Friday, December 12, 2014

American Feudalism - 11

Walled City: One-percentville
Over the years Dredd Blog posts have stopped from time to time to consider Detroit.

This is the city of the GM bailout, the city with a walled castle inside, and at the same time a city of ruins outside those walls.

If you want something to cry about, a place to be empathetic about, a place where you can look deep into the economic culture of America, a place to see our
Outsiders: Ninety-Nine-percentville
American Feudalism posing as the American Dream, then check out Detroit.

I have mentioned Detroit in some previous posts in this and other Dredd Blog series (e.g. The Common Good - 8).

Posts within several series of posts that point out the stark inequality there in Detroit and elsewhere (The Graphs of the Age of Plunder - 3, The Homeland: Big Brother Plutonomy - 9, A Tale of Coup Cities - 11, American Feudalism - 10).

The Detroit Chapter Nine Bankruptcy shows how the laws have been constructed to extract plunder from the working class; where pensions of workers are taken, then given as plunder to the plutocrats via a cultural circuitry, a neofeudal structure reminiscent of a plutonomy.

A type of structure which is always rife with negative feedback loops that perpetuate or increase the feudal state's inequality until that state collapses.

As a result of this cultural cannibalism the U.S. is no longer the greatest economy, having very recently dropped to number 2:
Hang on to your hats, America.

And throw away that big, fat styrofoam finger while you’re about it.

There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just say it: We’re no longer No. 1. Today, we’re No. 2. Yes, it’s official. The Chinese economy just overtook the United States economy to become the largest in the world. For the first time since Ulysses S. Grant was president, America is not the leading economic power on the planet.

It just happened — and almost nobody noticed.

The International Monetary Fund recently released the latest numbers for the world economy. And when you measure national economic output in “real” terms of goods and services, China will this year produce $17.6 trillion — compared with $17.4 trillion for the U.S.A.

As recently as 2000, we produced nearly three times as much as the Chinese.

To put the numbers slightly differently, China now accounts for 16.5% of the global economy when measured in real purchasing-power terms, compared with 16.3% for the U.S.

This latest economic earthquake follows the development last year when China surpassed the U.S. for the first time in terms of global trade.
(Economic War Of The Pacific - 4).  Don't take my word alone for it, consider another way of describing it:
"Detroit is struggling with the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation's history, which was brought on in part by the flight of both residents and businesses in recent decades. But Detroit's downtown area is enjoying rapid growth. The busy, 7.2-square-mile area stands in sharp contrast to the stretches of abandoned homes, closed factories and urban decay that dominate most of the city.”
(CNN: Hottest Downtown, emphasis added). Those who are within the castle walls, built with a bubble of plunder, will not have to continue to worry (e.g. Feudal Immunity, Follow The Immunity, 2, 3).

But their serfs and peasants outside the walls in the ruins will have to continue to worry:
If all goes as planned ... the pension system that the settlement leaves behind has some of the same problems that plunged the city into crisis in the first place — fundamental problems that could also trip up other local governments in the coming years. Like many other public systems, it relies on a funding formula that lags the true cost of the pensions, and is predicated on a forecast investment return that the judge, Steven W. Rhodes, himself sharply
"Mmmm ... we taste good"
questioned during the trial on Detroit’s bankruptcy plan.

Moreover, if Detroit finds itself confronting another fiscal crisis in the near future, it can no longer tap the museum’s art collection, which many saw as its top asset.

These risks might not matter if Detroit’s pension obligations were just a marginal part of the city’s finances. But they are not. Even after the benefit cuts, the city’s 32,000 current and future retirees are entitled to pensions worth more than $500 million a year — more than twice the city’s annual municipal income-tax receipts in recent years. Contributions to the system will not be nearly enough to cover these payouts, so success depends on strong, consistent investment returns, averaging at least 6.75 percent a year for the next 10 years. Any shortfall will have to ultimately be covered by the taxpayers.
(Detroit ... Bankruptcy ... Pension Risks Linger, emphasis added). The pensioners who (all of their working lives) paid premiums taken from each pay-check were stabbed in the back by their overlords.

Greedy overlords who plundered the middle class pensions and broke their word (Banker Jekyll Will Hyde Your Money, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).

This type of cultural cannibalism takes place when one part of a society "wilfully forgets" what it is, then feeds on its own kind exceptionally thinking that only they, the overlords, are the true Americans (Ayn Rand: Patron Saint of The Plutocracy, Phases Of An Empire Freezing To Death - 2).

It is the Judas Kiss trance we are observing (The Judas Number - 30 - Pieces of Silver, Choose Your Trances Carefully).

The previous post in this series is here.

Chomsky interviewed by Laura Flanders:


  1. The suicidal feudalism persists: link

  2. Yep Randy - because Obama, despite scolding and disbelief from Elizabeth Warren and Nancy Pelosi, respectively, is TOUTING the bill as an example of bi-partisanship (because HE'S A REPUBLICAN). Why bother voting when your only choice is between right wing and fascist?