Monday, January 02, 2012
We made it to 2012, el taco grande, now designated as the year of the Mayan Apocalypse.
Not that I believe in that kind of thing. After all, none of us has a crystal ball, and the future is discernible only as an array of probabilities, and combinations thereof. But having said that, signs point to a very rough economic year ahead, for a couple of reasons:
1) The depression isn't over, and no government or group of influential capitalists seems the least bit interested in taking the obvious measures necessary to alleviate or end it, because
2) Our rulers don't care about us.
Continuing on with current conditions remaining static means among other things that the prices of houses and other real estate will continue dropping in most places, as more people are foreclosed out of their homes and the banks continue to refuse to lend money for new mortgages. Unemployment will continue at its current levels or may worsen somewhat. There will be continued inflation mostly centered in the prices of absolute essentials -- rent, food, and fuel. Money will be tight.
That's the positive prediction. The negative one would see failures among some of the largest banks in Europe and North America, with the European debt crisis shoving what used to be called "the free world" into a new round of massive depression. But I'm hoping that won't happen, and that the monopoly capitalists who rule our world will be able to stick enough duct tape on their problems to keep the seams nearly together.
Sunny Jim Kunstler says of our political life that the biggest shock awaiting us this coming year is "the massive disruption of the major party nominating conventions next summer, when thousands of angry citizens descend on Tampa and Charlotte demanding a reality test. The parties will attempt to go about their ritual business, ignoring the mischief outside the convention centers, and both parties will make the mistake of siccing the cops on the protestors."
This is true and eminently predictable, of course, and the show at those stupid conventions ought to be spectacular. But I don't believe it will be as much of a long-term revelation as the presidential election which follows, as Obama is re-elected by an enormous margin over the yet-unnamed Republican moron, whoever it is, despite the fact that the vast majority of us either hate Obama's guts or, at best, are somewhat cool concerning him. And participation in this election will be shockingly low, as more and more of us bail out of the political system altogether, recognizing that its inherent corruption has rendered it irrelevant to our problems, needs, and lives.
As for me, I'll vote for any candidate for Congress or president who signs a pledge promising to support a constitutional amendment ending corporate personhood, forbidding private money in politics altogether, and providing for publicly funded elections at the federal and state levels. Anyone who refuses or hesitates to take such a pledge can go fish as far as I'm concerned.
On a positive note, I believe the coming year will see more Americans learning to live within their means, even when those means are slender, and more of us will continue to get involved with growing food, which is gradually moving back to the center of people's lives, on a seasonal rhythm.
Photo: the US Supreme Court, photoshopped by Dan Volper.