Archive for the ‘C.O.A.T. – Riots’ category

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #468: End Of Days

December 8, 2008

Vauxhall Insignia 2.8 V6
An adequate way to drive to hell

Yes, this is a car columnist. Yes, this is a column about cars.

It also presents the most frank assessment of our economic doom.

I have spoken to a couple of pretty senior bankers in the past couple of weeks and their story is rather different. They don’t refer to the looming problems as being like 1992 or even 1929. They talk about a total financial meltdown. They talk about the End of Days.

Emphasis added by me.

And:

It is impossible for someone who scored a U in his economics A-level to grapple with the consequences of all this but I’m told that in simple terms money will cease to function as a meaningful commodity. The binary dots and dashes that fuel the entire system will flicker and die. And without money there will be no business. No means of selling goods. No means of transporting them. No means of making them in the first place even. That’s why another friend of mine has recently sold his London house and bought somewhere in the country . . . with a kitchen garden.

These, as I see them, are the facts. Planet Earth thought it had £10. But it turns out we had only £2. Which means everyone must lose 80% of their wealth. And that’s going to be a problem if you were living on the breadline beforehand.

Eventually, of course, the system will reboot itself, but for a while there will be absolute chaos: riots, lynchings, starvation. It’ll be a world without power or fuel, and with no fuel there’s no way the modern agricultural system can be maintained. Which means there will be no food either. You might like to stop and think about that for a while.

Emphasis added by me.

Oh, you can read it again and again and wonder if his tongue is planted in his cheek. That’s what the Brits are very, very good at doing. But reading through it carefully, all to the end, and no, he’s telling the truth you won’t see on front pages.

Update: Jeremy Clarkson on car sales decline — here’s a BBC video with him on the radio briefly mentioning key points written above. You decide. I don’t see tongue-in-cheek. (Thanks to Alan Pritt for this!)

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #463: The Ws

December 7, 2008

You Can Only Bury Your Head In The Sand For So Long

People don’t seem to understand, or maybe they just don’t want to understand, or maybe the talking heads are trying to keep them from understanding, how bad this is, this crisis, this financial crisis, this “slowdown”, this “contraction”.

Let me help. The U.S. is broke. States and municipalities are in debt up to their eyeballs. Trillions of “dollars” are being spent by government agents in a desperate attempt to hold back the flood of bankruptcies and liquidations — bankruptcies and liquidations that MUST eventually occur — for another month or two. The international banking system teeters on the brink of implosion. In the eyes of Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke, everyone has become too big to fail, because these guys know that failure of one could mean a collapse of all. The entire human web of interdependence — not simply in the financial realm of Collateralized Debt Obligations and Mortgage Backed Securities and Credit Default Swaps and Futures and Options and Bonds and the like, but of tangible infrastructure, like food and water and power and fuel and all of things we need to survive — it is all hanging together by a thread. And in some parts of the world the thread has already frayed away to nothing, exposing people to the real-life horrors of collapse.

Emphasis added by me.

This is a post many of you will note in passing right now and then come back to later in panic. He goes over the Ws:

WHEAT, WATER, WATTS, WASTE, WELLNESS and WORK.

You’ll be repeating those to others at some point in 2009.

Or having people on TV reciting them to your face.

That’s if you still have electricity.

For those of you who mocked my term “micro-terrorism,” especially note this:

Terrorists in countries such as Colombia frequently attack the power-grid infrastructure, often leaving homes and businesses without power for weeks at a time. The power-grid infrastructure in the United States is virtually unprotected and remains an exceptionally soft target for both domestic and foreign-based terrorists.

Previously here:

AMERICAN GOTTERDAMMERUNG

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #455: China 3

December 5, 2008

China ‘faces mass social unrest’

Rising unemployment and the economic slowdown could cause massive social turmoil in China, a leading scholar in the Communist Party has said.

“The redistribution of wealth through theft and robbery could dramatically increase and menaces to social stability will grow,” Zhou Tianyong, a researcher at the Central Party School in Beijing, wrote in the China Economic Times.

“This is extremely likely to create a reactive situation of mass-scale social turmoil,” he wrote.

Emphasis added by me.

Imagine being a Chinese peasant barely surviving by planting rice.

You’re enticed to get a job in a nearby factory. Suddenly, you no longer live in your old, drafty, rotting home. You live in a shiny company barracks. The pay is shit, but it beats bending over and ripping stalks of rice out of a lake of ankle-deep mud. And you can actually dream of a future.

Then those fucking Americans and Europeans cheat the shit out of the world and your factory closes down because those goddammed Americans and Europeans have plunged millions of your buyers into economic distress.

You’re kicked out of your company barracks and have nothing to look forward to. You can’t do that rice shit ever again. Someone has taken over that patch. And there’s no safety net of Unemployment Insurance in China. Besides, you saw a future. You want it back.

Damn right China is going to have unrest.

The questions are:

1) What lessons will the current Chinese leaders learn from it?

2) Will the unrest grow large enough to topple the current Communists?

3) Would a subsequent regime understand the only way out is to let go?

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #445: Zimbabwe 2

December 1, 2008

Soldiers rampage at Harare bank

Because of a national cash shortage, Zimbabweans can only withdraw small amounts of money every day – often barely enough to buy a loaf of bread.

The country’s economic freefall has been accelerating and the latest annual inflation rate was 231,000,000%. Just one adult in five is estimated to have a regular job.

Earlier, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported that water in the capital had been cut because of a shortage of purification chemicals, as authorities try to contain a cholera outbreak.

At least 425 people have died in recent months from the disease, which is spread by contaminated water.

The outbreak has been fuelled by the collapse of Zimbabwe’s health and sanitation systems. The disease is easily treatable but hospitals lack medicines and staff.

I didn’t even raise the point of communicable disease outbreaks in American Gotterdammerung.

Zimbabwe is one of our possible futures.

Previously here:

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #373: Zimbabwe

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #443: Crush

November 29, 2008

By now, everyone has probably heard about the Wal-Mart employee trampled to death when a Black Friday mob rushed the store’s entrance.

Rex Hammock comments with I find it tragic that the NYT would call the Walmart death a “fitting” beginning to the holiday season:

Again, this is in a country where, even in good times, people will drive 30 miles to save 1% on sales tax. This is a country where each year, we read about fist fights breaking out over Tickle Me Elmos and Wii Fits. But today, because we are in the midst of a “crumbling economy,” when people line up for something the New York Times itself has hyped, the paper uses that fact as proof for how awful things are. Again, people are so desperate they’ll do anything for $400 flat-screen TVs.

Emphasis added by me.

Yes, Rex. And for gasoline too.

Now imagine how much worse it will be when the goal is to get food.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #310: Israel

October 5, 2008

Stocks plunge in hard day of trading

Just days after US President George Bush signed into law a far-reaching $700-billion bill to bail out the tottering US financial industry, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange remained shaky, registering sharp losses on Sunday.

By noon, the TA-25 Index had already dropped 6.33 percent and the TA-100 Index fell by 7.08%.

The Tel-Tech Index dropped by 11.5% and the Real Estate Index dropped by 11.04 percent.

Emphasis added by me.

This is the first trading market to open since Friday.

An augur of Asia in a few hours from now?

Welcome again to Day Zero.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #240: Violence

September 25, 2008

Tempers flare at pumps; Easley says gas coming

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Lines crawled out into the streets leading up to the Exxon gas station on Pineville-Matthews Road on Thursday morning, as it was one of the few stations in Charlotte with fuel.

Exxon actually hired security guards to help with the lines.

Emphasis added by me.

And most importantly:

There were also reports of tempers flaring at the pumps. NewsChannel 36 reporters saw a fight break out at one station after someone cut in line.

Emphasis added by me.

These people are not hungry. They are not homeless. They don’t have the terror of where to find their next meal or where to sleep. They have money, they have jobs, they have homes, they have food, they have possessions that still have value.

Yet they cannot manage themselves in a reasonable manner during a time of temporary frustration.

And all of you laugh at my portrait of human behavior during a time of open-ended and nationwide frustration?