Thursday, June 02, 2016

Why Trump is ahead of his time

If cats have nine lives, how many lives does capitalism have?

Nobody ever builds or buys corporations in order to maintain their wealth; but only to increase it. The wealthiest of Western society keep getting wealthier, yet money doesn’t grow on trees. Money is still just points on a ledger; a share in a finite system. The rich can only get richer through growth within a limited pool. Capitalism is a pyramid scheme and the base of that pyramid maxed out the realm of North American productivity a long time ago, when our particular manifestation of capitalism (be it pure or perverted) should have asphyxiated.

Yet this ghost of capitalism keeps feeding the elite.

What are these bonus lives which keep money flowing uphill? I see it as this:

1 – Waste. Though the workers of society cannot collectively afford to purchase all the products they collectively produce, we keep on producing too much, and we stockpile shelves and warehouses and destroy “non-fresh” food and imperfect-looking produce and breed billions of livestock to eat far more food quantity than what they eventually return to us in meat. We advertise everything to death which addresses no consumer need, which convinces our dull brains to buy outrageous shit we don’t need (and which in fact harm us) and redundantly pits brands against each other for no greater purpose but just to fight one another in the pursuit of growing faster than the other guy grows. And best of all, we produce enormous volumes of weapons, ammunition and war machines and outrageously phony excuses to declare enemies and blow things up so as to then have to manufacture them again, along with all the pretty coffins.

2 – Globalization. We drag poorer nations into the capitalism game by lording power over them, inflicting world trade conditions upon them in drag as charity and forcing them to bid for the privilege of being our slaves and producing our groovy swag at the lowest possible cost, thus unavoidable: child labor, slave labor, compromises in safety, compromises in environmental protection. A lovely boon: we outsource our pollution and divert blame for global warming when truly it is squarely ours.

3 – Oil. We destroy critical components of the biosphere in order to dig up millions of years worth of liquid sunshine (and other fossil fuels), releasing those toxins into the air and powering machines, the sub-slaves which give we elite slaves; you and me, a privileged life. For as long as oil lasts (a mere blip of time by any real perspective) it is the machines harnessed to the grindstone instead of us.

4 – Matricide. North American natives have always understood Mother Earth; have always known that it is she who gives us life. We feed the Western Imperialist machine beyond the capacity of our own labour by mortgaging the Earth with no means to repay. Already we’ve destroyed more than half of fresh water sources, more than half of the world’s topsoil and more than half of the critical wetlands and rain forests. We have literally crippled the biosphere to the point that it is no longer a game of rampant subtraction. We are into exponents now because we have triggered massive feedback loops in the system. We have drawn down the Earth’s capacity to support life to the point that it is already tail-spinning.

5. Financial buggery. When the pros from various financial corners try to explain their little vistas of the ever-increasing complexities around the thousand-and-one ways we’ve concocted for money to change hands without any product or value of any kind materializing, I quickly run into acronyms or jargon which I do not understand and I wonder if there is a human being anywhere who has a handle on the whole entire picture? I suspect there is not one. It’s just becoming clear that our capitalist system of the rich skimming off the labour of the not-rich is growing and complexifying to allow greater means and layers of skimming and re-skimming.

6. Population explosion. Do I need to explain why seven-point-something billion people on a planet with as limited a biosphere as ours is an obscene perversion? I am going to assume that I do not need to explain why seven-point-something billion people on a planet with as limited a biosphere as ours is an obscene perversion.

7. And here I will concede. I’m not going to get to nine. Winner: cats.

The obvious problem with all of these bonus lives is that they are all very swiftly drying up. Oil reserves, all other natural resources, opportunities for global imperialist frontiers; all of it is currently maxing out as we speak. We’re heading into crash mode.

And as everything crashes; water, food, social stability, the viability of individual nations and the U.N., unraveling slowly at first and gathering momentum, the global hatred toward Europe and North America and (fairly or unfairly) especially toward the United States of America, will rapidly increase, not just out of blame but from desperation, as elite nations (generally the least affected by climate disaster thanks in part to wealth and in part to geographical irony) maintain slower depletion of privileges, as other societies descend more swiftly into unavoidable hunger and violence.  

As America draws even more hatred and is targeted for its rarefying assets, it will require more and more justification for privilege and exclusion and militancy and will need more and more delusional reasons to hate back. Hate, however deluded, will literally become the essential ingredient to the new dwindling version of the American Dream/Nightmare.

I don’t presume that Trump understands this or that perhaps his people do; his elite cohorts who usher him down this path. More likely, I suspect, understanding only exists in the collective insanity of their instinctive minds. In any event Trump is serving as a shock absorber. Just as gas prices spiked hugely in the early millennium, taming our reaction, soothing our outrage, falling back down before soon migrating upwards again, Trump is normalizing hatred of the other and getting killed by the backlash that some of us are still capable of.

Trump won’t win this presidency, I suggest, because it’s still too early for hate to overtly and unapologetically rule, but later, when the essential wave of hatred must roll into the realm of normal, it will not be so noticeable. And the media will be bored of it. Perhaps Trump is a martyr to his people, perhaps a sacrificial lamb.

He may be scum. But at least he’s taking one for his team.

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