Sunday, January 15, 2017
The 70 Year Old "Troubled Teen" With the Nuclear Launch Codes
Hyper-narcissism, check. Anger management issues, check. Attention Deficit Disorder, check. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, check. Nuclear launch codes, check.
I expect that a 12-year old boy who exhibited Donald Trump's personality disorders would be heavily medicated. Ritalin to be sure. IV Ritalin? Not sure if that's even a thing.
To say that Donald Trump lacks the stability, aptitude and skill set required of an American president today is a grotesque understatement. Yet, in a matter of days, he'll be installed in the White House. To the American people who voted for him, thank you, you miserable peckerheads.
As Princeton professor, David Bell, concludes, Donald Trump is the ultimate loose cannon. "It's now all too easy to imagine his troubled personality leading to his country's collective fall."
What is a "loose cannon" anyway? In the days of sail it was a cannon that slipped from its restraints in the midst of a battle or storm and endangered both the ship and crew. Today it's used to mean an uncontrollable or unpredictable person who can damage or destroy his own faction, political party or even nation.
The Democrats no longer have the means to stop him and the Republicans in Congress lack the courage to stand up to him. Worse yet, he's assembled a cabinet of dodgy characters who, almost to a man, play to his every flaw.
Kevin Phillips, in his 2005 book, "American Theocracy," offers a helpful exploration of how power transitions from one dominant power to its successor. There is a pattern. America has been on this very glide path for the last 30 years.
In Phillips' model, the superpower rots from the inside out. The decay begins when it abandons the core economy that brought it to the top of the heap - manufacturing. It yields to the allure of much greater wealth to be had by restructuring to a FIRE (finance, insurance, real estate) economy while its enterprises outsource their manufacturing sector elsewhere. In this way the dominant power uses its power and wealth to grow what eventually becomes its successor's economy.
As Phillips shows, the FIRE economy produces much greater returns in the short term, a matter of decades. But the FIRE economy, unlike the manufacturing economy, is brittle, fragile and much more susceptible to economic shocks such as recessions. The manufacturing economy also experiences setbacks from recessions but it's more robust and bounces back quickly. The more economic shocks the more fragile and vulnerable the FIRE economy becomes.
Eventually there's some seismic economic event, war perhaps, and the once dominant nation slips to a new steady point, making way for the next king of the hill. The nation in decline doesn't collapse. Usually it just falls into line behind the new dominant economy.
Anybody else smell the faint scent of a seismic event in the air? Maybe it's just me.