STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Scarcity Memes Rev Up?
By Staff News & Analysis - December 14, 2010

The new hungry: College-educated, middle-class cope with food insecurity … vegetables and microwavable meals from her community food bank … Come Christmas dinner, Rolanda McCarty, a 36-year-old single mother, usually goes all out. Her table last year featured a rosemary-and-oil rubbed turkey and a sweet ham. She prepared fresh collard greens according to her grandmother's recipe. The dessert — a rich butter pound cake – was made from scratch. But after being laid off from her technical recruiting job in January because of the struggling economy, there will be no fancy holiday feast, no family members pouring into her downsized one-bedroom apartment. She will rely on what she has: canned vegetables and microwavable meals from her community food bank. – New York Times

Dominant Social Theme: There is not enough of anything to go around. Be careful.

Free-Market Analysis: We continue to track scarcity memes. Our position has evolved along with the failure of global warming. For over a year we have maintained that its failure would make it much harder to promote food and water scarcity themes that the power elite had evidently and obviously planned to hype. The article excerpted above in the New York Times (a primary elite mouthpiece) also makes the point that "food insecurity" (more dreadful buzz words) is now afflicting the "college educated." This is a new phenomenon the Times points out, as if this makes the possibility of starvation even more dreadful – that one can do it with a doctorate.

We are not surprised at the growing ubiquity of such stories. These fear-based memes go back decades, but they have recently been ramped up in our estimation. These scarcity memes, in fact, are a bald war on the middle class, designed to make them more malleable. (That does not mean, by the way, that there are no food shortages; only that these shortages in our view may be manipulated, at least in part, as well …)

As the Swiss elves were composing this article, a feedbacker sent us a link pointing out a new water-promotion. The water-scarcity meme is one you would think the elite would abandon, given the difficulty in establishing global warming. In fact, not only are there more water-scarcity predictions these days, they partake of "climate change" as if it were unquestioned.

This only confirms our perception that these promotions are planned well in advance, and that they are quite broadly based and somewhat uncontrollable once they get going. This is why the elite cannot turn around the global warming meme. They can change the name of the promotion to something like "climate disruption" but the actual mechanics of the promotion are so deeply embedded in the larger society – think tanks, academia and media – that removing it (or starting over with something else) is well-nigh impossible. Here is an excerpt from the water scarcity article-link that we were sent:

US southwest could see 60-year drought: Study … A worst-case scenario devised by US researchers shows that the American southwest could experience a 60-year stretch of heat and drought unseen since the 12th century. Researchers at the University of Arizona examined studies of temperature changes and droughts in the region over the past 1,200 years and used them to project future climate models in the hope that water resource managers could use the information to plan ahead. An examination of the past, through human-kept records but also via rings in the cores of trees that can show periods of wetness or drought, showed that dry spells of earlier centuries were much worse than any we have seen in modern times. – Agence France-Press

You can see, dear reader, how heat and drought are prominently mentioned in this "study." But this sort of article is only one of many. And there are plenty of reports about food shortages as well. We predicted reports about "food insecurity" would not diminish just because of global warming's diminished credibility. Like the walking dead, these promotions lurch forwards.

Here's an except from an article we wrote a while back called "Failure of the Famine Meme" … "There are plenty of people who don't and never will believe in organized fear-based promotions orchestrated by a shadowy, familial power elite. But … one can actually trace not only the rise of these fear-based promotions, but also the difficulties that the power elite is having in maintaining current promotions and building on them with promotions that are expanding or in-the-works. It is the putative failure of the global warming meme – the pivot point of many power elite promotions – that in our view is bollixing up a number of other promotions as well."

It is actually enough to give one whiplash, and in a sense we believe it is supposed to. The World War II generation – Depression babies – have spent their whole lives anticipating disaster and trying to secure themselves from it. The US Baby Boomers, however, knew nothing but plenty. Central banking economies – as we have written before – produce a kind of Dreamtime that can go on for generations and in this case the post-war Dreamtime lasted until the middle of the first decade of the 2000s. Of course, Baby Boomers were never informed of their plight. Instead faux-economists like John Kenneth Galbraith deplored the apparent prosperity. Here is an abriged excerpt from Galbraith's 1960's bestseller, the Affluent Society:

Labour, Leisure and the New Class

As productivity increases, the marginal utility of production decreases and, so long as leisure returns a positive marginal utility and work a negative or lesser marginal utility, there will be a tendency for society to work less. This can manifest in one or more of three distinct ways:

Everybody may work fewer hours,

Everybody may work less intensely, or

Fewer people may work.

This process has long been underway. Society's past productivity gains have mostly been manifested in forms (1) and, to a lesser extent, (2). In 1850 the average American worker worked a 70-hour week, a hundred years later it was only 40 hours … Work has to some extent become less intense and unpleasant, although again there has been a strong resistance to the making of work more pleasant as a tangible goal — rather, these improvements have been made indirectly by health and safety conditions, through automation of particularly unpleasant tasks, and so on …

The rise of what could be called the New Class, of workers who engage in enjoyable and fulfilling work, is one of the most significant trends of the affluent society. It thinks and acts like a class, indoctrinating its young from the earliest age of the paramount importance of finding an occupation which will be satisfying — which "will involve not toil but enjoyment." The children of members of the class usually remain within the class one way or another, and when they do not it is regarded as a tragedy.

The New Class is not exclusive and entrance is perfectly feasible. The primary criterion is education. The movement of an ever greater proportion of society into the New Class is a very beneficial effect of economic development, and the further continuation and acceleration of this trend would make a laudable societal goal. The main means by which this might be achieved would, of course, be a heavily increased investment in education. Membership of the New Class affords the opportunity to spend one's working life in relative comfort, engaged in tasks that one finds interesting and challenging. It is reasonable to suppose that everybody would like such an opportunity … Whatever the next challenge is, we can be confident that the most effective way to prepare for it is to continue to invest munificently in education at all levels.

Galbraith's maleficent musings are already being forgotten, but the above excerpt provides a flavor. Contrast him to the patient and modest Ludwig von Mises; Von Mises spent his life warning about the great evil of central banking. It is why von Mises is read today. Galbraith's writings meanwhile crumble into dust. With great eloquence and even greater wit, Galbraith spewed his bile for decades, almost always purchased rabidly by the middle class he despised. His most heinous act lay in the duplicity of promoting 20th century central-banking Dreamtime as if it were real: As if the "prosperity" he so decried were anything other than a monetary manipulation of his colleagues and peers.

It was all a promotion; one designed to come tumbling down in the end. Like court jesters, the Galbraiths of the world were trotted out in the 20th century to voice eloquent disapprovals of central banking hyper-capitalism without ever mentioning the mechanism. The 20th century economy, it was said, was so prosperous because so many were educated and because so many had excess cash. Where the cash was coming from was never explained. No, the ability of central banks to print money from nothing was never mentioned, not in a million articles by a thousand major money magazines over a century. Discussions of the "motor" of 20th century prosperity was out of bounds.

It was a set up, and a vicious one. Those young people who lived in the 20th century were made to feel terribly guilty about their "affluence." So many, badly educated on purpose, fell victims to "isms" – socialism, communism and above all environmentalism. It turns out, in fact, that environmentalism was to be the key to unlocking global governance. The phony promotion of global warming snapped shut like a trap, producing the verdict that carbon-dioxide would have to be controlled and that "market mechanisms" would do the trick. The idea was to build, basically, a carbon currency that would fund a kind of total state control of the individual's consumption of energy and therefore his or her every action.

But for the Internet it probably would have worked. Yes, in our view, the Internet was a terrible mistake. Like the Gutenberg press before it, it simply wasn't planned. And now its truth-telling has exposed so much about these serial, elite promotions and their end-goal: evidently and obviously some sort of New World Order. Tattered and bleeding, these elite promotions lurch like the living dead toward global governance.

After Thoughts

In fact, we think the scarcity promotions like the ones mentioned above are damaged – perhaps beyond repair. More and more people (including Baby Boomers) begin to understand their fears and the real reasons for them. Of course, Galbraith is dead, so we will never know in what way he would have responded to what has taken place, or the end of his "affluent society." Somehow, we are sure, he would have found a way to blame average people. His departure has spared us more honeyed poison.

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