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Kunstler: Death to All Zombies!

Public Policy

Wait a minute. They’re already dead. Brexit just reveals that not everybody’s brains have been eaten. A viral contagion now threatens the zombified institutions of daily life, especially the workings of politics and finance. Just as zombies exist only in the collective imagination, so do these two principal activities of society operate mainly on trust, an ephemeral product of the hive-mind.

When things fall apart in stressed complex systems, they tend to fall apart fast. It’s called phase change. Too many things in 21st century life have depended on sheer trust that the people-in-charge know what they are doing. That trust has subsisted on the doling out of money-from-nothing: debt, reckless bond issuance. TARP, QEs, bailouts, bail-ins, Operation Twists, Ponzi schemes… the whole sad-ass armamentarium of banking necromancy. The politicians let it get out of hand. Things that can’t go on don’t, and now they won’t.

The politics of Great Britain are now falling apart landslide-style. Since just about everybody in or near power can be blamed for the national predicament, there’s nobody to turn to, at least not yet. The Labour party just acted out The Caine Mutiny, starring Jeremy Corbyn as Captain Queeg. The Tory Cameron gave three months notice without any plausible replacement in view. Now Cameron’s people are hinting in the media that they can just drag their feet on Brexit, that is, not do anything to enable it from actually happening for a while. Of course, that’s what the monkeyshines of banking and finance have done: postponed the inevitable reckoning with the realities of our time: growing resource scarcity, population overshoot, climate change, ecological holocaust, and the diminishing returns of technology.

Britain illustrates the problem nicely: how to produce “wealth” without producing wealth. It’s called “the City,” their name for the little district of London that is their Wall Street. In the absence of producing real things, the City became the driver of the UK’s economy, a ghastly parasitical organism that functioned as the central transfer station for the world’s swindles and frauds, churning the West’s dwindling residual capital into a slurry of fees, commissions, arbitrages, rigged casino bets, and rip-offs. In the process, it enabled the European Central Bank (ECB) to run the con-job that the European Union (EU) became, with the fatal distortions of credit that have put its members into a ditch and sent the private European banks off a cliff, Thelma and Louise style.

The next stage of this protean global melodrama is what happens when currencies and interest rates become completely unglued from their assigned roles as patsies in financial racketeering. Sooner or later we’ll know what’s going on in the vast shadowy gloaming of “derivatives,” especially the “innovative” arrangements that affect to be “insurance” against losses in currency and interest rate “positions” — bets made on the movements of these things. When currencies rise or fall quickly, these so-called “swaps” are “triggered,” and then some hapless institution is left holding a big bag of dog-shit. A zombie is a terrible thing to behold, but a zombie holding a bag of dog-shit is like unto the end of the world.

Once this contagion starts burning, the people-in-charge won’t be able to quell it the way they did last time: by drowning it in torrents of money-from-nowhere. At least not without inducing real-deal inflation, the kind that leads to epochal ruin and more intense political upheaval: the nation-changing kind. We’re about five minutes away from that in the USA already, with the loathsome duo of Hillary and Trump putting on a Punch and Judy show for a disgusted public. If nothing else, Hillary and Trump represent the withering of political trust in America. The parties that spawned them are also whirling around the drain of credibility. They won’t survive in the form we knew them.

Who knows what comes out of this vacuum, what rough beast slouches towards Washington.

Kunstler  



27 Comments on "Kunstler: Death to All Zombies!"

  1. Croatian Holiday Maker on Mon, 27th Jun 2016 10:43 am 

    “Who knows what comes out of this vacuum, what rough beast slouches towards Washington.”

    Secession.

  2. Plantagenet on Mon, 27th Jun 2016 11:26 am 

    “Who knows what comes out of this vacuum, what rough beast slouches towards Washington.”

    Hillary.

  3. JuanP on Mon, 27th Jun 2016 11:39 am 

    Hillary or Trump? What will it be? What a lovely choice! What are you guys voting? Add a line in your comment telling what you intend to do in the coming US presidential elections, please!

  4. onlooker on Mon, 27th Jun 2016 11:41 am 

    http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/26/brexit-cost-investors-2-trillion-the-worst-one-day-drop-ever.html
    Worldwide markets hemorrhaged more than $2 trillion in paper wealth on
    Friday, according to data from S&P Global, the worst on record. For
    context, that figure eclipsed the whipsaw trading sessions of the 2008
    financial crisis, according to S&P analyst Howard Silverblatt.

    The prior one day sell-off record was $1.9 trillion back in September of
    2008, Silverblatt noted. According to S&P’s Broad Market Index, combined
    market capitalization is currently worth nearly $42 trillion.

  5. onlooker on Mon, 27th Jun 2016 11:51 am 

    I will do what I have done in like the last 20 years not vote. Last time I voted was for Clinton in 92.

  6. onlooker on Mon, 27th Jun 2016 11:57 am 

    Here is something real as opposed to zombie politics and finance. Venezuela in true free fall. If any good can come from that country it will be some lessons for future areas faced with similar circumstances. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2016/06/nicolas_maduro_holds_a_tight_grip_on_power_amid_unrest_in_venezuela.html

  7. Bystander on Mon, 27th Jun 2016 11:59 am 

    Onlooker, please use tinyurl. You make most other posts unreadable with your long link.

  8. HARM on Mon, 27th Jun 2016 12:10 pm 

    In the absence of producing real things, the City became the driver of the UK’s economy, a ghastly parasitical organism that functioned as the central transfer station for the world’s swindles and frauds, churning the West’s dwindling residual capital into a slurry of fees, commissions, arbitrages, rigged casino bets, and rip-offs. In the process, it enabled the European Central Bank (ECB) to run the con-job that the European Union (EU) became, with the fatal distortions of credit that have put its members into a ditch and sent the private European banks off a cliff, Thelma and Louise style.

    At times, Kunstler proves himself to be a consummate wordsmith and poet of the highest order. Wish I could write prose like that.

  9. penury on Mon, 27th Jun 2016 12:10 pm 

    Well, the good part is that the losses on the market are not real, It makes for interesting reading, but it is essentially meaningless. just more goo to placate the stupids.

  10. GregT on Mon, 27th Jun 2016 12:12 pm 

    “Add a line in your comment telling what you intend to do in the coming US presidential elections, please!”

    I plan on stocking up on Orville Redenbacher’s, and I might even pick up a bottle of McClelland’s 30 year old.

  11. JuanP on Mon, 27th Jun 2016 2:33 pm 

    Bystander “Onlooker, please use tinyurl. You make most other posts unreadable with your long link.” Please explain to me, a virtual computer illiterate what you meant and how that works. I have been having this problem of the comments running off the page on and of here at PO. Thanks for your help!

  12. dave thompson on Mon, 27th Jun 2016 4:27 pm 

    “Add a line in your comment telling what you intend to do in the coming US presidential elections, please!” I am think’in Trump has the presidential hair.

  13. Joe D on Mon, 27th Jun 2016 5:06 pm 

    “When things fall apart in stressed complex systems, they tend to fall apart fast. It’s called phase change.”

    Phase change? More like sublimation!

  14. makati1 on Mon, 27th Jun 2016 7:00 pm 

    My vote: I am not bothering to vote. Haven’t since Clinton 1. But I would vote for Trump just to keep Killery out and to see what Trump can do. War or …?

    We live in interesting times. Pass the shrimp chips…

  15. shortonoil on Mon, 27th Jun 2016 7:09 pm 

    “the City became the driver of the UK’s economy, a ghastly parasitical organism that functioned as the central transfer station for the world’s swindles and frauds, churning the West’s dwindling residual capital into a slurry of fees, commissions, arbitrages, rigged casino bets, and rip-offs. “

    You must admit Kunstler has a way with words, and is damn observant sometimes.

  16. shortonoil on Mon, 27th Jun 2016 7:23 pm 

    “Worldwide markets hemorrhaged more than $2 trillion in paper wealth on Friday “

    Interesting, almost equal to the entire 2015 loss in the oil industry. And it happened all in one day?? Makes one think that the market is vastly over leveraged at about 365:1. If we could find some oil with an ERoEI that high, the rest wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately Drake pumped (bailed) it all out.

  17. Northwest Resident on Mon, 27th Jun 2016 9:44 pm 

    I’m personally thankful that “the City”, along with other ghastly parasitical entities (i.e., The FED, PBOC, BOJ and of course the EU itself) set themselves up as central transfer stations for the world’s swindles, frauds and all the rest. Because, without that blatant in-your-face financial skullduggery and epic debt, the global economy would have crashed and burned in 2008, or some time shortly after, and I would not have been prepared. They bought time. They are still buying time. And that’s all it is. By keeping BAU lurching along from one massive debt injection to another, TPTB have managed to sit pretty for a little while longer, and give many of us an opportunity to get ready for the ultimate collapse. Sure, I don’t know if my preparations will do any good, but at least I got a chance to prepare myself mentally and strategically, and whatever happens when the shit finally hits the fan, at least I won’t be one of those billions of poor ignorant suckers caught like a deer in the headlights.

  18. Bystander on Tue, 28th Jun 2016 1:57 am 

    Juan,

    If you want to post a link, select the link at the top of the browser: click in the address bar and if it is not selected already (blueish color) enter ctrl/a to select it, then enter ctrl/c and the link is copied. Next go to tinyurl.com and select the edit field on the left and enter ctrl/v to paste the link copied earlier into this entry field.

    Next click button “Make tinyurl…”

    The newly generated tinyurl is displayed, select it eith your mouse and do ctrl/c to copy it.

    Next go to your peakoil.com post under construction, do ctrl/v to paste the tinyurl in your post and you’re good.

  19. theedrich on Tue, 28th Jun 2016 2:40 am 

    Before making any rash decisions in November based on MSM propaganda, people might profit from reading the just-published book, “Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate” by Gary J. Byrne, former White House Secret Service Officer under the Clintons.  It is available from https://www.amazon.com/Crisis-Character-Discloses-Firsthand-Experience/dp/1455568872/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1467098075&sr=8-1&keywords=crisis+of+character+by+gary+byrne.  The Kindle edition can be downloaded immediately.

  20. joe on Tue, 28th Jun 2016 9:12 am 

    Never thought id be writing this but last year during the grexit crisis people ignored the prospect of brexit, few even bothered to use the word, fewer still knew what it was, but anyone with a brain could see. The sad truth is that unlike europeans, british people are educated, they are steeped in their history and they ARE NOT europeans. Every european ive ever met knows who Hitler is, but never heard of Charles Martel. Its a kind of brainwashing. Europe is poised to turn into the next soviet union. Think Germany will be a US ally when Turkey joins the EU. The EU will have to represent Islamic Interests, that will include Israel. Cant America see whats coming? Billary will cheer while a new Nazi Republic emerges from the smashed body of what WAS the EU. Without Britain, nothing will hold back the Germans.

  21. JuanP on Tue, 28th Jun 2016 10:10 am 

    Thanks, Bystander! I just made a Tinyurl of the
    link to this page to try it. 😉
    http://tinyurl.com/hmkvt9j
    Let’s all try and use this feature in the future to
    keep the comments from running off the page.
    I come here for the comments, not the articles.
    I get really annoyed when I can’t read them!

  22. Hilda Higround on Tue, 28th Jun 2016 11:09 am 

    Seriously, Kunstler? People still listen to this discredited chicken little, luddite fool? It’s peak glut not peak oil people. Diminishing returns on tech? It was tech that disproved peak oil. Arrogance become farce. Pay no attention to my previous idiotic predictions, I have new ones, hehehheh, cackle cackle. The end is still nigh, and it has something to do with the elite hehehheh.

    I guess some books still need selling and links need clicking to keep the insanity train going.

    HH

  23. Croatian Holiday Maker on Tue, 28th Jun 2016 12:37 pm 

    “The sad truth is that unlike europeans, british people are educated”

    You are kidding, right?

    “they are steeped in their history and they ARE NOT europeans.”

    Absolutely true. The English are Anglos, not Europeans. For a century they have opted to be a (if necessary) junior member of Anglosphere and did not shy away to buddy up with the Soviets in order to get Germany and the rest of continental Europe destructed.

    “Every european ive ever met knows who Hitler is, but never heard of Charles Martel.”

    Every rightwinger knows who Charles Martel is, who was French btw, not English.

    “Its a kind of brainwashing. Europe is poised to turn into the next soviet union.”

    Complete rubbish. In order for a society to turn into a USSR, that society needs to be controlled by a certain people who can’t be named. Russia finally managed to kick them out of the country and is now truely European (white-Christian). Anglosphere is the one who will be the next USSR, not Europe.

    The tragedy of the English that they were never a match for their current rulers, who were brought into the country, first by Cromwell and next as a result of the Dutch military conquest of Britain and Northern Ireland in 1688.

    ‘Think Germany will be a US ally when Turkey joins the EU.”

    Turkey will not be a member of the EU. And Germany and France will turn to Russia instead, greatly enabled by the recent Brexit, when America’s stadtholder will have left the building.

    “The EU will have to represent Islamic Interests, that will include Israel.”

    Not going too happen, populist parties are on the rise everywhere in Europe, that are all very explicit against mass immigration from the third world, where the English and UKIP are mainly focused on resisting Eastern European immigration. When these people will have left Britain, the English will find themselves a minority in their own capital. Good luck with that. 1400 ENglish girls raped by Muslims in Rotterham and ZERO reaction from the English shows that the English will not resist their new Islamic overlords.

    “Cant America see whats coming? Billary will cheer while a new Nazi Republic emerges from the smashed body of what WAS the EU. Without Britain, nothing will hold back the Germans.”

    English have only one desire: please let the Germans not win. When Britain will be 80% Islamic, there will still a Brit, with the bck against the Hadrian Wall, claiming that Britain won WW2 (they didn’t, they lost the largest empire in world history)

    The African majority “English” team got a beating yesterday from Iceland. That team is the face of the future Britain.

  24. theedrich on Wed, 29th Jun 2016 1:04 am 

    Carolus Martellus (Karl/Charles the Little Hammer [“martellus” being a by-form of Latin “marculus,” diminutive of “marcus,” “a smith’s hammer”]) was not French but a Frank, that is a Germanic chieftain of the eighth century, when Gaul was only beginning to be called “Francia.”

    The greatest nightmare for the United States is that Germany and Russia should become true allies.  The prospect of a marriage between German technology and Russian natural resources along with enormous geographic territory scares the b’Jesus out of neocons like Nicolas Burns and the CFR.  After all of the Holocaustiana, the leftist propaganda and the political correctness aimed at getting the White race to commit genosuicide, the idea that Washington elites (dominated by you-know-who) might face a serious adversary in the struggle for world domination is just too much.  They had to get the demented German Kanzlerin, Angela Merkel, to intensify German self-hatred and accelerate the Untergang Deutschlands with human pollution, importing savage lower primates en masse from the Third World.  Because otherwise the United States might not be the only superpower on the planet.

    The United States was founded during the Enlightenment, many decades before Darwin’s Origin of Species.  Given that Utopian background and ideology, neither the nation’s rulers nor its masses can ever acknowledge that biological evolution ever happened, much less than that it has any significant results for the present.  Only the evanescent power of Washington elites matters.  But in an age when military high technology based on high intelligence is increasingly threatening to make the difference between the life and death of nations, those elites and their sheep may not be around much longer.

  25. techkno on Wed, 29th Jun 2016 8:25 am 

    “The parties that spawned them are also whirling around the drain of credibility. They won’t survive in the form we knew them.”
    The Libertarians and The Greens should do exceptionally well. Republican &
    Democrat Parties are subsidiaries
    of the Corporations. It is imperative
    to try true alternatives. Sitting
    back to enjoy the Zombie apocalypse is
    betrayal of the next generation.
    There are people who want to do
    what is right. Give ’em a chance! And
    spit in the face of the Dems & Repubs.

  26. Alan on Wed, 29th Jun 2016 11:30 am 

    I see no options but to vote third party or none at all. Warren is revealed as the neo-con that she is; she does a good job of being handy with the DP candidate.

    Stein or Johnson. Matters not, vote your will. The point is to suck the life out of the oligarchtopus.

    Secession. Yes.

  27. PRacticalMaina on Wed, 29th Jun 2016 11:35 am 

    I am writing in Obomber for the third term, that way the neocons don’t have to change their hr paperwork.

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