STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Americans Embrace Big Government to Help
By - October 15, 2008

Americans are looking to big government to dig the country out of the financial crisis, a Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll shows. A plurality of voters support the $700 billion financial-market rescue bill President George W. Bush signed into law Oct. 4. That is a turnaround from a Bloomberg/Times poll in September, when a solid majority said it wasn't the government's responsibility to bail out private companies. The poll conducted Oct. 10-13 also finds that Americans favor the federal government providing assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure, by a greater than 2-to-1 margin. And almost three-quarters say they believe insufficient government regulation contributed to the financial and housing crises, up sharply from September. Poll respondents say they want government to step in. "They have to do something to spur the economy, otherwise we'll be further in the hole than we already were,'' says Mike Hackenberg, 36, an independent voter and warehouse worker who is studying to be a teacher in Rainier, Oregon." -Bloomberg

Dominant Social Theme: The Wild West is over. Americans understand what Europeans do, that big government is a cornerstone of civil society.

Free-Market Analysis: The kind of soft socialism that has been ushered in with the latest and most expansive US government involvement in the private sector is un-American in a fundamental sense. If one subscribes to the idea that America was once the world's most powerful and productive republican society, then the current state of affairs is truly eye-opening.

America has come a long way in a short time. With a hands-off agrarian oriented society, the country created an industrial boom the likes of which the world had never seen. It took a civil war and millions of dead to begin to install the kind of central-banking system and European-style, top-down approach to industry that exists today.

Today America, like other Western countries, is greatly influenced by its central bank and the distortive effects of money creation. Central banking is a merciless engine of consolidation. Simply by existing it drives forward an enormous confusion about the economy that changes peoples lives and leads to centralization of every sort. People grow up in a central banking society believing that they can get rich through the proper allocation of securitized assets – stocks, bonds, etc. Call this a speculative society. It stands in stark contrast to an asset-based agrarian society that was built on farming and the acquisition of gold and silver, often in physical form. In such a society, the value of gold and silver gradually built over time as technology made services less expensive. Inflation, of course, was non-existent as inflation is a monetary phenomenon driven by central banking.

But once a central bank has been created, the distortive effects know no bounds. Industry is tainted by incredible booms that tempt farmers and their children away from their fields. Gradually lending becomes less local and more regional and even national. Every aspect of society is first industrialized and then centralized. In the meantime, the local infrastructure has been fragmented. Farming, industry, schooling and every other fundamental activity has gradually shifted away from local control.

In the later stages of a speculative economy, people are fairly dependent on others – often far away – for their livelihood and continued employment. Decisions are made hundreds and thousands of miles away that will influence how they live their lives and survive. In a central banking society, companies are massive and the surges of capital grow ever more powerful and unpredictable. Money swings through the world in a wild wave and people do what they can to organize their savings, investments and employment to conform and to try to stay afloat.

A speculative society is far more than a monetary phenomenon. Central banking centralization affects every aspect of society. Education is debased because much must be hidden from future generations about the way their world works. History is redefined to gloss over the distortive causes and effects of money power. Religious institutions are eroded as spirituality comes to seem outmoded in an environment where so little seems relevant to individual faith.

From an industrial standpoint, central banking's relentless money surges put a premium on endeavors that help people navigate through increasingly uncontrollable and powerful forces. Lawyers prosper in central banking societies, and accountants and financial advisors. The whole of society is affected, gradually, over generations until finally it is difficult to see clearly what might have been absent central banking and what is a result of its power.

Yet, perhaps we can say with some clarity that the end game involves a citizenry that has committed its savings to large-scale financial marketplaces, a citizenry involved in "professions" that might not exist absent money power, and, generally, a massive centralization of society that leaves people feeling powerless and afraid. The rot is very deep at this point in the arc of a speculative society. Corruption and civil savagery are often on the increase as is militarization.

It is in this environment that people welcome further government intervention, not because they seek it, but because they see no other remote hope in their lives for some sort of lifeline. Buffeted by so many forces beyond their control, they seek to latch onto the one part of their lives that they understand, government and bureaucracy. The rhetoric of government is all about helping and its actions in theory substantiate some of the rhetoric. Its most powerful leaders are templates onto which people project the hopes and dreams that they have given up on for themselves.

After Thoughts

Societies do not normally find citizens that wish further and further involvement of strangers far away in their personal affairs and finances. People have to be in positions of powerlessness, helplessness and fear before they will actively seek the beneficence of the crown. In America, once an independent, quasi-agricultural society – and now a society dominated by centralized power and securitized assets – people obviously feel afraid, but they may lack the necessary frame of reference to understand their situations.

Of course, there is still a culture of entrepreneurialism and achievement in America that comes from its relatively short national history and republican framework. And because of the Internet there is an increased consciousness about how a republican society is organized and what it would look like absent other forces. Those who have this sort of understanding often seek to live more fully and freely by taking personal responsibility for their actions and their professional decisions. You can spot these people by their knowledge of their relationship to their societies and also by the kinds of investments they make. Many of these individuals may have positions, perhaps substantial positions, in gold and silver as an antidote to central banking money swings and money power in general.

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