Back in Nov 2011 I wrote a BlogPost called Zero Growth.
Charles Hugh Smith has just written a very interesting parallel to it.
[Edited / redacted ~R ]
Habituating to Contraction January 13, 2012 .
The Savior State has pulled out all the stops to prop up the Status Quo. Its gargantuan borrowing and spending have fixed nothing. Contraction is replacing expansion as the new normal.
For the past 67 years, Americans have been conditioned to expect expansion and more of everything: more income, more stuff, more opportunity, more benefits, more medical care, more government entitlements, and so on.
As a result, Americans have habituated to permanent expansion.
The concept that contraction–less of everything–is the new normal simply doesn’t register; it is rejected, denied, or decried as a great tragedy.
The notion that it is simply reality does not compute with a populace habituated to -permanent “growth”.
U.S. politicians have learned that Soaring Rhetoric about “morning in America,” “the New Frontier,” “hope” and other ritualistic appeals to permanent expansion win elections – while accurate descriptions of reality lose elections.
The voting public’s demand for “permanent good news” promising permanent expansion has spawned a feedback loop of officially sanctioned manipulated statistics and media spin (a.k.a. propaganda) that expands with every administration, even as the real economy visibly weakens. The divergence of the real economy and the official “story” that “we’ve returned to permanent expansion” is widening.
Needless to say, humans prefer a future in which there will be more of everything – over one with less of everything.
Permanent expansion means there will be few if any troublesome cost-benefit analyses, hard choices or painful triage, and little need to adjust to new realities.
Americans have been conditioned for three generations to expect the Savior State to “do something” during downturns to “make it right.” A people conditioned to this expectation will have great difficulty accepting that some problems are not fixable by more government intervention. The idea that systemic problems are now beyond the reach of the government does not compute.
2012 is looking like the year that the American public will have to face up to the fact that we will have to habituate to contraction.
All that has happened for four long years is systemic problems were papered over to benefit the Status Quo. Everything that is broken awaits real repair.