Let's All Go Medieval

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Published : May 27th, 2013
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Category : Editorials



    That voice! All a'quiver with the dread of self-knowledge that it is confabulating a story, much like the "money" that his Open Market Committee spins out of the increasingly carbonized air. His words fill the vacuum of the collectively blank American mind, where hopes and dreams spin like debris in an Oklahoma twister, only to fall incoherently on a landscape of man-made ruins. If Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke were hooked up to a polygraph machine when he made a public statement -- such as last Wednesday's testimony before congress -- I bet the output graph would look something like a seismic record of the 9.0 Fukushima megathrust, all fretful spikes and dips. 


     When historians of the future ponder our fate around their campfires, they will marvel that this society invited such a temporizing little nerd to act as its Oracle-in-Chief... that he made periodic visits to sit before the poobahs of the land, and issued prophesies that nobody could really understand -- and that the fate of the people in this land hung on his muttered ambiguities. Let's face it: people need oracles when they don't know what the fuck is going on.


     What's going on is as follows: America's central bank is trying to compensate for a floundering economy that will never return to its prior state. The economy is floundering because its scale and mode of operation are no longer consistent with what reality offers in the way of available resources at the right price, especially oil. So, rather than change the scale and mode of operations in this economy -- that is, do things differently -- we try to keep doing things the same by flushing more "money" into the system, as though it were a captive beast receiving nutriment. 


     One problem with that is that the "money" is no longer money. That is, it's not really an effective store of value, or pricing reference. It remains for the moment a medium of exchange, but the persons exchanging it grow suspicious of what this "money" purports to represent. Does it stand for promises of future repayment? Hmmmm. Those promises are looking sketchy lately, especially since this is an economy that does not generate enough new real wealth to make the interest payments, let alone manage to pay back the principal. Is it a claim on future work? Some are afraid that the future work deliverable will be less than they expect. Whatever else it is, does it find respect in other societies where different money is used?


     These questions are making a lot of people nervous these days. Of course, a time will come when all matters concerning this particular incarnation of money will be seen as strictly ceremonial. Ben Bernanke, we will understand, was not stating facts before congress but rather singing a song, or rather chanting in a low, repetitive, tedious way in the primal manner of a frightened person trying to comfort himself with reassuring sound -- that is, prayer. You'd be surprised how well that goes over in a place like congress, which is stuffed with prayerful characters, people who exist in a religious delirium. These are not the people who are nervous, by the way. The nervous tend to be more secular, and inhabit the margins of life where unconventional thinking thrives weedlike at a remove from all the mental toxicity at the center.


     These nervous ones are looking ever more closely these days at the distant nation of Japan, where an interesting scenario is playing out: the last days of a giant industrial-technocratic economy. The story there is actually pretty simple if you peel away the quasi-metaphysical bullshit it comes wrapped in these days from astrologasters like John Mauldin and Paul Krugman, viz. Japan has no fossil fuel resources. Zip. You can't run their kind of economy without the stuff. And they can't. Japan is crapping out, as they say in Las Vegas. Tilt! Game over. As this happens, Japan issues a lot of distracting financial noise that involves evermore "creation" of their own "money," and the knock-on effects of that, but it's all just noise. Japan's only good choice is to go medieval, that is, to give up on the rather hopeless 150-year-long project of being an industrial-technocratic modern super-state, and go back to being an island of a beautiful artistic hand-made culture. I call that "going medieval," though you could quibble as to whether that's the best word for it, since I'm not talking about cathedrals or crusades.


     One of Japan's other choices is to "go mad-dog," something they actually tried back in the mid-20th century. It didn't work out too well then. The Japanese leadership is making noises about "re-arming," and a nice state of conflict is already simmering between them and their age old rivals-victims next door in China, a country that has lately enjoyed the upper hand in the industrial-techno racket (though it will be faced with the same choices as Japan not too many years hence). Do the Japanese start another world war on their side of the planet? Let's hope not. Let's hope they lay down their robotics and their nuclear reactors gently and go back to making netsuke. Just give it up and do things differently -- after all, that's what all the human beings on the planet have to do now.


     For what it's worth, Japan's stock market has tanked a hearty 14 percent in the past five days, if that means anything, and I'm not sure it does considering the aforesaid "noise," but there you have it. Our own stock markets are mercifully closed this holiday, having given American worriers an extra day of anxious reflection on the state of things out there. My own opinion is that we're all going medieval sooner rather than later and the big remaining question is how much of a mess we'll make on the journey to it.


     Also, personally, I don't like these manufactured holidays when the landscape is cluttered with morons enjoying motorsports. I'll be working today, and grateful when it blows over.




 Note: This blog (and JHK website as a whole)  will be getting a design upgrade in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, for technical reasons the comments department is temporarily suspended.


____________________________________





For a complete list of books by James Howard Kunstler and purchase links, CLICK HERE.


24hGold - Let's All Go Medieva...  24hGold - Let's All Go Medieva...  


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James Howard Kunstler has worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers, and finally as a staff writer for Rolling Stone Magazine. In 1975, he dropped out to write books on a full-time basis. His nonfiction book, "The Long Emergency," describes the changes that American society faces in the 21st century. Discerning an imminent future of protracted socioeconomic crisis, Kunstler foresees the progressive dilapidation of subdivisions and strip malls, the depopulation of the American Southwest, and, amid a world at war over oil, military invasions of the West Coast; when the convulsion subsides, Americans will live in smaller places and eat locally grown food.
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There is only one way to reconcile the differences between Jim C and Hart.
Jousting Tournament fellas?
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As long as I can smash his PC at the end no matter what the outcome. The difficulty will be in the people who pose as Jim C deciding which one of them takes on the challenge.
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So Kunstler says today, "Japan's only good choice is to go medieval, that is, to give up on the rather hopeless 150-year-long project of being an industrial-technocratic modern super-state, and go back to being an island of a beautiful artistic hand-made culture." An earlier article of his waxed poetical about the Japanese returning to the glory days of the Samurai.
And not only Japan, but the world as well, he adds: "My own opinion is that we're all going medieval sooner rather than later and the big remaining question is how much of a mess we'll make on the journey to it."

Kunstler may advocate a return to a world made by hand all he wants, but the guy runs to the nearest modern industrial hospital when one of his organs misfires -- as he has often regaled us of his sundry ills. Talk about spitting in the face of your benefactors.

Go medieval? Serfs, plagues, starvation?

No thanks.





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You still don't have a clue do you Jim C? Of course he would run to a hospital if he needed medical help. You putz, anyone with a brain would but you still confuse a prediction of what could happen with a desire that it would happen. And don't confuse this with a desire that a reset with a dark period would happen sooner rather then later with a desire to go backwards.

Every week you dish out stupid remarks and slander those you hate. What a relief it would be if you grew up and read an article for what it says, not what you want it to say just so you can spew more venom. Seriously Jim C, do you really have nothing better to do than hate on people?

But you just head back to the Walmart parking lot and stay tuned for the new price roll backs so you can buy more junk.
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Almost like he gets paid for it?
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As long as I can smash his PC at the end no matter what the outcome. The difficulty will be in the people who pose as Jim C deciding which one of them takes on the challenge. Read more
Hart - 5/28/2013 at 12:28 PM GMT
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