Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hello, Is Anybody Out There? Famine, Neofeudalism and the New Dark Ages

The emotions are one of the most important ingredients in the evolution of consciousness and humanity. A wondrous technology, emotions make it possible for us to organize our goals according to importance. For instance, out there in the wild—you know among the lions and tigers and bears we fear as children—it’s not best for a parched and famished animal to stand betwixt by a berry bush and stream. Nor does it do the animal any good to nibble on a berry before mozying on over to the stream, and then onto the berry again, etc. ad infinitum til’ there’s nada of either. Rather, the best decision calls for the animal to prioritize, drinking water when it’s ideal to drink water and eating food when it’s ideal to eat food. Ecclesiastes says that to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to love, and a time to hate. Should he have also included, one wonders, a time to wake up? In the forest on a camping trip, we have different goals standing face to face with a lion than when nursing a wound or confronting strife among fellow campers. “It’s morning again in America,” said Ronald Regan, however ironically, in a 1984 campaign ad. Well, tis’ late in the ball game, and ones hard pressed to find those with the best cards—well, at least their money, stockpiled off shores and anonymously.

Many economists assure us the current recession will begin to subside by 2010, but the paradigm from which they conceptualize reality is incomplete, ignoring costs externalized by markets, such as the encroaching effects of habitat destruction. The fledgling and contagious social unrest at hand must be quickly organized, attitudinized and mobilized, for existing environmental, geopolitical and financial upheavals threaten the survival of many. Firstly, the outlook for food yields in 2009 is dismal: Many analysts have warned of a 20 to 40 percent drop in agricultural production, depending on the harshness and duration of the current global drought. (DeCarbonnel Two years ago, however, Science published predictions of “permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest” of the United States, and forecasted levels of aridity akin to the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s that would envelope swaths of land from Kansas to California. The Hadley Center in the UK reported in November 2006,

"Extreme drought is likely to increase from under 3% of the globe today to 30% by 2100—areas affected by severe drought could see a five-fold increase from 8% to 40%."

This, of course, is a recipe for widespread desertification. The NOAA foresees drought of considerable duress—“largely irreversible for 1,000 years”—and identifies the following key regions as facing, insofar as our contemporary purviews are considered, permanent Dust Bowls: (Romm

• U.S. Southwest
• Southeast Asia
• Eastern South America
• Southern Europe
• Southern Africa
• Northern Africa
• Western Australia

Countries yielding two thirds of the world’s agricultural output are on the precipice of serious climate discontinuities reminiscent of the Global Climate Optimum of the 900 to 1300 variety. Food prices will soar, and, in poor countries where food is scarce, millions will starve. One thing we have to fall back on is our natural humanity—not just our braininess and knowhow, but also the fact that the collective wet dream that constitutes our social reality skews how many of us can actually exist now and in the future. Simply put, by downsizing and ditching the wet dream--exemplified by the belief in the anglo-saxon world that our homes and cars are our castles--we have much to gain. Unfortunately, there are plenty of atavistics (those who are like, so last dark ages) among us, like Dianne Feinstein, who said that it is Californians “god given right to water their lawns and gardens.” Southern Californian Scott Thill offers up, in an article published by AlterNet, a new definition of the front lawn: “Gorgeously tended middle fingers to reality, which, like death and taxes always, has a way of winning in the end.”(Thill

The California drought is anticipated to be the worst in modern times. Already thousands of acres of crops are fallow, with no sign of slowing. Furthermore, the Northern Sierra snowpack for this past winter turned out to be 51% lighter than usual. According to the Los Angeles Times, the state is nearly out of water, leaving it with prayers of rain and a dwindling Northern California supply. Los Angeles has already begun rationing of water, which, as Scott Thill points out, means water to the rich (north) and away from the poor (south). He then portends evacuations and realignments, “by 2100, you will not recognize it.” East of southern California, 18 percent of Texas is burdened by severe drought.

In some countries historical relief efforts have been undertaken. The Chinese government has allocated 86.7 billion yuan (roughly $12.69 billion) to affected regions, and, moreover, lent a helping hand not only to its western colleagues during the financial crisis, but also to nature itself. Officials in Beijing blasted silver iodide into clouds over northern China to create precipitation as a means of alleviating the most severe drought experienced by the region in half a century. Keep your fingers crossed (or maybe not, there’s no telling with these things!), as China produces 18% of the world’s grain each year. (Macartney

Australia has been in the midst of an unremitting dry spell since 2004, as 41% of the country’s agriculture suffers the worst drought in the 117 years of record-keeping. Rivers have stopped flowing, lakes are being eradicated by toxicity, and farmers have left their land.

Shall we proceed? Argentina’s worst drought in half a century has turned that country’s verdant landscapes to dust. The country has declared emergency. Soy plants are scorched by the sun and Argentina’s food production is set to go down a minimum of 50 percent. 2008’s wheat yield was 16.3 million metric tons, whereas 2009’s is projected to be merely 8.7 metric tons.

Africa faces food shortages due to lack of rainfall. Half the agricultural soil has lost nutrients necessary to grow plant. The Middle East and Central Asia, to boot, are suffering from contemporary nadir droughts and food grain production is at the lowest levels in decades. A major shortage of planting seed for the 2010 crop is expected.

Stocks of foodstuff are dangerously low worldwide. Agricultural commodities must rise in price so as to obviate even larger food shortages and famine. Wheat, corn, soybeans, etc. must become expensive enough so that every available acre is harvested with the best possible fertilizers. With food prices steady, production will continue to fall and millions would starve.

A spike in food price is likely to spark competitive currency appreciation in 2009. Foreign exchange reserves exist for this. Central banks the globe over would lower domestic food prices by either directly selling off their reserves to appreciate their currency or buying grain from the market. Appreciating a currency is the fastest way to control food inflation. The more valuable a currency the more monopolistic a nation over global resources—so, for example, an overvalued dollar enables the US to consume 25% of the world’s oil, despite only having 4% of the world’s population. Were China to sell off its US reserves, its population of over one billion would then suck up the world’s food supply. Prices soar around the world.

This process, however, would most likely not end up in the impoverishment of nation states per se, though almost certainly the disintegration of the modern middle class, already long past its youthful heyday. The American Dream has been repeatedly resuscitated over the last thirty years through portfolio insurance, Long-Term Capital Management, the internet, the housing market, and now the looters have taken to the streets—oh, excuse me; I mean to their theoretical electronic world—and pillaged the landscape.

Social unrest and soaring food prices go hand in hand, from sea to shining sea. Countries, so as to avoid revolutionary reform from the bottom up, would have no choice but to appreciate their currencies in order to cheapen food imports. China holds the best deck, and so then would sell off more of its reserves. The world’s reserve currency, the dollar, floats into precarious waters. As a fiat currency, the US dollar is, by its very nature, worthless. Trillions of US holdings could be liquidated in favor of food.

“We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger" (President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address 24 Feb 2009)

In Washington, talk of bailouts and relief are framed in the realm of economics and economics only, with no considerable deliberation of our species ecological outlook. The budget proposal is sold as a demand oriented New Deal-esque expansionary program, with health, education, renewable energy, investment infrastructure and transportation at its forefront. The hope is to stimulate employment, boost social programs and to revive the real economy. Michel Chossudovsky reports in a recent article published by Global Research, that —surprise,surprise— the “stimulus package” is the most substantial diverging of public spending ever, and serves the interests of Wall Street, in particular, the finance, oil and defense cartel. This in and of itself should cause social unrest, and certainly seems to increase the likelihood of the evaporation of the middle class. (Chossudovsky

The 2010 fiscal year, which begins on October 1st, will represent an increase in spending of 32%. The nucleus of the proposal inflates defense and the Middle East War funds, the Wall Street bank “bailouts that never end,” as the New York Times observed, and interest on a debt that exceeds tenfold the world’s GDP. The bailout—financed, in part, by the recipients themselves, the creditors, which, as understood by the Treasury and the banks in the first place, meant the FED enjoyed sweeping authority over how the money was to be spent from the onset of this collapse—continues under the new proposed budget. Unlike Keynesian style deficits, this piling on of debt through the proposed budget would not stimulate investment and consumer demand; there will be no expansion of production and employment, for the giveaway of tax dollars to the financial oligarchs is no more than a monumental concentration of wealth and centralization of world banking power.

Washington places defense spending at $739.5 billion, though some estimates assert aggregate defense and military related spending at more than $1 trillion. The total of both bailouts—Obama’s $750 billion, piled on top of Bush’s $700 billion dollar bailout—is 1.45 trillion dollars paid for by the Treasury. Virtually all federal government revenues would be expended to finance the bank handouts of 1.45 trillion, defense of $739 billion, and interest payments on public debt, $164 billion. And then the well is dry. There are no funds available for the social programs encapsulated in the stimulus package. Therefore, programs for healthcare and education will most likely be sold to private enterprise to fund the bankrupt state. Education is not the only state asset that is at risk of being privatized: Public infrastructure, urban services, highways, national parks, etc. are all at risk. The worsening fiscal collapse coalesces in the privatization of the state, tilling the land for a much more lucrative market in governance.

1 comment:

  1. Many economists hypothesize that the Obama administration is employing Zimbabwe School of Economics policies, where by hyperinflation is produced through the incessant printing of money, resulting in that currency’s fall to zero. Currently we are seeing the simultaneous devaluation of the currency and the purchase of the world’s commodities by corporations—government assets included; presumably a process that will leave the rest of us with toilet paper.

    So, that leaves us with a raped resource base and a new system of globalized neo-feudalism. In 1800—around the time of the Industrial Revolution—there were 969,000,000 humans on earth. That leaves more than five billion redundant individuals whose lives were made possible by fossil fuels and abundance of water. A ubiquitous and enduring reorientation of human cognition is the key to survival: in short, reprioritization. This problem is of the utmost importance. A change of consciousness would result in a change in mass behavior. This starts at the obvious level: short-showers, low-flow everything, no lawns, total conservation and the reorientation of the economy based on renewable resources and sustenance. We could work on disbelieving in our governments and the moribund banking system.

    An all-pervasive insurgency, attacking multi-laterally the global industrial grid oligarchy, with broad but explicit aims—among which a new harmony with the natural world is foremost—must, before all else, work towards dismantling tyrannical corporations. Computers and electricity are the lifeblood of civilizations. Coordinated attacks against the electric grid, financial markets, and destroyers of the environment could be wildly successful, but could only be as a talented and colossal movement with army-like discipline. Specialization comes in handy. The average American city has food for about half a month, which means economies will need know-how to localize and quick.

    Another option would be to create companies of our own to challenge the global giants. Max Keiser, host of the Oracle on the BBC, has championed the idea of creating huge syndicates of boycotters against companies such as Coca-Cola and Exxon/Mobil. The money saved would be diverted to the world’s top activism organizations. ( The biggest take-home lesson when it comes to boycotts is this: the consumer wields enormous power. You’ve been told it before and it’s true. Boycotts of certain market elements such as the Fed Cartel (Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America), in which we move our money, refinance with another bank, sell our stock or quit our jobs, is a major step in the right direction.

    Your television lies. Propagandistic news networks like CNN, NBC, ABC, Fox, etc are the only companies from whom Americans get their daily dose of news. The panoply of diverse news websites on the internet forms the most active resistance community around; further privatization and censoring of the internet must be actively challenged. The corporate attitudinized mass media dangles carrots in front of the consumer’s faces from the confines of a hallucinatory feedback loop. Awash in an onslaught of terroristic American-style boulevard journalism, dimension is hard to find. The axioms with which the corporate-owned media frame reality are so far off base that it can be taxing for many of us to find the right ripostes while discussing our world with Nationalists. A good example is the recent slandering of Michel Phelps, caught toking with a relatively impressive piece of glass. The pro-marijuana movement has failed utterly—though they are indeed going up against a billion dollar smear campaign—to gain traction with this simple notion: That had Michel Phelps not indulged in marijuana, his record breaking Olympic performance would have been inconceivable. There are a great many of doctors who have championed the medical benefits of marijuana, some going so far as to suggest THC promotes brain cell growth.

    Don’t join the military, for the US government and mercenaries view soldiers as cannon fodder or expendable assets; one in four soldiers in the US is homeless.

    Winemaking vats are an excellent habitat for a multitude of micro-organisms. By fermenting the juice of crushed fruit, the organisms explode at first before depleting the once abundant nutrients needed for survival. They eventually die from the accrual of alcohol and carbon dioxide they themselves produced. We choke just the same on our industrial discharge, especially in agglomerations such as Southern California and BosWash on the eastern seaboard. By making our communities self-sustainable with clean energy such as solar, wind, geothermal, magnetic—forever replacing the obsolete 80 year long enterprise known as the combustible engine—we make ourselves and our families less dependent on the broken state-enterprise apparatus. Not to mention less toxic.

    It’s important to remember, there’s always the future. We must keep our humanity—it’s much too late in the ballgame to be weighed down by our razor thin ideologies, be they Marxism, Capitalism, Christianity, Islam, Nudism, Obamaism, Indie Rockism, Hyphy, Fuck tha’ policeism or what have you. Understanding, compassion, altruism are the chords deep within our souls, and once struck it becomes clear that they are the essence of humanity.

    Allow me to introduce you to a peculiar form of denial called anosognosia, the condition in which a person suffering from a disability due to brain injury appears unaware or denies the existence of the malady. This ailment applies to radical changes in one’s life, affecting the newly blind or paralyzed. Indeed, Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States, suffered from anosognosia after a stroke on October 2, 1919. After the bloodletting of “the war to end all wars” subsided, Wilson’s first priority was the establishment of the League of Nations, which he believed would help ensure world peace. With the help of those by his side, Wilson ignored the seriousness of his stroke, and continued to look forward to more campaigning in favor of the League, even the possibility of a third term. Wilson was no more than woolgathering with such hopes in light of his incapacity. (Catton,denial.html

    The industrialized world’s superego is suffering from a terminal form of anosognosia: We have all gone insane. That we find solace in proclamations from economists that the current financial crisis will subside in a year’s time, while momentaneously watching the corporate nanny state’s complete submission to corporate rule, is further evidence of our aloofness. Our capacity for widespread social reform is great, if only we exercise our power. Malcom X expressed his belief that one day there would be a clash between the rich and poor of the world, and, in all likelihood—the details of how it may or may not play out aside—we are headed towards such a clash. So, before we starve between a stream and a berry bush, now is the time for us to reconsider our goals and desires. Next week is the sixth anniversary of the war in Iraq. I suggest we all consider penciling it into our day planners.

    DeCarbonnel, Eric. Catastrophic Fall in 2009 Global Food Production. Global Research. 10 February 2009.
    Last accessed 4 March 2009:

    Romm, Joseph. Australia Faces Collapse as Climate Change Kicks in: Are the Southwest and California next? Alternet. 2 February 2009. Last accessed 4 March 2009:

    Thill, Scott. When Will Los Angeles Run Out of Water? Alternet 4 October 2008.
    Last accessed 7 march 2009:

    Macartney, Jane. Beijing Blanketed by snow after China seeds clouds to beat drought. Times Online. 20 February 2009.
    Last accessed 4 March 2009:

    Chossudovsky, Michel. America’s Fiscal Collsapse. Global Research. 2 March 2009.
    Last Accessed 4 March 2009:

    Catton R. William, Jr. The Problem of Denial.
    Last Accessed 7 March 2009:,denial.html