After a long transition we’ve gone from having a major world economy that takes place out in the open to one in which all meaningful – by the judgment of those in charge of it – activity takes place within a Dark Economy that is completely hidden from public view.
The parasite on the parasite that is a money-based economy is now the only organism that shows any force of action – hard to call it viability….
This dark economy has not only grown. It has consolidated. Beginning in what appear superficially to be contradictory thrusts, one building on the organization of crime that began in earnest during the U. S. Prohibition. The other from the clandestine services operating as supra-legal arms of government authority that had its roots in the First World War. These two wings have joined and find their common volition within the conjunction of government and corporate power consolidated as Neoliberal Globalization.
All along, the drive to maximize profit and consolidate power has chaffed at the need to appear more or less palatable to any public realm. The losers of the First and Second World Wars were regimes that failed to play this game with authority. Their iron fists were too plain to see. Their power grabs too transparent to be acceptable at the time. Even the losers of the Cold War had to deal with this same constraint. Not so much as the cause of their downfall as much as the cause of their failure to thrive. Within the ethos prevailing throughout the Twentieth Century the gap between a despot’s reach and their desire was always just too great.
The reductivist enterprise has always been driven by a monomania that is best expressed in all manner of monocultures. They follow a fundamentalist belief in command-and-control and strive to accomplish victories at scale where the benefit they seek is found in the most concentrated form of extraction that can be achieved. At some point even its devotees must face – and do face – the consequence that this can only end in disaster. From within the monomania this Fate becomes its own greatest justification. There is a chasing after an Apocalypse whose fantasies can only lead to the life-less tunnels of a burned-out bunker. Power mad the powerful have no choice but to fall into the deepest insanity. From within this view there can only be one way out….
Monomania has led to monoculture. Globalization is that monoculture. It has eaten its own internal rivals as it has continued to grind-away at everything and everyone else.
To be clear, the apparent victory of this particular monopole culminating in this grand American Century (The Sequel!™) has not been in any way an actual victory as victories have been portrayed within the ethos of competition. There is no superiority displayed by this victor over its rivals. Its machinations, like all the machinations behind it since the beginning of the Age of Fossil Fuels, have been the results of luck and a talent for self-deception. No party has ever had more energy at its disposal or been able to dissemble and confuse its own and its potential critics internal sense of what is right and fitting. With all the fuel and all the power this fuel has fed and this ability to function with extreme ruthlessness while maintaining an erstwhile sense of internal justification this has been the Mama-Bear of Goldilocks’ Dreams.
While we need to be clear at how this power exists and how it exerts itself we also need to remain clear that none of this makes this power actually, well, powerful. It remains the most destructive force ever unleashed upon this earth, but it does not do what it aims to do. The only End served is general destruction. Its purposes are nothing but a chimera. While its power seduces its activants into ever greater exertions of effort none of what it does will serve them or anyone else in any useful or meaningful way. We are caught beneath the feet of a Juggernaut in its death throes. It is scary. It continues to cause great harm, but it has long ago stopped having any connection between what its leaders think they are after and what they are actually doing.
Which brings us back to the Dark Economy. In this way the darkness is not just a reflection of its perpetrator’s desires for secrecy. Having chased the enticements of command-and-control so far up their own asses they are now operating as much in the dark because of what they’ve done to destroy their ability to see clearly as through their efforts to be secretive. Having taken the reductivist hatchet as their only tool they have split everything they perceive into such small pieces that there is no way they can achieve clarity. Only darkness.
The same tricks that have given them supremacy have led to their blindness. The tools which after the struggles between craft and technology fought in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries have now all come down to a single tool, a hatchet with a microscope attached – A tool dividing and separating everything ever smaller and then aggregating these smashed fragments into immense conglomerates that are then perused microscopically to “mine their data.” This tool promises them “Whole Sight.” It ensures their continued incoherence. Take away – and here I mean through the inevitable results of their own actions not those of any “enemy” – their fuel and the frictionless Utopia in which they currently operate and the entire project crumbles. The first part to go will be their Machine-Godhead itself, this Eye of Sauron they pin all their hopes on today.
There is a Moment of Clarity today. It lays precisely at this point. As it has not been possible before to see the bankruptcy and corruption of the entire power project with the multitude of views made possible in part by the “trickle-downs,” the Tang® of this nefarious program as we’ve played with consumerized spin-offs of this Dark Economy. We can now see from so many angles and directions just how futile and bottom-line destructive it is. For us there are no feasible delusions left to us to hide behind. As blind as it makes them it provides us with a view never available before.
This view will not last. The Dark Economy takes all boats into the dark, those rising on the tide and those sinking beneath its angry waves alike. This Dark Economy is fading into a Dark Age. Its invisibility is a factor in hiding the transition from view even before the lights have gone out.
There are many past lessons painfully learned that have already been lost. So many talents and skills are at risk as the inanity of economic obsolescence strips us of anything that may be useful to us after its great ascendancy has past. Still, there is likely one thing we are the only ones capable of passing on to those who must follow. Someone needs to remember. Someone needs to be able to say. Someone needs to be in a position to be heard.
We cannot just take into the Dark Age the Dark Economy’s visions of Dungeons and Dragons, of Dark Prisons and Corrupt Lords. None of this leads anywhere but back to where this all started.
All is not confusion. There is a distinction between Strength and Power. A strength that acknowledges its limits, that accepts fear and does not place it above all else.
Turning our backs on power we have an alternative. Remaining in its thrall we have none.
Help this lesson survive the Darkness.
3 thoughts on “The Dark Economy”
Beautiful. This essay by Christy Rodgers is a perfect companion I think to what you just wrote: https://christyrodgers.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/the-knife-of-modernity/#comment-631
Thank you Jeff.
Yes, I read Christy Rodgers’ essay. Also Nafeez Ahmed’s “Why the Google made the NSA”
It seemed time to just take stock. Not to “make a case” but lay out the ground on which we stand in relation to those chasing after power.
Have you considered the weight of information and knowledge as the lucre of the powerful. Money is only one of the torments used to subjugate people. Information and knowledge are very powerful, wielded potently, even over the heads of the powerful.
Secrecy is the Achilles Heel of the powerful.