligence agencies failed to communicate important facts with each other at the time of 9/11 was not to reduce government bureaucracy but to increase it — to increase it exponentially. Rather than tell the heads of intelligence agencies, “I am demanding you resolve this communication failure between yourselves. You work out the answer. In six month’s I’m going to test the system by inputing some information, and I’m going to see if that critical information makes it to me from all agencies. If it doesn’t, I’m going to find out where the communication stopped and fire the person in charge of that department. And then we’ll do this again.” No, that would be firing his cronies — the big people. His answer was to create an entirely new and bigger department of government called Homeland Security and place it in charge of the other government entities — more government as an answer to solving the problem of already bloated government.
Did the masses of small-government Republicans complain? Not much because big government in the direction of the warfare state is the way they roll. More intelligence fits the warfare model. So, even the Republican Party is not about shrinking government; it’s about shrinking the welfare state while building up the warfare state. You see, both parties want more power (bigness). One wants power through muscle. The other through cultivated dependancy. Both are paths to greater power over the passive masses.
Still think Republicans are against big government? Look again. The other response to 9/11 was much greater big-brother intrusion on privacy and our constitutional rights. The power of the government to ignore the constitution by spying without warrants was rapidly expanded during Bush’s term through the creation of a huge spy complex that could and did record all phone calls and all emails all over the world. It was by far the biggest spying operation ever. This was not something that was just learned about during the Obama era as a result of Edward Snowden. Heck, I remember reading all about the creation of this spy system back in the Bush days — about the huge black building being created to house floors of computers for storing all internet and cellular data so it could be retrieved if needed.
Even if you never saw those articles, you know something that huge could not possibly have been built and fully implemented between the time Obama took power and Snowden made his revelations. It puzzled me that people were even surprised by Snowden’s revelations. I had read all about these things years before — shortly after 9/11. Apparently, very few people cared to notice back then since many were surprised by Snowden later, but I suppose that was because they didn’t care that government was getting bigger. Big government monitoring of all internet and cellular data made them feel more secure, not less secure.
The reason things will keep moving in the direction of these megatrends is that today’s citizen craves security more than freedom. The days in which citizens will en mass give up their lives to keep or acquire liberty are gone. Republicans seek security in the superpower warfare state. Democrats seek security in the overwhelming welfare state. One is the security of offensive and defensive force. The other is the security of back up and safety nets. For the sake of security, citizens have shown they will complacently yield almost any freedom.
So, the big spy state was made bigger under Bush in answer to the insecurity we felt from 9/11; but Demcocrats love that kind of power, too, though it is not their modus operandi. Thus, Obama has done all he can to keep from dismantling this huge spy complex once it was revealed and to go after the little guy — Edward Snowden, who revealed nothing more than what the press had described several years earlier when it was under construction.
Bigger new government agencies to direct other already huge government agencies. Bigger spy complexes. Fewer freedoms for the individual with constitutional protections of the individual placed second to security increase the power of the collective over the individual. Bigger government deficits. Bigger government debts. Bigger homes. Flow of much greater wealth toward the already rich and powerful. More power and influence to bankers and those already viewed as big successes. Ever-increasing globalization. These are the megatrends you can clearly see as the prevailing winds and tides of human civilization. You may hate them when they’re spelled out, but you’d be hard-pressed to deny that they describe the drift of society over the past few decades.
Look further back, and you see George Bush I talking about a New World Order, by which he meant globalization with greater US hegemony influencing that globalization. Corporations extended their global reach by building more factories in other nations for cheaper labor. The little man and woman in the US got smaller as they had to compete against even littler men and women outside the US, but the big CEOs and shareholders got bigger. CEO salaries mushroomed as the salary of the little person stagnated. All wealth bubbled up, rather than trickled down. Yet, the trickle-down little people remain adamant that this is still the right solution. Reality be damned.
What megatrends will drive the world after global economic collapse?
As for the societal conditions that will come into being when the global economy does collapse, I’ll point out the following factors that will drive us toward more centralization and more globalization:
Civil unrest has grown a great deal in the US over racial issues and immigration issues. Harder times with broad new failures in the job market will only make that unrest worse, and that leans toward stronger government controls becoming necessary to sustain some semblance of peace. Anarchy is on the rise in our big cities as a form of rebellion against big government, and the ability of terrorists to exploit that anarchy is increasing.
Thus, the intrusion of big government will expand more into individual lives and out onto the street to combat anarchy because weak and conditioned people value security more than personal freedom. Police are already using bigger military armaments and tactics to contain unrest (armored vehicles, etc.). The police look more like an army than they used to. As much as people don’t like that, the growing need for stronger security will cause us to tolerate a government that looks more like a police state.
The recent Operation Jade Helm appears to be readying the military for working covertly among civilian populations in order to control tense situations. It appears to me that the government thinks stronger police departments don’t go far enough. The military appears to be training for the possibility of actual military support. Whether that is intended for possible use at home or not, I don’t know; but these are developing skills that could be employed at home if necessary, and a growing need for security likely means they will be. The ability of the president to seize full control during times of great political unrest was expanded under law.
Maybe the military suspects that terrorists will exploit situations of anarchy at home to bring their battle here. In which case, the military will need to be able to sort through who are the foreign terrorists and who are the citizens. (Especially with immigration running rampant over a border that everyone acknowledges is porous.) Government may be readying for the possibility that the war on terror will move onto our own homeland as terrorists clearly would like it to.
Whether due to internal uprising, looting during a global economic collapse, or the increased likelihood of foreign terror on domestic soil, a world that is increasingly hostile and less secure will cause people who value security over liberty to readily yield more power to bigger government to protect them from these wild forces.
When the financial props of the Great Recession are finally all removed (zero-interest policies of the Fed and quantitative easing) or simply exhaust their effectiveness, we’ll find out how great the Great Recession really is. As economic stimulus fails or is removed, everyone will see that the economy is dead, that sustainable recovery never happened. The economy will come unhinged. Desperation and fear will quickly follow. Desperate economic times create desperate people, willing to embrace answers they would never have accepted in better times.
Global economic collapse will demand a global answer
There is nothing bigger in the realm of human affairs than globalism. Any bigger than that goes beyond human affairs and becomes less relevant to civilization by becoming further removed from the world we live in. So, globalization is the biggest big for human society … at least for the time being.
Because this economic catastrophe is clearly already global, leaders will offer a global answer to the problem. People already want electronic money more than cash (which allows individual anonymity and, therefore, liberty) because they do much of their buying online. They will trade liberty for convenience and comfort. A global cashless answer will make sense because it will fill a recognized current need — going in a direction in which the world is already trending.
Because online buying constantly jumps borders without people even knowing they’re dealing with a company outside of their nation, the need or desire is growing for a global currency. Global currency requires a unified global economy (as we’ve seen with the Eurozone). A global economy that is unified around a single electronic currency will be seen as being stronger than the multi-faceted global economy that is now breaking apart.
All of that is why I believe we’re headed toward global economic answers. This will mean trading away local sovereignty over our economies, as we just witnessed Greece do when it caved entirely to European demands after only a few days of suffering, rather than striking out boldly for its own freedom. For all its big talk, Greece made itself an even weaker slave to its creditors in order to remain part of a global solution and for the sake of economic security. I don’t believe the majority of the citizens of the US are any braver or that they will stand any taller on principle if facing the same hardship. They will see globalism as the most natural progression and national sovereignty as regressive.
President Obama working toward a global answer for his career
Now, I move for a moment into a realm of speculation that cannot be proven by megatrends because it assumes personal motivation that I cannot actually know, but only infer from external facts. If you don’t go with me on Obama, don’t let it hinder your acceptance of what I’ve said above as I admit I am now jumping to a higher level of inference.
I think that Barrack Obama is moving toward a global answer for his own career. As he approaches the waning year of his presidency with no prospect to run again, his only possible move for greater power — if he wants it — is to become head of the United Nations. He’s still a young man as presidents go with a lot of life before him and probably a great desire to remain influential and to carry out what he sees as being his legacy for the good of the globe.
Currently, of course, the Secretary-General of the UN has less power than the president of the US, but I think that is why we see President Obama diminishing the sovereignty of the US and expanding the power of the UN. It is philosophical with him that the world is more important than the nation, but it also the only possible progression from being president of the US.
You can see movement in that direction in his latest global trade pact, over which congress yielded him czar-like powers to negotiate. You can see it in the final agreement with Iran that will be shepherded by the UN, not by the US. More recently, Obama joined with the pope in advocating global answers to humanity’s global crises before the UN — particularly the economy and the climate — in a pact that will diminish each nation’s sovereignty over its own affairs as those particular affairs are placed under the governance of international agencies of the UN.
During all this time, Obama has also decreased US hegemony in the Middle East more than any president in my lifetime. US allies in the region feel abandoned by him, and the entire mid-east is erupting into chaos as the heavy US hand, which functioned like a pax Romana, is lifted.
I’m not saying the US should try to remain the world’s cop or be self-serving in all its diplomacy, but trading away US influence toward the UN and other global bodies while he is president and has power to do so is essential to creating a position that has more power and influence than the presidency, which Obama can hope to step into someday for an even greater legacy. I’m talking about what it accomplishes for Obama, not about whether it should or shouldn’t happen. I cannot know that is his aim, but he certainly seems to be ceding US sovereignty to the UN, and he clearly believes in global solutions.
I think Obama has always shown himself to be more a man of the world than of the US — both in background and in forward direction. By that I mean he has always seemed more interested in what is good for the world than in what is best for the US. Liberals in the US will see that as a good thing, and most people in other parts of the world will see it as a good thing. It could be a good thing for humanity if it did not involve centralizing control of the world with the UN and aggregating more power toward the person at that center. Moves by Obama toward empowering the UN appear noble and humble and good for humanity, and I’m sure Obama believes it will be all of that.
The world applauded Barrack Obama before he did anything. He was cheered around the globe when he replaced George Bush. He received the Nobel Peace Prize without having ever helped even in the smallest way to establish peace anywhere in the world … simply for getting elected. Getting such a high reward for doing nothing at all proves he has a surreal magnetism that causes people all over the world to project onto him the power, influence and qualities they want to believe in for the modern global man. Obama believes that bigger government — more global government — really does hold the answers for humanity.
Barrack Obama’s own development fits perfectly to the path the world is taking; therefore, he has the capacity to be seen as a world savior, even if the US economy collapses under his watch. In fact, diminishment of US power is something for which much of the world will love Obama, making him a likely choice to become Secretary-General of the United Nations when the position opens.
Globalization is the ultimate bigness, and it means that a global center of power will have more control over what individuals can do in this world. It means more homogeneity and blending of cultures, but that will also intensify conflicts by pushing individuals together who don’t readily harmonize. That will awaken counter forces that will inevitably square off against that centralization of power. There are always opposite reactions, even if they are not equal in strength. You can already see that kind of conflict growing under Obama’s immigration policies, which serve the US laborer less and the global citizen more.
This globalization will not happen without rebellion, and that rebellion will require stronger suppression of individuals and those who go against the global flow, which will be justified as being necessary to bring about the reforms the world needs. Most citizens will go along with that because the coming global epocalypse will open up such a huge pit that fear and loss will ready people to give up personal liberties for the sake of restored security.