21 february 2013
Norman Pagett writes:
Most people see pentagon civilians as earning wages, just like everybody else. It’s not like that. Government employees are paid by the surplus created by the rest of us. That’s been happening since prehistory. The first farmers needed soldiers to protect their crops. Those soldiers could only be paid by the excess food-energy those farmers produced. This is the rigid basis for all ‘economies’.
Now fast forward 10000 years.
We are in exactly the same situation now, only worse. We’ve run out of ‘excess energy’, but we built up a non-food producing class of government employees when we had lots of cheap energy to spare. World governments could afford to employ millions of paper-pushers instead of plow pushers because we were producing enough energy (from fossil fuel) to do that. Since prehistory, only the scale has changed.
Unfortunately 800,000 paper pushers expect to be kept in employment, with no concept of the fragility of their wage structure. It’s just government money. Well no, it’s taxpayers money, and taxpayers are paying less taxes. So to keep the illusion alive, the government has had to borrow money to pretend that it’s solvent. That has worked for a few years, but now it’s crunch time. The recurring debt crisis makes that very clear. When a family is in sub prime, they keep borrowing money with ever-increasing desperation to pretend to new lenders that everything is OK, then cut out essentials, car, heating, meals, in denial of the reality that dad is unemployed with no hope of finding a job.
The nation is in sub prime, rolling layoffs at the Pentagon are just one facet of it. Police, garbage collectors, teachers are all part of the same picture. Whether Greece, Spain and the collapsing nations of the EU, or the illusion of limitless wealth of the USA, the rule of debt remains the same: You cannot borrow your way out of it.
We created a Ponzi scheme and called it a civilised infrastructure, now it’s starting to collapse, as all such schemes must. Yet just like every other Ponzi scheme, those running it say if we continue to put money into into it keep it going it will pay out tomorrow.