China's Shanghai market is rallying today, as should be expected. In such a heavily government-controlled economy, it would be surprising if such a visible metric of economic health would be allowed to continue to show weakness. But as I have said before, China's 'economic miracle' is living on borrowed time. The internal contradictions of the current system are unsustainable.
If anyone has any doubts on this, read this excellent article by James Waterton of Samizdata. He discusses the rotten foundation the whole smoking mess is built on and grimly muses on the consequences of collapse.
You've probably heard that Venezuela is facing food shortages. From the Devil's Excrement:
"Since 2003 the efforts of the Government have been focused mainly in production plants for milk, sugar, coffee and refrigeration plants for meat and processing ones for fruits and vegetables. It is precisely these basic items that now present shortages, thus official intervention has not improved the insufficiencies of the economy."
In fact, shortages follow the efforts of the Government. That is, the top priorities for the Government have shown the most intense shortages: Sugar, milk and meat in that precise order. This is nothing new, it is the history of Venezuela, where sectors where the Government participates are always lacking.
Now Chavez is threatening to nationalize supermarkets and corner stores. He seems to be aiming at breaking the speed record for destroying an economy.
A few years ago I read a great piece on what happened in Zimbabwe, but have never been able to find it again. It simply described the policies first introduced by Mugabe's government, followed by how the economy adapted, then by what the government did in response, and so on. Each destructive iteration was a mass cull of golden geese that laid waste to the country's economy and left it in the horrible state it's in.
Joe Noory at ¡No Pasarán! is a little pissed and has a few things he really needs to say:
It takes some of that fantastic magical thinking to try to plausibly say that Maoism, or any other mutation of Marxism is "green" or ever was. They were the biggest polluters that ever were, completely against anything non-standard or biologically diverse, and were the lovely sort who tried to force people into a mono-culture using as their tools good old fashioned lefty "re-education" camps, mass-starvation, and repression.
And yet, and yet, there is a large subculture of zombies out there who think that red-makes-green. It might, but only in the way Arbeit macht frei, and there’s no-one left out there to pollute the world with their horrible dependence on oxygen. Despite all the facts, despite reason, they still believe that the environment would somehow be better when more people are farming smallholdings, and being less productive – which is defined by the amount of activity, including energy, chemical, and human that it takes to produce anything.
They continue to believe this trash because they are a cult. They are offered the grand, redemptive perfection of a future bucolic existence that would require them to spend their shortened lives in backbreaking work in the fields, even though the adherents are almost entirely urban, young, and employed for 35 hours a week if they have work at all. They are scared with a Armageddon story, but not SO MUCH or SO MEANINGFUL an Armageddon story that you can't repeat it to them incessantly to keep them hooked in. They are fed a steady repetition of the exact same “it’s worse than we thought” story every 2 to 3 weeks. The world-view sold to them is meant to reinterpret modernity, just as a cult tries to keep adherents well programmed by destroying their understanding of the outside world.
The buzzword is "decroissance" or dismantling of the sustained civilization we live in for one sustainable at a miserable level. They literally want to dismantle the product of active human effort of the sort that feeds, heats, employs, inspires, and entertains civilization. They don't want to be the only ones to pack up and leave town to live a third world existence, they want everyone else to as well. Granted, going back to a subsitence level would make "happy valley" a crowded place, which is why virtually all of humanity doesn't actually do this anymore by choice, so I guess 95% of us will just have to die for their sustained happiness.
David Suzuki and Stephane Dion, he's looking at you. With a slightly deranged stare. But then, maybe he's right. Read the whole thing.
Today Captain Destructo and the Mistress of Chaos marked their first four years on this planet. It's been a roller-coaster ride, but their parents are still hanging on to their sanity. Barely. There are signs that these children's craziness-inducing qualities are diminishing, but it's too early to declare the danger over.
They celebrated with a spaghetti and meatball dinner, and enjoyed making a colossal mess.
(Apologies for the extreme lameness of the blog lately. Standard lameness will be restored as soon as possible.)
I doubt there's anyone (that isn't a friend or family member) that still bothers to read this blog that doesn't also read Dust My Broom. It's a fairly popular Canadian conservative-ish blog started by Darcey, an oddball Metis engineer and amateur nudist. The big news is that, with almost no warning, he claims to have given up his possessions and to be starting a walk across Canada.
I don't really know what to make of this. I met Darcey last summer and really hit it off with him. He would hit it off with anyone; he's an honest, generous, gregarious guy with a genuine interest in other people. But I also sensed a bit of recklessness to him that could be easily uncorked. So when I read one post from him talking about taking a handful of magic mushrooms, and the next about how he's given away all his possessions, it's natural that I worry.
Still, I wish him the best. And I hope he comes to his senses.
Darcey, if you have a mid-life crisis to deal with, just buy a Harley or take up sky-diving or something. It may seem like freedom to live the life of a wandering mendicant, but there is no escape from the tyranny of your body's demands. Remember that a place of your own with running water, heat, and a fridge is a tremendous freedom in itself.
I hope to hear some news from you on your blog soon. I also hope I'm misunderstanding your intentions. But if not, here's a song I think is pretty apropos. It's from Canadian prog-punk band NoMeansNo. If they make a movie out of this foolish plan of yours, I hope it goes on the soundtrack.
UPDATE: Apparently it was a short journey. I am now much more at ease.