Captive and mesmerised

It is apparent now there remains only one way for ordinary Americans who love their country and want at least some of what’s good about it to be preserved for future generations: We must kill the FIRE Economy beasts (FIRE: Finance, Insurance and Real Estate). We’re the victims in a hostage situation, if you didn’t know, held captive and mesmerized by the soft, flat-panel-TV glow of the FIRE Economy, which depends on our sheep-like conformity and Stockholm-syndrome-like admiration of our captors, but it’s NOT too late to regain our senses, if only for the benefit of our children and grandchildren. Even if it is only wildly exaggerated – and it isn’t – that the Systemically Important Too Big To Fail (SITBTF) institutions completely have captured our flag, our capital, our political parties, our “democracy” and our very lives, we as regular, hard-working, country-loving J6Ps have only this one remedy remaining, as all others woefully have failed.
Anecdotal Economics Starve the Beasts and read everything by John Médaille at the Distributist Review
And here’s Willem Buiter:

The long-term pain of higher taxes and lower public spending is not the result of public debt and deficits incurred because of a war fought by a united nation against a hated external enemy. It is the result of an economic civil war, a massive systemic peacetime economic failure, with a large domestic component. It is therefore not clear that the necessary social and political cohesion – readiness to accept joint fiscal burden-sharing – will be present. If the necessary fiscal tightening is not forthcoming because different groups and vested interests are engaged in a war of attrition aimed at shifting the fiscal burden to the other guy, markets could easily panic and Britain could face an emerging market-style “sudden stopâ€?, with the rest of the world withholding financing from its public and private sectors.

Salvation from work

Our current crisis is due to the fact that we have, as a civilization, refused to live within our means – and the means afforded us by the natural world – over roughly the past 50 years. Mistaking a temporary glut of post-war wealth and resource plenty as a permanent condition, we are told by our leaders – indeed, we demand of them that they tell us – that we can continue to have it all, costless plenitude. Yet these past thirty-odd years of our “economyâ€? have been one in which we have maintained our wealth simultaneously by transferring the accumulated national wealth abroad, importing oil and debt, while refusing to face the mounting costs of this exercise…Meanwhile we continue to dismantle those cultural institutions that once taught restraint and limits – many of them religious, since they are an offense, above all, to our sense of sexual entitlement – in an effort to achieve ever more perfect individual autonomy….Yesterday the President told us that we were going to have to become again a nation that worked – and my ears perked up – until he described precisely what he meant. By work, more of us are to become scientists and engineers. That is, more of us are to become the kinds of workers who make it possible for the rest of us not to work, to engage in the sort of work that lies at the heart of the modern project, namely of extracting from a recalcitrant nature its secrets so that we can enjoy the “relief of the human estate.â€? More of us are to engage in that project that is being taken up readily by our Chinese and Indian competitors, to transform our world ever more into a useful commodity for our pleasure and enjoyment. Americans must cease trying to make easy money at the casinos of Wall Street and instead seek to extend the mastery and dominion of nature so that the rest of us will not have to work or think too hard about what makes living possible or even worthwhile. Fewer traders, more lab coats. Above all, no jobs that actually demand work. Top scientists are working to eliminate any possible drudgery from our lives, especially the need to do things with our hands, make or repair our own stuff, understand for ourselves how the world works and how we can best live in it.
Patrick Deneen

Dulled by falling

Those expecting this deleveraging to result in a stronger dollar could not be more mistaken. The Obama Administration is scrambling to obtain relief from Europe and Asia, getting them to inflate their own currencies through ‘stimulus,’ in order to continue to hide the unalterable truth – the US must partially default on its debt as expressed in the dollar and the Bond. This is the inevitable outcome of all Ponzi schemes. Several smaller, private schemes already have collapsed. The big one is yet to come down. And when it does, the foundations of democracy will shake, several governments will fall, and we will once again experience the kind of uncertainty more familiar to those who lived in the first half of the twentieth century. The sad truth is that the Obama Administration has barely begun the real work of rebuilding the economy. Everything to date is simple looting, paper-hanging, and the rewriting of history. Until the median wage improves significantly in real terms, and the economy is put back on a productive basis without relying on the unsupported expansion of credit, there will be no recovery. The middle class is particularly hard hit as they exchange their remaining real assets in an increasingly corrupted financial system. They are dulled by falling from crisis to crisis. We seem to be at the stage where the wealth transfer from the many to the few has it last parabolic gasp before the collapse.
Jesse’s Cafe Americain

Palm Sunday

From the Kingsland High Road yesterday we walked down Stoke Newington Church Street singing All Glory, Laud and Honour to Thee Redeemer King, and Ride on Ride on in Majesty. In the afternoon we met again at St John’s Hackney and sang our way around the south of borough, We are marching in the light of God and God’s got an army marching through the land.. in this march I’ve got a part, stopping to pray at spots where young people have died in the last year. Lord, teach us how to pray.

Passion and Christian baptism

There is only one mistake to make when talking about economics. That is to talk about economics first and the Christian faith second. If we put them this way around, nothing we say is either Christian or useful. When we do not put the gospel first, we are only repeating what all others say, and are not able to make any distinctive contribution to the discussion. What we say is this. Christian baptism makes us self-controlled persons, no longer entirely propelled by our passions. The ability to say ‘no’ to our own immediate desires is the irreplaceable gift given to Christians. It is the first step to freedom. God, the true judge, is able to release us from our sin and give us mastery of our passions. Through baptism we are freed to love and to act. When we achieve this elementary self-mastery, we can begin to act well towards one another. Only through Christian baptism, and within this Christian community and its discipleship, are we able to acquire this self-control. This baptism has a positive economic outworking, both long-term and immediate. This is what we failed to say at the ‘My Word is My Bond’ G20 meeting in St Paul’s Cathedral this week.
I have written two sets of Lent talks, for different audiences, on this subject and you can see them both at Scribd. The first and longer set ‘Long way to Easter’ contain the moral theology and economics, along with discussions of covenant, marriage, cultural confidence and demography. The shorter ‘Walbrook talks’ set out the theology and ecclesiology. But we need to spell out some of the theology, in particular baptism and the distinctive calling of the Church, before we talk about the world and economics.