I took the day off today, had to get the eldest over to the college to get signed up for next year (hey, he is sixteen and the state will be paying for his first two years since he is still in high school, time to run with it). Damned if it didn't snow like hell. Boys are all on late starts and the plans for getting stuff done are in the toilet. I'll spend a little time recasting them after I finish my tea and writing.We are assimilated into a system which has no regard us. It has always been a way to make the wealthy even wealthier.
For a while we were able to forget that one little fact. We were sucking so much out of the world that even us low-lives were able to get ahead and watch Martha Stewart without too much embarrassment. But it would appear that the bon temps no longer roulez and folks are in a bit of a twitter due to the idea that they may well have to go back to living a life where happiness is no longer measured by the amount of crap in your house.
The real issue that we will have to deal with is the distribution of the rewards here in the US. The period of time everyone seems to obsess on when everyone here in the good old USA had a pretty large slice of the world's pie. Really, the slice we took was much larger than the slice that we deserved. But we got thinking that the share that we awarded ourselves was only right and fair.
Now the world is changing and folks out there, both high and low, are coming to the conclusion that the infinite growth that we prayed for isn't there. That simple realization is profound, because the next realization coming is that there isn't really enough to go around at the same level of consumption that is viewed as our "right". That one is going to be the real ticket.
What we are seeing in the stratosphere of politics and finance is the initial phase of consolidation by the "haves" to make sure that the "have-nots" stay that way. Because they, more than us, recognize that when there isn't an infinite amount of something, and there are a whole bunch of people, one of the most effective ways to go is make sure that you grab more than your fair share.
When it filters down to the clown class, things may get pretty damn twisted. Who I worry the most about are the clowns with too many guns in their house and a worldview where Jesus says that they are special and should have whatever their little heart desires. They will also figure out that more than their fair share is possible and all that they have to do is liberate it from the unbelievers.
While the wealthy piling up a portion of my share offends my delicate sensibilities, what I am really worried about is an extended tantrum by the populace. Guys, that is way to easy a horse to ride. The idiots who are denied their access to Martha Stewart wares and the latest upgrades of their margaritaville blender are who I am concerned about. They will "vote their pocketbook" and screw anyone and everyone to get what they see as their due. The cheap politico's will say what they need to co-opt the anger and channel it to their own needs.
There is a way around this, but it will involve the bulk of the American populace turning away from the phony dreams that have driven them. I really can't see this as a good-odds bet. Madison avenue and the "consumer economy" is pouring poison into their heads by any means of advertising that they can come up with. When folks worldview is shaped by the false prophets of television and advertising, one can't place too much hope in a sudden return to humility.