Sunday, January 5, 2014

GPS: Meet the Brick Wall of Reality

No sooner had I published my diatribe on "A World Without Jobs", than Fareed Zakaria came on CNN to tell us about the "end of globalization". As many know, there is a nascent trend towards local sourcing for food, products, now 3D printer-based manufacturing....

Zakaria was showing a chart indicating that the multi-decade boom in trade relative to global GDP is starting to slow dramatically. For decades, global trade growth outpaced global GDP growth, but apparently that trend is potentially reversing - or at least decelerating. So far, so good...

Slumdog Billionaire
However, then Zakaria lamented the fact that this could mean the end of globalization i.e. the end of cheap shoes made by eighty-cents per hour slaves in China, and LCDs made in Korea. The end of shopping sprees on Thanksgiving day. The end of entitled jackasses blowing smoke up everyone's asses non-stop. He never once questioned who benefits from globalization. He actually said that it lifts poor people out of poverty. Yes, he should know, he was once living in a slum in India and now is host of his own infotainment reality TV show on CNN. Of course I am making that up. The odds of that actually happening are the limit approaching impossible. No, what he really meant to say is that if you already have a decent paying job, then having a lot of cheaply made crap to buy is a real boost to disposable income. On the other hand, it you are one of the ever-mounting number of people don't have a decent paying job, then it's too fucking bad. Meanwhile, if you travel to these Third World countries and keep your eyes closed the entire time, you too can envision the great poverty-alleviating benefits of globalization.

Faux News: A Necessary Fabrication
This is all of course just a frightening reminder of what happens when the media itself gets taken over by corporations. The entire message and the medium get hijacked and the truth gets buried so fucking deep you would need an archaeological excavation to find it. Twenty-five years ago, trade relations with Japan, trade competitiveness, and manufacturing outsourcing were all hot topics in the late 1980s. That debate peaked with the blow-off in the Nikkei in 1990 and then receded as Neocons declared "victory" against Japan. The Supply Side model was "vindicated". Fast forward twenty-five years and the entire process has gone into overdrive and yet there is less debate today than there was back in the 1980s. Lou Dobbs used to have a segment called "Exporting America" when he was on CNN, profiling companies that were major outsourcers, but when he moved to Faux News that segment got axed. Go figure.

The Truth is "Liberal", therefore Evil
The media should never be commercialized, even if it means listening to boring hush puppy-wearing moderately paid, moderately attractive, quietly smart people with real knowledge. You know old fashioned boring news without the bubble-headed bleach blonde with big tits and the three-way ticker tape at the bottom of the screen. But these old fashioned media types would never conform to message, so they were ALL branded liberal so that the Faux News genre could hijack the truth and replace it with the corporate Newspeak that we are immersed in daily. In other words, the truth itself is now considered left of "liberal" and hence assiduously avoided. Gay rights and marijuana legalization can be discussed, but corporate outsourcing, no way...

The Bigger the Lie, the More People Will Believe It
Unfortunately for the masses, the Faux Newspeak bubble has spread widespread ignorance regarding the economy and the unquestioned assumption around its sustainability. Most people, whether they admit it or not subscribe to at least one infotainment network and don't consciously acknowledge that the corporate sponsors control all of them. Therefore, the likelihood that broader society is properly gauging risk and otherwise planning appropriately right now, is absolutely zero. 

Of course the longer we remain insulated from reality in this Faux Newspeak bubble the harder will be the convergence with the brick wall of reality. The bubble of bullshit is stretching us farther and farther away from the truth and upon re-convergence, the impact will be sudden and fucking brutal. There very likely won't be enough Prozac on the planet to go around at that juncture.

The bottom line is that if global trade is already decelerating, then this is merely the tip of the ice-berg. The trend towards local sourcing will accelerate on the other side of the "reset" when the Kardashian-stoned masses realize that they got conned by the frat boys, yet again. Where, if at all, global multinational corporations will get to play in all of that will be the real question. Suffice to say that historically bloated profit margins will be put on notice, which means today's stock market valuations are no more than pure fantasy. How we get from point A global economy to point B localized economy, will of course be the fun part.