Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

But in the meantime, enjoy the political theatrics down on the sand-strewn floor of the Coliseum.

While the much-touted differences between America’s political parties get obsessive, hysterical attention, the sameness of Imperial corruption, waste and squalor regardless of who’s in power gets little notice. 

Scrape away the differences–mostly in domestic issues–and we see the dead hand of Imperial Corruption is on the tiller.

The core of Imperial Corruption is the disconnect between the nation’s ideals of representational democracy and open markets and the sordid reality: elites serve their interests by corrupting both democracy and open markets.

Unfettered democracy and markets cannot be controlled by a tiny, self-serving elite.

 Stripped of corruption, democracy and markets are free-for-alls that are constantly evolving, as highly adaptive islands of coherence coalesce that influence the quasi-chaos, competing with other islands of coherence but never gaining dominance due to the open-ended dynamism of collaboration-competition that is the beating heart of both democracy and open markets.

The only way to control democracy and markets to serve the interests of the few at the expense of the many is to corrupt them completely by destroying the dynamism of collaboration-competition. 

Democracy is replaced by an auction of political power to the highest bidder that rewards cronies and devotes all its resources not to solving the nation’s problems but to whipping up conflagrations of divisiveness and partisan hysteria that wash away the middle ground where problems can actually be addressed.

This crippling of the nation’s ability to actually solve difficult problems serves the interests of self-serving elites whose sole interest is accumulating personal wealth and power. Their proclaimed interest in solving the nations’ real-world problems are fraudulent tissues designed to hide the putrid reality that all their so-called “solutions” distill down to sluicing huge sums of state money to cronies and campaign contributors under the guise of “solving problems.”

The only “problem” America’s elites know how to solve is the “problem” of how to get personally richer while tightening their control of the nation-state’s vast flood of (taxed / borrowed) money. 

Cronies and contributors get tax breaks hidden in 1,000-page legislation and overflowing rivers of money (here’s looking at you, Big Pharma, Big Defense, Higher Education, Sickcare, et al.).

America’s elites are masters at misdirection and distraction: it’s always the other side’s fault that the nation is sliding down the wrong side of the S-Curve. 

The elites don’t really care which side is in power, as they control them both to serve their own interests.

But something funny happens on the way to gaining control of complex emerging systems: that control destroys the system’s self-correcting mechanisms and adaptability. 

Rigging the system to serve one’s own interests destroys the system’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances and selective pressures.

Once a system has been crippled to serve the interest of an elite, when forced to adapt or die, it can only die as its mechanisms of adaptation were destroyed by the power-grab of elites. 

An economy dominated by a handful of cartels and quasi-monopolies is an economy that is doomed to slide into the dustbin of history, as cartels and monopolies “win” by crushing competition and competing islands of coherence, as competition threatens their profits and control of markets and governance, a.k.a. “democracy.”

Any system that serves the interests of the few by choking off adaptability and the dynamisms of a free-for-all churn lacks the tools needed to avoid systemic collapse. 

By enabling elites to organize the nation to serve their personal interests, America has been stripped of the dynamics needed to adapt. Without these dynamics, collapse is the only possible outcome.

But in the meantime, enjoy the political theatrics down on the sand-strewn floor of the Coliseum. While Imperial Corruption undermines what’s left of the nation’s ability to adapt fast enough and successfully enough to survive what lies ahead, we can cheer the “winners” of the bloodsport and ignore the winds of disorder sweeping the land.

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