Monday, April 7, 2008

The War Economy By Jimmy Petrol

Americans have been watching television for about three-quarters of a century now. The medium has become a sophisticated social-engineering tool which has been used to condition American consumers to do just that.

Americans consume more of most everything than they did even fifty years ago. There is more copper wire in American houses, more clothes in their closets, more cars in the drive and more televisions than households by a wide margin. Little Jill and Johnny grow up with a television in their bedroom, another in the family area and probably one in the room where they eat breakfast. In short, the little box of Acid Dreams never stops and little Jill and Johnny have a distorted view of the world because of it.

Most Americans cannot envision a life without the Magic Box, wondering out loud what people who don’t have a television do at night. Gone are the days when Dad and the local boys repaired junior’s car in the evenings, or played basketball in the driveway. Kids are constrained from working by the very laws designed to protect them from predatory employers. Those that might want to work are conditioned by the social standards of the televised world; only dummies work with their hands. Americans have turned their backs on labor, believing en-mass in a natural and universal intellectual supremacy that cannot be wasted doing manual labor. The pride in craftsmanship that built the nation in the 1950's is now only a legend.

In place of the work ethic and craftsmanship that built the country there is a sense of entitlement that staggers the mind and taxes the world economy to support.

All of this is likely to come to a stuttering halt, with the effects of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary policies of the past two decades come to roost. The Fed has funded the unsupported rise in American debt by creating money and credit when debt and credit might ought to have been discouraged and savings encouraged.

The result of this easy money has been the growth of U.S. citizens’ personal debt to proportions that cannot be supported by the economy. While Joe Average is filing bankruptcy and banks get bailed out with U.S. tax dollars, the Fed has begun to use the television to promulgate a new economic model. According to the Fed, it is the rising price of commodities that is responsible for inflation, not the Fed’s policy of printing money without supporting economic growth.

The tool for this, and any other misrepresentation of the facts is the same used to convince the average American that everyone ought to have a new car, a big house and nobody ought ever sweat. Unless they are Mexican or stupid. All the little Americans grow up to be wealthy managers in the Wonderland of television.

Little matter that fully half the population of the United States has an intelligence that is measured on the dumber end of the curve. For Americans, nothing is too good or too good to be true.

While the news in America promises to become even more grim in the months and even years to come, as the extent of the unprecedented manipulation of the monetary supply comes to light, it is still possible to find small pockets of intelligence that is not based in the Wonderland that beams into nearly every American household; there are still a small but significant number of Americans who read.

Beyond reading is comprehension and beyond comprehension is courage. It takes an uncommon courage to refuse to consume, to believe in frugality, labor and skill. Mostly, these virtues are found only in the working - poor, whose political voice is nil.

There is little hope that Americans will be able to see through the morass of misrepresentation and deliberate malfeasance that is leading the country toward even more war. The wars of the coming century are wars for resources, not ideologies, unless the ideology of the Superpower and Supermen’s entitlement to resources be considered.

Americans lag behind most of the rest of the world in manufacturing. Those Americans still involved in the production of goods and services belong to a subclass that is denigrated hourly on American television. The economy of America is now founded on the rock of her military, and the economic product of the next decades has been mortgaged to pay for her new wars.

When Americans look to see where they are it is likely to be too late in the day to do anything about it. With the staggering costs of war already on the books, it will take nothing short of plunder to repair the economy of this nation.

The alternative to balancing the books with the spoils of war is to consume less. In short, if America wants to have its cake it will have to be bought with blood. Americans are likely to find this plan acceptable, given the ratio of ‘enemy’ dead to American dead; the United States commands legions with an effectiveness not seen since the fall of Rome.

For the American that wants to weather the coming storm, frugality and liquidity will be key. Since there has never been much the average Jill or John can do about government malfeasance and miss-direction, it is ever the policy of the enlightened student of political science to vote first with his money and then with his feet.

(Jimmy can be reached at

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