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American Debt And Collapse

By Guy McPherson

12 August, 2012

American novelist Jack Kerouac wrote, “If moderation is a fault, then indifference is a crime.”

Don’t blink now, but U.S. debt just grew by $11 trillion. If you’re keeping track, that amount exceeds the financial value of all currency in the world plus all the gold mined in history. Americans respond with the usual indifference.

U.S. banks are told to make plans for preventing collapse, sans help from the government or central banks. They can’t, of course.

Across the pond, the European Central Bank is printing money and giving it to Greece. Why? So Greece can make interest payments on its debt to — wait for it — the European Central Bank. This approach qualifies as a solution for neoclassical economists and the consumers who believe them.

Across the other pond, the “hard landing” anticipated for China’s industrial economy has arrived. As I’ve pointed out in this space before (and also here), the interdependency of the industrial economies of China, Europe, and the United States guarantees they all fall together. Collapse has been under way for more than a decade, and we’re a single step away from its completion.

It’s small wonder yet another expert concludes the next shock will shatter the world’s industrial economy. His detailed explanation appears here.

Meanwhile, actually studying climate change — instead of merely pontificating about it — forces skeptics to change their minds. We’re headed for hellish conditions within a decade or so on the climate front, and undoubtedly sooner with respect to the industrial economy. Americans respond with the usual indifference.

In the face of this information, police state Amerika ratchets up the madness. Barack Obama issues yet another Friday-night executive order, in this case giving the president control over communications. All of them. Americans respond with the usual indifference.

Obama and Congress should be arrested under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (among others). In fact, Obama has claimed the authority to imprison, torture, and kill people without charge for what he and Congress have done. Recently, Obama put out the hit on a 16-year-old boy. He has no conscience, an attribute consistent with his position of power and inconsistent with statements such as the one he made in 2007: “The detention of American citizens, without access to counsel, fair procedure, or pursuant to judicial authorization, as enemy combatants is unconstitutional.” So far, Americans have responded with the usual indifference.

There is no need to wonder when the apocalypse will arrive. It’s here. Yet most people I know claim it will never happen. We drive about 200 species to extinction each and every day on an increasingly depauperate planet. We proceed further into human-population overshoot at the rate of more than 200,000 people each and every day on an overcrowded planet. We ratchet up climate chaos on our only, overheated home so that it threatens our species — and, according to some scientists, every species on Earth — with near-term extinction. We destroy clean water, clean air, and healthy soil at an insane and accelerating rate. We oppress people throughout the world while making protest practically illegal. The Constitution and Bill of Rights have been shredded and turned to ash. As I’ve come to expect, Americans respond with the usual indifference.

Were he alive, Jack Kerouac would be pointing out the criminal nature of our indifference. Instead, we’re leaving the job to politicians, who are themselves criminals.

Guy McPherson is professor emeritus of natural resources and the environment at the University of Arizona, where he taught and conducted research for 20 years. He's written well over 100 articles, ten books, the most recent of which is Walking Away From Empire, and has focused for many years on conservation of biological diversity. He lives in an off-grid, straw-bale house where he practices durable living via organic gardening, raising small animals for eggs and milk, and working with members of his rural community. Learn more at guymcpherson.com or email Guy at grm@ag.arizona.edu



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