The Stationary Chait

Jonathan Chait seeks to personalize the suffering of “millions and millions of Americans,” and the apparent disinterest of the elite, but his recognition of impotence and remoteness can offer only melancholy on its own terms, otherwise a sense that things must be both much worse and much better than he can say. They are worse in fact but offer less of a moral indictment because it’s the intractability of mass unemployment within the limits of the politically-economically possible that leads to the indifference: The elite are forgivable to the extent they know not what they do or could do, though the admission undermines their claim to elite status. They rightly feel like frauds, so focus on their work, and their moral aimlessness mirrors the aimlessness of political culture generally: The financial crisis was a deathblow to globalized neoliberalism as political ideal, but the leading candidate for successor remains the stationary state and the end of the American global project, the opposite of some exciting new departure or enterprise. In the meantime the two main economic alternatives put forward and passionately defended by partisans qualify as utopian, not because they are particularly imaginative, but merely because they cannot be implemented. They cannot be implemented, or no one can quite be bothered to implement them, in part because we seem to be heading to where they lead, or to where they fail to lead, to nowhere, anyway. Krugman-Keynesianism offers a short-term pseudo-solution to the problem of depressed demand. Ryan-Hayekism offers a pseudo-solution to the problem of global profit growth. The former seems to be more humane, at least more humane to us, and to give us more time to dream up another fantasy, to pass some time under initially reduced stress, to plot the way to a next fix or maneuvers in the absence of one, so naturally deserves every thinking patriot’s support with all his heart, and all his mind, and all his soul. The populace seems largely to have intuited the dissipant pointlessness of the exercise and to have taken on the elite’s relative indifference osmotically, if obviously less happily. The more conscientious great political faction, the participating electorate, may remain inclined to bring back a President who still symbolizes and still may even represent a real possibility of a less conflictual, more decorous, “kinder and gentler” adaptation to national-global middle age and onset of senescence, but it cannot be a very highly motivated inclination until and unless provoked.

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  1. I’m not sure whay Gopal intends by the ‘stationary state’ the Valukas inquest into the Lehman collapse, 2200 pages of which I’ve read only 300, casts an interesting light into the matter, one of the larger millstones around it’s neck, was Archstone, which comprised large land purchases, in conjunction with Tishman Speyer, this along with the fact, that they bet against the oil bubble correctly is why they had to go,

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