Death by a thousand Debts

The United States of America is being swallowed by its own shallowness and greed. There is a wonderfully revealing article in the NY Times today with a revealing interactive graph of events during each decade. It is most remarkable that the savings rate which deteriorated badly in the Great Depression mirrors what is happening now, the collapse of savings. The difference is the debt levels then were conservative – the debt levels of the extreme 90s overboiled in the 2000s.

The Bush era has left a legacy that is far more damaging to the USA economy than it seems, all that debt has to be matched with savings, or you get a deficit, which is funds that the average US citizen owes to the oil producing OPEC countries. How exactly is the Government going to bail out the average citizen drowning in excess credit and crippling interest? By preventing millions of bankruptcies and foreclosures? Preventing banks from reselling properties at a huge discount? The bailouts of major mortage lenders proves this to be true. Bush has run the most socialist economy possible by making the middle class the needy class.

Where is the debt going to be absorbed? Deterioration in the value of the capital reserve? Does that means the grandchildren of the Bush years will be far less wealthy than those who benefitted from ridiculously biased tax breaks that has worsened the position of the average person to such a degree that they are now prisoners of credit card companies – owned by the intensely rich?

Seems like the most devastating blow delivered to everyday Americans is the mass transfer of effective wealth and ownership from American hands, from the Ma and Pa businessscape into the hands of corporatisation, increasingly foreign owned banks and retirement funds that seem more vulnerable by the minute.

Who’s fault? It seems that a country that eats its way to doom has a lack of direction in its culture as a major malady. Hip-hop had it’s social revolution, now with “Pimps and Bitches” being part of the mainstream conversation and “bling” having lost any bad ass connotation – that it was stolen – now it’s seen as a badge of billionary success – any excuse for radically masculine boys to wear diamonds.

Cultural decay – a kind of illiteracy – seems successful. All these make over reality wife swaps and inverted entertainments (Supernanny goes to visit you with her camera crew) are not really engaging people. They are just really cheap fomulae to execute, and like most cheap fodder, it bloats the mind with plenty of useless nonsense. That is cultural decay as it is consumable by anybody, and most do not want their entertinment to challenge them.

But challenging the mind is the entire point of entertainment. That is why the new generation of video games that are immersive, require you to think on your feet and enact a strategy. After fighting for months in some kind of imaginary desert scenario against “bad guys” – the futility and sheer quantity of death necessary – it becomes evident that war is an activity civilization should find absolutely abborhent; but, yet – at the onset of either Gulf war there was a palpable sense of “get on with it!”, and a sense of relief that the bombs had finally started to drop.

While America gets sucked into fruitless wars, Bush seems to have opened the floodgates for the Saudi establishment to buy more American capital with their oil wealth before the Green lobby replace a need for oil with a need for solar energy capture and wind farms rendering the end to this new age of slavery.

The American economy is huge and can still easily absorb this level of indebtedness – it’s the poverty created now that seems the real problem for far too many.

When did this start. Click on the heading of this article to view the NY Times interactive display (requires Adobe Flash Player). Hover over 1984. Observe the trend in savings. 1984 is the top of the mountain that has collapsed ever since. Savings is the degree of participation in ownership possible – the spoils of war. The USA may be able to walk in militarily but it may not be able to afford to “stay the course”, if it carries on with this trend. Even in the past four years savings as a fraction of debt is the worst its ever been, apart from the early 1930s when there were no savings, so America rebuilt by borrowing leading to gradual increase in capital, until 1984. What happened then? Oh yes, let’s see. Regan was elected.

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