January 3, 2018
Years ago, when visiting the US, I’d often watch late night television. Just prior to each interval, in order to ensure that viewers would sit through the adverts, the show would run a panel that said, “More to Come.”
This, of course, was effective, as the viewer would be anticipating that the best part of the programme would come in a later segment and would be more likely to continue watching.
Today, were looking at the reverse of that situation. The programme we’re watching is The Decline and Fall of the American Empire and those who recognize the decline are viewing with ever-increasing trepidation, the developments that are unfolding there. Even those of us who are not American and don’t live there are glued to our screens, as we’re aware that were viewing the early stages of a collapse that promises to be the greatest social, political and economic event that we’re likely to see in our lifetimes.
Following World War Two, the US was in a boom beyond anything the world had ever seen. The Americans came to the war late, after having built up their manufacturing capacity for war dramatically, at the expense of the Allied powers in Europe. And they did this, essentially for free. It was paid for with the gold from the vaults of the European allies. After the war, Europe was trashed and it would take decades for them to get on their feet again. Meanwhile, the US had been going flat out in production, had first-rate modern factories and, most important, held the majority of the world’s gold.
The 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement ensured that the US dollar would become the world’s default currency and, later, become the petrodollar, ensuring American hegemony over much of the rest of the world.
There can be no doubt that, in the first decades after the war, the US had an amazing run and was, arguably, one of the best places to live in the world.
But, unfortunately, as so often happens, American political and industry leaders became full of themselves and couldn’t resist going out on limb to gain even more for themselves. In so doing, they turned the US from the world’s foremost creditor nation into the world’s foremost debtor nation. Worse, when they reached this unprecedented point, they opted to just keep going.
Worse still, it would appear that today’s leaders are aware that the mother of all bubbles that they’ve created, is going to pop sometime in the near future, as they’re preparing themselves for the mother of all pushbacks from the populace when the crashes come.
The FBI, CIA, NSA, and a host of other authorities have either been created or expanded, allowing the creation of the world’s foremost police state. And, beginning in 2001with the Patriot Act, have created a host of laws to assign authority to any of those bodies to exert ever-increasing control over the population. Capital controls, migration controls, higher taxes, confiscation of deposits in banks and quite a bit more have been passed in legislation, including the ability to declare the US in its entirely to be a “battle zone,” through which habeas corpus and the court system can be suspended nationally.
Yipes. (Or, blimey, depending on where you’re from.)
At this point, any American who’s paying attention could be forgiven if he’s genuinely frightened at where his government is going with all this.
And so, we come back to the title of this essay – “More to Come.”
A regular flow of proposed laws is now coming down the pipeline that would have been considered the stuff of a bad movie a few decades ago, but is now only too real and threatening to the freedoms of the average citizen.
Instead of “more to come” meaning that the best is still on the way, the opposite would appear to be the case.
But, how can this be, we ask ourselves. Surely those in power – the politicians, the industrialists, the central bankers, etc., must see this coming and, if that’s so, surely they’ll do something to stop it.
Well, historically, that’s never been the case. Those in the greatest positions of power have never suddenly reversed an empire when it was about to self-destruct. What they tend to do instead is to guard against becoming casualties of the disaster they’ve created.
So, is that what’s happening this time around? In a word, yes.
The Bernie Madoffs of the world go to jail. However, those who commit the same fraudulent acts from within the system never go to jail. For example, if the heads of a bank commit massive fraud, the bank pays an enormous fine. The fine is then paid by the stockholders. And should the fine be large enough to crash the bank, the bankers can appeal to the government to bail them out, as they’re “too big to fail.” Thus, the taxpayers pick up the bill.
At this point, what we’re witnessing is an era in which laws are regularly being passed to ensure that the creators of the bubble will get a “Get Out of Jail Free” card and others will sustain the losses.
This is the very essence of what happens in an endgame run. Just as a hitman who places a bomb in a building makes his exit before the bomb can go off, the creators of bubbles safeguard themselves before the economic bomb can go off. They have no intention of being around to live with the resultant devastation that they’ve put into play.
Pete Townshend wrote prophetically, “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” in 1971, in which he hopes that the latest gang of leaders will be better than the last. In the final line of the song, he grimly announces, “Meet the new boss – same as the old boss.”
And, in fact, this is the usual outcome. Perhaps the reason why empires collapse much in the same way, time and again, and their citizens consistently fail to see it coming, is that empires general last a long time before collapsing. The Venetian Republic lasted 200 years. The Spanish Empire lasted just over 120 years. Holland lasted 130 years, Russia – 200, the UK, just under 120. And it’s been much the same for the others. In every case, they last longer than a single lifetime, so it’s rare that any individual sees more than one empire collapse in his own lifetime and doesn’t understand that empires don’t end with a whimper. They end with a crescendo, not unlike the Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”
We will be witness to the collapse of the world’s foremost empire. This is not mere conjecture. The US has all the symptoms that historically precede a collapse and we’re now coming close to the final stages.
And, if history plays out yet again, as it has repeatedly, we can expect that, in the lead-up to the collapse, the controls by governments will become increasingly draconian. As we consider, “more to come,” we should be braced for the likelihood that the worst controls are yet to be revealed.