Posts Tagged ‘consumerism’

Corporate Virtue Signaling

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

Corporate America — considered the far side of stodgy, capitalist and unhip — has embraced Leftist ideals during the past two decades. Since corporations never do anything except for profit, this tells us something about the changing nature of profit in the Left-leaning West.

The new model for profit involves selling products to an entertainment audience. Originally, companies pitched themselves to the middle class through an appeal to durability, value and efficiency.

Now, they are selling to an entirely transient audience based on image alone. They can do this because, under the wealth redistribution programs of the Left, the rootless manchildren and impoverished underclass are the people with disposable income to spend. The middle class is busy spending on housing, insurance, food, energy and education.

Probably the archetype of this genre was the Apple “Mac Guy Versus PC Guy” ads from the early 2000s:

These showed the components of the new audience: it wanted to be hip and it was focused mostly on entertainment and appearance. That made it easy to market to these people because their demand for function was limited to a very narrow area and a few basic tasks. In addition, these people had already been educated in personal morality by the State.

Personal morality is an old, old con. It is a means-over-ends analysis which states that no matter what you are trying to do, you have to use only methods that others approve of. That list invariably strips out anything really effective and replaces it with the non-controversial. The end result is a neutered person who is concerned with how “moral” they appear to others more than the consequences of his actions.

Herein is the root of egalitarianism. It triumphs because to oppose it is to appear elitist, cruel and exclusive. That bothers the individualists in the crowd, who are afraid that they will not be of sufficient social status, that their ego cannot bear to be told the magic word NO, and that they will not be admitted into the club of cool kids.

You can see this in just about every movie or book created in the last three decades or longer: everywhere there is a natural elite, and our everyman hero wants to break into that but cannot, so he destroys it instead. Call it the Napoleon Dynamite/Revenge Of The Nerds theory of politics. It re-states the complaints of the French Revolution in a digestible form.

The point of these movies is not that the natural elite were bad; they are usually competent and necessary. It is that they look bad for excluding the poor nerds, geeks, hipsters, dweebs, stoners and others who are not succeeding in a broken system. Instead of focusing on fixing that system, it is easier to include everyone and further follow its path of decline.

With personal morality, all is about appearance. You must look inclusive. You must also look hip. The two of these combined mean that the traditional masculine aesthetic is out the window, or even any morality that is based on standards. Instead, there is the social standard: do people like you? do you unite them? And of course, do you include everyone and threaten no one?

From this we get ad campaigns which feature nerdy hipsters — another 90s mash-up — who are obviously useless except for doing hip things. Like all the hippies and bohemians for the past five centuries, they insist on being artists, philosophers, spiritualists and musicians. It is a way for them to become important by pretending to be important. Plato notes it best:

Yes, I said, he lives from day to day indulging the appetite of the hour; and sometimes he is lapped in drink and strains of the flute; then he becomes a water-drinker, and tries to get thin; then he takes a turn at gymnastics; sometimes idling and neglecting everything, then once more living the life of a philosopher; often he-is busy with politics, and starts to his feet and says and does whatever comes into his head; and, if he is emulous of any one who is a warrior, off he is in that direction, or of men of business, once more in that. His life has neither law nor order; and this distracted existence he terms joy and bliss and freedom; and so he goes on.

With this appearance-based morality, considerations of effect (“ends”) are entirely replaced by appearance, which is derived from method (“means”). In the West, after the triumph of 1968, this became the underlying approach of industry: be cool, look good, and so on. But it had not yet entered the final passive stage until the dual assault of affirmative action and entitlements of the 1990s.

Those created a permanent group of people who were purchasers of mostly consumer products. They tended to rent apartments, be very faithful to their jobs, and spend any money they had on gadgets in order to feel hip, cool and relevant. Cultureless, and essentially futureless, they were an advertising dream.

Corporate America finally found a way to address these people through consumerism mated with bohemianism and Leftist politics, as noted by David Brooks in his crushing study of the hippie generation in mid-life, Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class And How They Got There. It was the votes of these people that paved the way for the Clinton Revolution and the entitlement programs that created the new consumer mass.

Most of us thought that corporations would behave like people on the conservative side of things, but they did not, instead converging on the type of behavior we might expect from anarchists, bohemians or third world countries. This provokes in the mind a metaphorical comparison to the Horseshoe Effect:

This trope is when two groups who are ostensibly ideologically opposed to each other actually have a lot of ideology in common.

Conventional political theory holds that all political ideologies sit on a linear spectrum from left to right: communism on the far left, fascism on the far right, and everything else somewhere in between. This theory implies that the further away an ideology is from the centre, the more different it is from a corresponding ideology on the opposite side of the spectrum: centre-left and centre-right political parties are distinct but still fairly similar, but communist and fascist political parties are dramatically different from one another, as they sit on opposite extremes of the spectrum.

Notwithstanding that there are some problems with the theory — namely that fascist and National Socialist parties are still modernists, thus Left-derived where not Left-leaning, and thus prone to converge on Leftism once threats and scapegoats are removed — this theory can also be applied to corporate America. And there is another glitch: it discusses methods, not goals.

We can restate the theory this way: when any group becomes powerful through mass obedience, it shifts towards a means-over-ends calculus as a means of enacting control. Control is a complex thing to define, but basically it means a centralized force which micromanages all other parts of civilization equally, or uses them as a means to its ends in a way that specifies the desired outcome from a central command viewpoint, as opposed to agreeing on goals and allowing people to cooperate unequally toward achieving them. It is the theory that we can make society into a factory, or like a factory.

For this reason, when corporations get powerful enough and face an audience made homogeneous in thought pattern even if not homogeneous in composition, they tend to act just like Communist states would. This is one of the many reasons that one cannot escape modernity by using modernistic thinking, but must find an entirely different path, such as ends-over-means style barbarian reasoning.

Anatomy Of A Fragile Market Bubble

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

Modern society possesses a fragile duality: people depend on its power and wealth, but simultaneously are existentially miserable.

Their existential misery comes from the fact that civilization is in decline, social order is failing, and so all meaning and purpose is removed from their lives because whatever they do is futile and will be destroyed once the raging herd gets ahold of it. At the same time, we all must survive, and so they are dependent on this abusive system for paychecks and enough stability for grocery stores.

What happens if the money runs out? All Western governments are heavily in debt, consumers are heavily leveraged, and our industries are massively interdependent.

On top of that, we have the makings of a brutal tech bubble:

Yesterday afternoon, the S&P 500 closed at a record high, and is up over $1.5 trillion since the start of 2017. “And the companies doing the most to drive that rally are all tech firms,” reports The Verge. “Apple, Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft make up a whopping 37 percent of the total gains.” From the report:

All of these companies saw their share prices touch record highs in recent months. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the U.S. economy, which grew at a rate of less than 1 percent during the first three months of this year. That divide is the culmination of a long-term trend, according to a recent report featured in The Wall Street Journal: “In digital industries — technology, communications, media, software, finance and professional services — productivity grew 2.7% annually over the past 15 years…The slowdown is concentrated in physical industries — health care, transportation, education, manufacturing, retail — where productivity grew a mere 0.7% annually over the same period.” There is no industry where these players aren’t competing. Music, movies, shipping, delivery, transportation, energy — the list goes on and on. As these companies continue to scale, the network effects bolstering their business are strengthening. Facebook and Google accounted for over three-quarters of the growth in the digital advertising industry in 2016, leaving the rest to be divided among small fry like Twitter, Snapchat, and the entire American media industry. Meanwhile Apple and Alphabet have achieved a virtual duopoly on mobile operating systems, with only a tiny sliver of consumers choosing an alternative for their smartphones and tablets.

As mentioned here before, the tech sector is primed for a crash because it is overvalued and yet is selling a product that is increasingly less relevant to middle America, the group that forms the base of the conventional consumer economy.

To counter this, the tech companies are trying to cultivate the conventional media audience, who lean Left and consume more media than others but may not actually be as relevant as consumers except for luxury goods.

In order to bolster that process, Western governments have created a capitalism-socialism hybrid which consists of heavily taxing citizens and corporations, and then dumping that money on the working classes so that they can purchase more consumer goods, creating a circular Ponzi scheme which will eventually run out of money.

On top of that, Western governments have accumulated enough debt that when their taxes fall short, they will be in a tough position where they will be unable to acquire new debt cheaply enough to justify it, and these governments will head toward default at the same time their economies cave in and the social consequences of Leftist policies culminate in crashes.

A Flag Under Which We Can All Unite

Monday, May 8th, 2017

We may not agree on the how, what or when. We may not even agree on why. But if the past 228 years have shown us anything, it is that we will get nowhere unless we reject the founding assumption of all these systems — consumerism, democracy, diversity, bureaucracy — which is that humans are interchangeable parts, made equal so they can follow the doctrine of humankind.

Under this flag we can unite. From that moment, we know we must do: alter our culture to see “equality” as comedic and toxic nonsense, and then start figuring out what that means.

Was Consumerism Always A Bubble?

Saturday, May 6th, 2017

The theme of the 21st century will be: bubbles popping. Bubbles are opportunities for profit created between the implementation of an idea and the time when its consequences are revealed.

We have seen small bubbles pop. The housing bubble, funded by banks at the demand of government law, collapsed because minority homes loans were riskier than thought. Then it collapsed again when it turned out that the type of person who thinks home flipping is a good idea tends to be unreliable in financial prediction.

Another bubble that will pop is the dot-com 3.0 bust. The internet was the “new big thing” in the 90s that Boomers counted on for their retirement, but as it turns out, showing adds to bored cubicle slaves is not a financially viable model. And so, it will collapse.

Then there is Hollywood. In the 70s, when cable emerged, the movie theaters no longer had a monopoly on film. It took a few decades to take hold, but by the mid-90s Hollywood had peaked and was in decline. The same was true for publishing, newspapers and the music industry. While their product was scarce, it was valuable… once easily accessible, its value faded.

In Hollywood, the idiots will keep blaming “piracy” for their decline but the real truth is that people simply do not want to pay as much for the product anymore. We are drowning in the output of movies, music, books and news media; this means that none of it is all that valuable. When you had three television channels and one movie theater, it was scarce and valuable. But now?

Even more, this abundance has revealed that products have arcs. When an idea is new, no one else has thought of it, and so no one else can do it. But then it gets cloned. And then, in the timeless methods of scientists and MBAs, the clones are improved and made slicker while being made cheaper. This makes the product itself cheaper.

Google is struggling with this. Search engines were like space travel in the 1960s when search engines were introduced in the 1990s. But now, people think of search engines like they do electric lights; they just want it to work, and with as little hassle as possible. They do not want to see ads, or be shunted through some corporate money-making scheme. You are the yellow pages now, Google.

Hollywood was huge when going to the movies was a thing. Thanks to diversity, going to the movies now means encountering people you do not want to, so the middle class is staying home. As a result, the theaters are dying. The new urban audience is just not filling the gap. And as a result, there are products for the middle class to have huge TVs and watch movies at home.

Industries die. Many of the industries we have known and grown up with have already reached their peak, and are now just cash cows being sliced up for the remaining worth in their assets before they become low-margin, repetitive businesses and possibly fade away entirely. But these industries are not alone; all across America, the consumer bubble is popping, and soon what remains will not resemble the old:

The US Census Bureau has found 48,000 abandoned homes within the boundaries of Baltimore; a drive-through quickly shows sad facades with broken windows and missing doors encompassing entire city blocks.

In New York state they call these “zombie buildings,” and there are thousands; the Great Recession of 2008 led to a flood of homeowners walking away from homes or businesses as they stared at foreclosure.

The Census Bureau estimates that millions of homes have been vacated across the country.

Much of this can be explained as America’s diversity epidemic. Our ideological government, spurred on by the voters who were greedy for their own pension plans to be filled, decided that diversity was the One True Way and so forced it on everyone. This creates high-crime areas which drive out business because of higher costs, leading to blocks of abandoned buildings. In turn, employers flee the surrounding area because Affirmative Action forces them to hire people who are both of a minority group and incompetent, because the law does not assess competence, and so if they stay there, their workforce cost will quickly destroy them. So everyone flees. Another government success story!

But even more broadly, products are not worth as much as they once were anymore. The brands innovated in the 1950s-1980s have not been replaced, nor have the product types. A vacuum cleaner is just a vacuum cleaner, and now that the technology is well known (i.e. not advancing) then any one is as good as any other, and if they all last about five years, just get the cheapest. Same with cars. TVs. Radios.

In addition, whole categories of scarce technology have vanished. In the 1980s, every kid wanted a killer stereo system with a receiver, tape deck, CD player, record/vinyl player and equalizer. Since this technology did not advance, it miniaturized instead, and so now people plug earphones or speakers into computers or portable devices and get nearly the same sound.

Or let us look at the personal computer. A bubble was created when few had them, and everyone needed them. Now? The technology seems matured. The improvements are incremental. So people buy one every ten years or so, and see no reason to upgrade until Microsoft cranks out a new operating system. The market shrinks.

Another bubble was cell phones. If you listened to the guys with slick black hair, this was the future. It turns out however that it was a trend, or a short-living fascination. Everyone bought one, but now that the boom of first-time buyers is over, the only audience is people updating their existing phones, and they do that every few years. Bubble over.

Maybe the housing bubble is over as well. When there were only a few big cities, the property in those was worth a lot of money. Now we have more big cities, and so if you cannot buy in one, you might as well buy in Houston or Cleveland. This breaks the monopoly of the big cities and so, the value of those properties declines. The bubble pops and becomes an ordinary commodity, not a scarce one.

Perhaps education is another bubble. In the 1950s, a college degree opened lots of doors. They promptly oversold college, lacking local aristocrats to tell them otherwise, and so by the 1960s, a graduate degree was required. And yet, the sheep had not figured this out, so an entire industry arose to sell people college degrees so they could take menial jobs and pay back the loans.

Much of our consumer economy has collapsed or at least consolidated. In the future Walmart, Amazon and Costco will be responsible for most purchases that are not at the local grocery store, and all interests which compete with those will perish since they cannot compete with the cost-efficiency of economies of scale. When Costco can buy 10m of something, a store buying 100 will never be able to price-match. All of industry will go this way: concentrated into a few large, low-cost retailers.

When the consumer economy contracts, the governments of the West will be in trouble. Over the past century, they have treated middle class income as a kind of infinite bank account upon which they can write checks for their favorite social programs. When that goes away, they face default or they will have to restrain themselves somewhat.

Nonetheless, this scary change may be a necessary one. A consumer economy depends on constant growth; an agrarian or localized economy, on the other hand, needs no such thing. Let us look at the sane option to consumerism, agrarianism:

In short, this is about leading the way to a life set free from the bonds of an increasingly complex society and the vulnerabilities that go with it. It is about tradition and social order. It is about growing plants and raising animals and understanding the meaning of husbandry and stewardship. It is about understanding our place in the world – those who came before us and those who will follow after us.

Southern Agrarianism is a Blood and Soil movement. It takes in two of the most basic concepts in all of history: Our People, and the soil that provides the food that feeds our people. It means that, while we wish all the best toward others, our immediate family comes first, followed by ever larger circles of extended family, and then on out from there. There is Our People, and there is Other People.

This being Southern Agrarianism, our people are the Southern people; those who originated in Europe and built the South. Historically, the culture of the South was heavily influenced by the Cavaliers who fled the violence of the English civil war and settled in the South. They brought with them the English high culture which translated into the Southern Plantation culture: a hierarchy-based culture that was deeply rooted in the soil. There was a sense of kinship that was shared by both the smallest share cropping farmer and the largest plantation owner; they shared the common bond of those who live close to the soil.

Under agrarianism, you might not have iPhones, but you do not have TPS reports. Each person corresponds to a specialized role that anchors them to a locale and gives them a role that is unique to them. Stability returns. It is not primitivism, but it is the best part of what primitivism offers, with the added sanity of social hierarchy and an aristocratic leadership caste.

Consumerism winding down shows us that modernity was always a bubble. An insane idea, enforced by enough people, can last for centuries. When it collapses, it will not be a big event, but many small details conspiring. Such is the nature of our time. Liberal democracy, equality, consumerism and diversity — all facets of the same idea — have perished. Hail the new future.

Modern Society Is Destroying First World Peoples

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Most conservative writers will not accept the fact that European decline is the product of modernity; that is, the modern lifestyle and the future it offers us turn people into self-destructive, sadistic, controlling, passive, deferential and retributively oblivious agents of destruction.

This applies to all first world peoples; the existential misery is strong in Japan as well:

This finding, part of a survey of 540,000 15-year-olds in 72 countries, indicates a worrying pattern throughout the world: Advanced economies have lower levels of well-being than might be expected from their material prosperity and freedoms — particularly among young people.

…Related to this, it was also clear that the top countries for well-being tended to be emerging economies. It may be that perceived opportunities for expansion has a positive impact on well-being. Meanwhile, in advanced economies like Japan’s, there may be a dimly discernible sense that the economy has “peaked” and that there is little room to advance.

…Japanese teens reported that “working hard/helping myself get on in life” was their most important value — and more chose this than in any other country except South Korea (also low in the well-being stakes).

Japanese teens were also the least likely of all 20 countries to think that making a contribution to wider society was important. It is easy to see how these beliefs, in combination with a lack of opportunity, could produce a pessimistic state about one’s chances of leading a successful or meaningful life.

In other words, what makes teens miserable is (1) being in the current first world (2) believing that they must join the system and (3) having Leftist beliefs.

The most interesting point is that despite its material wealth, the first world crushes people by forcing them into a lifestyle with several crushing problems:

  • Jobs are jails. Workplaces are showrooms for bad human behavior; competition is based on appearance not competence or efficiency; self-important sociopaths get ahead while the competent and decent are left behind; all but a few jobs are non-essential and because of individuals competing for attention and to justify themselves, composed of make-work and pro forma activity.
  • People are insane. Under intense pressure, with none of the social order that nurtured them in the past, and suffering through a time that is existentially miserable but physically comfortable and therefore cannot be criticized, people have become ugly in the spirit and mean in their treatment of one another.
  • Sexual degeneracy. People are whores because egalitarian sexual practices encourage having few standards. This means that the chances of a life-long bond are greatly diminished, and that people can expect sexual competition and one-upmanship to be the rule. Those who are not having sex all the time are written off as losers.
  • Consumerism. Low-quality, low cost, high margin disposable products fill our shelves and litter our streets. Very little lasts, and the constant mania to have new stuff and pursue entertainment or other consumption makes people into hollow zombies with nothing to talk about who deny any deeper connection to life itself.
  • Ugliness. Our architecture consists of boxes, our homes are filled with plastic, modern art and pop culture are reductionist garbage, graffiti and vandalism and advertising cover every surface, filth is ever-present, public messages are snarky and cruel, and even people themselves are being twisted into bloated, greedy, snarling, beige race mutts who look like nothing from the past.

These add to a society that no one with an IQ of above about 115 wants to live in, and yet because the vast majority of people are oblivious to these things, those of higher taste and intelligence are voted out.

High-IQ groups are the most susceptible to both Leftism and existential misery because they are the most prone to self-doubt, for the simple reason that they are aware of more ways in which they could be wrong, have longer memories and tend to be more aware and better at self-criticism.

In pursuit of the ultimate lifestyle, while our leaders drool over power and obsess themselves with death, the people of the first world have doomed themselves through a utilitarian approach to existence — arising from democracy — that favors the crassest and most simplistic of our tastes, creating a repellent and alien world in which we are miserable in our souls.

Backdoor Socialism Created The Consumerism Bubble And Will Crash The Economy Hard

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

In theory, socialism means that the workers own the means of production; in reality, it translates into workers being shareholders in the entire economy, and compensated regardless of performance. With the rise of decentralized totalitarian states like the contemporary EU/US, socialism has been brought in through the backdoor via government action within a theoretically capitalist economy.

This government action takes two main forms: entitlement payments to citizens, and the regulatory state, which mandates that certain jobs by “created” in order to deal with paperwork. The entitlement payments fuel consumer spending and create demand for the currency, which is then used as a signifier of its value. Since that value is not tangible, frequent depressions and crashes result.

Currently those in the West are facing a massive consumerism bubble where the perceived value of our money is less than the actual value of what it represents, causing economic instability and a crash as that value is recaptured.

This means that many of our industries are entirely fake and consist of government forcing employment, perpetually “pump priming” the economy with social welfare payments, and then taxing the resulting money to keep the economy looking healthy. Now however we are starting to see the over-valued industries collapse:

As industry spending and debt servicing rage out of control, health care is ranked as the No. 1 US “systemic recession risk” in a new report. The sums at stake are staggering: Spending in the sector accounted for $3.3 trillion in 2015, and is 18 percent of the US economy today. The industry generates 16 percent of private sector jobs nationwide, up from 10 percent in 1990.

…The conventional wisdom points to US demographic trends, and an aging population, as supportive of the long-term strength, but the report shows industry growth has surpassed what is sustainable:

  • Health care company debt is up 308 percent since 2009.
  • The number of hospitals in health systems has expanded by 26 percent since 1999.
  • The yearly medical costs for a family of four have jumped 189 percent since 2002, from $9,000 to $26,000.

The voters never seem to understand that politicians find “magic” solutions by taking whatever is succeeding and bending it to the will of government, which then inflates its value and primes it for a crash. Consider education: the gateway the middle class was over-promoted, and now has devalued itself. Or the failing Dot-Com boom.

Consumerism “worked” for a brief period of time because of the postwar wealth and population booms. This created the manic salesman culture of the 1950s which drove anyone with a working mind away from civilization in general, and essentially punished the intelligent and sane for wanting normal lives instead of highly acquisitive ones.

Now that the wealth and population boom is over, we are replacing our citizens with foreigners in an attempt to produce new markets, and companies are seeing their margins shrink. Government regulation compounded this by “creating” many unnecessary jobs and legal expenses, and now the economy has been drained of vitality and is treading water to keep afloat. Not for long.

Silicon Valley Uses Search Engine Monopoly To Hide Right-Wing Content

Monday, May 1st, 2017

Bruce Charlton reports that traffic to his site has declined by half following what he guesses are changes on Google or other social media sites.

The most recent sign was a sudden halving in daily traffic from 20 to 21 April (from 3000 plus to about 1500 views) – presumably as the result of some search-engine change, presumably related to the new wave of fake-‘fake news’ anti-Left dissent-suppression.

We know that Google has made over 1600 changes to its site over the past year and plans more, including Project Owl, a measure designed to stop “fake news” from proliferating by filtering it out of search results. In addition, facing a boycott by advertisers, Google is experiencing revenue drop from an inability to show many ads on “offensive” materials.

If Silicon Valley follows previous patterns, its new changes will benefit Establishment media sites like The New York Times and penalize independent bloggers, small news agencies, and those who have off-mainstream opinions that might be considered “offensive” by some vocal members of the herd.

Unlike traditional censorship, this type of filtering does not seek to obliterate other voices, only marginalize them to the point where the average person will not encounter them. In addition, it is not enacted through a monopoly on legal force, as occurs when a government censors, but through independent businesses that use the power of their monopolies to exclude dissident voices.

This more than anything shows the Alt Right where it must go next: it needs to fund and develop its own search engine, in addition to its own media, so that there is an alternative to the big media stream of press releases and lobbyist statements. The Left has decided on its strategy, and it is one of creating an outsourced state media to suppress non-Leftist opinion.

More ominously for Silicon Valley, this development shows that Dot-Com 3.0 — powered primarily by social media — is turning into a bust, and the big companies are desperate to hang onto whatever audience they can, even though this audience are not particularly desired by advertisers, suggesting that we are seeing a wider crash of the consumer market.

Consumerism Dies As Currency Plunges In Value

Sunday, April 30th, 2017

Warning signs abound in the prole reich created by democracy. Despite attempts to bolster the economy — “pump priming” — by importing the entire third world, the economy of the West falters as currency declines in value as a result of Leftist social programs:

Whole Foods had grand plans for a UK expansion too, opening its first outpost in Kensington in 2004 with plans for 40 more. But Whole Foods has stalled: like much of the retail sector, it faces economic headwinds including razor-thin margins, competition from other retailers offering organic food, and increasingly price-conscious consumers.

…One rival chain, Sprouts Farmers Market, was found to be on average 19% cheaper than Whole Foods. Other rivals, including Kroger, picked up Whole Foods customers. Last month, Barclays advised that Whole Foods had experienced a “staggering” decline in foot traffic that it estimated at 3%, or roughly 14 million customers.

Here in the mental state of Read Between The Lies you must parse carefully what the herd says in order to figure out what is rationalization/excuse/justification (REJ) and what is actual cause-effect reasoning. They speak of a number of factors, but the big one is price. Whole Foods is too expensive for what it offers.

This fits into the only sensible analysis of the Obama years. Just as under Clinton, the US switched to demand-side economics, but this delegated the value of our currency to world markets, which promptly rejected the Obama doctrine because our economy was based on a circular Ponzi scheme, making a fragile economy which will explode as consumer demand falls.

Whole Foods and others are dying because, despite our “great” economy, most people are suffering a loss of ready cash because the cash is worth 40% less than pre-Obama money. As a result, they are avoiding places that are financial traps, and instead, quietly going to Walmart and bypassing the whole consumer retail spectacle.

As often happens, bubbles occur where a product is scarce but eventually will become easier to come by. Consumer goods were once a huge profit center in the West, but over time, the equality boom of the French Revolution faded and so consumer goods declined in value. Now, we watch that industry pass away, having made itself irrelevant by raising costs just as the audience needed it to level out.

Internet Collapse May Be Consumerism Collapse

Friday, April 28th, 2017

Consumerism had a good thing going. We invented all of these cool gadgets for the home and personal care back in the 1950s, and as long as we had people, we could sell them and make a tidy profit.

But then consumerism took over the culture, as it always seems to do. Planned obsolescence became a thing; so did low-cost junk made abroad. And then people slowed down in buying because when everything is sort of worthless, why care much about what you buy?

No matter what option you choose — unless you have real luxury spending dollars like a billionaire — it will perform adequately and die within a few years, so there is no point investing much effort into the choice. Sort of like how the Soviet system faded away into heat death…

This follows a pattern we see in most business, and in fact everything in life: it starts out as a new idea that few understand, then gets accepted and the load of humans that it supports grows, which requires it to raise more money, which happens simultaneously with the acceptance of the new idea as part of normal life and thus a lowering of its margins. At that point, the business is in a death cycle.

As Plato pointed out, the same thing happens to civilizations. They start out idealistic, then deviate into materialism, at which point they cycle through aristocracy, military rule, business rule and finally democracy before self-destructing in tyranny. The point is that a new innovation cannot be expected to maintain itself, but requires an active pressure to enforce quality, in a Darwinian sense, or it bloats and self-destructs.

Consumerism has bloated and self-destructed. Refrigerators are so bad now that you need to purchase a ten-year warranty to get five years out of them; in the 1950s, they made refrigerators that lasted for decades. We have clearly degenerated, and the latest victim is the internet.

When the internet was new, it gave us all these new capabilities. But over the next twenty years, it became clear that some were actually useful and the rest hype. However, the hype got the most focus from the media, because it was most like their own business model.

Now ad payments are falling because the people watching the ads are not actual consumers but cube slaves time wasting at their McJobs. As a result, the internet economy is imploding. Today, Paul Joseph Watson sees his business model collapse; tomorrow, Twitter or Facebook will.

This collapse follows the same pattern as consumerism. An initially high-value product attracted the herd, got overburdened with expenses to support all those people, and then folded inward as its relevance declined with its novelty.

We are seeing the convergence of internet and consumerism collapses already:

In March, MarketWatch estimated that Amazon will destroy 1.5 million retail jobs in the next five years. And with its push into self-driving trucks, drone delivery, automated grocery stores and more, the site said the total number of lost jobs would likely be more than 2 million, concluding, “Could Amazon actually kill more American jobs than China did? It’s quite likely.”

…Critics are beginning to wonder if Amazon — with such control over retail sales, jobs, ad dollars and more — is good for America.

…“Retail always evolves and reflects society, and right now, consumers are getting more value for their money,” said Richard Kestenbaum, a partner in Triangle Capital. “That makes our society stronger and it forces other retailers to be more creative and competitive.”

In other words, Amazon has become more efficient, and so is displacing most of the rest of the market. However, this will cause collapse by crushing margins on these products, which will in turn mean that they will be of less quality in the future. Soviet-style.

The worst case scenario is that Amazon gobbles up a bunch of smaller industries and then finds its own margins falling, and then goes down with a mighty crash, leaving the consumers with no options.

Looking at this, it makes sense to advance a theory of economy inefficiency. In contrast to the idea that lower price is always better, this theory states that there is a “sweet spot” in cost where a product is cheap enough for the upper half of society to afford it, but still expensive enough that there is incentive to compete on the basis of quality.

Consumerism fails this test, and the internet has as well. In their greed to increase shareholder prices, these companies destroy more than they create, and leave behind mediocre substitutes. This cannot last, like Soviet product entropy, and will cascade in failure together, leaving a void.

A Solution For The Fake “Fake News” Outrage

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Tim Berners-Lee on how to fix the internet:

Today, most people find news and information on the web through just a handful of social media sites and search engines. These sites make more money when we click on the links they show us. And they choose what to show us based on algorithms that learn from our personal data that they are constantly harvesting. The net result is that these sites show us content they think we’ll click on – meaning that misinformation, or fake news, which is surprising, shocking, or designed to appeal to our biases, can spread like wildfire. And through the use of data science and armies of bots, those with bad intentions can game the system to spread misinformation for financial or political gain.

The internet was originally designed to be decentralized so that if in wartime a city was taken out, the internet could simply route around the damage and keep communications working. The web was theorized as similarly decentralized, with many different sites offering content and users choosing from among those.

However, thanks to the consumer mentality, the internet is now centralized in the hands of a few successful but dying companies, making them arbiters of what is seen and heard, and therefore enforcers of a type of censorship of viewpoints that these companies perceive will offend some of their desired userbase.

As Berners-Lee points out, the solution is to “redecentralize” or stop our reliance on a few big sites and search engines, and instead to have many more variants such that the audience can find its own content without going through mediators, who have the exact same problem that big media does, which is a tendency to cater to the audience that uses them most, over normal people.

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