Monday, February 9, 2009

The Shape of Things to Come -- 6

Dante and Virgil at the Gate of Hell -- design by Wm. Blake

Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric moved:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I shall endure.
All hope abandon, ye who enter here.

The Great Awakening I wrote of in my earlier post will come only after the so-called "financial system" has collapsed to the point of no return -- meaning that the printing of increasingly alarming amounts of paper money will inevitably result in the universal realization that money is, in fact, only paper and nothing more. Something like Alice's realization that the rulers of Wonderland and all their minions were "nothing but a pack of cards" -- the moment when she awakens from her dream.

At this moment, people will look around them and realize that the homes they've been forced out of are still standing -- and still, after a bit of fixing up inhabitable. They will return to their homes and remain there undisturbed -- partly because the police required to evict them will no longer be there, since local governments will have lost the ability to pay their wages; partly because the whole idea of making mortgage payments will no longer have any meaning.

The realization will slowly dawn that life can still be lived without all the appurtenances of capitalism, from investment, to credit, to money itself. And this will be on an international level, because it already is an international problem. Despite the breakdown in the economic system, there is still enormous wealth in the world, in the form of all the things humans need to survive and even prosper: agricultural produce, minerals, fossil fuels, hydroelectric plants, energy to be drawn from wind and solar sources, automobiles, trucks, hospitals, schools, colleges, universities, the list goes on endlessly. All that has been destroyed is certain illusions foisted upon us, consciously or unconsciously by the ruling, monied classes, who have in fact ruled us solely through the power of the financial system they themselves have now destroyed.

Unlike revolutions in the past, where "the people" took control of "the means of production" by forcibly and usually violently nationalizing banks, natural resources, industrial plants and businesses of every kind, we will be faced with a situation where these entities have already collapsed -- and the only way to save them, whether we like it or not -- is to nationalize them. We have already had a taste of this supreme irony in the situation that now faces us with the banking industry, whose toxic assets can only be managed through either total or partial nationalization, something no one in government either foresaw or desired.

It's not easy to imagine what the Neoliberals (aka Neoconservatives, aka Neoanderthals) could have had in mind when they unleashed the full force of laissez faire capitalism on the world after the breakup of the Soviet Union. But I do know one thing for sure. They never imagined it would lead, inevitably, to -- of all things:


To quote a noted authority on the human condition:


Marx didn't see it coming either. But he did get at least one thing right: "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."
This timely proverb should no doubt be added to the one inscribed by Dante on the Gate of Hell (see above).

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