Friday, July 8, 2016


Now this is one of the oddest creations that we have come up with as a culture,  the idea that the accoutrements of your daily life define you.  While I recognize that there  has always been luxury goods and status symbols to differentiate between oneself and the hoi polloi, the West seems to have gone a little apeshit with the concept.  The US is particularly guilty, but there is plenty of tacky going around for just about everyone.

Now, when you look back to the olden days, which, by the way, were considerably more fucked up than we ever thought of being, wealth was held by the upper tier of society.  One stocked oneself with arms and armsmen and kept the larder stocked by taking from the helpless and keeping it.  Thus was lifestyle maintained in the "good old days".

Since the advent of good old Hank Ford and the production line, things have changed.  Now the outer trapping of what used to be considered wealth is available to one and all.  Homeless folks sleep in cars, eat prepared and packaged foods, and other such strange discontinuities.

So we are in a wealthy society where ownership of exquisitely frivolous things is the norm and almost a right.  I have seen folks paying for junk food with food stamps while texting on a smart phone.  Unemployment checks go to keep up payments on the SUV.  Retirements get raided for marble countertops.  All these things happen.

But all of these things do not occur in a vacuum.  All of these things are built around the strange distortions built up by the current free market system itself.  Mass production has at its core mass consumption.  As the old song goes "you can't have one without the other".

So the law of supply and demand here in the West is best described as a death embrace.  We have a society of small folks grasping for mass produced icons of acceptance and ease.  These "essentials" are supplied by a corporate culture that would die if they stopped selling such.

So, what can  you and I do about this you ask?  Well, nothing.  We are in a societal cycle and the widely held myth that a few rebels can hold out against a juggernaut is at best laughable and there is no historical precedent for this ever occurring.  The menu items for the next twenty years are

  1. Take it
  2. Leave it
As an aside, menu items one and two may not be available

The system is deteriorating, sometimes in subtle ways barely noticeable by the most astute, sometimes plastered in headlines.  No matter the level of public notice, the deterioration goes on.  The system we live in is fraught with contradictions, and Hegel taught some uncomfortable lessons how this kind of stuff usually gets resolved.

Right now, that contradiction and the angst that goes with it is is becoming palpable.  The fact that the level headed Yves at Naked Capitalism feels it, gives much credence that there is something afoot.  The have's know that the system is rotten, and as any rational person would do, they are trying to get while the getting is good.  The Preppers are doing the same thing on a smaller scale.  Both strategies are built around the simple and time-tested concept that having something when there isn't enough to go around is probably a wise plan.

But the haves and the preppers have also stumbled upon the idea (and it isn't a bad one) that having sufficient firepower to keep the goods in your larder instead of operating an involuntary distribution center is also a good plan.  Again, the overall strategy is the same, but the execution is at differing levels.  The haves are purchasing police departments and the Department of Homeland Security.  The preppers are stocking up on 7.62 rounds.  Guess who will win that play.

The house isn't on fire yet.  But folks are starting to smell smoke.  The serious issues with maintaining a consumer culture are apUproaching fast.  The bulk of the American populace knows no other way of life. 

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