Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hold On Just One Minute!

While there is a minute left, I continue to struggle to understand how this particular power grab was so cleverly orchestrated. I try to hang back from the level of conspiracy theory on the one hand which would have Bush orchestrating the constructed deconstruction of the Trade Center towers. On the other, I hang back from reifying the Devil. But it seems almost undeniable that this is a manufactured crisis; a perfect opportunity to hand the peoples' wealth almost literally on a platter, over to the vaunted private capital markets.

As with the Trade Center destruction, the interesting thing was not how did they plan it, but how were they so perfectly prepared to respond to it when it happened. And how did the timing happen so perfectly in concert with readiness for it. The questions to be asked were all about the response, but the response was, as is the case in all moral decision-making, an emotional matter. And for those without emotion, what I've previously shorthanded as the sociopaths, all the decisions are theirs for the taking, since the rest of us are too wary of entering those dark woods.

Could it be that the subconscious, collectively, is the manufacturer? That at each opportunity, there is a simple-minded choice, and that in the mediated world these choices can be handed up, so that even the timing of the seemingly random events can seem, almost bizarrely, orchestrated?

There is an obvious connection between the melamine in the milk in China, the rendition of so many victims of personal vendettas to Gitmo, the e-coli in the food chain, the mistaken identification of terrorists at the airline gate because their database identity veers so close to that of someone who could be capable . . . These are all matters where there has been a subcontracting out of accountability and a deidentified handing up of deniability. This is how the modern corporation runs, and this is how the government runs. General Electric, I was told quite personally, doesn't wish to manufacture anything. There's not enough money in it. So the government has become a holding company for our national best interest, just as Nike has become a brand name for intellectual property standards brought into embodied existence wherever and by whomever for so long as they bear the brand and not the stain of original sin.

I am compelled to make parallels between sociopathy and corporate behavior. We finally have true artificial intelligence in the behavior of capital, unfettered by human contact with communities. I suppose that's what global actually means.

Local motives, always impure, are now aggregated to the point where it is the mindless money almost itself which is the great motive engine. A sociopath like Dick Cheney (I'm certain he "loves" his family) can actually and rationally direct his personal and financial investments in a kind of "Disaster Capitalism" which literally targets "inevitable" catastrophes, including pandemics or the threat of them (AIDS, smallpox) or terrorism amuck (the security business) and plans to capitalize on ownership of patent rights. One pictures a satisfied jabba the hut sitting atop a Sadean castle with loathsome, smoldering masses attempting to cross the moat below.

Can anyone really want this for himself? I'm pretty sure that at sociopath can and does. But I'm also pretty sure that we are all sociopaths at the level of the petty. The small Chinese milk producer is not, quite literally, thinking of the death or even possible death of thousands when he waters his milk in order to meet quotas or to stretch the ironclad marketlaw margins to feed his own family. Hell, even the SUV driver is apoplectic to delegate a tank to his not-so-trustworthy teenage daughter for driving to the prom. I suppose the torturing security-contract worker may well be a sociopath, but he's also driven by better money than he can make in the nonexistent factory back home.

And the hell of it is that the SUVs kill just as surely as the little beetle-bugs. Texting while driving, or swerving in a top-heavy driving fortress have killed in my acquaintance and neighborhood more surely and often than that scary other driver.

So, the problem becomes how not to hand up this authority (and hand down the blame, since now a careless match lighting a forest fire is punishable as mass murder, while the actual accomplishment of it is excused by apology). At its root, this is simply the problem to defund and delegitimize the corporatization of everything. For starters we have to distinguish free market capitalism from global corporatism. I doubt there is a bright red line between them, but I'm pretty sure that we can all, pornography style, tell the difference. We probably need a line between the "financial economy", so newly called, and the "real economy," so that there aren't any more holding companies which split the difference.

We probably have to parse the term "core competency" in a way more closely related to the expertise of the deciders rather than the media-savvy extortion-salaried captains of globocap. There isn't much mystery left to the results this direction.

And, for me at least, there isn't much mystery left to timing of the opportunities for opportunism.

I remain very very uncertain about what to do with this latest wholesaling of the people's power to the private sector. It seems clear that there won't be time to stop it. I guess it further seems clear that the only way to have stopped it would be to backstop the economy with something entirely other from the corporatization which made the emergency inevitable, and the response as if there were no choice.

This cannot be done as an emergency, though it might have to be done in an emergency. I have been asking friends who know how to field dress a pig, and grow potatoes without poison, though I really don't relish deployment of those skills. Sadly, my brother in law knows all these things. In preparation for the rapture. But, the proper response is to develop nonchalance toward those who would manipulate us.

No comments: