The New, Improved 1984 (August 12, 2013)
The new, improved version of 1984 is based on complicity.
George Orwell's prescient book 1984 envisioned a technologically enabled authoritarian state of ubiquitous surveillance, propaganda and fear that constantly rewrote history to suit the needs of the present regime. Published in 1949, 1984 took the totalitarian templates of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union and extended them into a future where the state employed technology to perfect not only control of the populace via police state repression but control of their minds via propaganda extolling the state and revising "facts" to support the current party line.
Welcome to the new, improved 1984, America 2013.
Ubiquitous surveillance: check.
Ubiquitous propaganda extolling the state and central bank: check
Perpetual fear-mongering: check
Perpetual war against an unseen enemy who can never be defeated: check
Police state with essentially unlimited powers to suppress "enemies of the state": check
Continual revision of history to support the current party line: check.
Have you noticed that every key metric of the economy is constantly being revised, rewriting history and installing a shiny new set of "facts"? In a recent podcast I recorded with Chris Martenson of Peak Prosperity, Chris pointed out that downward revisions in economic data are made only when the data point is safely over the horizon of history; that the U.S. GDP dipped into negative numbers in 2011 was masked at the time with the usual ginned-up positive numbers, and revised down to an approximation of reality years later when the reality has zero impact on the public perception of the state-managed "recovery."
The "headline number" is always positive, and its downward revision buried in an avalanche of new data. The revisions are so constant and so extreme that the recognition of this constant revision of history to suit the political needs of the current regime has been numbed; everyone knows the numbers are intended to paint a positive picture of a devolving, fragile economy and society, but we prefer this propaganda illusion to the harsh reality.
Why? Because half of us are getting a direct check, benefit or payment from the state. Over 61 million people get a check from Social Security, over 50 million draw Medicare benefits, another 50 million get Medicaid benefits, 47 million receive SNAP food stamp benefits, 22 million people work directly for the state on all levels, millions more work for government contractors that are effectively proxies of the state, millions more receive Federally funded extended unemployment, retirement checks, Section 8 housing benefits, and so on.
Orwell underestimated the power of complicity. Once a citizen receives a direct payment from the state, the state has purchased their complicity, for no matter how much that citizen may complain privately about the state, he or she will never risk the payment/benefit by resisting the state in a politically meaningful way.
Once you get a check from the state, you begin loving your servitude. The collusion of the state and its central bank is truly a thing of authoritarian beauty: the central bank (the Federal Reserve) creates money out of thin air and buys government bonds with the new money. The state can thus borrow unlimited sums at low rates of interest, and continue to send tens of millions of individual payments out to buy the passivity and complicity of its citizens.
The state is great when it sends you money, never mind where or how it gets the money or the incalculable costs of subservience and complicity.
We don't hate Big Brother; we don't care about Big Brother or the fear-mongering or the
rewriting of history or any of the rest of it, as long as the state's money flows to our
individual account. Our complaints are as hollow as the state's financial "facts."
Things are falling apart--that is obvious. But why are they falling apart? The reasons are complex and global. Our economy and society have structural problems that cannot be solved by adding debt to debt. We are becoming poorer, not just from financial over-reach, but from fundamental forces that are not easy to identify or understand. We will cover the five core reasons why things are falling apart:
1. Debt and financialization
2. Crony capitalism and the elimination of accountability
3. Diminishing returns
5. Technological, financial and demographic changes in our economy
Complex systems weakened by diminishing returns collapse under their own weight and are replaced by systems that are simpler, faster and affordable. If we cling to the old ways, our system will disintegrate. If we want sustainable prosperity rather than collapse, we must embrace a new model that is Decentralized, Adaptive, Transparent and Accountable (DATA).
We are not powerless. Not accepting responsibility and being powerless are two sides of
the same coin: once we accept responsibility, we become powerful.
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