Wednesday, January 05, 2005
New year, same direction.
Without a shift in the economic direction of the United States, 2005 shouldn't bring any sort of economic "uncertainty" and yet that's what many pundits will have you believe as the two usual schools (markets up, markets down) try to convince the investing world that their side is right. Why I focus so much on the economic status of the U.S. in this blog devoted to bringing sense to our country's "war on terror" is because in the end, our spreading commercialism is what the terrorists are most frightened of, and ultimately what drives their desperate acts. Ironically, its also what is at the root of the Christian right's fears about the direction of society, and though they misdirect that angst towards liberal education, contraceptive feminism and homosexuality (including all related "deviances") the consumer society forest looms behind whatever tree the right chooses to destroy next.
Ultimately, if capitalist theory is correct (and so far, it has proven to be against everything else) the markets, the consumers, and all of their related "evils" will win this battle and Islamic extremism, Christian bigotry, and all forces opposed to the spread of global trade will have to adjust their goals or die under the weight of their growing irrelevance. The two ends of the American political spectrum are discovering this, and adjusting accordingly; the GOP having a decided advantage having tooled their party to cozy to every whim of the corporate elite and being a remarkably efficient purveyor of the propaganda and agenda these companies provide. Hence, reticence by the FDA to pull dangerous drugs from our shelves until there is enough consumer backlash to make leaving them on unprofitable. Liberals meanwhile, are still having trouble getting their old school socialists on board with what should be their vision of embracing technology and innovation and socially/environmentally conscious consumerism. Bill Clinton was the prototype of this style of Democrat, and old school insiders like John Kerry aren't able to duplicate his success.
Now back to what this all means for the war on terror in 2005 and beyond. Corporate heavies don't understand the beast they ride as well as they let on, so the two month surge in the U.S. markets following President Bush's victory has quietly ebbed, and the outflow of funds means maybe investors are starting to actually think a little. A weakening currency coupled with rising inflation, less than stellar sales until just before the holiday, and somberly and significantly, the greatest natural disaster the world has seen in my lifetime are more than setbacks, they combine into a panic button. The world financial market hasn't come to terms with the tsunami's impact yet, but by the end of March, Asia will be reeling again. Meanwhile, knowing Node readers are intelligent and can deduce things on their own, I will leave you with the outline and you can fill in the blanks:
world's most populous muslim nation + already existing and extensive terrorist network + blight of massive poverty and disease + inflows of untraceable cash as bank accounts are emptied - strained military/police resources - border security + chaos
and you can begin to see why Western nations (and India and China) are so keen on rebuilding and pushing the relief effort as fast as possible (Wahington was a little slower on the uptake than some others for some reason).
Long term? Commercialism wins. There has never in our species' history been a more efficient way to fully study human social behavior before we set Wal-Mart loose on the unsuspecting denizens of Arkansas. Amazon and Google are doing their part now as well, and by understanding the human condition, how we can be affected by subtle influences, the commercial system is now able to spread with an unprecedented speed. Terror? As Andrew mentions in the post before this, it wins also, terror comes from anomalies, outliers from the system, and since no system can eradicate all inefficiencies, we can only hope to contain them when they arise and stop them from infecting vital organs. What the war in Iraq is, and it's apparent now, is an attempt to strike at some of these anomalies by attacking an infected organ. It was the result of a few greedy companies and individuals who thought that they could further speed commercial growth by military means and the result created more terrorists, and has subsequently slowed the spread of global commercialism by straining the entire mechanism.
Domestically? More on that later.
Bran 6:34 AM : |
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