Monday, 7 August 2017

THE "CHAOS THEORY" OF TRUMPONOMICS


Breitbart
is running a story praising Trump and attacking the media. The headline reads "The Stock Market Keeps Breaking New Records While Mainstream Media Focuses on ‘Chaos’."
"According to the analysis, [ABC, CBS, and NBC] mentioned the stock market, Wall Street, and the Dow Jones 33 times since President Trump’s inauguration, but rarely on the days in which historical milestones were achieved. The analysis revealed that the networks failed to report 25 of the financial milestones on the day on which they took place. During that period, the broadcast news programs only aired 19 positive stories about the stock market."
The point of the article is that the mainstream media is downplaying positives and hyping negatives in an attempt to cause chaos and sabotage the economy, but that despite this the Trump-led economy is advancing by leaps and bounds.

Breaking news—the media is biased!

This is the kind of in-the-box, right field, basic-bitch article that Breitbart runs as it attempts to be a slightly more edgy Fox News, which means they are basically missing the real story, as the world works in much more complex ways than merely noticing predictable media bias.

The real story, here, I would speculate, is that the economy is doing well not despite the mood of chaos promoted by the MSM, but because of it, and that this relates to the essence of what economics actually is.

At the most fundamental level economies run on "feels"—emotions, desires, passions, and moods. In the earlier stages of economic development these emotional factors are healthy in that they are geared to satisfying real hungers and needs. Such economies have enormous amounts of "economically weaponized poverty," creating the disciplined drive and workforce to break open new lands, build railroads and highways, dam rivers, construct towering cities, and invent exciting new products.


All dynamic economies have enormous amounts of this "economically weaponized poverty," and without it they grow stagnant or have to find another way to "emotionalize" the economy, or else ride on the backs of other economies benefiting from their own "weaponized poverty."

This need for poverty as an economic driver is where mass immigration comes in. It is only partly a means of replacing a low fertility core population and pushing down wages. Wars are also another excellent method of emotionalizing the economy.

Looking at the economic history of America, we clearly see these various patterns at work—the early stages of growth and expansion, powered by the weaponized poverty of wave after wave of European immigrants, then a period of stagnation and slow down that found explosive expression in the Wall Street Crash of 1929. It is definitely interesting that this economic collapse occurred just a few years after the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 that drastically reduced immigration, although the process no doubt also included other factors.

Following this, American elites were able to successfully emotionalize the economy by adopting watered-down tropes of Soviet modernization and regeneration combined with a nascent "war economy" that was deployed with much more caution and strategic nuance than the Fascistic states for which it was much more central. Some people call this economic model Keynesianism, based on how it is financed. The "war economy" and "regeneration" elements of this model were rebooted at various times in the following decades—sometimes more effectively, sometimes less effectively.  

The war also created a considerable amount of new "weaponzied poverty" in the guise of people who had survived the war and thus had a reinvigorated appreciation of the basic elements of life (unfortunately this impulse also gave us the Boomer generation!). This then tied into Cold War paranoia (partly justified) and helped to keep the US economy buoyant throughout the 1950s and 1960s, along with an element of neocolonialism that allowed America to benefit increasingly from the "weaponized poverty" of developing or resurgent economies like Germany and Japan.


A major threat of dislocation was created by the unexpected collapse of the Soviet Union, but American economic "bloatation" was allowed to continue on the Chimerica model (based on the earlier "Jamerica" model) that allowed the US and the West to ride on the weaponized poverty of China's modernizing peasant masses. This was what President Clinton meant when he said "It's the economy, stupid." The weaponzied poverty requirement was essentially outsourced.Clinton was also quite good at pepping up the economy with meaningless, low cost (to the USA) wars. 

But all economic fixes have a limited shelf life and need to be constantly rebooted. The Bush years were famous for a return to a more overt "war economy" model, but instead of just using pointless military adventure as a way of keeping the pot boiling at home, the Bush administration foolishly tried to leverage massive Middle Eastern social engineering on the back of it, leading to disaster and direct costs that outweighed the diffuse indirect benefits of the war economy. 

The system quite logically retrenched itself through the sudden appearance of Barack Obama, whose administration emotionalized the economy in a number of interesting but ultimately unstable and volatile ways, in particular by over-activating the racial fissures.


America is an economy that constantly draws emotional energy from race and war—just look at the way race created the suburbs and the prison industrial complex and how war created the vast military industrial complex—but these forces have to be kept within bounds or the costs overwhelm the benefits. What is required is a form of "sub-racism" and "sub-militarism," where the racial divisions and the various "Axis of Evil" are not confronted too directly, but exist at a level where they fuel unease, restlessness, (stifled) hatred, and stress that then express themselves in more measurable economic indices, such as consumer spending, house prices, gun sales, spending on alcohol/drugs, and military and welfare budgets, not to mention various credit and finance devices. 

Nixon was particularly skillful at sub-racism and sub-militarism. This made him deeply loathed by people intelligent enough to sense what was going on but not intelligent enough to understand it. 

America as an economy has gone well beyond the point where it can economically weaponize internal poverty to the degree required. It is also encountering increasing problems with riding on the "weaponized poverty" of other nations, and its old tactic of resorting to a partial "war economy" is also nearing its limits. The Obama administration and now the Trump administration reveal that America is the military equivalent of the Wizard of Oz, essentially a fakir behind a big facade, a country that is incapable of living up to its military LARPing. Keeping up the pretence still pays a few dividends, but as Syria proves, strictly on a diminishing returns basis. 

Accordingly, since the advent of President Obama, we have seen a new string added to the bow, an SJW-social-media driven economic weaponization of emotion itself. The Obama years helped to get the ball rolling here, with a society that was kept in a constant state of low-level pandemonium and petty chaos over racial and gender issues that could be guaranteed to have a strong emotional payoff combined with a limited interface with most people's actual lives and direct interests.


This is exactly why the Obama years will be remembered mainly for police shootings of Black thugs, gay marriage, transgender bathroom rights, and taking down various symbols. All these are essentially non-issues in that they don't touch upon the main, direct interests of most people, but they are nevertheless triggering enough to work people up into an emotional lather. 

It is in these terms that one also has to understand the Trump presidency. Unlike the more suave, low energy, and effete Obama, Trump literally triggers everyone all the time—either positively or negatively. The country is constantly worked up and polarised. America seems to be perpetually on the brink of war, while at the same time geopolitically things have never been safer. The outcome of all this is that there is constant, intense but shallow emotional engagement, an endless tempest and tumult of emotions that serves to surreptitiously energise society at many different levels. 

To go with the slackness of bloated credit, inflationary cash creation, and monumental government debt, we have the tightness of tensions and emotions constantly kept on edge. That is the economic model we are currently engaged in, and that is the reason why the stock market keeps hitting record highs and why there is a buzz about the economy. This is the "magic" that Trump constantly pulled off on the micro scale when he was a mere property tycoon. Now as President he appears to be doing it on the macro scale. 

The main unanswered questions are "So, was Trump always intended to be the President all along?" and "Is this system as unstable as it needs to look in order to function?"

Chaos or order?

4 comments:

  1. I like this take on economics. I think we should label it, however, as 'economics as we know it'. As someone smarter than I has said, economics is an ethical science (not a physical one). If you accept this as true then there is a lot more that has to be unpacked; morality and aesthetics are the first that come to my mind. Reading what you are saying, the end of late-stage capitalism is an enervating exercise in priming and pumping, not based on society's and individual's needs but based on the desire for more profit. Without profit the whole 'effin thing comes down around our heads. I really see no other option since we are not going to give up Adam Smith-type capitalism.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you would believe Francis and Burnham, it's not even profits anymore, except insofar as some individuals get some payments. It's about the growth of the mass organizations.

      Delete
  2. Brilliant analysis. How does bitcoin fit into this picture?

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is basically a Rothbardian analysis. It's corporatism - the state's monopoly on capitalism - and the tyranny of the Leviathan. Not bad, Colin, even if it is basically a jazzed up analysis of Rothbard.

    ReplyDelete

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