Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Future Shock 2018 – A Cautionary Tale

This is a type of political sci-fi post from guest blogger "disaffected".
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The final wave of U.S. financial shocks began in 2011, in the run up to the election that would signal the end of what remained of the Democratic “opposition” party, even as it foretold the end of the Republican ruling party – and, indeed, the Republic itself, as well. It began a nauseating descending spiral of political and economic lunacy, as the U.S. government tried to maintain the illusion of control by continued monetization of the debt, until, thankfully, the military coup of 2018 finally returned a small sense of order to things. At that point, with American military and Foreign Service people virtually stranded in overseas locations with no economic lifeline, the military simply stepped in and did what it does best; return order to failing third world nation-states. After suspending the constitution and returning a small sense of order, the Chinese and a consortium of wealthy world interests (both domestic and foreign) came to the economic rescue and made us “an offer we couldn't refuse."

The Constitution, along with the House of Representatives (to much applause both at home and abroad, as neither had been functional for quite some time), were both scrapped in entirety. The executive branch was expanded to a become a 3-way “Executive Committee” presidency, one to be elected by the Senate, one to be appointed by the Chinese government, and one to be appointed by the consortium, with the Chinese member having ultimate decision making authority; while the Senate was reduced to 50 members, appointed by a joint resolution of the Chinese and Consortium members of the Executive Committee, the people no longer being trusted with the vote after the Palin fiascoes of 2012 and 2016. Senate parliamentary rules were also now decided by the Executive Committee, with the Senate pretty much openly being viewed as a ceremonial vestige of the once proud U.S. past. The Judicial branch remained mostly intact, with the following seminal changes: all higher court rulings were now to be reviewed and approved by the executive committee, all federal appointments were to be made by the executive committee and subject to review at any time, and the scope and authority of unilateral Executive Committee Orders were greatly expanded – without judicial review - as well.

All other government functions were streamlined across the board as well, with the elimination of nearly all the cabinet level administrative agencies – most notably the IRS and the State Department. A national sales tax was imposed in lieu of the previous income tax, as the previous income tax system had been completely discredited as corrupt and inefficient, while the words “foreign policy” no longer existed within the bailiwick of what remained of the U.S. government, having been blamed for nearly all the ills that had brought the world to the brink of collapse, especially during the previous six years of the Palin administration. For her part, Palin remained as popular as ever in her continuing role as media pundit and demagogue, having largely abandoned her Presidential post after her 2016 reelection in favor of continued media stardom on the various enormously popular FOX News media outlets, which had gradually become the de facto media arm of the U.S. government in its waning days. Interestingly enough, many of the new Chinese regime found her to be extremely entertaining and not at all threatening, realizing that her effect on the masses was mostly palliative, and would help ease the pain and anguish that was likely to continue, especially for the now aging baby-boomers, many of whom still held on to delusions of “American exceptionalism,” during the difficult transition years ahead.

The military was sold off to a multi-national consortium, which had already absorbed Halliburton and its associated business interests, greatly expanded, and became the first truly global multi-national military enterprise in world history. Its scope was greatly expanded as well, now officially encompassing peacekeeping, nation-building, maritime patrolling, corrections (prisons), civilian law enforcement, private security services, and general governmental administration duties of all types as well. Shortly thereafter, the United Nations was formally disbanded as well, officially acknowledging the new world order.

The Chinese voluntarily assumed, and even expanded, all US entitlement obligations, realizing that by doing so they were preventing the implosion of their symbiotic "trading partner", and essentially just indirectly subsidizing their own export industry. Payments were made in the new world currency, which had been officially adopted in 2015 in official recognizance (by world markets at least) that the dollar was now little more than worthless paper. In any case, the baby-boom generation would be gone soon enough anyway, after which such costly non-sense would be phased out for good.

In one of the first acts of the new government, the new executive branch officially repealed (and subsequently approved its repeal) all existing drug laws within the U.S., and freed all prisoners convicted under those laws. Surprisingly, this was an immediate boon to economic activity and overall law and order. Aging baby-boomers with new found wealth and leisure (but little else), re-explored the pleasures of various now legal opium based products of their youth. And with the war on drugs now officially history, Mexico to the south now found unimagined prosperity, unofficially becoming a US territory, as aging US boomers moved south to live out their remaining years in the sun, while many impoverished Mexicans simply joined up with Halliburton and left town altogether.

Although rising sea levels were to be a worldwide problem in the years shortly thereafter, the U.S. enjoyed the fact it was simply able to abandon so much of its already crumbling infrastructure (the day Wall St officially went under was commemorated world wide with a multi-media extravaganza) without economic penalty, an area where China, with its newly constructed special economic zones along its coast, was not nearly so fortunate. This forced some localized crowding issues in the Midwest, but once again, the U.S. was very fortunate in that so many of its working class had joined Halliburton and moved overseas, many never to return, after experiencing the pleasures of often more enlightened foreign cultures.

This was eventually partially offset however, when the continued rise in sea levels forced mass evacuations of most of the world’s island nations. As the U.S. was rather sparsely populated in its western states (and was in no position to argue anyway), the lion’s share of the refugees were relocated to the U.S. and Mexico, under the rationale that the infrastructure and climatic conditions were at least as good or better than sub-Saharan Africa. Many were able to find work immediately, albeit torturous and for subsistence wages, in the burgeoning industrial agriculture industry. With the dissolution of the Environmental Protection Agency and world population numbers continuing to rise unabated, the Chinese abandoned any pretense of environmentally friendly/sustainable farming practices, as every drop of available water was diverted to farming the deserts west of central Nebraska. Eventually, even the mighty Mississippi ran nearly dry, and as the sediments stopped flowing to the delta, the gulf finally reclaimed New Orleans and its surrounding settlements, this time for good.

Surprisingly, the few remaining universities (nearly all top-flight research institutions, most private) flourished more than ever. What remained of the U.S. tech industry quickly reinforced existing partnerships and began attracting research dollars and foreign intellectual talent in unprecedented numbers, largely due to the complete dissolution of immigration restrictions (and the agencies to enforce them). Although it had long been feared that uncontrolled immigration would ruin the U.S. standard of living (ironically, something the U.S. had managed to do of its own accord), the Chinese maintained tight control over social services, even mandating that privately run hospitals turn away the indigent from emergency care if they couldn’t pay the freight. With the U.S. rapidly seeking its place economically with the rest of the third world anyway– at least among average blue/no collar workers – the immigration issue at long last simply faded away of its own accord.

In time, the U.S. assumed the role of a sort of quarantined multi-cultural free-trade zone, where many of the more insidious aspects of capitalism and free trade were exported from countries wanting to enjoy the economic benefits, but not wanting to suffer the social ills. As such, tourism and the associated gambling and entertainment industries boomed, with mini (as well as bigger and better!) Las Vegas’s popping up all over the country and the population itself morphing into a much more diverse, albeit transient, and generally less affluent one than ever before. Although never again threatening to regain its status as a world power, the U.S. finally truly achieved its dream of becoming the engine of world economic growth, as every hair-brained (and not so hair-brained) idea was first exported to and tried out in the relative safety of the “wild west cowboy U.S.”, before it was approved to be safely implemented elsewhere.

2 comments:

  1. Political Sci-Fi? I was being dead serious - LOL! Be careful Dredd, the only thing that's for sure is the future's gonna surpise us all. I'd like to fast forward 10 years and see how close some of this comes to actually occurring. I think we both might be surprised.

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  2. disaffected,

    Science fiction has been one of the more prescient forms of literature.

    Political science fiction should be no different.

    Some say such science fiction is just history written in advance.

    Be that as it may, what we all have to do is wait and see.

    I watched "Life Without People" recently where the "time crypts" that store information about a slice of human history were followed, after all people were gone.

    Some crypts lasted longer than others.

    Lets hope the blog crypts are stored well!

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