The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Standard Conditions Peaceful Or Violent Revolution, Collapse and Coups

We’ve discussed this before:

  1. fiscal inability;
  2. an elite faction which wants to take over;
  3. support of 20% or more of the population;

What is also very common is lost of prestige due to military defeat. This Russia in WWI (and they had also lost to the Japanese, which was particularly humiliating) or Germany, also after WWI. Getting your ass kicked makes people doubt you.

Or, if you want to put it another way: imperial overstretch, military defeat and internal strife.

America’s good, or rather, bad, on all of these. Just got its ass kicked by Yemen. Hasn’t won a war in generations. Massively ballooning deficits and debts at the same time as they’ve lost the ability to make much of what they need. Unable to build ships or advanced weapons or aircraft—aka: unable to produce the necessary military goods. Unable to recruit enough men to fill the military. Unable to keep its own ships and planes maintained properly. Police bloated but ineffective at anything but beating heads (and we’ll find out they aren’t good at that either when people start fighting back.)

Fiscal over-reach. Incompetence of the enforcer class who are also no longer loyal and many of whom don’t support the current state. (Remember, on Jan 6, the cops mostly didn’t fire. They would have against left wingers.) Massive prestige loss. Unhappy population due to generations of declining standards of living (no, don’t even, the official stats are bullshit. I was alive then. The standard of living is getting worse and worse unless you’re on of a few percent of winners.) Industry shipped overseas to main rival. Alliance of the largest major continental powers in Asia: Russia, China and Iran, with most of the third world preferring them to the West, even as African nations start kicking France and America out.

The question was always “when” not “if” since everything ends, but “when” is getting a lot closer. We could stumble on for quite a while until some event precipitates the the final cascade of events, but equally it could happen very soon because all the conditions are there for it. Once the conditions are met, it simply requires the inciting moment or person. Could be Trump, but more likely it’s the guy who learns from him who’s more competent.

I take some pleasure in this, but not a great deal. When the US collapses, my personal standard of living will collapse with it. I may wind up on the street and if I don’t I’ll be living a lot less well. Plus the US, in collapse and after, will be a danger to those countries in its immediate vicinity and I live in Canada.

But the conditions for collapse, revolution or coup are met.

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Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – April 14, 2024


China Builds A Temporary Bridge In Seven Days: Baltimore Will Take Years To Rebuild Theirs


  1. GrimJim

    We are definitely past the point of potential Rebellion. The January Insurrection shows that.

    If Trump somehow loses, we will see Rebellions of several orders of magnitude greater than the January Insurrection.

    But we are not quite at the Revolution stage yet. Revolution requires a lot more unified Rebel groups with enough common ground to have a proper Revolution. MAGA is not really there yet.

    The elites behind it gave done some serious astroturfing, and there really is a significant following, but the different factions have no real unity. They hate where things are at, but until the core cadre of the soldiery has attained TRUE BELIEVER stage, which requires a proper goal other than “Tear it All Down/Let the World Burn” it will just be a series of terrorist-style Rebellions.

    It will take that Charismatic Leader type, the “Trump, but Better” to unite them behind a Vision to make it a proper Revolution.

    But will that happen before we go full-blown Collapse and go from Anomie to Anarchy? Time will tell.

  2. Since 1975
    Chronic illness prevalence went from 7% to 60%
    Autism increased from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 30
    Chronic illnesses that were once unheard of are now common.

    The oligarchs have been systematically engaging in the largest poisoning event in human history for decades.

    Even without a revolt, it wouldn’t be surprising if society collapses due to the massive increased in disability, and chronic illnesses.

  3. someofparts

    I leave the television on these days and only set it on Spanish language stations. It’s a long shot, but I figure if everything goes to hell in a hand basket, this country will swing ugly hard right, but South America may become free to finally break left without interference from the Great Satan.

    In fact, come to think of it, I’ve been noticing locally that even as it becomes harder and harder to find common ground with my white Blue-No-Matter-Who friends, it is becoming ridiculously easy to find common ground with my non-PMC black friends. I don’t think it is farfetched to suppose that I will find my Hispanic neighbors just as easy to relate to if I can push myself to start picking up some rudimentary conversational Spanish.

    My life literally hangs on the fate of Social Security. If the deposits keep making their way to my account I might be able to survive a fairly high level of social breakdown. If, OTOH, those deposits stop, I won’t last six months. Maybe it’s time to get a dog so I will have some company/protection when I am on the streets, and invest what remains of my money in some company that makes tents.

  4. Venztu

    I’ve just retired, but have been posting on Gaza on LinkedIn. I get views but hardly any comments. Whereas others who are merrily posting away about new products, green energy, their latest career development or something celebrating their daughters on women’s day gets lots of engagement.

    The PMC seem to have their heads stuck in the sand; just concerned about their own circle and pockets. oblivious to what’s going on in the world, and no inkling of their empire in decline. Meanwhile the media and politicians can be totally hypocritical about the rules based order, and these seemingly educated, intelligent people do not seem to be able to see the obvious deceipt.

    I don’t see what sort of revolution from the left is possible in this environment. It is more likely to be from the right, appealing to narrow self interest and prejudice. If the RoW can break away from the West, perhaps they will have a chance,

  5. Flaser

    …and the EU may blindly march straight along on the road to ruin.

    It’s a coin toss whether one considers the EU or US elites more pathetic.

  6. bruce wilder

    Historical revolutions have long been an interest of mine. I know a lot about the course of the American Revolution and the American Civil War, because I started learning about them when young and a voracious reader. I forced myself at an advanced age to learn about the French Revolution and the British Civil Wars of the 17th century. I know only the bare outline of the Russian Revolution. I know a fair amount about the conglomeration of revolutions commonly labeled the First World War. As an economist and an American, I have a strong interest in the Great Depression and New Deal. I know the Meiji Restoration in outline and also, in outline, the long struggle of China to find its way to modernity.

    Quite apart from the shallowness or depth of my personal understanding, I think some of these “revolutions” and their historical consequences are easier to grasp than others, in part because they have been treated by historians of great insight and breadth of vision and, partly, because they are just more legible and accessible from the perspective of 21sth century English-language sensibility. Some aspects of the past, it is easy to appreciate, are just not fully susceptible to our empathy and identification and sometimes, we cannot account for our own blindness to the experience of another time, place, culture — the accumulated experience of a particular generation grasping with contingencies that evaporated with their resolution — and then there is our compulsion to project.

    This is a long-winded preface to some remarks about how understanding, or failing to understand the past, feeds into the making of revolutions.

    The nihilism of the “successor ideology” is a major factor in shaping our “moment”, contributing as it does to the vacuum that has formed where a Left ought to be. Objectively, that thorough-going authoritarian regimes like those ruling Russia, China and Iran should be the champions of a new global order ought to frighten anyone of good will. Not frighten anyone into pretending the rot at the core of the U.S. imperium is anything but rot, but still, . . .

    I don’t think any historian or economist has ever devised an adequate account of the Great Depression, a revolutionary event fully as important as the world wars that formed bookends around it. Economists do not have an understanding of the Great Depression because they do not have an analytical understanding of the Industrial Revolution(s) that created the modern world. That’s critically important because all the political history of the last 500 years is the frosting on the cake of the economic expansion and industrial revolution that began with the Black Death in Europe in the 14th century or maybe earlier with the sudden crystalization of feudalism. The long working of cycles of “liberal” revolt, revolution, reform, lubricated with hypocrisy, that wore down the feudal legacy over centuries have completely played out and lost legitimacy among the social classes that see themselves as “progressive”.

    cake and frosting is a stupid metaphor, I know, and I apologize, but I am just struck by how much popular historical understanding features the sweet “frosting” and ignores the making of the cake. I am thinking of accounts of the French Revolution that feature the declaration of “The Rights of Man” and the inspiring idealistic rhetoric that entailed — very sweet confectionery stuff. And, then the chaos that followed and spread from the combination of the stubborn stupid resistance of reactionaries combusting with the impracticalities of the most ardent and opportunistic among the hopeful.

    The revolution of which we are on the threshold is likely, imho, to feature for Americans and EU europeans, the strong reactionary resistance of the billionaire class and their lackeys among the PMC combined with a thoroughgoing practical incompetence among all concerned.

    [work to do — and I have run out of steam before getting where I think I was going — it happens — may be more later, even days later]

  7. GrimJim

    I see that I misspoke… We are not facing the possibility of a Revolution, we are facing the possibility… And in the long term, inevitability… Of a massive Counter-Revolution.

    Every proper Revolution in modern history has essentially been Leftist, or at the least, Progressive in character, promising a wider share of power, wealth, freedom, what have you, to the masses, even if it does not deliver, or transforms into a Terror.

    There have been a fair number of Counter-Revolutions (aka Thermidorian Revolutions), usually countering social Evolutions rather than political Revolutions. The ACW was one such Counter-Revolution; the Contras were a Counter-Revolutionary force. Etc.

    We are facing a massive Counter-Revolution with the rise of Authoritarianism. Overall, it challenges everything going back to the Enlightenment. Here in the US, it only goes back to the Civil War, as much because Americans are en masse ignorant of anything much before that as for any other reason, though more directly because MAGA is merely the most recent manifestation of the Lost Cause.

    The MAGA Counter-Revolution seeks to return law, society, everything back to the status quo antebellum. A perfect merger of Corporate-Fascist, Christofascist, and White Supremacy motivations.

  8. Jan Wiklund

    This post is developed a lot in Peter Turchin’s End times,, review at

    I ponder a lot what this means for others. Asia, Africa and South America will probably be better of, at least for a time. But what about Europe? Will they, finally, learn to live without American bosses, or will they go down the drain in common?

  9. Right a world lead by mostly China (Russia and Iran would be second fiddle) would be horrendous. Imagine a Latin American country having its government overthrown every few years. Imagine a new country being bombed every few years. Imagine the Middle East constantly being Invaded. Imagine 10’s of millions killed for oil. Imagine genocide. Imagine instead of roads, hospitals and airports being built African countries would be impoverished to exploit their natural resources.
    Oh wait, we don’t have to imagine that because that’s our current free American morally lead world order.
    Can someone remind me which country China has invaded, bombed, overthrow their government, or funded armed groups in? I’m getting the suspicion that the western fear of China is based almost entirely on projection.
    In 1950 China was as poor as Africa, and Latin America was 4 times richer. Now China is so rich it’s building infrastructure all over the world, and has a higher life expectancy than America. Talk about brutality and horror!

  10. Feral Finster

    Romantic fantasies and Les Miz aside, revolutions do not happen when the 99% overthrow the 1%, because the 1% will do whatever it takes to retain power, and they did not get their perches by being nice guys.

    Revolutions happen only when the 1% are divided, usually as a result of foreign threat or economic chaos, and disaffected 1% factions start casting about for allies.

  11. Feral Finster

    @Grimjim: wishful thinking. The elites are pretty united on wanting Trump out and are willing to ignore any law or norm to do it.

  12. Willy

    America: currently a vehicle for those who want to get rich (or stay rich), nefariously.

    Immigration: learn Spanish now, to take business advantage of the northward climate immigration, nefariously.

    MAGA: a sad attempt to kick start the rapture, nefariously.

    Bidenism: filtered Bernie meant to placate and then ease the masses into yet another hive of “Century of the Self” scum and villainy. We must be cautious.

    Revolutions: make damn sure your cohorts don’t rationalize evil. They’ll go nuts if they attain power. And you don’t wanna get your ass trotsky’d either.

    A proper leftism: will somebody note where it’s been a relative success and figure out how we can duplicate the good stuff, already?

  13. Feral Finster

    I shoulda added, Grimjim, that you are correct that Trump is too incompetent to be a threat. Weak, stupid and easily manipulated. Nobody has anything to fear from him.
    The elites should fear a competent populist, a Huey P. Long, whether left or right.

    Stupid cat!

  14. Purple Library Guy

    @bruce wilder, I think economists do not have an understanding of the Great Depression mainly because “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

  15. Z

    One of the best realistic scenarios that could play out would be that one of the U.S.’s vassals’, such as Japan’s, financial markets collapse and the U.S. runs in with their money printers and do one of their faux rescue jobs on it and flood the world with dollars to keep the West afloat.

    Of course, the BRICS countries would want no part of this … the way the West tossed the costs on Russia and Asia in the late 90s when there were economic crises and how the U.S. was ground zero for the GFC of 2008 and how they simply printed their way out of it and bullied economic instabilities and inflation on the rest of the world are a large reason why there is a BRICS … and maybe then the BRICS might opt go to a gold backed currency and accelerate their detachment from the U.S. dollar.

    This scenario would allow the U.S. to bully around the West with the U.S. dollar for a while longer, but would probably lead to pressure and eventual political changes in Europe, in particular, to distance themselves from the U.S. and turn more towards Russia and China for energy and economic cooperation.

    That would hopefully gradually dis-empower the U.S. and buy time for political change in the U.S. that might produce a more sane leadership that doesn’t try to bully and bomb the world into acquiescence to the current bogus “rules-based order” that the U.S. tries to impose upon the world where they act as the ultimate judge of it all.

    Will the JZM (Jewish Zionist Mafia*), which has a controlling interest (meaning that though it can’t get 100% of what it wants, it can prevent 100% of what it don’t and once they get what they want it’s next to impossible to change it) in the U.S., the UK, Europe, and raped Russia in the 90s, accept this new arrangement though? Probably not, because the formation of BRICS significantly decreases the people and countries they can exploit. Instead, they’ll probably push for more war and terrorism.


    *The JZM is a small subset of the Jewish people who place themselves and their collective interests above all of humanity’s. The vast majority of Jewish people are not part of the JZM just like the vast majority of Italians weren’t part of the Italian Mafia. In fact, a lot of the people who are fighting the hardest against Zionism, particularly in the ALT media, are Jewish.

  16. bruce wilder

    Can someone remind me which country China has invaded, bombed, overthrow their government, or funded armed groups in?

    Tibet would be one, prime example. And, the long-term geopolitical motivation there is control of the glaciated Plateau which is the source of water for the Indian and Indochina subcontinents. It is a reasonable supposition that China’s long view involves dominating a truly vast swath of territory and population far beyond its present borders.

    China’s claims in the South China Sea are very aggressive.

    Putin made a long-term project out of settling dozens and dozens of border disputes with China as preparation for a closer relationship, and maybe that works in the medium-term at least, but it is worth noting that China has had such claims, many of them very esoteric.

    And, then there’s the small matter of China’s border disputes with India, which occasion violence from time-to-time. China has to go far afield to even have a border with India to dispute.

  17. Soredemos

    @Purple Library Guy

    Economists don’t understand much of anything because they’re morons.

    I know of no other profession that is so genuinely bad at the thing they’re supposedly experts in. Every economic miracle has been managed by people who were not trained as economists (and yes, every ‘miracle’ economy was carefully managed. Literally every single one. Free-market economists despise this little factoid).

  18. Mark Level

    I might want to comment later more substantively on a very provocative post, there is just too much to comment on at the moment (& late in my day).

    Instead, on a personal note to someofparts: I have shared recently on here my own background in a (somewhat doctrinaire) Sandinista revolutionary society in 1983-84, while volunteering to pick coffee for 11 weeks, plus intervening periods to go to Costa Rica to renew my visa, learning the ropes when I got to Nicaragua, etc. After my original 6 month trip across Latin America (Mexico back & forth, same for Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaraguan time & the trip into Costa Rica) I subsequently traveled to Mexico most summers for 3-4 weeks as able, putting in a year in total in Latin America (plus 10 weeks as a tourist in Spain in this century.)

    I later learned that I am Spanish by ancestry. Mom & grandma were very ashamed by their “dark” skin & wouldn’t talk about that side of the family. The official lie was that we were Jewish, as it was more respected in the 70s (& to be fair, maternal grandma had a “Jewish sounding” name.)

    Anyway, I lived in NorCal for 32 years after living in the Hispanic world, & taught students ESL using my Spanish a lot, also just used it on the street because until my mid-50s I was dark enough to pass as Hispanic (genetic testing puts me at only 10%, including a smidgen of Sardinian.) The point of all this background is I am considering moving back to Mexico after doing some research, given just how bad U$A is getting . . . so Ian has my permission if he wishes to share my personal email with someof. If you are interested in conversational Spanish I’m happy to do that to keep my skills up.

    I had a Spanish & French language group going at the Unitarian Church where I now live for some months, but then the guy who’d co-founded it with me, who had a French wife & had lived in France for 7 years found out I didn’t “support Ukraine” (in its seppuku against Russia) & thus ended the group in mutual acrimony.

    If Ian shares my email feel free to contact me & perhaps we can talk, if you want to work up some conversational skills. I can also advise how to learn the language, which is probably the easiest to learn in the world as the grammar is (unlike English) so consistent. I recommend starting with conjugating verbs in the present tense & then working up to past tense & other more sophisticated variants. So many English words derive from Latinate variants that in fact guessing at noun meanings, e.g., is incredibly easy from context.

  19. bruce wilder

    @Purple Library Guy

    It took me a long time to fully appreciate that economics is the theology of a civic religion and any ability to analyze and understand the system of political economy is routinely subverted to the rituals and ends of that religious faith.

    That determined ignorance of how the institutional world of economic systems works, based on a literature of esoterica, parables, fairy tales and morality plays handicaps all attempts at collective action.

  20. Damn those evil Chinese controlling their own territory! China “claiming” the China seas, oh the horrors! The death toll must be in the hundreds of thousands, right? What immoral acts will they do next, sell their water and food to people? That’s so controlling.

    Seriously, America has literally destroyed 4+ countries in the last 2 decades and killed around 10 million people with it’s wars of aggression. And China is bad because they control land that India wants. ROTFL

  21. the U.S., the UK, Europe, and raped Russia in the 90s,

    To put this in a more objected perspective.
    The estimated excess deaths in Russia in the 1990’s was 10 million. America with twice the population experienced half a million excess deaths in 2020.
    It took until 2010 for the former USSR’s economic output to recovery to 1990 pre-break up levels.

    Imagine what the media would say if Mexico switched to “Communism” and experienced similar results as the USSR’s switch to “capitalism”.

    “Everything the Soviets said about Communism was false, unfortunately everything they said about capitalism was correct.” —Russian Joke in the 90’s.

  22. Ian Welsh


    emailed your email to someofparts.


  23. mago

    The revolution will not be televised.

    Actually, as many have spoken, there will be no revolution, but rather rebellion, and that will likely be fragmented and spurious.
    As Oakchair noted, disease and dysfunction is accelerating.

    Will the revolution or rebellion be led by the confused and endocrine compromised? No. That describes our overlords as well as their subjects.

    Thrashing like a hooked sturgeon muddying polluted waters and filled with negative emotions, the discontent and disconnected will ultimately self destruct. (As will the “elite “.)

    Yeah, sounds grim, I know. (And I know nuthink. Thanks Sgt Schulz. )

    China. Authoritarian. Never saw a river they didn’t want to dam or any border or body of water they didn’t want to control.

    The Chinese also eat anything that walks, crawls, flies or burrows under the earth, but that’s an aside.

    They took over Tibet to control resources, especially water along with minerals, wood and what have you. Also ideological opposition to Tibetan Buddhism and culture. Long history with much nuance, intrigue with the usual human shenanigans at play.
    Let’s not romanticize any of it.

    “You say you want a revolution, well you know,
    We all want to change the world . . .
    But if you want money for minds that hate, all I can tell you is buddy you have to wait.” Courtesy of Mr Lennon.

    I would like to make an aspiration for a cessation or at least a mitigation of fear and hate in the world.
    That is all.

  24. NR

    The idea that elites are against Trump is absolutely ridiculous. Elites would love nothing more than to have Trump back in the White House, he gave them many billions of dollars with his big tax cuts and they’d love another round of that.

    There’s already a who’s who of wealthy elites shoveling money at Trump’s campaign.

  25. Ian Welsh

    If elites were unified behind Trump, all these trials wouldn’t be happening.

  26. Soredemos

    @bruce wilder

    Probably my favorite part of modern economics is that at some point someone had the bright idea that “hey, you know, we should really try and analyze how real people actually make economic decisions”, and thus was born the subfield of Behavioral Economics.

    Which everyone then proceeded to completely ignore in favor of continued use of ‘simplifying assumptions’ that are just lies.

  27. GrimJim

    The Elites are divided.

    Those who want a return to Absolute Power, untrammeled by laws, morals, or ethics, support Trump. They believe, potentially rightly, that the current Authoritarian movement – part of the Great Endarkening, the Counter-Revolution to the Great Enlightenment – will enable them to truly live like kings. For them Trump, MAGA, the Christofascists, all are merely pawns to be used.

    There remains a portion of the Elites dedicated to what one would today call Moderate Conservatism… But they are on the outs. They still need a body politic to manipulate, but the situation on the ground has become so untenable for their position that they are fading rapidly. Witness all the remaining Moderate Republicans bailing from Congress. Those who have become Radicalized have joined Trump or become fellow travelers.

    The Elite supporting the so-called Democrats are floundering. They are keeping up pressure with the propaganda, trying to make everyone eat the shit sandwich that is the Biden Economy and call it roast beef, but everyone knows the reality by the day… Or even several days…before payday, and any time they have to go grocery shopping or pay a bill.

    The economic reality is what is going to hurt Biden the most in the election. The Genocide in Gaza, the War in Ukraine… Only side shows. People won’t vote for Trump instead, or a third party. They just won’t vote.

    And that I think will be enough to squeak Trump through. If not, there will be open Rebellion in the streets.

    We are in a time when the Elites are divided, between those supporting Trump who seek Absolute Power (insert cackling Palatine here), those who think we can continue under the status quo (those supporting Democrats), and those politically on the outs (those supporting Moderate Republicans).

    There are also those more interested in supporting Tech bros; they, like their proteges, have been busy for some time now building an elaborate series of survival shelters.

    Make of that what you will…

  28. NR

    True, there is some division, but I was mainly responding to the comment saying that elites were united in wanting to get rid of Trump. That’s definitely not the case.

  29. someofparts

    mark level –

    I am so grateful for the help. As of now I know exactly zero Spanish. I was fairly impractical when I was young so took French in high school and at university.
    So I honestly couldn’t do conversational Spanish at all right now, but you have given me a giant motivation to get off my tush and start learning. Will be in touch. Also thanks to Ian for facilitating this.

  30. joe

    Mark, Mexico and central America are having a major water shortage, it hasn’t rained properly for a couple of years and they haven’t adequately expanded storage to keep up with their massive growth. Reservoirs big natural, not resivoir lakes and wells are all going dry. If you want to see what happens with human relations in scarcity, water scarcity really brings out the worst and fast. If I were you i’d wait till the drought breaks before going to Mexico. Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over. If trump wins before the drought breaks maybe go via Spain or something like that.

  31. different clue

    China China China, hmmm . . . . .

    Great Han China isn’t doing anything to Tibet or Sinjiang that America and Canada ( and Brazil and etc. etc. etc.) haven’t done to the Indian Nations. That doesn’t make China “right” to do it where America Canada Etc. were “wrong” to do it, and it doesn’t give America Canada Etc. the moral standing to criticize China over Tibet, Sinjiang, etc.
    ( That would be up to others).

    But it does allow us to understand what China is now doing in terms of what we did ( and some Indians would say are still doing). In other words, Americans especially ( along with some others. are qualified to know an Indian War when we see one.

    I have just lately been hearing about the ChinaGov setting up Residential Boarding Schools for Tibetan children today just as Canada set up Residential Schools for First Nations children and America set up Boarding Schools for Indian children in the recent past. And for the same reason and with the same goal in mind.

    In America the anti-Indian Boarding Schools watchword was ” Kill the Indian, save the man”. The ChinaGov operates from that same watchword ” Kill the Tibetan, save the man” expressed in other language. The purpose is to exterminate Tibetan culture by exterminating the Tibetan language among the young, so it will die when the last older and then old Tibetan speaker dies.

    When America has become a fading bitter memory, China will still be strip mining all the fish from the China Seas and strip-drilling and strip-pumping all the gas and oil out from under the China Seas, including from waters which other East and SouthEast Asian countries had thought of as theirs. China will pre-empt all the water it likes from flowing over the China border through the rivers which currently flow into South and SouthEast Asia. In 40-50 years, China will be the most hated country in South and SouthEast Asia. ( I may not be alive by then to know if my prediction is right or wrong.)

  32. Feral Finster

    “The Elites are divided.

    Those who want a return to Absolute Power, untrammeled by laws, morals, or ethics, support Trump. They believe, potentially rightly, that the current Authoritarian movement – part of the Great Endarkening, the Counter-Revolution to the Great Enlightenment – will enable them to truly live like kings. For them Trump, MAGA, the Christofascists, all are merely pawns to be used.

    There remains a portion of the Elites dedicated to what one would today call Moderate Conservatism… But they are on the outs. They still need a body politic to manipulate, but the situation on the ground has become so untenable for their position that they are fading rapidly. Witness all the remaining Moderate Republicans bailing from Congress. Those who have become Radicalized have joined Trump or become fellow travelers.

    The Elite supporting the so-called Democrats are floundering. They are keeping up pressure with the propaganda, trying to make everyone eat the shit sandwich that is the Biden Economy and call it roast beef, but everyone knows the reality by the day… Or even several days…before payday, and any time they have to go grocery shopping or pay a bill.”

    So why are the democrats the ones pushing hardest for censorship, war and repression, even though they already have the support (at least vis-a-vis Trump) of every major institution in and out of government?

  33. Senator-Elect

    Ian, I have to disagree with your previous post and this one on the US’s fiscal capacity. You are overlooking the fact that there is enormous tax room available. The deficit exists only because taxes are too low. The US could finance a huge safety net with the political will. Factor in the unfathomable inefficiencies in the military industrial complex, the financial system and the health care system, and you could easily mobilize enough financial resources to pay for almost anything a socialist could desire. (You could also tax away the excesses of professional sports, Hollywood and Silicon Valley.)
    That said, your point about physical resources and their limits is valid. A lot of the best people and plant and equipment is out of commission and would take some time to put back in action. As you rightly note, no amount of currency can change such physical capacity on a dime.

  34. Ian Welsh

    It is very often the case that fiscal crises happen because the people with the money refuse to be taxed and have the power to make it not happen, as it were.

  35. bruce wilder

    there are elites and then there are elites

    great intersecting blobs of them — hard to know which if any have degrees of freedom to choose objectives of their own

    I have met fairly rich men and women who seem to babble Fox News memes endlessly or MSNBC as the case may be — I don’t really know if they have any influence or — as seems likely — are simply the influenced. Just like most of the poor schlubs I know who make a hobby of having political opinions. A little like people who make a personality out of collecting snow globes or building model railroad landscapes in their basements.

    there is no readily apparent traction there on institutional government, no transmission mechanism to translate popular attitude or opinion to policy — but, oddly, the means of propaganda shows itself to create those disparate memes distributed variously by Fox or NPR or the Atlantic Council or Business Insider: a vast array of outlets and mostly predictable mouthpieces. Disinformation is worth producing even after information has lost value.

    I think most revolutions start out as failing attempts at pre-emptive counter-revolution by people who are losing the power to choose the future — the most perceptive see what’s coming and try to head it off and subvert it early. I think the some second-tier faction of establishment Democrats think Trump is what’s coming and are waging lawfare to stop him. Hillary and Bill and their friends at Goldman Sachs and the European Commission used to think neoliberal globalism was coming and they planned to cash in, and did cash in as long as it kept coming. Now, neoliberal globalism with its rule-based order seems to not to be coming and have no idea what to do really

    Trump seems to me to be “good” for wealthy people, but his popular appeal and support make him seem dangerous to people who are especially invested in “normal” of various dubious kinds. I think he’s too weak and corrupt a personality to do much for his electoral base, but his aberrant thinking on war and mass migration frighten the horses.

  36. bruce wilder

    I think a useful post and thread might be created to identify examples of “disinformation” and maybe other new categories as well (“malformation” and so on).

    A friend asked me yesterday to give him an example of disinformation and the first one that came to mind was Allen Dulles’s invention to obscure the details of the Kennedy assassination: “the conspiracy theory”.

    I was thinking earlier about how the ancien regime gradually lost legitimacy in the lead up to the French Revolution and how that loss of legitimacy retarded the reconstruction of France after the Revolution and then I made the connection to “disinformation” — that is one of multiple ways the American imperium is rapidly losing legitimacy setting up the conditions for revolution.

    just seemed like an important connection

  37. Ian Welsh


    write it and I’ll post it.

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