A Beautiful Plan
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A Beautiful Plan
Dmitry Orlov | Club Orlov | January 30, 2021
It looked great on paper. Get Joe Biden into office, get Janet Yellen to print many more trillions of dollars, inflate the Everything Bubble to astronomic proportions and then... pop it, of course, but in a delicately choreographed manner so that those who are well connected and in the know head for the exits first and make a killing while everyone else ends up sleeping in cardboard boxes on median strips under highway overpasses. What did you think they were going to do, make America great again? That bit of populist demagogy was a bit too transparently bogus even for The Donald. He just wanted to sell some hats.
In any case, back to the plan. It was a beautiful plan, and it could have worked out just great for Biden's presidential coffin and all who sail in her, except for one tiny problem...
...It was too bloody obvious! Anybody with even a rudimentary understanding of transcendental mathematics (that's the kind transcendental numbers such as e and π in it) knows that this sucker is going to go down. One doesn't just go on printing more and more money all the time forever. Eventually something snaps. Attempting to time the event is an exercise in pointlessness, but by now a critical mass of people is convinced that something can snap any time now.
Attempting to engineer financial collapse in order to profit from it wouldn't be pointless if the one engineering it were the only intelligent person in the whole world. But that is not the case. And so, enough people now know that this sucker is going down and, not willing to go along with the plan of having them take up residence in a cardboard box on the median strip under a highway overpass, they have started to rock the boat. Gamestop stock trading 1000% of its capitalization in 5 days is just one symptom of ensuing chaos that will make a controlled demolition of the Everything Bubble impossible to orchestrate.
Yes, financial collapse will happen and yes, it will be chaotic, as collapses generally tend to be. For all sorts of strange reasons the US has chosen to collapse backwards from the canonical collapse progression. It started with cultural and social collapse, which have by now largely run their course. It went on to political collapse: four years of a contested presidency culminating in an election that has turned the term “American democracy” into an oxymoron for the entire planet. Commercial collapse came next, with a massive wave of business closures and bankruptcies. And now the stage is set for the mother of all financial collapses.
If you think that Americans have some serious mental health issues but that the situation is still manageable, you just need to wait because what will come after the financial collapse is...
[Excerpt from my book The Five Stages of Collapse]
There are people who really do think that what they are worth as individuals can be defined as their “net worth,” which is a number written on a piece of paper, denominated in US dollars or euros. It is as if the only thing that is real to them is money. For such people financial collapse results in a radical loss of meaning, as if all the words in the only language they speak no longer refer to anything they can identify within their surroundings. In such people financial collapse produces a dangerous sense of unreality, an anomie.
The term, used by the father of sociology Émile Durkheim, in his 1897 book Suicide, indicates a loss of social norms and bounds, a breakdown of the bonds that tie an individual to the community and an inability to regulate or control one’s own behavior. People who have previously lived relatively humble lives within rigid financially and socially defined limits simultaneously lose their appetite (not knowing what their new status determines it proper for them to desire) and become insatiable (not knowing how much their new status determines their proper allotment to be relative to those of higher or lower status). In some of these people, once they are severed from the system of financial inducements and constraints to which they had previously been conditioned and which had regulated their social behavior, this sense of unreality resolves into a masochistic drive—a Freudian death wish—to dissolve in a whirlpool of fraudulent financial abstractions. If the financial crisis of 2008 is viewed as a botched suicide attempt by the financial elite, then it seems likely that they will try again.
Viewed as a religious cult, modern finance revolves around the miracle of the spontaneous generation of money in a set of rituals performed by the high priests of central banking. People hang on the high priests’ every word, attempting to divine the secret meaning behind their cryptic utterances. Their interventions before the unknowable deity of global finance assure them of economic recovery and continued prosperity, just as a shaman’s rain dance guarantees rain or a ritual sacrifice atop a Mayan pyramid once promised a bountiful harvest of maize. All such rituals derive their effectiveness from one key requirement: that the thing they promise to deliver happens in any case, and does so regularly enough to make the oracles’ failure to deliver the exception rather than the rule.
But when the monsoon fails year after year, when the Nile does not flood and irrigate the fields, when the earth is parched and crops wither and when, in spite of the actions of the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the IMF, the economy goes from bad to worse, the result is Götterdämmerung—twilight of the gods. This is the name of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen— The Ring Cycle, a suite of four very long operas. According to Old Norse mythology, Götterdämmerung is a time when the gods battle each other to the death while the world is (almost) destroyed in a flood (perhaps allowing for a rebirth later on). Many cultures have similar apocalyptic myths. The plot is always the same: people have put their trust in their gods; their gods have forsaken them; everyone perishes.