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Economic Decay Leads to Social and Political Decay

Summary:
If we want to make real progress, we have to properly diagnose the structural sources of the rot that is spreading quickly into every nook and cranny of the society and culture. It seems my rant yesterday (Let Me Know When It’s Over) upset a lot of people, many of whom felt I trivialized the differences between the parties and all the reforms that people believe will right wrongs and reduce suffering. OK, I get it, there are differences, but if the “reform” doesn’t change the source of the suffering and injustice, it’s just window-dressing that makes the supporter feel virtuous. Want an example? Let’s take the the “cruel and unusual punishment” for drug-law offenders, many of whom are African-American males whose lives are

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If we want to make real progress, we have to properly diagnose the structural sources of the rot that is spreading quickly into every nook and cranny of the society and culture.

It seems my rant yesterday (Let Me Know When It’s Over) upset a lot of people, many of whom felt I trivialized the differences between the parties and all the reforms that people believe will right wrongs and reduce suffering.

OK, I get it, there are differences, but if the “reform” doesn’t change the source of the suffering and injustice, it’s just window-dressing that makes the supporter feel virtuous. Want an example? Let’s take the the “cruel and unusual punishment” for drug-law offenders, many of whom are African-American males whose lives are effectively hobbled by felony convictions and long sentences in America’s Drug War Gulag.

You want a “reform” that actually gets to the root and solves the source of the injustice? It’s simple: decriminalize all drugs and recognize drug use as a medical and social issue rather than a criminal-justice / Gulag issue. But that won’t happen because too many people are making too much money off the Gulag, which is now a public and private-prison Gulag.

(Other advanced nations have had success with this structural change. Maybe we could learn something from their examples?)

If you’re not ready to demand the full decriminalization of all drugs, then you’re not really interested in solving the problem; you’re just seeking virtue-signaling “reforms” that don’t upset the power structure. And since any real solution necessarily disrupts the power structure benefiting from the status quo, all the painless “reforms” are ineffective.

In other words, either go big and change the power structure or go home and stop promoting your own virtue. This is why the economy is floundering despite all the warm and fuzzy headlines about stocks rising due to the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates: we collectively refuse to consider structural changes in the way “money” is created in our perverse system–perverse because the way “money” is created guarantees soaring inequality.

If you don’t change the way “money” is created and distributed, you change nothing. Did the thousands of pages of financial regulations passed after the 2008-09 debacle reverse wealth and income inequality? The answer is no, wealth inequality is rising even faster after all the feel-good “reforms.” The net result of the “reforms” is the costs of compliance for banks went up substantially, and that regulatory moat simply pushed risky lending outside the banking system.

In other words, the sources of systemic instability and wealth inequality weren’t even touched by the “reforms.” If the financial system were actually stable, why was the Federal Reserve only able to “normalize” interest rates and its bloated balance sheet for a few months after a decade of “growth”? Why is the Fed reverting to “emergency measures” again after a few brief months of “normalizing”?

If all these “reforms” were worth more than a bucket of spit, why isn’t wealth inequality reversing?

Here’s the way our “money” system works: banks borrow trillions of dollars into existence and loan it to debt serfs at high rates of interest. Central banks create “money” out of thin air and distribute it to the very top of the wealth-power pyramid: banks, financiers and corporations.

The only way to change this corrupt, exploitive system that generates inequality as its only possible output is to eliminate central banks and fractional reserve banking, and ban the aggregation of “too big to fail” entities: a system of 1,000 small banks is structurally far less vulnerable than five mega-banks that are tightly bound to virtually every risk-on asset in the entire system.

if you don’t change the way “money” is created and distributed, you change nothing.

Charles Hugh Smith
Charles Hugh Smith is an American writer and blogger. He is the chief writer for the site "Of Two Minds". Started in 2005, this site has been listed No. 7 in CNBC's top alternative financial sites. His commentary is featured on a number of sites including: Zerohedge.com., The American Conservative and Peak Prosperity. He graduated from the University of Hawaii, Manoa in Honolulu. Charles Hugh Smith currently resides in Berkeley, California and Hilo, Hawaii.

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