Crisis Cycles

February 19, 2011

Rare for me to be up this early on a Saturday, yet here I am at 4 AM peeking at a world seemingly gone mad as a hatter.

The hourglass is empty
The horsemen are prepared
The hollow men are marching
The wind is softly crying…
A millstone’s falling from the sky
The clouds are mushrooms on the land
The guillotine is sharpened
There’s a number on their hands
The days are getting colder
The nights are getting darker
The beautiful deception
is starting to wear thin

Doomsday, by Aidan J Spurrill

(Illustration found here).

Yes, that above-mentioned ‘beautiful deception,’ which is the underlying current of how the world is flowing as I write, a seemingly global mirror and pony-show allowing the unwashed masses one of two more days of dream time.
US peoples might just be the most unaware folks on the planet.
As the Arab world a-flames itself — first Tunisia, then Egypt, and now to just about every little country that boasts assholes in charge, even within longtime clown/hardcase Moammar Gadhafi’s Libya, where reportedly 84 people have been killed in anti-government protests in the last three days alone.
And in Bahrain, where the US has a massive naval base, the shit is striking nasty against the fan of protest — the clueless/eyes averted approach by American officials is striking, putting the country behind the eight ball as Hillary Clinton blubbered two months ago: “I see the glass as half full,” she said, pointing to Bahrain’s recent elections. “I think the changes that are happening in Bahrain are much greater than what I see in many other countries in the region and beyond.”
The US turns another slouched back to human rights abuses in favor of military might.

Meanwhile — speaking of the US — a similar situation is flaring up here at home.
First, the hard-pressed people in Wisconsin have been staging protests to upset nit-shit GOP Gov.Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to stifle unions — see a couple of well-paced videos here and here(where protesters shouted, “Fox Lies, Fox Lies”).
Then on to Ohio, in a lookalike showdown, where thousands staged protests on Thursday on a much-similar try at choking down workers’ rights.

And what does this all mean?
Ugly times ahead — all this unrest and turmoil is based upon the economics of food, energy and money.
In a most-interesting piece on the future, financial writer Charles Hugh Smith, paints a sad picture of what he calls global life “Beyond the False Dawn,” (or the ‘beautiful deception‘) and how at least four stacks of shit will come together in less than a decade.
A sampling:

1. Peak oil, or the depletion cycle/end-game of the global economy’s complete dependence on inexpensive, readily available petroleum/fossil fuels.
2. The cycle of credit expansion and contraction (approximately 60-70 years), which is now beginning the transition from unsustainable credit expansion (bubble) to renunciation of debt (credit collapse) and global depression.
3. The generational cycle (4 generations or approximately 80 years) of American history which leads to nation-changing social, political and economic upheaval. (The American Revolution: 1781 +80 years = Civil War, 1861 +80 years = 1941, World War II + 80 years = 2021)
4. The 100+ year cycle of price inflation and stagnation of wages’ purchasing-power which began around 1901 is now reaching the final stage of widespread turmoil, shortages, famine, war, conflict and crisis.
While industrial society, the Central State and global neoliberal capitalism could probably suppress or adjust to any one of these cyclical climaxes, it seems unlikely the Status Quo will be successful in suppressing/adjusting to all four at once.

And Smith uses a most-unusual position to stipulate his thesis, one from physicist Geoffrey West and West’s study of people and cities.
This bit:

West illustrates the problem by translating human life into watts.
“A human being at rest runs on 90 watts,” he says. “That’s how much power you need just to lie down. And if you’re a hunter-gatherer and you live in the Amazon, you’ll need about 250 watts. That’s how much energy it takes to run about and find food.
So how much energy does our lifestyle [in America] require?
Well, when you add up all our calories and then you add up the energy needed to run the computer and the air-conditioner, you get an incredibly large number, somewhere around 11,000 watts.
Now you can ask yourself: What kind of animal requires 11,000 watts to live?
And what you find is that we have created a lifestyle where we need more watts than a blue whale.
We require more energy than the biggest animal that has ever existed.
That is why our lifestyle is unsustainable.
We can’t have seven billion blue whales on this planet.
It’s not even clear that we can afford to have 300 million blue whales.”

And back to Saturday morning…

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