Monday, November 15, 2010

The Good News

   I don't know how many people reading this blog have seen the movie Hardware, but there was a line in it that went "The good news is, there is no f---ing good news." Seemingly, it doesn't matter where you look, there's very little, if any, positive news about the economy, either locally or globally. Much is made of China's "miracle," but the stories which report that China's economy is set to overtake ours have missed the little trickles of news that suggest not all things are well behind the bamboo curtain. Or maybe it's just that we're sinking so hard, so far, so fast that we're like someone caught in an avalanche, passing China on the way down as they cling desperately to a pine tree.

   Things in Europe look to be considerably worse lately, with a new round of bad news coming from the "PIIGS" (an unfortunate name -- the "PIIGS" just got hind teat while the wealthier nations suckled away at the debt sow). This, in turn, will continue to drag down the other economies of Europe. How long will it be until France and Britain face a crisis of government because of increasing civil unrest? Will the same current of unrest travel to the United States? People forget that the Cold War was a godsend to the governments in the "Free World" -- no matter how bad or weird things got, no one was going to march in the streets because the Communists were always a worse threat, looming off in the distance. When people see their savings and chance for any meaningful retirement gone, will they feel so moderate in their stance?

  Domestically, things aren't much better here in America. Wal-Mart has quietly observed that inflation is beginning to occur (something that anyone who has filled their tanks lately should now). As people spend more on food, less and less will be spent on all the junk and trinkets (much of it made in China) which will in turn further cripple any "green shoots" that might somehow be making it out of the bombed-out, burned-out debt economy. Those who invested heavily in gold are doing well, at least until it gets confiscated to try to pay at least some of the service on the debt. On a personal level, I have been in a few department stores recently. The Christmas decorations would have been mostly picked over by this point in the past. Now, the shelves are still fully stocked with all kinds of pretty trinkets and items, even with half-off sales running. It will be interesting to see how "Black Friday" goes, if the American public can muster up enough will and credit to go for one last shopping binge before they're also living in a tent city.

   There's a news item about a truck dealership in Florida selling $400 vouchers to a gun shop to buy an AK-47 in honor of Veteran's Day. With the declining dollar, $400 soon probably won't buy a box of 20 cartridges. Regardless, I've always thought that the surge in gun sales had much more to do with the fact that people have begun to realize what the declining ability of cities and counties to finance police forces than it ever did with the election of Barack Obama, who is facing such a gigantic political and economic mess that causes for easy times, like gun control, have been largely pushed aside.

   Some readers are probably wondering what this has to do with the coming Dark Age. In a nutshell, we are living through tomorrow's history. These days are like our own version of the 400s in Rome, though they are occurring at a faster pace. We see the end in sight, brought on by a dozen or more causes, yet we try to still cling to some normalcy in our lives.

   How much worse for those who do not see the fall coming.

   Some might be wondering where I stand politically after reading a few of these posts. I've been conservative-leaning, libertarian-leaning, tried being green-leaning for a little while. The simple fact is that I don't much care anymore who's in charge, because it doesn't much matter. If anyone thinks holding the reins of power is going to mean anything outside of possibly finding a safe landing spot as the system crashes, I think they delude themselves as much as the people voting for them. Things have gone beyond the point where politics and economics don't matter, like the warping of space and time around a black hole of inevitability.

   Finally, if anyone thinks I'm being pessimistic, I'm not. Sometimes it's good to be a realist, sometimes it hurts. Either way, we're still building the Great Wall, one block at a time, as Steven King would say.

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