State of Nature and Individual Autonomy
The crucial calculation to figure your fundamental personal economic well-being in the world is to use three phenomena of measurements. Firstly, physical limitations exist on the exercise of power. We don’t normally see it in our comfortable way of life in the Western World. What used to be called The State of Nature and what is actually life without political institutions is the first thing to consider. It is what Thomas Hobbes defined as “Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” What would happen to you economically if there were no civil society, no government? Would you be privately indebted? Would you own property? Could you survive without state welfare? Would somebody employ you at your current labor rate of pay if union and labor protections should be swept aside? Could you be self-employed? Do you have some special talent that would help you survive economically in a market place? Do you have the three most important economic tools to create wealth: a work ethic, frugality and creativity?
The second thing is to understand that raw power is violent struggle, and though in the West social change is channeled through the political process, behind the glass mirror is crude force. Do you understand the logic of violence? Do you sense the deeper causes for economic conflicts in the world? The cost of containing violence on the planet must be low to be maintained by a single power. Do you comprehend the basic fundamental law (the state of nature?); which says, that without order, governments cannot seek progress (as defined as the absolute human right of individual sovereignty practiced while not bringing harm to others).
The United States spends almost 40 percent of the world’s share of arms but the nation itself faces monumental crises on two fronts: the cost of policing violence in the world has become too expensive. The former low cost of enforcement has changed dramatically as the monetary value of waging war has evolved from offensive to defensive. America can defeat Saddam Hussein’s army in a matter of days but with the threat of guerilla warfare and terrorism, the cost of keeping peace is staggering. Next, America is exceedingly over-leveraged back home inside its own national borders. The USA has been massively indebted since the Vietnam War and is now struggling with what can only be called a disabling economic liability exacerbated by the current economic recession after 2008 financial crisis and the two years' long pandemic. Barring invasion of the European Union – the EU has caught up to and will some day soon perhaps even surpassed the USA economy in GDP measurements – American military becomes an economic liability when competing with other centers of economic activity. Can it produce more food, computers, automobiles, technological innovation and consumer goods than its competitors with the economic handicap of maintaining its giant military monopoly? Logic dictates that it can’t.
The third consideration of the calculation to figure out your fundamental personal economic well-being in the world is global order, or what we might call the alternative of a world government. Is your nation safe if the USA withdraws its umbrella of defense which it provides for the world through its empire? This is especially critical to Canada.
Society is always in a state of nature, but in the democracies unlike China or Russia, we have standing rules to live by that are common to everyone in the society. We demand that our elective government be a neutral supplier of the arbitration between disputes. We entitle it to have sole monopoly on police and courts – to gain and maintain more power than the bad guys, whoever they may be. It must have the final word. If the people are in charge, they’ve a natural reason to do good and respect human rights. They knowingly trade off liberty for a society which aims at justice. How we’ve brought it about against the back drop of the violent state of nature is clear: the democratic nationhood of law and order works as a delicate balance between government and personal autonomy, even if sometimes the individual is hard pressed by this arrangement.
Nations too, have a natural reason to do good and live in peace, but there is no global institution to bring it about, like let’s say, a worldwide European Union. Some nations pose a threat to global security and the democratic law-abiding nations are forced to arm themselves against these rogues. Just as there is a civic body in our democratic nation-states, so there must be such a structure to supply law and order to the whole world, especially now in the time of the microchip and small-scale nuclear weapons.
Your autonomy, worldwide political violence, (the state of nature) and global government for all humans are intimately connected. Violence lurks hidden around economic relationships. As an individual, you have something that perhaps you have worked for your whole life which could be taken at the point of a gun with little effort on the part of the person who wanted to take it, but potentially, massive power lies between you and him: that is the authority of state. Your safety and wealth depends on the state’s health. It’s why an insolvent government is an exceedingly dangerous event for citizens of any nation. It is also why closing down the global economic systemic to fight a pandemic like Covid can be a cure far worse than the disease.
Indebted regimes around the world stand on the precipice of their doom.
Western civilization hangs in the balance.
Among many other reasons, this is yet another failure of Keynesian logic, that they did not understand the nature of bureaucracy nor the design of democratic political reality: if you give the state and politicians permission to put their expenses in debt in cyclical turn-downs, they inevitably will do so and those who follow them – distracted by their own agenda and problems – will likely not get around to paying it down.
The reality is that the state can be allowed no debt whatsoever, not a dollar not a pound mark or yen. It should by constitutional fiat be required to have surpluses in boom times. The explanation of this rather harsh sounding warning is the basis and nature of insolvency. On the global front, it is not as you might expect another crisis, it is the crisis of our lifetime. Nation states can and have gone bankrupt and have paid dearly with blood in the streets. The state can’t protect everyone against insolvency without becoming insolvent itself.
American bankruptcy would be a disaster for democracy,
For Western Civilization
And the whole world.
A solution exists to rid the massive debt of the government of the USA. Since on an international scale it’s the monolithic power which lies between us and the rogue states, its solvency and the world’s safety are critically linked. To achieve American solvency, the USA must give itself a recess in its military obligations around the world to pay off its debt back home; to do so it must commit to an isolationist’s policy for perhaps about ten years while not reducing its weapons superiority, especially its navy fleet. In a decade, with the proper sacrifices, they may be able to reduce their debt to a manageable margin of their income. The Pentagon must continue military research but scale it down. Steady war games should be fought on American soil to keep up the reserve numbers. Perhaps some number of American bases will have to be closed, and certainly all of its international ones.
The American government must reject a Keynesian approach (a socialist solution) to state finance. They must take over the Fed and create a state-owned central bank with a gold standard with a future design to get out of the market altogether. They must enact strict regulation of their rebuilt banking system to fiscally conservative principles. An elective country can have the type of government it elects: medicare, public schooling and whatever it deems just - I don't recommend it -- but if is does welfare unilaterally then it must pay for them fair and square with direct income tax. No more Reaganomics -- despite the myth, Ronald Reagan's administration grew the American government -- and putting tax cuts on the tab; no more bailouts for capitalist mediocrity; no more "Too Big to Fail", no more promises to create new agencies by leaning down the old ones. You can’t lean them down anyway, you must give them full support or get rid of them. No in between is plausible. The bureaucracy doesn’t work that way.
If a society has socialized the money supply and guaranteed bank deposits and insolvency (i.e., something like the Federal Reserve 1913 and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 1933) then the risks society faces have gone from individual finance institutions to the very government itself. This is an exceedingly dangerous gamble if your regulators promote cheap credit, deregulation, backs promiscuous bank risks and boosts, overall, private and public debt. If over the decades it all gets away on the managers of the state-created fiat money supply, as seems to be happening, society is doomed to many ill effects, perhaps including, massive devaluing on its currency, unemployment, severe recession, deflation, currency wars, and maybe even open protest and violence.
National governments must not allow themselves to go into public debt ever again. Debt is a real actual danger to the body politic. An indebted nation presents a risk to all of its citizens. It is mismanagement at the height of arrogance, especially since there is so much evidence that historically, debt has brought down whole empires and ended civilizations. Almost always it is the empire spending more than it has to spend on military expansion. The myth out there is that military expansion is the boon of the market, but the actual fact is that war is the health of the state. These are two separate issues. The Military Industrial Complex of the New Ancien Régime is not beholding to the middle-class or to the electorate. It practices war as art. War for the sake of war. Conquest as pleasure in itself. Empire for prestige. Power for its own sake.
The American society and Western Civilization itself is now marred by this conflict: what is the primary obligation of the military, self defense or policing the globe? The market economy based on human capital has the potency, potentially, of all individuals acting in concert for their own mutual benefit. Profit is the motive. The Military Industrial Complex is at the disposal of the state itself, benefitting a minority and run by a small elite confederacy who are often beholding to neither democratic or civil control.
© 2023 - E. A. St. Amant