I think we have a problem.
Yes, you have been doing a good job of identifying the big problems but the problem that is haunting me is the complexity problem. You do a good job of putting the research together and calling a spade a fucking shovel to make it clear. But we are totally dependent on simplified descriptions that can be passionately presented. This shit is not simple. We’ve been subverted for years in the US by a political system that did what it was designed to do. Maintain landed Anglo-Saxon men as citizens while recognizing the value of women within a restricted role and other nonwhite people as valuable tools for exploitation. The system of the American Experiment was very successful with some major bumps at grave injustice along the way. Superficial adjustments were made very reluctantly to conform to the more progressive majority of the population. But nothing major was ever done to change the institutionalized nature of the state and culture. People continue to ignore or deny this on all sides. The thing is what it is and I think it is time to change it but that is not my point here.
Lots of good stuff happened in all those years along with a lot of bad shit. Mostly people got richer and, as the model of a capitalist state based on very limited democratic concepts evolved, the chosen folks had a good edge (their birth rite) and a growing piece of the pie. The tolerated people always knew their status but in times of real need for expendable bodies that got a little bigger cut. This is the USA.
In the last fifty years things have changed steadily but not surprisingly. The essence of the capitalist system is continuous growth. It cannot survive without growth. By its very nature it becomes consolidated with fewer and fewer owners of capital who have ever expanding control. The globalization of this resulted from the brutal planetary wars of the 20th century. That changed the nature of where growth occurred and money was made. Military expansion to protect resources and new markets allowed capitalism to control growth by expanding military power. That military power was also the perfect capitalist market. When excess inventories bring down prices escalate a conflict and destroy the inventory as will as incidental problem people. This has been the center of the US and it’s related states (both allies and enemies) for over sixty years. This integrated set of economic and political guidelines is called neoliberalism and has raised the planetary standard of living to the point of maximum growth that requires us now to change the system.
This is called death by success and is why this situation we are in is so complex. And why the way forward is so difficult and dangerous. My concern is that it may be beyond our ability at his point to both move to the next level of human organization while correcting the inherent disasters of the current level. We want simple solutions when what we have grown up to count on no longer seems to be working. The easiest is to blame someone and institutionalized racism makes that an easy button to push. Trump has pushed that. Blaming the Clintons, Obama, Bushes, and any of our oligarchic elite is easy but some of them (not all as some are just greedy and stupid) knew what is happening and could not see any way forward without the planetary neoliberal structure that delivered so much success. Their belief was and is that the only sure hope is to adjust the neoliberal model to begin distributing wealth more broadly by structural design rather than redistribution. But the system has hit its limits because extreme capitalism cannot deal with sustainability and little or no material growth.
The point is that we need to rapidly evolve very new ways of managing ourselves on a planetary level while moving to inherently sustainable economics with shared ownership of our planetary resources. First this needs to avoid the disaster that has already triggered the rise of fascism as reaction and that is the direct result of climate change. This is accelerating rapidly and so we will become increasingly unstable with massive population moves and loss of resources. So let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater and get our satisfaction by naming the monsters that caused this without careful thought. Yes, there are monsters. Trump is a monster and needs to be removed. The last Bush was a monster by reason of stupidity. The Clintons and Obama I think tried but couldn’t see past the system.
It is the systems we have that are no longer viable, not the people the system for most people is a given. It just is what it is and they can’t see beyond it. We all need to change drastically, and we will, as we have no choice. Right now we are caught in that frightening in between place as people still try to save the old and refuse to recognize that we must abandon it. We need to change and it may be too much for us . . .