Sunday, September 14, 2008

No need to wait til 2009

Previously, I speculated that the changeover from analog to digital television signal next year might provide the richest opportunity for a breakdown of the consumer economy that keeps our (relatively) highly educated and highly mobile populace from proving Marx & Engels' thesis.

To recap quickly, the elimination of the "opiates" of our working-class populace (television, movies, fast food, consumer goods -- all had cheaply) would provide occasion for those people to evaluate their status vis-a-vis the persons for whom they work. Since ours has become a service industry based economy, the elimination on a significant scale of any of these commodities would also create a large number of jobless people (who are also presumably more dissatisfied with their position in life).

The massive damage caused this weekend by Hurricane Ike has been likened to the hurricane of 1900 that destroyed Galveston. While the casualty reports (so far) don't show a parallel (thank God!), one possible parallel has yet to be explored. At the time that it was destroyed, Galveston was poised to overtake New York as the nation's biggest port and richest city. Houston is currently the nation's fourth (or fifth, depending on your source) biggest city and was the only major U.S. city with a growing economy (LINK?) going into this weekend. Massive power outages, floodwater and wind damage, and displacement of people are likely to put a huge dent in that growth.

This kind of disaster, both in economic and human terms has just as much, if not more, potential to act as a watershed moment for the downfall of the American economy (and political system).

A good doomsday prophet always hopes to be proved wrong, and that is the case here (tongue firmly in cheek...I don't claim to be good nor a prophet). Be mindful and watchful if you can, and if you can't do anything else, pray for those affected by the disaster.

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