The Week After


Heads Up: A longer than usual posting…

Normally, I’d say “The Day After” a presumed upcoming stock market collapse, but I prefer to think that such a collapse would be followed by a week of sheer chaos and panic.

The major banks shut their doors. “This webpage is not available” will be the only thing displayed on the Bank of America or Chase homepage. ATMs will not work. This has all happened before – and recently – in Argentina. It ended up with middle-aged housewives rioting in the streets, smashing bank windows.

In some ways, it makes sense for a week to pass before anyone lifts a finger to fix the problem. This way people  will truly understand that their lifelong faith in this economic and financial system has been, well, misplaced. I’m not talking about an intellectual understanding but a visceral one – an understanding that can only come from panicking about where the next meal will come from.

A week’s worth of madness should finally eliminate any remaining faith or respect for this system – so that new systems (in the plural) may emerge. In the past, the powers that be, the controllers and their intermediary factions, have used similar crises to further concentrate economic, financial, and political power, making it more remote, unaccountable, and placing power at the service of those who already hold it.

This time, however, things might go down differently. Social media has much to do with this, as does the collective memory of the Occupy movement and the liberty movement. It may be a possibility (however remote) that a post-collapse United States becomes one with activated and engaged citizens, rather than subjects.

As I mention once or twice a year, the ideal future – from my point of view – is one with complexity, meaning that there are simultaneous and paradoxical forces at work: centralization and decentralization.

From this perspective, it is possible to have a stronger national and state public sectors whose roles are crystal clear, and whose institution serve regular people. Simultaneously, it is possible to have a more decentralized and unregulated private sector, especially as it unfolds across medium- and small-scale industry.

In this hypothetical future, both national and state governments would issue their own currencies, valid for certain spheres of activity. Meantime, clusters of private institutions – banks and corporations – would also issue currency that both complements and competes with public currency, with the added benefit of keeping inflation in check.

Ten years on, people would be using half a dozen currencies, some paper or coin and some digital, depending on the situation.

Multiple currencies is vital to this scenario. The fracturing of hegemony, the check on both public and corporate abuses of power, and the variety-generation needed for adaptive evolution – all are made possible by multiple currencies (and perhaps only by multiple currencies).

This time, if the stock market “pulls a 1929,” and there is economic collapse, then the political institutions will collapse also. Congress and the executive branch will be seen as having been complicit in bringing about the crash. The days of more bailouts are over. Plus, groups like Anonymous or Wikileaks (or realistically, other groups) would dump files on most people in these two branches. Mass resignations. The Supreme Court, which has ruled on “corporate personhood” and moved to systematically constrain the Bill of Rights – would be similarly exposed.

Realistically, the only real option for any kind of order, post-collapse, would be a transitional government formed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The only way temporary military rule would work is if 1) it announced elections (and a constitutional convention) for a set date; 2) cooperated with citizen militias of various stripes; and 3) turned the use of force – and the threat of force – not on those below but rather on those above.

Realistically, in a post-collapse scenario there would be no other option. It’s either military rule or anarchy. Personally, I think there are more people “awake” within the military than in civilian society, so I am not fearful of this scenario.

First. Banks would have to be nationalized (at least during the transitional period), and funds made available for customers (up to a certain amount). People with holdings above that amount would get a haircut. (Austerity finally comes home to roost).

Second. The Federal Reserve note would have to be replaced by a New Dollar pegged to sustained future productivity (with credit-based systems that have been described by others).

Third. Debt cancellations would have to be sweeping, with the national debt, student debt, credit card debt and so on all wiped out, and with home mortgages significantly reduced and restructured.

I can hear some of my readers complain now… “But.., but..” Please remember this is a post-collapse scenario in which almost all financial assets and savings are down the drain anyway! There’s nothing left to defend!

Fourth. Universal Basic Income. This would be needed to guarantee that no citizen falls beneath the bare minimum, so that people can truly focus on employment, education, and productivity. Staying at Maslow’s lowest level of needs harms everyone in the long run. Fortunately, there are no valid arguments against universal basic income. Not after the bank bailouts of 2008 and 2009! Not after decades – nay, centuries – of corporate welfare! No. People opposed to a universal basic income have no leg to stand on.

Fifth. Declaration of Civil Liberties. In the scenario of military transitional rule, citizens should not be dis-empowered but rather empowered. For example, the may be entitled to augment public security by training for organized militias (as per the US Constitution), and, furthermore, entitled to use force to prevent 1) forced relocation, 2) forced disarmament, 3) forced medication or forced micro-chipping, etc…

The use of lethal force, against any military or civilian authority violating civil liberties, should be classified as “justifiable manslaughter” in this delicate transitional period, one in which those with power may be tempted to abuse it.

Will there be an economic collapse? I have no idea. Mainstream and alternative media have been recycling this meme for a decade. Same thing every year. 2012! 2013! It goes on and on.

However, if I wake up one day and cannot use my bank cards, and discover that the entire American or Western system collapsed, then I hope that people in power (well, those just below it) do not simply rush to administer band-aid solutions, like last time. No, let the system collapse. Let the House  of Cards fall down.

Complexity – true complexity – accelerates both individual and collective evolution. Complex  systems can provide for more stability and, simultaneously, allow for more freedom.

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