Sunday, October 20, 2013

Shrink-wrapped Society

The U.S. is going full Disneyland. Even the Tea Party is no more than a phony apparatus for billionaire interests, masquerading as a throw-back to Little House on the Prairie. This metamorphosis is a very cautionary tale for any country that doesn't assiduously separate private and public interests and otherwise allows itself to become 100% corporatized. 

The Cult of Private Interest
The cult of private interest led to a self-interested presumption on behalf of the nation's corrupt elites that conflict of interest no longer needs to be assiduously avoided - that somehow, industries will regulate themselves without any proper oversight. Unfortunately, profit-seeking takes many forms, many of which are at the broader public's expense. Now, in this age of overwhelming greed, it should come has no surprise, that the fox has taken over the hen house. Apologists for the status quo constantly try to explain away the exploding economic and political dysfunction as solely a failure of government. Yet the U.S. government has been systematically compromised by special interest groups and the pervasive culture of greed, on a scale unmatched by any other country this side of the Third World. Pseudo-libertarians who are really just apologists for greed, blame "government" for everything, even though government and regulators have been systematically stripped of power to enforce regulations. The cult of deregulation created a jumbled array of laws on the books with so many loopholes that none of them are even enforceable. 

Corporations are not people. They don't think like people and they don't act like people. They are programmed to serve their own interests to the maximum extent possible. Add in a management country club dominated by frat boy sociopaths and things can really go sidewise. Under the phony auspice of comparative advantage they were fully empowered to sell their country to the highest bidder. Engineering and manufacturing were exchanged for finance and marketing because some ivory tower economists deemed all forms of economic output to be of equal value, regardless of their longevity or side-effects. They never questioned who benefits or who loses. To the dismal scientists, another dollar of income accruing to a billionaire is the same as another dollar of income to someone making $5 per hour. All of this sociopathic behaviour of course inevitably turned the economy into a zero sum game between corporate profits and wages which are moving in opposite direction. 

Military Industrial Complex - War as Business
Playing supercop to protect multinational interests is an inordinate expense to Americans. Leaving aside the trillions spent on the two wars, the annual operating cost of the U.S. defense department is greater than that of the next 13 countries combined. Meanwhile, much of this spending is vastly overinflated in cost due to the incestuous procurement process and the fact that the military itself is extremely bureaucratic with four branches of service all providing many substantially overlapping capabilities e.g. air power. A bloated military is a side-effect of turning war into just another line of business.

A Shrink-wrapped zombie society incapable of protecting its own interests
Corporatization has reached deep inside America's culture and subverted it on every dimension. The fire and forget business model turned human beings into commoditized widgets. Unlike many countries, access to benefits was tied to the employer not the employee which further strengthened the Grapes-of-Wrath style dominance of employer over employee. Any efforts to break that monopoly over medical benefits or retirement benefits has been resisted vehemently by corporate special interest groups. Obamacare being Exhibit A. To this day, the amount that an employee without employer-sponsored retirement can contribute to an individual IRA is a mere $5,500. Whereas the amount that high income employees can contribute to an employer-sponsored 401k is $17,500 and the employer can match that amount. Apparently, politicians have conveniently decided that lower wage Americans without employer-sponsored retirement benefits, never need to retire. The real issue is that this society's ability to protect its own interests has been vastly compromised by that other corporate product - junk food and junk culture. Add in deadly and addicting corporate pharmaceuticals whose side-effects are worse than their benefits and it's no wonder the average citizen is barely lucid. The pressure to conform is overwhelming, narrowing the range of interests down to sports and entertainment at the expense of deeper education. Relentless propaganda bombardment has rendered people senseless and incapable of making coherent judgments beyond ditto-heading the propagandized political messages dispatched by the two party political duopoly. The corporate rat race to nowhere inevitably created a stagnant monoculture populated by shrink-wrapped zombies. 

Fuck Agribusiness and Everyone Who Looks Like Them
Speaking of monocultures, I was watching 1970s music videos last night, which is what I do when I'm too drunk to blog, and I noticed how thin the people were back then compared to now. Then it dawned on me that that's how people looked in the 100,000 years before corn syrup. It's been only the past 30 years or so since corn syrup replaced sugar that human beings started looking like overstuffed glazed doughnuts. Meanwhile, reading the book "The Blood Sugar Solution" and they tell us that almost everyone who is exposed to modern food-like product either has diabetes or will get it at some point in their lifetime. Thin people are no more immune from blood sugar inundation than obese people, although it may take them longer to succumb. On a related note, I also recently read a long article on the disappearance of the honey bees and the colony collapse disorder. Scientists believe it's occurring either due to new and more powerful forms of pesticides that are now being baked into every food substance known to man, or it's due to the crop monocultures - aka. corn and soybeans that define modern-day agribusiness. From the corn field to the box of food-like substance on the grocery store shelf, this society is now polluting its own children with diabesity and chemicals, at a catastrophic rate.

Conservatives Unite and Fight for your right to Diabesity !!!

Privatized health system that costs twice as much as any other developed country 
Markets work better for everything, except healthcare apparently. The U.S. has healthcare costs that are twice as high as the OECD average yet ranks 51st in terms of overall life expectancy. Apologists will say that's because low income urban high crime areas drive down U.S. life expectancy while relatively extravagant access to healthcare resources at the top demographic drives up costs. Exactly. Maybe if people at the bottom of the pyramid had something to live for beyond a low wage McJob with minimal benefits and absolutely no upside, then they would trade in violence for a shot at a happy life. Meanwhile, isn't it time to tax the shit out of McDonald's and Coke for these ludicrous healthcare costs? That would make too much fucking sense. Instead, let's make them sponsors for the Olympics so they can brainwash kids into believing there is now an association between junk food and athletic performance. You can't make this shit up.  

The Golden Arches Zone: "I'm Lovin' It":

Faux News: Quite Exceptional
Of course, the commercialized lamestream media is highly complicit in maintaining the illusion of the status quo. These entitled comfort seekers are totally incapable of imagining an existence that doesn't have them at the center of the universe pampered by unfettered access to copious resources. The fact that the majority on this planet are forced to toil in abject poverty to sustain that fantasy, is of no concern to them. Unfortunately, all this means is that we are being led down a blind alley by a cadre of the most bloated vacuous blowhards in human history. Reality is anathema to advertising agencies, so the more commercialized the media became the more the truth got buried. At best they tell us the half of the truth that they want us to believe. At worst they contort the facts and generate a specious narrative wholly devoid of reality or fact. That said, they cater to a shrink-wrapped society that needs its information dumbed down to the lowest common denominator for ease of consumption. After all, the illusion of The Matrix must be maintained at all costs. 

Game Show Hosts Gone Wild
And this government...holy fuck, what can you say about this disaster except to realize that it's an inevitable consequnce of 14,000 special interest groups (SIGs) going berserk in Washington because the money is running low. When money was plentiful, the system appeared to work. The SIGs got paid, the silent middle class got raped, Dukes of Hazzard were on TV - everyone was fat and happy. However, now that the money has run low it's turned into an all out blood feud. This latest shutdown fiasco shows that when all else fails, democracy can be subverted merely by procedural technicalities that were never intended to be used as hijack attempts. Still, the root cause is money, and now the lack thereof. Enron-style accounting has run its course. When bills need to be paid today then plundering the children and grandchildren deep into the future, is no longer adequate. It's come down to a zero sum game between special interests, and the gloves are off big time. 

Ayn Rand Won - It Was All Just An "Interesting" Historical Experiment
And to think, all of this above circus, playing out in real-time, is run by and for the benefit of the Corporatocracy, which is solely concerned with protecting quarterly profits.

Corporate Profits as % of GDP