Saturday, April 30, 2011

Did Someone Say Economic Recovery?

The notion of economic "recovery" poses a problem of understanding and carries an expectation that economic recovery will follow similar historical patterns of the past. I don’t think this is going to happen. I don' pretend to understand the deep science of economics but statistical minutiae does not really help us here. We might now be marking a sea change event in Western economics that constitutes the real "paradigm shift" all those Wall St. sales people hyped 10 years ago.

The real economic paradigm shift for the developed world finally took place in 2008. The shift is not a lateral shift, a tech or an information shift; it is a downward shift in real wages. This trend has been occurring for a number of decades but finally reached a tectonic subduction moment when the world housing market collapsed. It is an economic correction that was bound to happen sooner or later when trillions of dollars of perceived value suddenly evaporates. This is what happened when the West, starting with the US, could no longer float the humongous and over inflated funny money housing bubble

I don’t believe we will ever recover in the traditional manner- at least for the next few generations and until the world gets used to a mean global distribution of Gross Global Economic Product. We will never recover the lifestyle, the buying power, the security of wealth that our generation (the heart of the baby boomers) had the fortuitous luxury to live through since the 1950’s. When we were kids, world population was 3 billion. It took nearly 2,000 years for world population to go from 200 million to 3 billion in 1960. It took a mere 50 years to go from 3 billion to the 7 billion we have now. This is an astonishing and telling statistic about the economic problems we face ahead, not only domestically but globally.

It's going to be much harder for the coming generations, the dwindling middle classes and the poor in Western societies to continue to consume @ the Wal* Marts of the US and the world. Energy prices will continue to rise and as they do millions of consumers will continue to be anal retentive as a natural reaction-realizing that food , medicine and mortgage payments are more important than I pads, three wheelers and Disney World trips. As energy costs rise, everything else rises too.

As far as material wealth, we boomers have been the beneficiaries of the single most prosperous generation world history has ever known. Real wages on a per capita of GDP basis however, have gone down since boomers came into their prime. In the U.S. fewer and fewer people have gained more and more wealth over the last 40 years as well. This oligarchic shift of wealth and power also impedes real economic recovery for 85% of American households. This “popular recovery” just ain’t gonna happen until this crucial economic demographic begins to trend back towards the middle classes.

Even in the best of all possible worlds these halcyon days of material exorbitance for the west are over. It simply cannot be sustained at the levels we have maintained w/ a developing world burgeoning population coming into the world economy in the form of massive labor and manufacturing out sourcing. The whole world is beginning its slow bend toward the mean. China represents the tipping country toward this trend. This means we bend down as the developing world trends up.

This IS the paradigm shift that is occurring now. This is why our entitlements, social security, etc., will slowly begin to go bankrupt. The "recovery" as I see it, will be one of psychology and practical awareness, and not an increasing per capita real wage recovery. We will have to realize that to recover means we will have to learn to make do w/less on a per capita basis and that we will have to learn to be far more efficient with what we have.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Pink Elephants and the Male God

I'm not as studied a student of the monotheisms as I should be, but even if the instruction manuals do not include a specific reference on the male god as el grande hefe deity, it has always gone as a given that this is what god is: a man. Forget the pink elephant. Think GOD!........ See what I mean??

In Islam, what is seen in the mind's eye during prayer when going prostrate before Allah? In Christianity, when the host is being con celebrated by a number of male priests, what figure inhabits the mind? Try as I might, I simply cannot conceive of god in the feminine. Can you? Does anybody? I'd love to change all this just in my own mind. I can't. It is firmly steeped in our myth, our social code, our genetic meme. The only way I can get out of it briefly is by building intellectual structures that seem artificial and contrived to me while trying to reconcile my own philosophical predispositions. This is what I'm doing right now in this fb post.

I'm sure at some point, when I am feeble of mind and dervishing toward the great spiraling Gyre,I will likely mumble a plaintive prayer to the male god meme fused into my brain in its gloaming decline.
The early drafters of the Christian saga- the Paulines and the Augustinians- thought there might be some sticking power if the messiah deity became man incarnate and the "son of god" too. What a brilliant stroke to co-opt the creation and sacrifice themes well part of the Hebrew tradition for millennial before the birth of Christ.
So folks the preponderant historical weight and thrust of the male god inhabits our collective conscious. It's hard to "step out" even if you plasticize your mind to break the molded ceramic of its conditioning. It is in the water we drink, the air we breathe, the songs we sing, the icons we pay homage to. It's everywhere omnipervasive. It speaks to an overarching emphasis that invests more power, wisdom, intelligence, self-sacrifice, hero fixation, moral turpitude and all that stuff that has been overlaid on the masculine side of god's creation. One can ponder for a moment, while loosed from the shackles of this male heist,where the world and its inhabitants would be if the god idea had been infused with the feminine force instead.

The world would be a far better place I think if the feminine mystique had prevailed a few thousand years ago and was cast as the predominant player in human nature.

Thursday, April 07, 2011


Libya And The Bloody Roads To Peace Ahead

NATO, once again, has recently proven its efficacy on the world stage with its recent gains in efforts to topple Qaddafi's brutal dictatorship. The response from NATO with its pending objective to oust the despot should act as a sea changing template in how global organizations might approach many global flash points that loom ahead. NATO now needs to morph into GATO, (Global Alliance Treaty Organization). It seems that a clear evaluation of history makes it imperative that the form and structure of intervention at the global level should be the highest priority for the community of nations to consider. The new game changer nations in the near future should include China, India, Brazil and Russia- but also symbolically, every nation that believes global solidarity protects their own security interests as well. NATO should undergo a radical paradigm change. This change and how it is conducted will determine whether or not humanity progresses or precipitously falls back into a retrograde devolution.The form and structure (global coalitions) and their joint decision to go into Libya far outweighs the justifying content for the action.

This article now jukes into a philosophical digression, but will meander back to tie into the Libyan crisis..

It is becoming increasingly apparent that if the superpowers of the developed world do not begin to dispossess ourselves of this concept of “National Interest” as the prime mover in all our domestic and foreign policy decisions, then we are marking ourselves as a species for an early exit; that the very concept of the “Nation State,” (a relatively recent liberal upstart model in the historical calendar)needs to be understood in its contextual necessity, and from this understanding, realize the paradigm shift needs to recognize a new global model.

The global model must begin to see that the vital work ahead involves a keen insight that sees the profound differences in the rates of civilizational maturity co-existing on the planet at the same time. We still have pockets of hunter gatherers animating their primal survival rituals through moon dances that ensure the gods continue to bless their harvests and their hunts. At the same time, within the same species, we have astronauts that have actually danced on that same moon the primitives dance and sing and chant to.
We have the whole range in between these 2 extremes. From cultures that barely survive in abject poverty , still informed by dark age religious fervor, and are ruled by dictators and theocrats who oppress by fear and coercion, to we democrats who have no want of our next meal, and have little regard or knowledge that this abject hunger and want still stirs in the belly of a near majority of the people on the planet.

We have institutions of great learning and technologies that devise the physics to get us to the moon by harnessing the force that holds stars together. We need to understand that we are still competing with those other modern civilizations that are either our near equals or gaining quickly on the curve of material living standard, and that this very competition is killing the fragile veil of atmosphere that we breathe and is destroying the mother womb of the earth and all her life giving waters. But that the real threat in the long run will come from this exponentially populating other world still snagged desperately back there in time, but who might get their hands on the dark tools that we moderns have unleashed through the centers of higher learning referred to above. And they will be compelled from this want in their bellies, the fervor of their gods and the humiliation of their lot in life to unleash the power that holds stars together. It is this gap, this very dark and deep gulf, that threatens all of humanity; from the primitives yawping at the moon to the astrophysicist who devises space engines that may get us to Alpha Centauri sometime soon. That old isolationist and geographical separations no longer can insure our security.

It seems to me that 10 year’ plans have to give way to 100 year plans. It seems to me that for this reason it is supremely necessary that some new emphasis on ”Global Interest” -where what fits the needs of one, fits the needs of all in the future. This new mental ideation graft needs to be radically ramped up. The models of the UN and NATO are already there but must undergo a massive upscale program that changes the lexicon from “wars” to development and humanitarian missions. That the great Kennedyesque goals of making the moon by the end of the decade to “beat the Russians” does not apply today. In fact it fatally threatens.

It is from this premise that we should see the incumbency for the developed nations to begin to evolve a conscious awareness that the only way to close this enormous gulf of disparity, and thus to protect their own interests concomitant w/ the developing world, is to begin the project of these humanitarian/nation assisting missions. Libya is one such project.

from the fbook discussion.... [Your argument is that we do not have a game plan over all that addresses the aims of the mission, who we support, the brutal realities of a long simmering and intractable civil war and what’ outcomes we can expect seem local issues as compared to the task at hand over the next 100 years.]

Francis Fukuyama’s ‘end of history” notion is actually a very telling analysis of the great ideological struggles between the great superpowers and the nation states they hail from. The mutual understanding in the near aftermath of nuclear “moment” at Trinity, at Nagasaki,at Hiroshima, compels an existential re-evaluation that these old failed attempts at diplomacy in extremis (world wars) no longer can be remotely considered in strategic terms between behemoth powers, and can only lead to the rapid descent of man in the long run, and it is for this reason that we, meaning the world community, both developed and developing, must begin the long haul humanitarian missions like Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Afghanistan, etc., and the many that loom dark on the horizon over the next half century. That the old term “war” should be rendered obsolete in the lexicon of the developed countries, and that a new term be put into place when coalitions go into countries with the idea that to do good for one is to do good for all.