The Cracks are Widening

The illustration depicts the increases in slum populations globally and can be found at this site.

I'm told by Minnesotans (who should know) that, when the ice begins to change in the Land O' Lakes, its doesn't crack all at once, but rather changes quality. This is normally the sign to get the mobile homes off the lake. Cracks only come before the end.

My correspondents may, of course, have been talking nonsense. I am not altogether sure. One inch of snow here and I put salt on the path and consider staying in. But I've noticed several growing trends which I suspect might show that we are near the change in the global economy that I've been going on about for several years. Let me list them;

1) Growing numbers of workers are recognising the implicit breakdown of the trust and confidence implicit in employment markets as the unemployment of the great recession bites. They've worked out that employers and companies can't care about them or their jobs, and are beginning to realise that governments don't care about them either. From China, through Korea and Illinois, Argentina and Germany, to England, and Scotland, and elsewhere, people have been spending 2009 behaving like Frenchmen. I expect much more of this.

By the way, most of the links are to socialist sites, and it ought to be fairly obvious to any reader that I'm a catholic and a Christian Democrat, in the old fashioned sense of the word--a distributist at most. Some of my views are deeply conservative, though I'd point to my friends and my tolerance to suggest that Genghis Khan may not feel wholly at home with me (I guess his bleeding heart would do for him).

But why is it that the reds are the only ones noticing whats going on? I know it excites them, but others should look too. The section of the working class which many thought destroyed by the recession of the eighties and the Miners' Strike, or transfused and deadened by sharing the equity in their homes with banks, seem to be back.

2) The argument that global warming is happening and that it is associated with CO2 is finally crumbling. Serious attempts to link heat and cold on this planet to the sun and to cloud cover are undermining the legitimacy of much of the taxation that the political class has planned for us.

The mechanisms by which large companies were avoiding taxes through environmentalist panics and abominations like the cap and trade act (which large companies funded), carbon composites and wind turbines is being exposed. For what it is worth, this pleases me. I like believing in a world where lies cannot run rampant forever, and where facts win out in the end.

3) Growing numbers of people are awakening to how venal and manipulated their press are, and to how lacking in legitimacy most governments are. The current British government, for instance, got 21.59% of the electorate to vote for it in 2005. Just under four out of every five voters did not vote for the government.

Disaffection with the political class is not, however, fuelling a rush to privatisation; far from it. More and more people seem to want to take control of the political process. Since we have spent forty years excluding people as citizens and redefining them as members of divisive lifestyle groups with 'representatives who are lobbyists dividing and ruling them in the lobbyist's own interest, this promises fireworks. In America, that's manifesting as anger, and loopy secession talk; in Britain, smouldering. There will be people on the streets soon, though.

4) The lifestyles that people are being forced to embrace--of local or home-grown food, late payment of bills, occasional default, and idleness--are not being embraced as a new paradigm but as something to struggle through with, like a sort of crutch. The exile, on his return to the blogosphere, has been making that point about 'locavore' urban agriculture in Mexico, Cuba and Britain. Chris Dillow, from a somewhat different perspective, has also noticed what's going on, and his site makes for interesting reading.

In young countries, we have more emphasis on coal, nuclear, and solar power, and more productive food technologies; in older countries, we have anger with government waste and delusion.

People will change; but they won't do it in the smiley ways that the political and media classes' licensed radicals want. I like that too. I just hope that we don't have to get to a position where most major cities are accompanied by tent-city-hoovervilles before everyone can see it.

5) The financial markets that kept the privatisers and bond-gangsters in business--the ones who dictated policies and programmes to governments in ways that dispropriated public profit and socialised debt--are being kept artificially alive by government currencies. Governments are now brushing up against the limits of what they can print, or give to banks. An acidic rain is falling on the banks, which in the medium term will hurt everyone; but in the long run may leave us with a much more stable world financial system.

So, after a long winter characterised by rising incomes but also declining purchasing power, more slum growth, more resource waste, and more human exploitation, and by the growth of a fundamental illegitimacy in the relationships between governments and corporations and the governed and employed, the ice has thinned. The cracking is starting. It may not be long now before we start seeing the potential for genuine freedom for more people than just the artificially rich. That means all people, including the rich.

Can we free ourselves from the culture of death and acquisition, and, after the storm, embrace something nearer that of truth and love?


Mary said…
And to think that I thought the worst was over. Even Doctor Doom is more optimistic than you. :)

Love from Australia, where the winter sun shines, house prices are still resiliant, and all is well with the world.
Martin Meenagh said…
Victor Von Doom? A lightweight, fit only to shine my specially adjusted spaceboots. Mwhahaha!
Mary said…
I think I should start using spellchecker. I know how fussy some of your learned readers are...of course, I don't worry too much because like you,I'm very resilient.