Monday, August 24, 2009


Another Monday edition of James Howard Kunstler:

All this goes to show is how completely the people in charge of things in
the USA have lost their minds. They seem to think this mass exercise in
pretend will resurrect the great march to the WalMarts, to the new car
showrooms, and the cul-de-sac model houses, reignite another round of furious
sprawl-building, salad-shooter importing, and no-doc liar-lending, not to
mention the pawning off of innovative, securitized stinking-carp debt paper onto
credulous pension funds in foreign lands where due diligence has never been
heard of, renew the leveraged buying-out of zippy-looking businesses by
smoothies who have no idea how to run them (and no real intention of doing it,
anyway), resuscitate the construction of additional strip malls, new office park
"capacity" and Big Box "power centers," restart the trade in granite countertops
and home theaters, and pack the turnstiles of Walt Disney world - all this while
turning Afghanistan into a neighborhood that Beaver Cleaver would be proud to
call home.

The key to the current madness, of course, is this expectation, this wish,
really, that all the rackets, games, dodges, scams, and workarounds that
American banking, business, and government devised over the past thirty years -
to cover up the dismal fact that we produce so little of real value­ these
days - will just magically return to full throttle, like a machine that has
spent a few weeks in the repair shop. This is not going to happen, of
course. It is permanently and irredeemably broken - this Rube Goldberg
contraption of swindles all based on the idea that it's possible to get
something for nothing. And more to the point, we're really doing nothing to
reconstruct our economy along lines that are consistent with the realities of
energy, geopolitics, or resource scarcity.

What we've been seeing is nothing more than a massive pump-and-dump
operation in the stock markets, most of it executed by programmed robot traders,
with the trading nut provided by taxpayers current and future. These
shenanigans add up to new risks and fragilities so extreme that the next time a
grain of sand catches in the exquisite machinery they will sink the USA as a
viable enterprise.

He's right of course.

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