The French Revolution didn’t ‘start’ in 1789; WW2 didn’t ‘begin’ in 1939; an avalanche doesn’t ‘commence’ when the surface snow begins to slide. By the time human beings recognise that a massive shift is taking place, it’s been underway for a while, sometimes a long while. The majority become aware during the quickening stage of the phenomena. We’re in one now.

What is quickening?

“The crony-capitalist system is collapsing. Like ancient Rome, it is too corrupt to stand. The financial crisis was a major shock, but was nevertheless a symptom, as are the emergent fractures in our societies & our politics, as is the increase in geopolitical tension and warfare.

As this process accelerates it will become increasingly clear to ‘normal’ people that the primary concern of governments and ‘elites’ is to maintain their grip on power, and to double down when it is threatened. If the majority of westerners showed even a modicum of interest in their own history, this would already be glaringly apparent. Ultimately, however, this ‘grip’ will fail. Power is systemic…and anyone who believes that centralisation of control in highly complex systems is anything other than a disaster waiting to happen…has not been paying attention. 

One way or another we will have a realignment of geopolitical power, and a new monetary system – that is inevitable. A major war, though increasingly likely – isn’t. But to avoid this we need to be awake, and intolerant of any more ‘horse-shit’…from the left or the right”

(Excerpt from ‘The Reasons We Go to War’, September 2017)

Since I wrote that article a year and a half ago, the ‘horse-shit’ has continued unabated:

  1. The ‘Russia-gate’ farce is still rolling on, despite the Mueller enquiry finding no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. The demonization of Putin is almost a religion in Washington – it provides a convenient excuse for military spending and provides Democrats & Republicans with a rare comfort – something they can agree on in public: The demonization of Vladimir Putin
  2. Washington has increased its pressure on Iran through new sanctions and threats aimed at countries who continue to trade with Tehran: Washington’s coming war on Iran’
  3. Israel has accelerated its illegal settlement programme on the West Bank. In Gaza the IDF kills Palestinians every week with no condemnation, or even comment, from western mainstream media. There is now a push in Washington to recognise Israel’s illegal occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights.
  4. Despite some initial progress on the Korean Peninsula, Washington has blocked attempts by the North & South to work together to accelerate the peace process
  5. Censorship has increased markedly, particularly on Facebook, which relies on NATO’s pet think-tank, the Atlantic Council, to decide what is acceptable and what is not. Anti-war or pro-Russian comments are not welcome, neither is criticism of Israel. The conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism is being used to silence a population brainwashed with the emotional blackmail prevalent in ‘identity politics’: On the continued weaponization of identity’
  6. Julian Assange is still locked up in the Ecuadorean embassy, for the crime of holding power to account. If he comes out he faces extradition by Washington. The UK government, and that of his native Australia are willing accomplices: ‘Washington’s war on Julian Assange’ 
  7. This is not an exhaustive list…and doesn’t include any of the ‘new stuff’. I’ll come to some of that later

What is Crony-Capitalism?

There are many names for the system that is collapsing, ‘Neo-liberalism’ is the most common; some call it ‘Corporatism’. Others refer to it as ‘Elitism’, ‘Oligarchy’, ‘The Empire’ and ‘Plutocracy’ – a ‘class’ that rules by virtue of its wealth, however obtained or maintained. These are all accurate in their own way. Whatever you call it, the system is essentially parasitic in nature. In metaphorical terms, I think of it as a ‘disease’:

What are the signs?

“As this process accelerates it will become increasingly clear to ‘normal’ people that the primary concern of governments and ‘elites’ is to maintain their grip on power, and to double down when it is threatened”

France:

On March 9th 2019, the Gilets Jaunes, or ‘Yellow Vests’ commenced their 17th week of protest – Act XVII. The coverage of these protests on the BBC has been virtually non-existent – clearly, the UK government has issued a diktat to suppress it. Why? Because tens of thousands of people have sent a very clear message to the French establishment: ‘Enough austerity, enough billionaire tax breaks, enough war, enough Macron, enough!’ Western governments, having realised quite righty that their own populations share these feelings in large part, don’t want you to see that…but more than this, they don’t want you to see the violence that the French State is meting out to its own citizens:

Heavily armoured police assaulting protestors with batons, tear gas, flash-bombs, water cannon and rubber bullets. Protestors losing hands and eyes, others receiving permanent damage to their eyesight or mobility:

These protests began in November 2018, when lorry drivers decided that the increased fuel tax was the final straw. They have grown in number throughout the winter months…they have spread throughout France and into Belgium. There have been a number of ‘solidarity’ marches elsewhere. Question: Can you imagine what will happen as we move into warmer weather…the Spring? As someone old enough to remember Paris in 1968, my imagination doesn’t have to work too hard. Thinking forward to May – can you imagine how this will affect the EU elections?

Be in no doubt – the French government is frightened of its own people, and so is Brussels.

Venezuela:

Having promised the American people that he would put an end to Washington’s endless wars, President Trump has authorised a coup attempt in Venezuela. Dig a little deeper than the mainstream media is prepared to go, and you will find that Juan Guaidó, the rotational President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, is nothing more than a ‘stooge’ that has been groomed by the US to perform one role – to bring about the collapse of the government – in order to return Venezuela, along with the largest oil reserves in the world, to the control of Washington. This is not new; Washington is doubling down on a goal it’s been pursuing for 20 years. Here’s Dan Cohen & Max Blumenthal from the Grayzone Project:

“Since the 1998 election of Hugo Chávez, the United States has fought to restore control over Venezuela and its vast oil reserves. Chávez’s socialist programs may have redistributed the country’s wealth and helped lift millions out of poverty, but they also earned him a target on his back. 

In 2002, Venezuela’s right-wing opposition briefly ousted Chávez with US support and recognition, before the military restored his presidency following a mass popular mobilization. Throughout the administrations of US Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Chávez survived numerous assassination plots, before succumbing to cancer in 2013. His successor, Nicolas Maduro, has survived three attempts on his life”

Why now? I suggest two elements are in play. Firstly, because Trump wants to claim ‘victory’ before he runs for re-election in 2020; and secondly, Washington needs to secure the Venezuelan oil supply before they launch a serious attempt at removing the Iranian government. Any conflict with Iran – something that Netanyahu is literally ‘gagging for’ – will cause immense disruption to the flow of oil from the region.

Financial/monetary:

Where do I start? This is a whole essay in itself.

The bottom line is this – the world is maxed out on credit.

In a global economy in which ‘money’ is ‘debt’, i.e. borrowed into existence, this is unsustainable – the money supply must grow continuously in order to enable the payment of interest, prop up the over-inflated price of the assets which act as collateral for the debt, and continue to fund new, and frequently irrelevant, products and services. Otherwise, the house of cards collapses.

After the 2008 collapse, politicians, central bankers and policymakers reflated the credit bubble. Implicit in their actions was the facile idea that resurrecting the greatest debt bubble in human history was an optimum market condition. Mark Carney tried to dress this up as something he called ‘escape velocity’. Nobody knows what that means, although some have mused that it’s the speed Carney will leave the country when the next crash happens.

The net effect of the 2008 crisis was that much of the problem was transferred from the banks to the taxpayer. So for example, in the Eurozone Sovereign debt markets, Mario Draghi is now THE buyer. Without the ECB continuing to purchase Italian debt, for instance, the market would demand a far higher interest rate, driving up Italy’s borrowing costs…reducing its ability to maintain even the illusion of solvency. Draghi is trapped. Sure, he can keep spouting clever sounding crap…but he’s trapped. If he continues printing money, interest rates stay low, but that piles pressure on pension funds that rely on interest to meet their commitments. In a world where the baby-boomers are retiring in droves…and living longer, this is an equally unsustainable long-term option.

For those interested in understanding the real story behind this, I recommend you listen to a guy who WANTS you to know what’s happening – Professor Richard Werner. Be very careful when listening to charlatans like the former US Treasury Secretary, and legend in his own lunchbox, Larry Summers…whose role in life is to protect the interests of the insiders that he prides himself as being one of.

A good place to start with Professor Werner is to watch his conversation with Ross Ashcroft on Renegade Inc. This episode is called ‘The Finance Curse’.

Moral decay:

I have left this to the last because I regard it as the most important; the essential. The biggest problem facing the western world is spiritual…not religious…spiritual.

We are ‘subjects’ of a system that has no empathy, no humanity, no soul.

Global Corporations, whatever they proclaim in their mission statement, have no imperative for such qualitiesthey exist to generate positive figures on a spreadsheet, and returns for their investors: remote entities, largely other corporations, who likewise exist for the same purpose. They control governments through lobbyists, and it is not a stretch to say that the Congress of the United States is ‘owned’ by the banks, weapons manufacturers, and foreign lobbyists such as AIPAC. They also own the mainstream media, both literally and metaphorically.

This system is presided over by people who thrive best in such an environment…sociopaths. That is why I describe it as a disease: a system with no conscience, with no capacity for remorse, with no empathy at its core. This is NOT the natural state of humanity. If you believe that it is, go watch a mother with her new-born child, then try to convince me that human beings lack empathy.

If the idea of being subject to a soulless system run by sociopaths doesn’t alarm you enough already, consider this: many of the ‘leaders’ in such an environment not only have no empathy, they hide their ego-centric intentions behind ‘religion’. I’ll give you a recent example – it concerns the situation in Venezuela, and one of Washington’s major cheerleaders for the coup, Senator Marco Rubio:

On Rubio’s Twitter profile, he describes himself as a ‘follower of Christ’:

Rubio frequently tweets quotations from the bible. On 22nd February he tweeted Psalm 23:4:

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me”

Two days later, however, in a blatant warning to President Maduro, the Senator thought it was a good idea to tweet ‘before and after’ images of President Gaddafi, the first one of him sitting on a gold chair smiling; in the second one, the blood-soaked figure of a man captured, tortured, and eventually anally raped with a bayonet. I’ll leave you to make up your own mind on whether that is “following Christ”:

In conclusion:

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”

Hamlet, (1.4).  Marcellus remarking to Horatio that Denmark is festering with moral and political corruption.

None of this is new – systems rise and fall. This one is falling, and like the proverbial fish, it rots from the head down. When that happens, the impulse of the people who sit at the head is to tighten their controls, to blame problems on anyone & anything but themselves, and to double-down in their attempt to control their own citizens, particularly the dissidents.

It won’t work. It will make the migration of economic power from the West to the East more chaotic; it will slow down the creation of a multi-polar world, it may even lead to a global war…but it will not keep a corrupt system from collapsing under the weight of its own excess.

I can’t predict how this pans out, how long it will take, how much violence will be involved, or what it will look like when the dust settles. I can’t tell you whether the sociopaths will retain control or whether our empathetic kindred will get a chance to build a humane world.

But I can tell you that it won’t be announced on the 6 o’clock news…it’s happening now, and although we can’t always articulate it, we are living through the quickening.

 

MarkGB

MarkGB

MarkGB is a retired UK businessperson with 35 years experience of working with people from 30 countries and six continents. He is not a member of any political party and does not represent any vested interests. He offers an independent view on economic and political events as they unfold.

Mark’s blog is www.MarkGB.com & you can find him on Twitter @MarkGBblog
MarkGB

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One thought on “The Quickening

  1. Nice one Mark, I’ve missed you these years on the FT. I think you would have made some great fun of Brexshite. The quickening is real, in the UK you can tell because the media is paid to say that house prices are still rising.

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