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The insanity of the Bush Administration has proved difficult for many political writers to explain: here I offer the writings of Harry Shutt (especially his most important work, The Trouble With Capitalism, as a key ingredient in an analysis of present-day economics and politics.  References, unless otherwise stated, are to this work.

In reading political discourse over the past few years, I sense a similarity of pattern, with more-or-less the same characterizations:

Bush –- village idiot who controls the US government
Neocons –- mad rulers with incredible power to do harm
Republicans –- party of fundamentalist Christian cultists and neocons, rubberstamp party for Bush
Democrats –- spineless, well-intentioned fools who are overawed by Bush and the neocons

These stereotypes are, by and large, close to the mark, so their acceptance as given begs a number of questions: how did Bush and the neocons get, and maintain, so much power?  Why are the Democrats spineless?  Why is the current regime faced with so much of what (from a traditional standpoint) looks like insanity, from fiscal imprudence to disdain for civil rights to indifference to the loss of human life?

Much of the Bush/ neocon axis can be explained in terms of stories about Karl Rove and about Bush’s immediate financial backers.  These stories do not explain, however, how a President as thoroughly neurotic (yet pedestrian) as George W. Bush could have gained power.  The public blind spot in this regard is quite sizeable: do check out, for instance, the comments listed in about Justin Frank’s Bush on the Couch, starting with Publishers Weekly:

The author’s exegesis of Bush’s personality traits-the drinking problem, the bellicose rhetoric, the verbal flailings and misstatements of fact, the religiosity and exercise routines, the hints of dyslexia and hyperactivity, the youthful cruelty to animals and schoolmates, the smirk-paints an intriguing, if exaggerated and contemptuous, portrait of a possibly troubled public figure. But Frank’s attempts to translate psychoanalysis into political analysis are unconvincing. Indeed, if Bush’s reneging on campaign promises is a form of clinical "sadism," and his budget deficits an "unconscious attack on his own parents," then Karl Rove, the Cabinet, and both houses of Congress belong in group therapy with him.  (from the page)

Publishers Weekly attempts to distort Frank’s case here by inserting a moment of denial, thus keeping the mystery alive.  If you want to think about Bush’s sadism, start with his treatment of Death Row appeals, or Iraqis, and if you want the unconscious attack on Bush’s parents, look at W.’s rejection of his father’s wing of the Republican Party.  George W. Bush is neurotic, and this translates into neurotic policy, neurotic backers, and, ultimately, a neurotic political system.  How did things get this way?  That’s the mystery, and we pretend that things are otherwise at our risk.

The narratives that treat the Christian Right as a threat to American democracy have only found one piece of the puzzle.  They have gotten beyond the blame upon Bush and his immediate cabal, to look for his backers.  W. is in power because, clearly, he has powerful backers.  But the multitudes of the Christian Right are mere foot soldiers – if they have been recruited to advance the political interests of Bush and his Republican Party, it might be because they have become captivated by W.’s status as "born-again Christian."  This is at least a start.  But, generally, I find that the fact that W. can count on large numbers of Christian Right soldiers to advance his cause does not itself explain the Christian Right’s power.  Sure, the Christian Right might account for 25% of the American public, and their power is concentrated in certain Plains states and states in the Deep South.  But they do not, all by themselves, explain Bush’s power.  The Republican Party is not controlled by fundamentalists, but rather by the wealthy capitalists who control the economy in places where fundamentalists live.  "Christian Right" explanations of Bush power certainly do not explain the acquiescence of the Democratic Party in many of Bush’s initiatives.

When we get to financial explanations, however, we certainly have a key to understanding Bush’s power.  We can see the power of finance over Presidential politics expressed out loud in the sheer amount of money used to finance Presidential campaigns, courtesy of's FEC page.  Financial explanations also account, to a certain extent, for the acquiescence of much of the Democratic Party in many of Bush’s initiatives.  Both Democrats and Republicans are leaning heavily upon capital, and capital supports Bush.  But a financial explanation of Bush’s power, in itself, does not account for why the financial might of the US would commit itself to a President like Bush.  If the financial Powers That Be have nearly $800 million to throw into two major-party Presidential campaigns, one of which must necessarily lose, why haven’t their resources been directed toward someone more appropriate for the office than George W. Bush?

After all, previous political eras in American history have been directed by the wealthy and powerful – what directs this era to be governed by the "worst President ever"?

This appears to be even more of a puzzle when one considers the enormous effort spent by various powers to prop up Bush Junior’s regime.  Consider, for instance, the numerous media failures to investigate Bush regime lies, the failure to contest both stolen elections, and the acquiescence, reaching deep into the ranks of the Democratic Party, to many of Bush Junior’s more pernicious initiatives.  W. is practically begging to be impeached, tried, and convicted – yet the machineries of finance, industry, and media continue to keep him in power despite the obvious possibility that they could spend far less time, money, and credibility maintaining the power of a less problematic President.  What accounts for this situation?

For an answer, I believe, we must look at the dynamics of neoliberal economy, as exposed by various authors (see, for instance, Robert Brenner's The Boom and the Bubble, or Levy and Dumenil's Capital Resurgent).  The one guide that I think expressed neoliberalism most concisely is Harry Shutt’s book The Trouble With Capitalism.  Many of the major texts of neoliberal economics describe the qualitative difference between economic life before, and after, the 1970s.  But few are as articulate as Shutt when he describes why the current economic era, the Age of Financial Capital or neoliberal governance or whatever it should be called, is the beginning of the end for the capitalist system as a whole.

For Shutt, the main disparity dominating this economic era is the disparity between investor expectations and actual global economic growth.  As global economic growth (outside of China) has slowed significantly since the ‘70s, so, indeed, investor expectations have gone in the opposite direction, expanding as opportunities to reap a material surplus have decreased.  So, explains Shutt, investment in this era has gone increasingly into speculation, creating what are typically called "bubbles."  The cause of all this is described by Shutt as follows:

...the availability of investible funds has risen almost continuously in real terms since World War II, and from around the early 1970s the growth of fixed investment opportunities has slowed down. (110)

This creates an economic reality in which capital becomes increasingly desperate to exploit any surplus wealth that can be found.  When the global growth rate averages maybe 3-5%, yet profit expectations range much higher, surpluses must be found and exploited above and beyond economic growth per se.  This is done mainly by increasingly leaning upon government, such that

the weight of official opinion is still clearly convinced that the primary duty of government in the global economy is to prop up corporate profits at all costs despite the demonstrable reality of a surplus supply of capital (87).

For Shutt, this surplus supply of capital explains so much about the economy in this era, especially as regards the domination of finance capital over the economy as a whole.  This, in turn, explains the stagnation in real wages to the mass privatization of government assets (50-51) to the vast expansion in both personal (81) and government debt (112) to the expansion of "creative accounting" (215) (e.g. Enron) to an economy based increasingly upon "anarchic speculation."

So where does George W. Bush fit into Shutt’s equations?  Well, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, fruitless as it might seem, constitutes more of this "anarchic speculation" that rules the economy of the world Shutt describes, which is our world.  Since, in this era, there is too much capital chasing too few opportunities for investment, capital searches desperately for the cheapest sources of labor and the biggest opportunities for government welfare.  And invading Iraq is an opportunity for government welfare.

And that’s what invading/ occupying Iraq is all about.  A fraction of capital profits immensely from the occupation of Iraq, and plans to continue to do so, so anyone who is "playing the game" in the political world has hitched her/ his star to the continuation of this occupation, regardless of the looming political catastrophe it appears to incite.

And this, and not some saner path to corporate profits, is made more likely by the increasing hunger of capital for 1) raw profits and 2) new sources of speculative profit.  Bush, of all people, is probably what capital is looking for in a President because, of all possible Presidents, his loyalty to capital is the most unstinting.  He runs the biggest deficits, and promotes the biggest tax cuts.  His personality defects are doubtless pushed aside (and covered over in the media) because of his devotion to capital’s cause in an era of expanding capital surplus.  His born-again Christianity, and disdain for civil rights, are doubtless accepted as part of the overall package.

We might also, with the summary judgment of John Bellamy Foster, imagine that we have reached the end of rational capitalism.  Since economic life has lost its veneer of rationality, Foster argues, political life is irrational too.  After having reviewed for us the history of Keynesianism, including its regression as "global stagnation gave rise to a global casino economy as capital sought an outlet for its surplus," Foster concludes:

The obvious conclusion is that there is no space for a rational politics of the left in line with the logic of capital. All pretensions to the contrary have proven illusory. Yet it is equally true that capitalism is unable to accommodate anything that could be considered a rational politics of the right. With the return of stagnation, and the rise of neoliberal global restructuring, conservatism has been reduced to making "free market capitalism" work by removing all barriers to the accumulation of capital in every sphere. (Foster)

And George W. Bush, we might consider, is a fitting President for a time when rational politics, either or right or of left, has died.

The Trouble With Capitalism was published in 1998 –- before Bush Junior’s Presidency -- yet none of Shutt’s later books really does much but restate the message of this one in even more extreme tones.  Shutt’s proposed solutions, like his theories of the existing order, are phrased at a rather general level.  To sum up his diagnosis: Capitalism, as it is currently constituted, is doomed.  New technologies will just exacerbate the current glut of capital (93), and "emerging markets" are likely to depress wages further, thus stagnating overall consumption (192).  Shutt wants something more collective, more democratic, and more considerate of human beings and the environment to replace the existing order, but is not quite sure what.  

If you just want the raw theory of Harry Shutt, something (as I have argued here) that might just make Bush insanity comprehensible, pick up The Trouble With Capitalism.

Originally posted to Cassiodorus on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 01:30 PM PST.


Which crisis will shock the capitalist system first?

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| 134 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good diary. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shirah, ormondotvos, Unbozo

    Anything that sheds light on our economic background and Bush's backers rapacious greed is good.

    What about the Manhattan project to make us energy independent, isn't there some room for growth there? What about making sure our citizens are better educated, wouldn't that help our economy grow?

    Does this mean we have to sharpen and update our populist message? What is the role of of citizens in this globalized society?

    GWB 7/13/06: "I thought you were going to ask me about the pig."

    by hoplite9 on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 02:09:57 PM PST

    •  thanks for the comment (8+ / 0-)

      The problem is that there is too much capital, and thus too much of an expectation of profit when measured up against the real economy's potential for growth.

      Alternative energy and making sure citizens are better educated are good things regardless of whether they make the economy grow, or not.

      Reduce, reuse, recycle

      by Cassiodorus on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 04:22:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  n/t (4+ / 0-)

        Much of the so-called "surplus" of capital is ephemeral. The days of dollar hegemony are coming to a close, as you have suggested. Once the horrendously inflated US dollar collapses, which seems inevitable to me, much of the "surplus" will evaporate and, eventually, all of the inflated currencies will adjust closer to their intrinsic value. A dramatic global deflation will prove to be a great "leveler" of the global economy.

        The bursting of the current global economic bubble, accompanied by a global climatic catastrophe, will cause mass extinctions on planet Earth. Let's hope that homo sapiens are not one of the species to be eliminated, at least not altogether. To be sure, there will be a helluva lot fewer of us before this new millenium is over.

        "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

        by jayatRI on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 05:27:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The problem isn't too much capital. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's too many people chasing what capital there is, under unfair rules.

      If the human race wishes to rid itself of its parasitic members, then it will, and the image that comes to mind is the breaching of a whale, smashing off the parasites by a huge jump in the air, out of the water full body.

      I don't think our masters will allow it. If you look at FDR's reforms, they were designed to prevent that social revolution.

      We need a "no-guns revolution" right now. That is the message that Nancy and Harry better get, and get quick!

      Not just tinkering, but new laws with TEETH.

      You know, the kind of teeth you bite fleas with.

  •  The future belongs to Socialism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Capitalist Experiment is dying because it is inherently biased to making the rich richer and the poor poorer, concentrating wealth forever up the pyramid.

    All capital is created by labour and yet labour receives the least. If today capitalism didn't exist and someone came up with this idea as an economic system...they would probably get strung up.

    Socialism, such as the brand being developed right now in Venezuela, has to be in our future if we ever hope to achieve peace, equality, and social justice. One way or another it has to happen; either by the force of reason as society collectively matures, or brought about by some horrible side-effect (like the ones you've listed) of avaricious capitalist greed.

    PS it's unfortunate that, on a supposedly liberal site, these kinds of diaries rarely stay on the front page for very long.

    Liberté, égalité, fraternité, ou la mort!

    by VoiceFromTheOuterWorld on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 02:42:13 PM PST

    •  What flavor socialism? I assume European or (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Scandinavian?  You did mention Venezuela.  

      I agree socialism to an even greater degree than we have known is in our future, if we really want to survive as a society and not a collection a warring corporate fiefdoms with Libertarian lawlessness akin to the wild, wild West!

      Still, even socialism relies on Capitalism as its economic system.  What better economic system can their be to help integrate socialism?  Parecon?  

      •  tnx for the link, interesting site! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shirah, FightTheFuture

        I guess socialism is a broad term. I think it's a work in progress; you have to start with a solid constitution that establishes some basic principals for the state's role: the individual must come before all; education, health, and freedom of expression must be established as inalienable rights; the accumulation of wealth has to be checked at some agreed upon level; the money systen has to be real, i.e. backed by gold or some other commodity, and control taken out of the hands of private short, socialism with some aspect of regulated capitalism.

        The problem is we always run into the pinhead argument that this all is just utopian nonsense but the guys who wrote the American Constitution were utopians as well. I think if they were around today they'd dig the Venezuelan Constitution. What they're attempting is just as radically different as the Founding Fathers and the French did a few years after that.

        The wild wild west is a good analogy: i see nothing different in the way American style capitalism works than what is presented in the HBO series Deadwood

        Liberté, égalité, fraternité, ou la mort!

        by VoiceFromTheOuterWorld on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 05:19:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Deadwood is a good comparison, just the (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DaleA, shirah, ormondotvos

          trappings (modern day society) and weapons (lawyers, financial institutions, corporations) have changed.

          Good point you made about people.  Thom Hartman pointed this out recently that labor, and by default, people, are treated as commodities today, like gold, wheat, etc.  People are NOT commodities and we have to understand and relearn that.  It demeans human life and inalienable rights.  

          There are many things that have to change to realize  a better future.  The economics is just one thing; although a very important point.  People have to change their philosophies, to understand what living life could be about, perhaps should be about beyond the accumulation of material wealth.  This is very hard since it is so tied with the formation of ego and the narcissistic components of that; slef interest can lead to selfishness.  It is also reinforced in so many aspects of how we live.  

          Self interest on its own is not bad, however, but it needs a reaffirmation of what it is about.  Even Adam Smith thought self interest was not just about the self:

          Economists, and others, who have read The Wealth of Nations commonly presume that when Smith speaks of "self-interest" in that book he is speaking of selfishness. Although in some contexts, such as buying and selling, sympathy generally need not be considered, Smith makes it clear that he regards selfishness as inappropriate--if not immoral--and that the self-interested actor has sympathy for others. The self-interest of any actor also includes the interest of the rest of society, as the society is the only means to reflect the (in-)appropriateness of one's actions as he argues in The Theory of Moral Sentiments.

        •  If you read the Federalist Papers, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shirah, VoiceFromTheOuterWorld

          especially the wikipedia article on Federalist #10, you'll find that their utopianism, and the flaws in human nature (which haven't evolved out, and won't in this situation) have been discussed since humans had government.

          Until humans get over their political correctness and tribal blinders, we will just circle the bowl at a higher or lower speed.

          We need to think about some bloody-minded enforcement techniques, and we need to seriously think about the responsibilities of the individual toward the good of all, and not just "what the country can do for us."

          Start thinking about Barack O'Bama as JFK, and you MUST think about that Kennedy quote. It's about reversing the cultural hyperindividualism we live with now.

          It's almost impossible to talk about sacrifice without being shouted down as a utopian, or communist, or collectivist.

          Thank you, Ayn Rand, and all your spoiled children.

      •  Capitalism is merely a description. (0+ / 0-)

        It just refers to the fact that plowing the profit back into tools increases the output per labor hour, and also tends to make labor nicer to do, and that ain't trivial.

        Capitalism is an economic descriptor. What you may be looking for is politics, rule of law.

        Acceptance of the rule of law as expressed in the simple algorithms of evolutionary game theory called the Golden Rule.

        Greed must be served by force, or anti-law. We're doing that now.

        That's why people want the Democrats back for, to make the bullies follow the law, or go to jail, and that is why if the Democrats do not jump in and show that they are serious about law and punishment, we are going to spiral into a nexus of political despair.

        That's why O'Bama is so popular: he looks idealistic and unbought, unlike Harry and Nancy and Hilary and John.

        You're welcome.

        •  Economic reality and political reality (0+ / 0-)

          Economic reality and political reality are not different realities, such as we can regard "capitalism" as referring to a mere "economic descriptor" without reference to the fact that the capitalists pour enormous resources into, and expect enormous benefits from, a capitalist system that is (as a whole) increasingly held together by government fiat, having been dependent upon government management at least (in the US context) since the application of Keynesian macroeconomics in the 1930s, if not earlier.

          Capitalist discipline is a term borrowed from Kees van der Pijl's 1998 book Transnational Classes and International Relations, who defines it as follows (36):

          The discipline of capital does not emerge spontaneously, from the inner recesses of society.  It is imposed by a social force which owes its apparent autonomy to commodification and alienation, the breaking of elenemtary community bonds.  Resistance therefore always includes the quest for a restoration of some sort of community against this disruptive, alien force.  Capital is in constant quest for unpaid labor in its social substratum, and once a major 'deposit' is found and incorporated, it seeks to raise the rate of exploitation in the actual labor process; until at some ponit the social and natural substratum upon which capital accumulation feeds, which it penetrates and transforms, begins to show signs of exhaustion.

          Thus capitalist discipline is a real force molding society with commodification, such that society's labor-power can be appropriated (for political purposes) with acts of exchange.  Enter government, which has the power to print money and exchange it for the labor-power to command wars around the world, subsidies for big business, and so on.  The fact that the social world has been commodified, and its labor power alienated, in advance of government's macroeconomic appropriations, so as to allow this to be possible, is no trivial human social accomplishment, owed to capitalist discipline.

          In the so-called "dark ages" of Europe, governments were the sole promoters of money; people would otherwise do without money, except that governments (if they had the power to do so) forced them to participate in a money economy so as to pay monetary (instead of "in kind") taxes.  In the era of neoliberalism, the ability of the US government to appropriate labor-power has hypertrophied through dollar hegemony, such that the US can declare as many wars as it wants, and the rest of the world has to pay for them.  

          This is possible not because of "human nature" but because, under neoliberalism, the rest of the world has been integrated into one capitalist economy through capitalist discipline.  George W. Bush figures into this mix not as a mere agency of "greed" but as a President who is willing to maximize the opportunities available to his backing corporations under dollar hegemony.  If you want to see a list of the continuities, in this regard, between Bush and Clinton economics, check out Robert Pollin's Contours of Descent.

          Reduce, reuse, recycle

          by Cassiodorus on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 07:33:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Capitalism and Democracy are antithetical (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            systems, when you look at them critically.  Both serve types of freedom, so they seem compatible and that is the big joke on us all.  

            Democracy seeks to empower all humans, "All men are created equal", while the other seeks to concentrate wealth and its partner, power, into few as hands as possible.  In the end, freedom is lost, often forever.

            With or without "government" this will always happen.  The only way I see out of this is a government of, for and by the people, with people of each generation educated on what they means and why it is so important.

            Franklin said, when asked what had been created:  "A Republic, if you can keep it".  America is a great experiment, and I am not certain it will last much longer.  I hope its ideas will carry on, because the past alternatives have been, mostly, shit.

          •  BTW, interesting links. thanks. nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  In another diary I discussed this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shirah, VoiceFromTheOuterWorld

    Here I suggested:

    At some point in the future, we must, then, look for some other form of discipline to replace "capitalist discipline," before "capitalist discipline" becomes a total ecological calamity.  I would call this other form of discipline ecological discipline, for it will have to create an ecologically sustainable, global society.  This will be the real point of both economics and politics -- the election of leaders will still matter, but what will really matter will be the creation of ecologically sustainable systems in all fields of endeavor.  

    Joel Kovel, following Enrique Leff, calls this idea "ecological production," which, essentially, means that instead of producing commodities, we will be producing ecologies, and that any human metabolism within the ecological systems we produce will not destroy the ecological substrate of production.  Teresa Brennan expresses this in a "prime directive": "we shall not use up nature and humankind at a rate faster than they can replenish themselves and be replenished" (2003: 164).

    in short, if we have "socialism," it will have to be "ecosocialism"...

    Reduce, reuse, recycle

    by Cassiodorus on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 04:49:40 PM PST

  •  Perhaps ecological discipline.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...or perhaps something else.

    We often discuss the relative merits of communism, socialism, and capitalism as though those are the three choices.  In my view, none of those will work.

    Every "ism" has flaws - because anything made by man has flaws - and sooner or later those flaws are discovered and exploited by some at the expense of others.  Everything contains the seeds of its own destruction and it seems like all the seeds are named Greed.

    We need a new system.  A new ism if you wish.  It too will have flaws and in time it will have to be discarded, but for some period it will serve us well.  The problem is defining it, which requires better minds than mine.

    Ideas, anyone?  

    •  Yes, your problem is lack of a feedback (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


      You can't do these things without a mechanism for course correction, and that algorithm can't be politically controlled.

      I think you're sniffing around Technocracy, or the Foundation.

      You have to be willing to temper your social values with realism about society and how people work.

      If you recall the tremendous spate of bullshit leveled at sociobiology (and I'll probably get some right now) you'll understand how hard it will be, if it's possible at all.

      Leo Strauss deals forthrightly with this problem of rejection of reality in politics, for which he is stupidly reviled as a misinterpreter of Plato, who was a hard-nosed sonofabith.

  •  Exhaustion of readily available resources (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I wish to suggest that the relative paucity of lucrative investment opportunities in comparison with the quantity of surplus capital is a necessary outcome of the gradual decrease in easily exploitable natural resources. Such a dearth of resources is bound to occur as human population and human technology cover the planet ever more thoroughly.

    Imagine a herd of army ants living in a grassy territory. Suppose the ants reproduce quickly, and at first have ample food. As the herd grows, it necessarily expands to cover more territory, so that each ant is able to forage over an adequate area of territory containing an adequate food supply. Now further imagine that the herd (colony?) of ants expands so far as to reach some natural boundaries -- rivers, mountains and so forth -- such that the herd is entirely entrapped within a fixed area. If the ant population continues to increase, eventually all the land in the ants' fixed territory must become denuded of vegetation and animal life. Subsequently, many of these very successful ants must die so that their resource base can recover.

    In the case of human population, the resources in question are the non-renewable ones such as petroleum, coal, iron, and so forth, as well as the semi-renewables such as groundwater, forests and clean air.

    As the territory becomes overpopulated and short on natural resources, "investment opportunities" naturally become more scarce, while "capital" (money wishing to make more money) naturally increases. The system then may go into a kind of panic in which the cycle of exploitation of resources intensifies, eventually leading to collapse.

    If we as a species are lucky, instead of a rapid collapse, we might experience a sort of slow collapse during which some accomodations are possible. Since this experiment has never been tried before on a worldwide scale, it seems impossible to predict the outcome in any detail.

    All this is to suggest that the problem is not capitalism per se. The problem is too many people experiencing too much success. Human ambition and ingenuity appear to have overwhelmed the resources at our command. Because of the huge number of variables and the lack of prior trials, the future appears opaque but hardly reassuring.

  •  Tomorrowland (0+ / 0-)

    We in this country are always dazzled by some great new thing. Everything you need to know about who we are as a people can be found encapsulated at Disneyland. For this piece I direct you to consider the meaning implicit in Tomorrowland.

    It is a small world, after all.

    •  Disneyland is exactly right (0+ / 0-)

      We have become the land of dreams and comforting lies. That adaptation has been a-brewing since the mid-1950s. Of course there is plenty of material prosperity to help it along; the world has never seen so many living so well.

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