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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Don't believe the hype.

So, i originally posted this at BetterHumans.com, in the sub-forum "Infinite Directions" but it needs an airing here also, where the language can properly decend to the correct level for the subject matter.

From the thread "Pat Robertson says something stupid, again"
"a man this vile has a platform in the most powerful state on the planet" ~ Marduk
Don't believe the hype mate. The basis for the claim that the US is the most powerful nation on earth has been fallacious for some time. It is based on the seeming potential power of the american economy, however as recent events have proved, even the dollar's value being artificially propped up by the fact that it is the currency OPEC chose as the standard for the sale of oil (thus like a magic chequebook, in that the redeemable value would never be required to be payed by the Federal Reserve), has not prevented a massive Trade Deficit ($650
i believe).

The domestic economy is in such poor shape that the President was forced to levy a %30 import tax on foreign steel imports not long ago, in an illegal (by the standards of the WTO) effort at protectionism, this despite the sheer fucking hypochrisy of that, whilst at the same time championing 'Free Trade'.

The domestic motor industry is so unable to cope that the big 3: Ford, GM & Chrysler, successfully negotiated a freeze on the application of law which would require their vehicles to meet minimum standards for fuel efficiency (so called CAFE law) for at least 3 years running, this despite that the required mpg was something like 27 point something for cars and 20-ish for light vans. Can you imagine European customers, never mind environmental lobbyists, standing for anything so piss poor?

Oh yeah, but it's ok because gasoline is so cheap in the US, right? In 2000, foreign imports of oil topped %50 as the source of domestically produced petroleum products, at a bill of a staggering $110 billion/year, at the time 1/4 of the Trade Deficit, as it was.

Funnily enough, this was about the same time that Iraq decided to convert all of its foreign currency reserve, derived from the sale of oil in Dollars, into Euros. Financial advisors were horrified, because by doing so Iraq would seem to be taking a massive loss at the then current rate of exchange. They went ahead anyway and wey-hey, the price of the Euro started to rise on the international market. Seeing that this strategy had worked profitably for Iraq, some other countries followed suit. The price of the Euro went right up, the Dollar's arse fell out briefly. Care to guess which countries they were? You've guessed it, "The axis of evil" Syria, North Korea and Iran. (I'm not certain, but i think Venezuela may have waded in also) Of course this has nothing to do with the reasons for war. After all, with such a massive Trade Deficit, which world leader wouldn't run his country further into debt with their most diametrically opposed ideological foes (China), in an effort to bring "democracy" to a fucked up patch of desert half way round the world, with all the potential to make war of a bunch of half starved fucking mentalists, with knackered equipment cobbled together from spare parts over ten years old, despite the desert/scrub terrain being notoriously hard on military materiel? (which obviously cuts both ways)

Fucking WMD? read this.

Ah, but they're rich over there! The most recent figures released by the Federal Reserve put the 'average income' of an American family, including the monetary value of such things as welfare payments, employee benefit/voluntary contributed health insurance, county based free emergency health provision, project housing, food stamps, and fucking charitable donations of food to poor families (!), at $47K-ish. This in a country that has probably the widest gap between the rich and poor of any industrialised nation, which tends to bump the figures higher. Think about that, just under 27 grand Stirling, for a family with no NHS. When you factor the benefits in, a single person would be hard pressed on that, never mind a family, in Europe. Bear in mind also that when a person becomes unemployed in the US, if they qualify for welfare payments, they only receive them for 6 months. Then it's food stamps, project housing and charitable food donations.

I've read about seasoned professional firefighters' family members being treated for fucking malnutrition because the 'man of the family' was too proud to collect the food stamps he was entitled to, considering that his wage would not support his family. For fuck's sake, what? Oh aye, streets paved with bastard gold over there! There'd be riots on the fucking streets over here.

Well, they've got the most powerful military machine! Possibly, i hardly know anything about China, let alone what its military strength might be. But consider this, where's the fucking wedge? It costs a fuck of lot of money to keep an effective fighting force in a state of readyness. The Bomb though! 'The most powerful man in the world' has 'the football', he's got his finger on 'the button' of the largest nuclear arsenal in the world! Again, i don't know what China's nuclear arsenal consists of, but so what? Past a certain point, like a rock dropping on your head, it just doesn't matter how big the cunt is is anymore, it's fucking good night Irene. The issue is, could they survive the political fallout of using even 1 nuclear weapon?

Consider this also, China has had a policy whereby no state benefit would be payed out to support more than 1 child/family, in an effort to reduce overpopulation. I mean, there's 1.4 billion of them already! Despite this, many Chinese families do manage to have 2 or even 3 kids, so there is some robustness to their domestic economy. How many extra children does $650 billion buy? OK, knock off the price of a uniform, a bit of extra food and a Khalashnikov.

Tell me now, and take all the fucking time you need, who is the most powerful man in the world?
Hu Jintao
That's who.

China's currency is pegged to the Dollar, at half its rate i think, but they've been on about floating it internationally for a while now. How much will the poxy Dollar be worth then? And oil is running out...

After the depression of the 30's, where did the readys come from to build the infrastructure necessary to turn out the war machine which rolled up Hitler and 'won' the cold war arms race? From the cost of selling Britain it's obsolete equipment and then the further costs of lend-lease for the new stuff, once the factories were able to produce it. By stripping the British Empire, we mortgaged ourselves to the hilt to keep Nazism at bay. So where has it all gone now? Fuck knows, the arms race used up a lot i suspect, but also, i'm guessing they just haven't kept pace with infrastructure investment.

Like i say, don't believe a word of it mate, they're done. They just don't know it yet. That is the difference between short sighted pursuit of immediate gains, seeming luxury, and long term political strategy. Unsurprisingly, nations which have been around for yonks are better at it than relative newcomers. I mean check out Vladimir Putin, he doesn't seem like a man who gives a shit about his political situation, eh? Personally, i think that is one of the reasons why the media in the UK are always so quick to whip up anti-european sentiment. The media barons' empires are built of stock holdings, if the Dollar does take a terminal dive, much of their wealth will be wiped out overnight. If the UK joined the Euro, the Dollar would be truly fucked. The sad thing for us in the UK is that through the short-sighted Thatcher/Major years we have not made the most of our international position, much of our overseas trade is tied up with the US.

I'm sure that's why Tony Blair can regularly be seen kissing Dubya's arse and why he looks so constipated doing it. A lifelong committed socialist pally-pally with a far righteous, religious fruitcake, Republican? It just makes no sense unless there's a plan behind it. Perhaps we are consolidating our position, preparing to cut our losses? Who do you reckon has got the best handle on what's going down, Gordon Brown, with the most impressive record as Chancellor we've seen for yonks, or Paul Wolfowitz another far right monetarist, the policies of which have fucked the US right up the arse?

It seems a shame that the last to realise it will be the American public. Things are going to be fucked right up over there. They already murder each other at the drop of a hat, for fuck's sake. I genuinely wouldn't be surprised to see civil disturbance and rioting on a hithertofore unforseen scale shortly followed by a military coup d'etat and the sort of oppression not seen since the Nazis.

Now, i fucking hate the US anyway, so on the one hand i think so what, they've fucked themselves properly this time, the daft cunts, they can fuck off and die. But on the other, it will be truly fucked up. A lot of people who might not be strictly innocent, having lived it up off the bullshit leading up to my scenario, but who aren't exactly culpable either, having been consistently fucking lied to for so long, are going to suffer and die. Then on a third hand, as it were, do we seriously expect them to go quietly? Will they fuckerslike! Who knows what depraved war and planetary devastation the soulless wankers are capable of? They're the only country to have ever dropped The Bomb, when Japan was already virtually defeated and suing for peace through Russia.

Which leads on to nightmare scenario #2. No, not nuclear war, because if that happened, we'd all be fucked and the last thing i'd give a flying fuck about is your opinion on it. What if the rest of the world, realising what a bunch of fucking lunatics we're dealing with here, sort of 'club together' to allow the US to get out of the worst their moronic economic mismanagement has wrought. Do we seriously expect that they'll fucking learn? The country that somehow managed to almost deify Ronald Reagan as a 'Great President' in the lead up to his death, an administration that fucked them over almost as badly as the one they've got now seems intent on doing? Will they my steaming shite! They'll be back, skanking money left, right and centre and spanking it on running all over the bastard world fucking pillaging the last few currency units out of their fucked up dead system (oil/steel economy), proclaiming the virtues of:
The Land of the Free-Lunch and
The Home of the Brave Talkers.
The fucking useless, brainless, pointless wankers!

Some of you DLA's will have read some of this stuff from me before, much of the new stuff (especially the Trade War stuff) comes courtesy of my having seem Rob Newman & Mark Thomas live, so thanx lads, top show. Leave the fucking singing/rapping off the end next time, eh? It wasn't that funny and compared to what had just been said, fucking banal.

Some of it is my own humble research, some tidbits from the blogosphere. Of course, i could have plastered the post with links to illustrate the veracity of my assertions/reportage, but then again: fuck off you lazy bastard! Check it out yourself, hey who knows, perhaps i've fucked some of it up, you'll be able to come back and tell me what a twerp i am. Still, maybe it's as serious as i suggest and you'll realise that far more effectively if you suss it for yourself.

Oh yeah, and just in case you are working for the US government keeping tabs on 'sedition' or some such cleg-nut rattle-age (yes, i know that you have no idea what that means, check Urban Dictionary, it's probably in there, ^Top of the Page^ moron) i am a UK citizen with the right to call anybody a cunt on my own website, should i so please, and believe me: i do please, oh how do i fucking please. I'm sure you can probably find out where i am and i know you're certainly not above malicious dirty tricks: hey bring it, i've no door bell and i live at the top of the building, so you'd have to break in. Funnily enough, that would give me the right to brain you with a suspiciously handy blunt instrument, do it soon Babylon, i'm in just about the right fucking mood.

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Blogger edjog said...

So, i added this in response to a reply at the original polite version. He's talking about hi-tech solutions which could enhance human life.

"Who say's these things have to be developed in the States first? Why not Japan or the EU?"
~ Mr. Farlops

Exactly. The trouble seems to be that the rest of the world has been used to following the US or its example and has become complacent. The massive budgets available for 'blue sky' research during the cold war (in the hope that discoveries would have defence applications) are now and will continue to be seen as 'the halcyon days of youth' for science establishments.

There is some hope. The British charitable foundation The Welcome Trust (WT) waded into The Human Genome project to the tune of 1/3 of its budget, with the promise that as much more as necessary would be forthcoming to ensure that the project remained in the public domain. This was in response to a US private company, The Institute of Genome Research (TIGR), being founded to attempt to sequence the genome first and US legislation, The Bayh-Dole Act, which would prevent the US Federal Government from continuing to support a publicly funded effort in competition with private enterprise. This despite the fact that TIGR's publicised intended approach to the task was less scientifically rigourous. As we know, WT's contribution tipped the balance and the Human Genome is in the public domain. Great.
["Backroom Boys" ~ Francis Spufford]

So, a triumph for pure research and scientific benevolence then? Well, a bit, but not really. WT is a charitable foundation, for research purposes, but it also has a massive profit making pharmaceutical arm. I'll bet they were terrified that if they didn't wade in with the wedge, they could look forward to a future of paying royalties to TIGR for any commercial applications which result from the project. It doesn't matter that the research is also available to their competitors, they are so huge that such concerns would be like a whale in The Atlantic worrying about how much krill another whale was eating in The Pacific. Still, it's a start.

[at this point i would like to apologise to BionOc for being so dense as to not fully appreciate this earlier and thank her for her gracious forbearance]

Whether the US comes to a crunch or just has to reel its neck in and accept a period of little economic growth, until such time as investment in infrastructure pays dividends, only affects the prospects for the world economy in terms of the scale of the likely recession, because of the US strangle hold on the oil/steel driven model. That is the right metaphore, BTW, because it is choking the life out of potential for the developement of a new hi-tech model.

The problem will come when recession starts to bite, because of its attendant panic switch to 'bear market' defensive investment policy. Nobody looks to new technology as a safe investment for their pension, they go with (what i predict will later be seen as obsolete) traditional large 'Blue Chip' companies and governments attempt to stimulate their domestic economies by such practices as standing guarantor for the value of manufactured goods exported. The problem with this latter is threefold.

Firstly, our manufacturing base and the products it produces rely heavily on oil which, regardless of whether you believe we have reached 'peak' yet or not, will only get more expensive, so the goods may not be economically viable in their intended markets (especially new internal combustion driven vehicles).

Secondly, one of the mainstays of this kind of policy is arms. There is only one purpose for arms and that, regardless of whether you believe in 'the cause', so characterise it as 'defence' or don't, so call it 'agression', is war. War destabilises countries, whole regions even. Their economies fluctuate wildly. The bills often don't get paid. After all, that is the basis of much third world debt. The humanitarian disasters caused are also a further drain on world resources. (and for a moment, let's leave depraved immorality aside)

Thirdly, in a global recession, where everyone is feeling the pinch, who exactly are these potential customers who can pay for the ultimately unnecessary luxuries we want to export?

With increased investment though, we might expect Blue Chip companies to carry the torch forward. Don't hold your breath. Look what happened to Big Blue during the Personal Computer revolution. If we rely on commercially driven research, we will not get radical new technology, we will get programmes which add minutiae to the existing economic model. This is because only those projects which can be 'sold' to inherently conservative boards of directors as 'commercially viable' (within the current model) and not damaging to their existing interests will see funding.

Despite this, i do have hope though. I'm not familier with Japanese society, but unlike in the US, in the UK and EU there is a lot of personal wealth sloshing around ordinary citizens, so we can be expected to ride out and emerge from recession better. What i fear though, is that we may attempt to reset the board and play the same game again. Some of the pieces are missing and the rules made no sense anyway.

Now, [as i said above] i could have added a swathe of links to these posts to validate my position. Firstly, i'm just too lazy. Secondly, i'm not surprised Mr. Farlops does not agree with all my theories, like probably the bulk of the readers of this forum, he is American. Perhaps i have painted the picture over starkly, then again, perhaps it's time to wake up from

The American Dream.

Either way, the facts are out there, go get 'em yourself: draw your own conclusions. Whatever you think as a result, it won't be government propaganda or corporate spin.

22/12/05 12:28  

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