It’s always difficult to separate out what Schadenfreude and general disapproval is prompting us to believe will happen, from what the signs actually tell us is going to happen, especially when it comes to predicting the outcomes of the reckless behaviour of the best mate we all love to hate, the United States.
From hairyears comes a link to an essay by Dmitri Orlov, in which the author claims that the USSR was able to cope with its own collapse and disassembling far better than the US is likely too. I can only accept his eyewitness acounts of the insides of Mother Russia on trust, but much of what he says about the current state of the US rings true. A recent edition of People and Power on al Jazeera—if you’re a neocon and/or Christopher Hitchens, just hold your nose and plough straight in, please—suggested that Greenspan’s discarding of the “gold standard”, plus fixing of gold prices, plus the cessation of publication of state-compiled metrics of the economy, are all intended to mask massive inflation and overvaluation in the US. And if you mask inflation, you remove the will to apply the brakes, and the whole economy can only overheat to exhaustion.
At this moment the US economy is, bizarrely, far more likely to do a “disappearing act” and utterly evaporate, rather than slump in its seat from a surfeit of cheneys. I’m happy to believe that “peak oil” will precipitate a crash rather than cause it, though: the real causes stretch back decades and are cultural as much as political. But sometimes I feel like the US establishment has deliberately gathered this head of steam, through propaganda and whipping the economy, with the express intention of pushing it over, weary and spent, when the moment is ripe. I can’t explain their collective behaviour any other way.
A rather chilling quote in last month’s Lobster might counterintuitively serve to bolster our spirits here, though. It was from a permanent secretary at the Min of Ag in the 1970s (quoted in turn from the book under review, Challenge to Democracy), saying that “if the currency collapsed we couldn’t take it for granted that the Canadians would still be willing to sell wheat to us.” The UK reached that nadir and rebuilt its economy; the US might still do the same. If it even has an actual economy to rescue.