Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
  Behind some of my commentary--which in this case has been posted mainly at Booman Tribune rather than here, is the growing feeling that the Soviet collapse of almost twenty years ago now, may be a harbinger for the course that the U.S. political culture is on.

   If so, there may remain for the American public and the government an opportunity which the Soviet system and in particular the Russian public within it did not have, namely, the opportunity to grasp that a collapse is looming and that while it may not be prevented, it might be "controlled" or "directed" to occur in such a way as to minimize the social, economic and political devastation.  There are reasons to believe that the U.S. is better armed to manage such a controlled collapse than the Russians were simply because the Russians were faced with the failure of their system and its replacement by one which was still largely alien to them.  The people who made out best in the wreckage of the Soviet system were, predictably, those who were already adept at understanding and using the black market economy and playing both ends (the corrupted official government system, and the black market system, against a middle, which, with the ultimate collapse, vanished brutally and violently).

   What's involved, as I imagine it, is the Obama administration's (assuming things come "sooner" rather than "later" --and the sooner the better) recognizing (avowedly or otherwise) that the real best hope is for a managed collapse and reorganization to a post-19th century Robber Baron/Reaganite capitalist system to one which is something near a fully-fledged social-democratic state of the sort that are accepted as routing in Europe.  This would not mean the end of private property or of corporate power, but, if it's to be beneficial to the U.S. public, and, if it's to forestall the kind of Wild West chaos that the Soviets experienced, it would have to mean a very significant intervention by populist government into the completely putrid Corporate/State nexus in which the government simply legislates for the interests of top 1% of the nation's wealth holders.
 (See, in that regard, Working Paper N° 15408 from the National Bureau of Economic Research by Piketty, Atkinson and Saez, entitled, Top Incomes in the Long Run of History, at this link: http://www.nber.org/authors/thomas_piketty )

   When the Soviet system went down, its people didn't have a chance to escape widespread social disorder.  For the U.S. version of that calamity, there remains a chance to prepare and direct and minimize the damage, but, as I see it, no real chance to prevent the collapse coming in some form, and in a future that is harder and harder to imagine as being generations away.


"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Oct 21st, 2009 at 09:30:36 AM EST

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