Some interesting thoughts on the moral and spiritual dimension of the current bad economy. Writes Chronicles Magazine’s Srdja Trifkovic:
For too long, Americans assumed that they could maintain effortless prosperity by investing in assets that produce no profits – dot.coms in the late 1990’s, followed by housing – and then using them to generate spending cash. Instead of helping America sober up, however, the Federal Reserve merely postponed the Big One by cutting rates […] More affordable liquidity, as it happens, is no cure for a credit crisis prompted by years of excess liquidity. The underlying financial malaise is still there. The Fed had saved the market, albeit temporarily, at the expense of the economy.
Keeping the markets oxygenated with billions of “our” dollars will not save them in the long term, however, because the malaise is moral and spiritual. Just like under San Andreas, the plates move past each other, producing cummulative strain. The Fault that will produce the global meltdown is the gap between the postmodern heart and mind, the impossibility of ever consuming enough goods and services to feel sated, and the unwillingness to settle the bill for those goods and services in cash. When mere servicing of the ever-growing tab leaves nothing for further consumption, however, the end will be nigh:
“The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore – cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and perils; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and bodies and souls of men.” (Revelation 18:11–13)
If reasonable men agree that our civilization is spiritually diseased, morally rotten and demographically moribund, then a colossal, rapidly spreading global economic crisis should be neither feared nor wished away. It may yet be our last best hope for survival.
The meltdown has to be rapid and brutal, however. Only the collapse of hoi polloi confidence in the ability of the all-pervasive State to manage relief would force blighted billions to re-examine their lives and their assumptions. By getting no relief from the collapsing State (including the European Union, the World Bank, the IMF, or Oxfam) they would rediscover self-reliance – or die. Being disillusioned by progress, they would rediscover the value and force of tradition. The ensuing struggle for diminishing resources may make them drop the neurotic becoming in favor of just being – that is, surviving. The Hobbesian mayhem in New Orleans after Katrina offered a glimpse of what is to come.
A predictable benefit for the survivors would be the return of fertility to historically normal levels. Even in darkest Tuscany or the Upper East Side, children would no longer be seen as a burden, an obstancle to self-fulfilment, and a financial liability. In the aftermath of the burst bubble, they would regain their traditional value as economic assets and the long-term substitute for collapsed welfare programs, entitlements, and pension systems. The family would reemerge as the essential social unit. Amid collapsing political structures all ideological “propositions” would be recognized as empty abstracts. Communities linked to their native soil and bonded by kinship, memory, language, faith, and myth would be revived. And in adversity, the eyes of men would be lifted, once again, to Heaven.
We do not know when this will happen, just as we don’t know when San Francisco will turn into rubble; but when it happens – and it will happen – the American interest demands that it takes the form of a short, sharp shock, utterly unmanageable by the ruling political and economic elite that is destroying us.”