Tuesday, February 11, 2014

“American” exceptionalism

Olivia Locher
The term “American exceptionalism” has been receiving more than its fair share of play recently. It was pressed into service in the vapid banter that passes for political discourse in the US, with the Republicans accusing Obama of not believing in it. More recently, it surfaced as a term in international relations, when Russian president V. Putin chastised the US for believing it in a NY Times editorial, equating it with chauvinism and lack of respect for the rule of international law. It seems that it is Putin's dream to extend his cherished concept of “dictatorship of the law” to encompass even the US.

I feel that “American exceptionalism” does exist, and is, in fact, quite pervasive, but not in the way politicians and politicos in the US wish to think. This term, as those in the US are currently attempting to use it, is yet another of their attempts to mangle the language, along with “Libertarianism” that isn't libertarian (i.e., socialist) and “football” that isn't football (the entire planet's favorite team sport). This sort of mangling of international terminology is rather exceptionally obnoxious.

The term “American exceptionalism” was born during a meeting which took place in the spring of 1929 between Joseph Stalin and the US Communist Party leader Jay Lovestone, during which Lovestone argued that workers in the US weren't interested in socialist revolution. In response, Stalin the seminary drop-out demanded to put an end to this “heresy of American exceptionalism.” Stalin used the term in a mocking way, and something important was lost in translation from Russian “исключительность”, which is closer to “abnormality,” to English “exceptionalism” which has a few positive connotations, whereas in Russian, with the verb “исключить” (to expel) as its base, it is altogether non-aspirational.

Stalin's taking an exception to “American exceptionalism” aside, Lovestone may at the time have had a valid point. At that time, the US could have been considered to stand a good chance of mitigating the negative effects of capitalism and advancing in the direction of a just and equitable society without resorting to brutal class struggle and violent revolution. The reasons for this had to do with luck: the US had the natural resources, the industrial capacity, a well-organized labor movement and an immigrant population that hadn't had the time to develop rigid class distinctions.

But just a year later, at the 1930 American Communist convention, it was proclaimed that “the storm of the economic crisis in the United States blew down the house of cards of American exceptionalism.” While the USSR surged forward, the US wallowed in the mire of the Great Depression and recovered economically only thanks to the gigantic windfall of Word War II, at the end of which it remained as the only industrial nation that hadn't been bombed to smithereens, flush with natural resources, and with a new-found egalitarian attitude borne of wartime patriotism and a newfound ability to understand each other thanks to the installation of Dayton, Ohio English as the nation's official dialect. The US reaped another, much smaller windfall with the peaceful collapse and dismantlement of the USSR in 1990, extending its life expectancy by perhaps a decade.

But now this period is well and truly over: the resource base is depleted, the industrial base is in shambles, and society is rapidly degenerating from a class society to a caste society, with a disappearing middle class, an unbridgeable chasm between the haves and the have-nots and the lowest social mobility of any developed nation. If and when the revolution finally comes, I imagine Stalin's embalmed corpse, resting in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis, smiling ever so sweetly.

So much for “exceptionalism” (in quotes); what about “American” (also in quotes)? I am currently working from an undisclosed location south of the US border, where temperatures hover around 85°F, the ocean is pleasantly warm, fresh fruit comes from a nearby jungle, the Internet is high-speed and rent is quite a lot cheaper than what it cost me to heat the boat in Boston. I am still very much in America (without the quotes)—as former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez put it “We are all Americans.”

America, you see, is the term the entire world uses to describe the major land mass of the planet's western hemisphere comprising some 43 million km2, grouped, for convenience, into North America and South America, and containing 36 countries. But then there is one country that controls well under a quarter of the total landmass and contains just over a third of the population, but which has the gall to call itself “The United States of America.” It is not the only “united states” in America; it is not even the only “united states” in North America because there is also Estados Unidos Mexicanos.

People south of the US border use a different intonation or roll their eyes ever so slightly to signal the difference between America the geographic term and “America” the country that had the impertinence to appropriate it. “Americans” themselves should probably use finger-quotes, to be polite, when they mean to say “America” rather than America.

Getting back to the subject of “American exceptionalism”: I believe that “America” (in quotes) is in some ways exceptional (in Stalin's original sense of “abnormal”). I will therefore move “exceptionalism” outside the quotes and say a few more things about “American” exceptionalism.

First, “America” has an exceptionally bad government. There is fervent insistence that “America” is a democracy, but a look into the details of the matter discloses a decrepit political structure whose sole purpose is to legitimize privilege, wealth and aggression.

Starting with Congress, its two houses are both founded on systemic corruption. The Senate has two members from each state, be it a huge state like California or a tiny one like North Dakota, making it rather cheap for lobbyists to purchase roughly half the Senate, the rest being somewhat more expensive but still affordable. The House of Representatives is formed by a process called “gerrymandering,” whereby electoral districts are formed in ways that disadvantage the groups which the ruling elite wishes to see underrepresented. The result of this is that, according to numerous opinion polls, members of US Congress are now less popular than lice, cockroaches, colonoscopies, Hitler or Genghis Khan. This august body has been essentially incapable of governing. Its main activity involves enacting legislation which runs into thousands of pages, most of them written by lobbyists, which none of the members can either read or understand.

As a result, President Obama has recently announced his intention to ignore Congress and to start ruling by decree (the local euphemism for “decree” being “executive order”). This is rather typical of presidential régimes that are burdened by a morbid legislature, and, as such, is a step in the right direction. Turning ever so briefly to the supposedly independent judiciary, the US Supreme Court has consistently decided that justice is a matter of wealth and privilege, judging that “free speech” amounts to the right to spend money, and that “corporate persons” have more rights and fewer responsibilities than human ones. And so “America” is no longer a democracy, and although one never hears it from corporate-owned or corporate-funded “American” media, the “Americans” themselves seem well aware of the fact, which is why so few of them bother to vote. Why should powerless people participate in a humiliating farce designed to legitimize the power of those who oppress them? Elsewhere this state of affairs might be called “political corruption” whereas in “America” that corruption is enshrined in the constitution and the system of law, which everyone is expected to uphold and venerate.

Second, “America” also has an exceptionally bad health care system. The rot started with a very bad mistake—the idea that health care should be tied to employment. It has now degenerated to a point where the medical system eats up a fifth of the country's economic output, and is drifting in the direction of socialized medicine administered by a powerful group of profit-seeking companies. It produces outcomes that are slightly worse than those of Cuba, where per capita expenditure on health care is just 5% of that in “America.”

Life at an “American” hospital is a non-stop macabre comedy where sleep-deprived interns compulsively poke away at computers while ignoring the patients, and where the hospital profits from their numerous mistakes. Every “American” should know the term nosocomial, which designates medical problems caused by medical care itself. While “American” truck drivers must by law pull over and rest after ten hours behind the wheel, “American” doctors are often required to work 24-hour shifts, not because the decisions they make are so much less important than those made by truck drivers, but because their mistakes drive up profits by causing complications that require additional treatment. The sine qua non of “American” health care is emergency medicine, much of it devoted to keeping elderly patients alive for no good reason, and often against their will—until the money runs out. How much money? Well, a great deal of it, but how much anything costs is kept as a great mystery which is disclosed to patients only after the fact, often as part of a legal effort to bankrupt them.

This is why many “Americans” are discovering that their favorite doctor is, as the saying goes, is “Dr. Blue—Jet Blue.” A quick flight to America proper takes you out of the hands of “American” medical establishment and puts you in the hands of proper American doctors, who tell you how much your treatment will cost beforehand, charge reasonable rates and achieve reasonable results with reasonable effort.

There are other areas in which “America” is exceptional. For the sake of brevity, I will only touch upon one of them, briefly.

“America” has an exceptionally bad foreign policy. A key aspect of “American” foreign policy is that “America” is a sore loser: once defeated and expelled, it goes into a passive-aggressive mode of trying to rewrite history using economic sanctions and covert activities. Cuba overthrew the “American” dictator Fulgencio Batista 55 years ago, but sanctions are still in effect. Similarly with Iran: 35 years after its “American” shah was overthrown, it is still being portrayed as the enemy. Another key aspect of “American” foreign policy is its complete lack of compunction in resorting to political assassination. Luckily, “America” seems to be losing its ability to project power beyond its borders. It ran roughshod over Serbia, Iraq and Afghanistan unopposed, it was checked in Libya, and, if all goes well, it will be checkmated in Syria and Iran.

I could go on and on and talk about exceptionally high prison population, exceptionally expensive and ineffective education, exceptionally weak national infrastructure, exceptionally high levels of surveillance, exceptionally high murder rate and so on and so forth, but I hope I have made it clear: “American” exceptionalism is not something for “Americans” to be proud of. How it came about is by no means the fault of the vast majority of “Americans.” If it is anyone's fault, it is the fault of their ruling class, with its faulty, self-serving, and ultimately self-defeating ideas. There are some impediments making the transition from being “Americans” in quotes to becoming Americans proper—and to accept their birthright as inhabitants of the American continent—but these impediments are mostly mental, cultural and organizational. All of them will have to make that journey sooner or later, as “America” breaks up and disappears in a maelstrom of national bankruptcy, repudiation of federal authority and open revolt.


Silent Otto said...

Thank you nce again , Mr Orlov, as a garden variety automaton in far flung resource outpost in crumbling Amerucan Empire , i am merely familiar with Australian Exceptionalism , a varient of its American and English cousins, we who are what is left of Rome , with our imposing acquiline noses and eternal sense of entiltlement , currently with no clothes !

"Deferential Sovereign Chaote ".

There is strife, there is war in the law, such strife may not always be related to the bent materials, this grease of our corrupt and decaying society, but it may taste this way , in the absence of more evidence, and my own plaintive cries are drowned in the caterwauling swell of evil will, directed my way.

Ken Barrows said...

You must admit, though, that "Americans" are the best at inserting their heads in the sand and ignoring the rest of the world.

forrest said...

One quibble -- You say “'American' doctors are often required to work 24-hour shifts, not because the decisions they make are so much less important than those made by truck drivers, but because their mistakes drive up profits by causing complications that require additional treatment."

I don't think this is precisely the thinking involved. There are price-fixing efforts by the doctors' organizations to keep down the supply of doctors; there's also a mystique of "Hey, us real doctors don't need no stinking sleep!" -- & similarly: "We made it through the warrior test, & it didn't hurt us none!"

The big obstacle to doctor-overwork policies is probably more like: "We'd really like to fix that, but it would mean we'd need to hire more doctors, & it's more profitable to spend the money on having the overworked doctors [nurses, etc, because the understaffing policies extend all the way down the hierarchy] fix the complications, which our insurance companies will pay us for, than hire more people for the same amount of work, which they won't." That is, it may not be an issue of "rather" so much as an illusion of "can't [do anything that would reduce profits.]"

Martin said...

This is so 'right on' that I have copied it to e-mail to folks I know who would rather s--t their pants than read your blog, seeing as how they are all Fox aficionados.

Unknown said...

Scathing and sad! Hopefully someday the tyranny will stop. But in the words of creedance clearwater revival, 'someday never comes'.

For the person who says americans put their heads in the sand, I would only remind you that americans are the same as everyone else in the world. They are humans, and tied to their history. America as stated in this article became the most powerful nation and absolute power corrupts, as they say, absolutely.

As this article also states there are plenty of americans who know what is going on, but its like dealing with a drug addict. What are you gonna do? You can talk all you want but until the addict decides to get help its as good as not talking. Plenty of americans see the problems, and many that don't are merely a product of poor education and various human frailties that don't allow them outside the box.

You can criticize americans but you'd be wrong. Many americans, very ordinary people, are merely succumbing to their time and place just like any other group of people.

Kevin said...

You said it! You've anatomized our situation beautifully, with brevity yet in all essential detail. This one's exceptionally good, even for you.

I'm interested to see that you lay primary responsibility for this feast of farragoes at the feet of "America's" ruling class more than at those of the "American" people at large, whereas certain other commentators argue otherwise. The Archdruid, for example, maintains that the USA is still effectively a democracy and that our politicians therefore reflect the people at large - that their corruption, in a word, is our corruption. Morris Berman still more critically stresses that the quality of "Americans" has declined precipitously and that we as a people are morally, culturally and intellectually bankrupt just as surely as we are about to be exposed as financially and materially bankrupt, and that wherever the light of the human spirit may eventually shine again pursuant to the imminent dark age, it will certainly not be within the territory of the current United States.

Are they right, I wonder? I myself am not sure what to think. I certainly see some execrable and abominably stupid behavior around me; but perhaps if all the televisions in the nation - our greatest propaganda device - went dark at one blow, average intelligence would begin to rise and manifest itself again. Are we irredeemably stupid, or merely hypnotized and potentially able to rouse from our trance?

SandWyrm said...

As an “American” living in the lower-48, I don’t disagree too much with what you’ve said. But “America” is hardly the only western nation that has sacrificed the prosperity of its people for the sake of both international finance interests, and the short-term economic gain of its ruling classes. Nor are we guaranteed to be the first domino to fall, should the general worldwide collapse suddenly accelerate into an acute crisis.

You’re leaning on the crutch of Marxist language to make your points. But even “socialism”, as commonly understood, fails to address the over-centralization of power and finance that lies at the root of our problems. A “revolution” that changes the puppets, but leaves the puppeteers in place, changes nothing at all. Except to exchange a covert centralization of control for an overt one.

michigan native said...

How much longer the healthcare charade can continue in the US?

Imagine this. A typical "non profit" hospital in the US charges up to $800 dollars for an IV bag of sterile salt water. Average manufacturer price? $1 US dollar. Those small green "e tanks" of bottled oxygen? Up to 600 bucks at some places. Hospitals like to put everyone on 2L/min oxygen, from conditions ranging from colds to head aches to basically everyone that comes through their doors. Their "O2 saturation" levels are 99-100% on room air, yet they are routinely placed on piped in or bottled oxygen, both usually totally unnecessary yet very expensive.

All the while, you have the malpractice vultures hovering every where, encouraging people to file "get rich quick" lawsuits, further driving up defensive testing and health care costs.

As a result, there is what I predicted after I read the "5 stages of collapse" and took the red pill in late 2008, the collapse of the health care industry in the US.

It began with hospitals closing, merging, and cutting back staff. When people lose their jobs or the for profit health care racketeers deny millions of people "coverage" because they the "audacity" to get sick or injured due to a battery of "pre existing conditions", and becoming the number one cause of bankruptcy in the US

When the collapse officially became apparent in 2008, all the media encouraged people to get into the healthcare field. Like rats fleeing from drowning, they have in droves. This has given employers the new found right to take advantage of a new surplus of labor. The results I told my co-workers in late 2008 till the present. It was/is basically this. Management will cut costs by finding ways to lay off or terminate seasoned veterans and hire in new, green graduates to work for less in order to make profits for the owners.

Sure enough, 75% of the staff from 2008 has been found at some fault, after 20-30 years of flawless records, and threatened...."resign, else we will report you to the licensing board". In other words, don't you dare apply for unemployment.

And so after some 17 years in the field, I now feel the beginning affects of collapse. Hot water tank goes, take cold showers or one with kettle water heated on the stove. Refrigerator takes a shit (planned obsolescence), then eat micro wave food. Car has trouble? Fix it as best you can else the cops on steroids will steal that last few hundred dollars you have left in checking.

Never think you are safe or immune from this collapse process, I am slowly entering their ranks.

k-dog said...

American Exceptionalism gets play because it is real. Putin can chastise AE and he gets play because it is true. All the years of easy motoring resulted in obnoxious behavior and Exceptional Selfishness and Isolated Americans (ESIAs).

Anything beyond thinking about a full gas tank is just too scary. Bellies got full in 'good years' so thoughts of a just and equitable society were forgotten with a gas spewing thundering belch. That skipped to many generations to remember. We become caste because life only became thinking about having a full belly; your own. Equal opportunity becomes a myth in our squeezed society where only perfect people now have room to flourish. The fiction that we ever had equal opportunity can now be fully dismissed. How many perfect people do you know? As time goes on there will be fewer.

Privilege, wealth and aggression do not cut the pie nicely when there is not enough to go around. An inequity of slices results. Congress may now be less popular than lice and cockroaches but in a pinch they would taste better with a slice of pie and plenty of butter.

If Cuba exports health care getting serious about learning Spanish might be the way to go because hanging around here could mean you are going to go; and possibly exceptionally soon.

An exceptionally high prison population, an ineffective education system, high surveillance, lack of privacy, increasing poverty, with a high murder rate. And to top it all. Exceptionally Selfishness and Isolated Americans (ESIA,s) are Exceptionally Resistant to Change.

michigan native said...

Not just my own situation, which occurred last month, I have wondered how this whole health care industry will survive. It cannot.

The "official" debt figure that the government releases, last time I remember, was 17 trillion dollars. Like the poverty level and "official" unemployment figures, the government can skew the numbers to sugar coat the magnitude of the disasters they played a large part in creating.

When "entitlement programs" such as social security, medicare, and veteran's benefits are factored into the equation, the ACTUAL debt has been calculated by some to a staggering 170-190 trillion, some say as high as 220 trillion dollars.

The US will default, and there is no way they can meet these obligations. With a currency that will soon be worthless and high unemployment, most of those still employed not being able to pay rent, utilities, and the increasing cost of food will not be able to pay that $3,000 dollar over night stay at the hospitals, if they even exist in a post collapse US.

The government inspectors are out on a mission to fine, fee, and penalize these places with their ever increasing "state inspections" and new rules and regulations that tie our hands, are detrimental to the patients, and designed to give them more reasons to steal money from health care institutions. The stress filters on down through the top to the care givers, making an already difficult job almost impossible. Care givers are stressed to the maximum, we spend more time trying to complete their never ending mountain of frivolous, redundant, and completely unnecessary paper work than we do providing actual care. Then go home sore and beaten, many battling arrays of stress related disorders, from insomnia to peptic ulcers,nausea, migraines, herniated disks, high blood pressure and even heart attacks and strokes. Most everyone dreads going into work, but miss a paycheck or two and you are facing bankruptcy and foreclosure.

I am guessing Americans will have to go back to relying on herbs and folk medicine and expect a shorter life expectancy and a standard of living that many once arrogantly thought only existed in the "third world".

SMJ said...

Modern day "America" was founded on genocide and slavery. So maybe it's no surprise that it is exceptional.

Thomas F. Robinson said...

Dmitri Sir, a quibbling point, but I believe the national dialect was based on that of South Dakota and not Dayton, Ohio. The latter is a Great Lakes dialect and much more nasal than the accepted norm. Otherwise spot on, but sad for those of us stuck here in "Amerika".

Unknown said...

To michigan: You are implying that "plant" or "folk" medicine will lead to lower life expectancy. All my research indicates that doctors, produced or concentrated toxins, and processed foods/poor diet are the major causes of death. A collapse, more whole foods, less doctors, and less available toxins, given the knowledge obtained over the last 100 years or so about bacteria and hygeine etc, would lead me to believe that ultimately life span will go up. Now that doesn't include a transition period and potential problems, and the time detoxifying the earth. And of course we have wasted much time ignoring holistic health care focusing on disease and not health, but i dont think its as dire as you make it out. OTHER THAN initially. Most americans don't understand they are not awfully high currently or historically in the life expectancy range.

Anonymous said...

As an outsider, what I fail to understand, is why a third "peoples party" fail to emerge. Could someone please explain that to me?

Terry T said...

"American" citizens no longer exist. Consumers they are. Embracing ignorance while being in utter thrall of the Machine that creates the culture- primarily a profit and power driven cabal of advertisers and military authoritarians, "Americans" have ceased to exist to the extent that they can't or won't see what's happening right in front of them. Enfeebled by this onslaught, clinging to the false choice provided by the conventional right and left establishments, they are woefully inadequate for the task of confronting a Double Bind in any meaningful way. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_bind

Computer controlled and RoundUp ready- that's what's become of "Americans."
I also submit that the NSA's total surveillance is a logical completion of the circle of control. The NSA is equivalent to the array of sensors in a complex machine, sending feedback to the controls to modify the control signals as necessary to maintain the machine's function and it's usefulness to its owners.

Unfortunately, I fear that "Americans" will not wake up to reality once collapse becomes undeniable. The Machine has already programmed in the useful scapegoats through an efficient media-wide noise machine. The scapegoats are functioning as designed for now- a distraction to what is happening hidden right out in the open. But I fear the Machine controllers will push the "Start" button and mobilize mobs against the most powerless against the Machine. There will be no Rage Against The Machine.

Exceptional indeed.

Terry T said...

To svealanding:

Under cover of the Reagan Revolution and mindless deregulation, the two parties created a bipartisan (and no one else) debate commission. The restrictions got the League of Women voters to abandon their moderation of the presidential debates in disgust.

In 1992, Ross Perot garnered nearly 20% of the presidential vote. The televised "debates" were the closest thing to real presidential debates I'd seen.

The great showing by Perot freaked out the Dems and Republicans and accordingly prevented him from participating in 1996, despite the fact that 62% of people polled wanted him included in the presidential debates.

They've continued raising the bar just ahead of each threatening 3rd party candidate.

The other thing that happened in and around 1987 is that restrictions on corporate media ownership were rolled way back. We went from about 50 major media companies back then to about 5 now and it's getting worse. So news of non-establishment candidates is omitted from popular news.

[Oh, and they rolled back restrictions on advertising aimed directly at children. The indoctrination has to start early, don't-you-know.]

This is not far from Henry Ford saying, "You can get a Model T in any color you want as long as it's black."

Now they say essentially, "You can have your so-called democracy in any color you want as long as what's left of it is black and blue."

AlaBikeDr said...

It is painful to acknowledge long standing stupidity. I slightly fault us lightly engaged "citizens' but the bulk of my disdain is aimed at our leadership. Pathetically self serving. I remember the choices we had in the late 70's when internationalism and globalism was the new new thing. Less militarism(read smaller defense budget) more environmental stewardship was called for and then we just said screw these other countries, they are all like Iran, we are just gonna do our own thing. Welcome to Morning in America if the women could have it all then by god we all could. The leaders pretended that they could do well by doing good and it all became smoke and mirrors Image was everything...And the cream at the top thought they deserved it. As for the middle class pack mules on the Oregon trail to nowhere--well that's capitalism baby. So who's ready for the revolution now that it's time to pick up the SS check?

michigan native said...

To BM..the future ideal you speak of has a great many ifs to hurdle. IF Americans can eventually adjust to living a pre-industrial lifestyle. IF the environmental devastation brought on mostly by human activity and their use of energy has not reached a point of no return(e.g., fossil fuels and nuclear power)and their byproducts (plastics which poison marine life, fertilizers which cause dead zones when they eventually run off into the ocean, pesticides(which are about the render the honey bees extinct) along with mercury (from increased use of coal, a neurotoxin which has long been reported to be beyond safe levels for human consumption) and radioactive isotopes from nuclear fission (which many insist are being covered up after Fukushima) are just a sampling of how we as a species may well have sealed our own fate

Hard working people with an unblemished track record are suddenly getting forced to quit their jobs, retire, or resign. Everyone seems broke, businesses collapsing everywhere, everyone out of money. In order to cut costs and save money, the owning class like to hire head hunters and attack dogs to hire in new labor, desperate for a job and willing to lick their masters toes and eat insects and tree bark....until they can no longer be afforded

What a joy it is, the way you are treated trying to find work displays exceptional American arrogance, and adjunct to its cruelty. Just 5 years ago, you could apply in person and get hired on the spot.

Now, it is this game where the deck is rigged for employers. You apply online, fax or e-mail your resume and try not to get caught have any spaces, etc. They have this attitude "don't call us, we'll call you". So if you do call, some submoronic minimum wage slave called a "receptionist" will ask who is calling. They let the person hiring know who you are, and you always get their voice mail. Leave a message and they do not bother to call.

After you jump through those rings of fire, lay on beds of nails, and walk on hot coals, should you get interviewed, the focus becomes why you left your last job. It is almost like you are on trial and getting bashed by some prosecutor.

Should you be lucky enough to get through this gauntlet, you are treated like a criminal. They want you to get finger printed, and of course, that humiliating "drug screen". It is not a question of if you have to "drop", it is a matter of how sneaky they will be. Most don't inform you that you will be subjected to this flagrant violation of your privacy and dignity, but they like to sneak it to you.

You must go this this or that clinic within 1 hour of leaving and be subjected to some pervert who likes to watch you urinate in order to get the job. Forget if you had other plans made or another job to go to, they don't announce it and you are forced to presumed guilty until you prove yourself innocent. Lick their boots to be one of their wage slaves

look at how exceptionally sadistic Americans are at treating the homeless, the down and out http://www.ringoffireradio.com/2014/02/south-carolina-require-hefty-fees-feeding-homeless/

Just when you thought that was a good old fashioned dose of 'southern hospitality', then you see the same callous disregard by the exceptionally arrogant up here who think the collapse will not affect them. They are in for a rude awakening. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DXxxyp2uSg

The US seems exceptionally hell bent on ensuring the last 2 phases run their course

Paul said...

Pardon my side-tracking this thread for a moment. There is no Comments attached to the article about the end of Britain, yet, and I'm seething.

I'm not seething because of the future of Britain described, but because of the wicked and grotesque misallocation of the blame for it.

Thatcher's gargantuan role and that of her neoliberal puppeteers in vastly enlarging the nation's debt was simply skirted over, after a patronizing blandishment of Callaghan's recognition of the problem, even at that time of his incumbency at no 10.

Oh no. It was the old-age pension and welfare state wot dun it. And how is it the Scandinavian countries appear to have been escaped that scenario rather more more lightly?

The villains are clearly the endlessly-avaricious neoliberal billionaires, their political and economic henchmen and the 'rentier', stockholding sector, who have polarized the country's wealth, after they'd cleaned out the people, resorting to lending money they knew could never be repaid.

All the while, of course, fomenting a deranged consumerism, not least among the young who are so vulnerable to peer-pressure and the siren voices of the advertisers, who target them as the simpletons we all are when we are young.

But there I go, they're City types, spivs, so why do look for figs to grow on thorns?