I wanted to highlight a recent comment on the blog:
I certainly hope you are right. As a devil’s advocate I would point out that during President Wilson’s tenure (when federal tax was introduced) about $755/capita per annum was spent by the US Government (in 2020 dollars). Today, the amount is over $10K for every man woman and child per annum. In Washington, DC, the annual budget is $24K per capita.
A lawyer friend recently told me that over 50% of all law school students are women.
We seem to have entered into a feminist/feminine world of passive victims with no agency (except for hetero white men) and high dependency. Apparently, humans need to believe in something and when they stop believing in a sky god or male ancestors or heroes they revert to worship of an earth goddess by default. You’d have to go back over 7,000 years in European history to find a similar situation.
How all this plays out with corporations time will tell. But, in the epicenter of it all (Washington, DC) they live off of very wealthy NGO donors, special interest group donors like the NAACP, and taxes. There is virtually no enterprise in DC other than restaurants, yoga salons, lawyers, lobbyists and small shops. All major corporations, like Amazon, service government.
Curiously, there seems to be a mini-baby boom amongst the feminists. I have never seen so many strollers in one place. I guess they’re going to flood the zone. All white kids with their moms cheek by jowl with strung out junkies, deranged idiots and petty criminals, where the average 1-bedroom costs $500K. The other group lives in public housing and ex-felon halfway dorms, usually within a few blocks.
The system has every reason to collapse yet has resisted all predictions of its demise. For example, large segments of the population are effectively non-contributing. The labor force participation rate is at multi-decade lows, according to the latest update from FRED:
As mentioned above, rent-seeking has become a growing part of the economy. This is related to the bullshit jobs phenomenon. Not just influence peddling, but what value does the New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Atlantic create, besides being conduits of state-approved propaganda? Combined with the low labor force participation rate, it means a vanishingly small percentage of Americans are actually contributing any substantive value to the U.S. economy. It’s just that in invoking the Pareto Principle , a handful of individuals and firms that contribute a lot to the economy, is enough to negate millions who are a net-negative.
Much of the economy feels so ephemeral and superfluous. Amazon selling cloud hosting. Microsoft selling overpriced Windows licenses. Google selling ad space for those same cloud companies. Facebook and Instagram selling ads for services and junk no one needs. It’s evident a major contributor of growth to the U.S. economy and the private sector is from recurring, digital services such as online/mobile ads, digital services (cloud storage, Windows and Office licenses ), digital content (Disney, Netflix), being a middleman (which is what Amazon does well) between buyers and sellers, and payment processing. These major companies act as hubs that the rest of the economy has to interact with, making substantial, recurring profits not from having to make anything, but by just existing and getting a cut of each transaction that passes through it, analogous to a tollbooth. This funneling/tollbooth mechanism means that a handful of such firms can reap enormous, reliable, recurring profits even if the economy as otherwise sluggish and a lot of small and medium-sized businesses are treading water due to Covid restrictions, low profit margins, too much competition, and other factors. The Apple app store is such an example…it does not produce anything, but just serves as a directory, much like a digital-equivalent of a phone book, for developers to host apps that are compatible with iOS devices, in which Apple gets a cut from each sale. Apple earning 50 cents per install may not seem like much, but multiplied billions of times and it adds up.
The ‘great experiment’ that many liken America as, is not its constitutional republic or the separation of powers, which are not unique to America, but rather the sustainably and stability of unprecedented diversity. Looking at the social aspect of things, civic nationalism, free markets, property rights, and rule of law is the glue that peacefully holds together a large, diverse population, at least for now. America does not need a purpose higher than that, than being such a place. People on the alt/dissident/trad-right argue that America is in decline because it’s lacking identity, aesthetics, or cohesion, yet American culture is very much distinct from other other cultures even if lacks cohesion. Immigrants come to America because of such values. Or else why would they emigrate, and not just talking about immigrants mooching off social programs, but high-IQ immigrants who fill universities, start companies, are employed at top tech firms, buy homes, etc. You cannot go anywhere else and make billions from an IPO. Or millions from tech stock options. Or get lucrative research grants and promotion. The result is that America is home of the best and the worst, from crime-ridden cities such as Chicago, Baltimore, and Cincinnati, to the other extreme, Palo Alto.
As others have also mentioned, the dollar supremacy helps a lot too. Take that away, and suddenly funding these social programs and stimulus becomes a lot harder. The operative word here is ‘funding’. To buy something, someone must supply the money. When you are both the supplier and the spender, then all the rules change. For example, printing money no longer is inflationary, nor does it lead to currency devaluation.
Camille Paglia has argued that ‘obsession with gender and identity’ such as transgenderism are markers of the end stage of a civilization. But there is little historical president or empirical evidence to suggest this is is true. I wish it were that simple or obvious, but it is not. The US has continued to boom and pull ahead of the rest of the world since 2008 and especially post-Covid in spite of all of this. Even the Weimar Republic was done-in by war reparations and resulting hyperinflation; the cultural decay may have been secondary. It’s hard to establish causality. In the case of the U.S., increasing dysfunction coexists with a stronger American hegemony and economy…they run concurrently. In other instances, the economy crashes and then decay follows. And in many other instances, culturally conservative countries have dysfunctional, weak economies.