Electric shock therapy vs boiling the frog

Capitalism's need for constant 'creative destruction' has steam-rollered through another decade, punctuated by a series of nasty jolts and shocks.

And where America leads, the UK continues to follow. Why? Because uncertainty, crisis and fear of neighbours, fear of epidemics - it all continues to pay the bills.

Financial trading thrives on the volatility. The flight of money spells opportunity for perceived 'safe havens'. The oil industry gets more per barrel. The security and 'defence' industries enjoy boom times. The drugs industry sells bulk lots of that new vaccine.

Being big on oil, guns and drugs, requires us to feed destruction. The US is said to be spending $20bn a year just on air conditioning its war bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. On this basis you'd think it was a machine for hoovering up tax dollars and spitting out collateral damage.

Pre-emptive sanctions, proxy militia provoking civil wars, air strikes and truck bombs. In the grand plan these all beat peace pacts. On the ground, they are cruel, murderous tactics that destroy productive capacity, lives and minds.

Global peace and quiet make no sense given the profit motive. It is quite impossible for Israel to contemplate true peace since Israel's economy depends on what it learns from repressing poor Palestinians and securing its own (and other nation's) rich.

Sequential catastrophes have been in our faces pumping up the perceived need for greater security - civilian massacres (9/11, 7/7), bank runs, oil infrastructure blasts.

UK and US populations have been pitched the same Al Qaeda plots, shown the same IDs and bandanas and told overfilling caused enormous oil installation blasts (Texas and Buncefield 2005) - sometimes the parallels are so clear that one can almost picture the security services chuckling that the public swallow this stuff so readily.

Both nations are subjected to 24/7 PR. Fox News ramped up the alerts and promotes extreme bias. The BBC fails the impartiality test by its choice of words - Friends become 'rebels', enemies 'insurgents' and 'regimes'. Those who demand independence from Western influence are 'terrorists', whilst those that open up markets to our corporations are fighting for 'freedom'.

Meanwhile the US military machine offers protection to some of the most repressive elites on the planet (take the Saudi royals). Should these elites get ideas of their own (like the idea of selling their oil in exchange for other denominations than dollars) they are sanctioned. They are destabilised and professional classes flee (take the cases of Iraq, Libya and Syria).

The clear message is - let us help you OR we'll help ourselves.

Electric Shocks since 2000...

2000 - Millennium (bug fears), Dot com bubble bursts
2001 - Bush elected. US recession, 9/11, Patriot Act
2002 - Bali Bombings kill 150 foreign nationals
2003 - Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, Invasion of Iraq. Oil fires, explosions...
2004 - Bush re-elected. Madrid Train bombing kills 200
2005 - Texas Oil refinery blast, Buncefield oil depot blast, London bombings kill 56, New Orleans flooded during Katrina
2006 - US House price bubble breaks, North Korea conducts nuclear test
2007 - Troop surge in Iraq, Benazir Bhutto assassinated
2008 - Oil price hits record $147/barrel, banking crisis
2009 - Obama elected. Tamil Tigers bombed
2010 - Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig explosion
2011 - Osama killed, Libya bombed, Gadaffi killed
2012 - Syria destabilised.

Now one has the sense of being slow boiled. Every other political statement in the UK has been about austerity. Job security is decidedly lacking. Expectations of pensions, grants, continued safety nets are being steadily eroded.

The insecurity softens us up to accept accelerating privatisation, even of those hard won and cherished life saving services (like the NHS and Legal aid in the UK).

The 0.001% are rapidly ticking those items off their list of strategic changes they no longer need to lobby and bribe politicians for - since, they are in the bag.

So much for the promise of raising all boats. On the one hand we see the taser at the ready, on the other we sense that this return to our comfort zone could actually just be part of the slow creep back to boiling point.

Behind the pseudo events unsavoury secrets lie. And if 'creative destruction' is all for the greater good, how come it is striking an ever thicker wedge between the haves and the have nots?

Ends | Mar 2013 | The Leg

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