I always knew that, sooner or later, we'd end up here, but it doesn't make it any easier. The 'here ' of which I speak is the physical and functional limits of the post-WW II social contract. At the end of World War II the entire world, quite literally, lay at our feet. We had unfettered access to ... well ... just about whatever the hell we needed or just wanted.
Not since the height of the British Empire had a people been so in control of the earth's resources and geopolitical environment. And we wasted no time taking advantage of it all. The rich got so rich that even their considerable appetites could not consume all there was to consume. Through no fault of the wealthy that excess sloshed overboard in a Niagara flow feeding what would become the great American middle class.
The only trouble, and it's big trouble, is that, living as we do on planet of fixed size with finite resources, all that was destined to come to a screaming halt someday. And that day has arrived.
It is still a bit difficult for many, especially those on the far right, to get their heads around the fact that, lo and behold, there are other members of the human species who, while we were consuming like crazy, had little else to do but reproduce like crazy. And now there are several billion more of them than us, and they want their share. While none of them are quite strong enough, militarily, to simply take what they want from us, some, like China, are moving in that direction, just in case that's exactly what they may have to do.
Listening to the blather coming out from the current US presidential race, one would not guess at any of that. Both parties are still playing parohical very -small-ball.
It's a complete and utter waste of time, not to mention electrons, for the networks to broadcast anything from those two conventions. Both party conventions are little more delusion and denial parties; exercises in fiddling while the planet burns -- and the icecaps melt, seas rise, forests burn, hurricanes rage stronger and droughts devastate croplands.
And that's just what's afoot in the physical world. In the fiscal world things are keeping apace. Postwar free market schemes, after nearly 70-years of success are sputtering, coughing and stalling. Like characters from Kurt Vonnegut's novel, Player Piano , financiers worldwide frantically try everything they think they know to get the fiscal machinery running again. But, for reasons they don't seem to understand, each time they get the old girl started, she either stalls again, or runs completely amok causing more trouble than good.
So here we are, not at some simple correction point, but at a full-blown evolutionary juncture. Stubbornly hold fast to the path we've been on, and disasters of species altering - even ending - proportions loom. Down the other path lay difficult, even painful, change -- not just here and there, but change in nearly everything we've come to know and take for granted; work, play, schooling, manufacturing, finance, wealth distribution, energy, healthcare, welfare, housing, food production, consumption. Everything.
But you won't hear about any of that at either of the two conventions this summer. Instead what you will hear are endless speeches claiming that it's the other party's policies that will "ruin everything." That, if you want the good old times to roll again in America, they're the party to vote for, not the other guys.
One of the two candidates for president, given the opportunity, would create a corporate-heaven-on-earth. The other guy promises not to do that, though when he had a chance to bring crooked corporations to heel, instead bailed them out.
Neither party, and frankly, most Americans, are not ready to swallow this bitter pill. Of course, we will, one way or the other, sooner or later. The only question is, when, and just how bad things have to get before we gag it down.
Oh, and whether we get there soon enough to make a difference.
Cheered up? Sorry about that folks. But don't you think it's time to get real? I mean, really...