The Sun Also Sets

The left claims that racism and other intolerances in the ranks have caused Americans to turn against the military; the right says “woke” politics are at the root of increasing alienation. Perhaps the culture indeed is responsible for the 25% shortfall in recruitment but beware of partisan narratives that appear to speak for everyone and explain trends so neatly. Never is anything that simple.

Nope. Not that simple. The right supposedly thinks the military is too woke. The left supposedly thinks it is not woke enough. But what if the real reason Americans are losing faith in the Pentagon is neither? What if they are losing faith in Congress…in the White House…both political parties…in the Supreme Court…and in the whole shebang?

They, the elite

What if ‘The People’ are catching on? What if they are realising that the military works for the elite…and that the elite deciders work for themselves, not for ‘The People?’    

Why do we have US$32 trillion of federal debt? Why do the Feds continue to add more?   

Bloomberg reports: 

The Treasury Department increased its net borrowing estimate for the July through September quarter to US$1 trillion, well up from the US$733 billion amount it had predicted in early May.

US$1 trillion dollars in just three months. And every penny of it will be paid — one way or another — by ‘The People’. Wars, boondoggles, claptrap programs — why are there so many of them?  

And yes, the superficial reasons for these things are obvious: they pay off for the deciders. 

Bloomberg again: ‘Lockheed Is Reaping US$2.3 Billion So Far Restocking the Pentagon’:

Pushing to restock depleted US weapons stockpiles, the Pentagon has already committed almost US$2.3 billion of a potential US$6 billion to Lockheed Martin Corp, the top maker of munitions that the US has provided Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion, according to new Defence Department data.

Unequal men

But in this sea of woe, woke, and weird…there are deeper currents. ‘Megapolitics’ is the term coined by our friends, James Davidson and Lord Rees Mogg, to describe them. Largely invisible, rarely understood, and impossible to contradict, they sweep us along like plastic bottles on a flood tide.

‘All men are created equal’ is an idea. The 375 Zulu warriors killed at Rorke’s Drift was a fact. And behind that fact was another one: the handful of English soldiers who killed them had rifles. The Zulus had spears. For hundreds of years, the power relationship was so unequal that Europeans were able to colonise much of the world…while neither Africans, Asians, nor the Indians of North or South America colonised any part of Europe.

That’s megapolitics. It didn’t matter what anyone thought; the Zulus were outgunned. Ultimately, it’s the facts that matter. Ideas are how we explain, justify and misinterpret them.  

This brings us to the latest twist in the story of the Industrial Revolution and the deciders’ latest crusade; they want to eliminate fossil fuels.   

It was coal that gave the English a decisive edge at Rorke’s Drift. Coal…and later, oil and gas…fired the furnaces that made steel. The steel was turned into the ships that took the English to Africa…the motors that powered the ships…and the guns that they used to kill Zulus.  

Cometh the machines

Your humble editor, personally, brought the industrial revolution to the Calchaqui Valley in Argentina. When we arrived, there were no tractors or modern machinery in use on the farm. The cowboys rode horses. An aging percheron pulled a hay rake. A mule pulled a plow with a single blade.

In less than 10 years, all that changed. Tractors, trucks and a backhoe now do the hard work. The ranch hands ride on motorbikes or pickup trucks.  

Output rose in a single hop. And then it was over. We can increase productivity, perhaps, with newer machines, more chemicals, more fertiliser and better seeds — but probably not by much.

And in Europe and ‘the West’ today, the Industrial Revolution is over. Growth rates have been going down for half a century. Birthrates are falling. Populations are in decline. Our use of fossil fuel is going down. Debt is piling up; current output can’t keep up with our expenses. And now, the Zulus have automatic rifles too. The BRICs become more independent, more powerful. The ‘Global South’ (which somehow included India, and China, both in the Northern Hemisphere) will soon produce most of the world’s cars, ships, and guns.  

Meanwhile, in ‘the West,’ the advances of the Industrial Revolution, if there are any, are incremental…not revolutionary….and often, illusory.  

Today, we have all the internal combustion engines we can use. We can get new and better ones, but they will make only incremental improvements to output.  

It is in this fertile soil…the declining marginal utility of fossil fuels…that a new idea has taken root: that coal, gas, and oil are evil.


Dan Denning Signature

Bill Bonner,
For The Daily Reckoning Australia

All advice is general advice and has not taken into account your personal circumstances. Please seek independent financial advice regarding your own situation, or if in doubt about the suitability of an investment.

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