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Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago

I really enjoyed this essay, but I don’t think we need elaborate theories about the permacrisis. The reason is simple really. It is easier to govern through fear than vision. Crisis is a crutch for the incompetent political elite that dominates the west right now. Solving the housing crisis or generating economic growth requires tough decisions and innovative solutions. It’s much easier to scare people about the crisis dujour. Any dimwit like Trudeau can respond to forest fires with hysterics about climate change and empty promises to reduce emissions. It takes leadership to mobilize the resources to thin out forests that have grown dense from deadfall. Vilifying critics is easier than responding to their arguments. Crisis is convenient. I do think people are stating to wise up though. That’s why there is such profound distrust of institutions.

T Bone
T Bone
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I enjoyed it too. He rarely ever points fingers at bloated government bureacracy but he got alot right in this piece

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

It ain’t complicated. Mussolini explained this a century ago:
Everything within the state. Nothing outside the state. And the state must always be in crisis.

Glyn R
Glyn R
6 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Another Mussolini quote seems to aptly describe where we are: “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” — Benito Mussolini

Susie Bell
Susie Bell
6 months ago
Reply to  Glyn R

That is a perfect description of our current system. I hadn’t thought of the West as fascist- but it is

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
6 months ago
Reply to  Susie Bell

It really isn’t! ‘d suggest to disabuse you of this lazy comparison you actually read a history of Fascist Italy, “Blood and Power” is a recent one. The Fascist’s main and initially only political tool, was the systematic and constant use of violence against both property and people, firstly against socialists and communists, and later also against liberals and anyone else who got in the way. This created a sense of almost permanent crisis which eventually helped the Fascist’s seize power as the only force who could control the Italian State, although if the King and Army had been determined, they could easily have crushed the Fascist’s.

It is absurd to compare any modern western country with that, whatever major problems we do have

Kathy Hayman
Kathy Hayman
6 months ago
Reply to  Glyn R

So let’s stop referring to it as Marxist or Communist! It seems just about every commentator in alternative Media, mostly people who were on the Right or still are on the Right refer to this ongoing megacrisis as a Marxist plot. I must say it’s stretching reality quite a lot to think of Rishi Sunak or any of his cabinet or indeed any of the Western leaders as Marxist

Chipoko
Chipoko
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

… the incompetent political elite that dominates the west right now.”
Gordon Brown is an archetypal representative of that incompetent political elite with a grinding commitment to international globalism and transfer of wealth to the poor nations of the world. He a bad odour that festers in the miasma of global politics long after the UK electorate threw him out nearly 13 years ago (ditto Blair).

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
6 months ago
Reply to  Chipoko

I think you forgot that Gordon Brown – in his own estimation – saved the world. LOL

Chipoko
Chipoko
6 months ago

Evidently he continues to consider himself an ongoing Saviour!

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
6 months ago
Reply to  Chipoko

His most notable achievement? The “Brown Bottom”.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The governments are merely following the playbook of special interest and identity groups who use the same tactics.

Race groups constantly talk up racism, trans activists talk about trans genocide and everybody else rants about the imminent global climate apocalypse.

Keeps the money coming in and everybody at each other’s throats.

Last edited 6 months ago by Mike Downing
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

NGOs are a pernicious influence on govt, whose role seems to have supplanted the electorate. It’s a co-dependent, destructive relationship. These orgs often get their funding from govt so they can influence govt policy. They are very well organized and speak with one voice. The govt tends to listen to these groups and often have a closer relationship with them than actual voters.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Agreed, and any idea or person that opposes them is disparagingly termed, “populist”.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Correct. Fancy words like polycrisis must not deflect from the appaling truth. Inadequate weak leaders have failed miserably to deliver the basics – cheap housing, cheap energy low taxation, fair laws, control of borders, planned public services, resilient national security, support for wealth creation. Since the Crash of 2008, the UK has spiralled madly downhill and ignored these fundamentals. We are choking in these multiple weeds. But another Horseman then arrived. By adopting the poisonous destructive progressive cults of Net Zero and Equalitarian ideology, they changed from pathetic headless Turkeys into dangerous Wolves. Our Establishment has grasped at authoritarian coercion and Project Fear to batter and bully us – from Brexit to their insane Lockdown – with EU style Top Down Diktat, all supported by the catastrophism of the evangelical BBC. Polycrisis is the inevitable result of this unprecedented DUAL horror. A useless failed Elite – and its capture by progressive ideologies (open border/race division/degrowth/statism) which make national crisis and decline permanent almost by design.

Paul Curtin
Paul Curtin
6 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Good article, good comment.
I believe it was Junker, the ex EU President, who said that “You should never waste the opportunity of another crisis “ (I’m paraphrasing here) in relation to more power grabs from states to the EU for control, finance etc.
The incompetent Soros/Davos smug set are quietly eroding personal liberties as those with the levers of power are always pushing the next crisis on us and extolling that “we need to do this as it’s in your best interest and we know best”.
The global warming hysteria with useful idiots waving placards is just the latest and is being milked to that end. At this rate we’re going to have barcodes tattooed on us in some dystopian future.
Remember this though.
The same people who messed up the world economy in the 2008 went to the same schools, universities and move in the same circles (Davos etc) as the clowns who our “elite” (oxymoron) so don’t expect any change soon, they are cut from the same clothe.
In fact I suspect the continual crisis is manufactured to hasten things along on that path.
Its like putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop to be honest.
I have long ago given up on the political class to auger change for the best or actually have the interests or voice/interests of the public at heart.

William Jones
William Jones
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The so-called human activities causing the so-called climate change is a glaring example of distorting the actuality to manufacture a crisis concept. Human activity only generates approximately 6 percent of the total CO2 produced. The remaining and substantial percentage is due to “natural” processes, so, reducing or even eliminating human CO2 production would hardly make any significant difference. However, we must be told and believe that human activity is primarily responsible in order to accept the distorted concept of crisis.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
6 months ago
Reply to  William Jones

Do you have a reference for that stat? I’m not disputing it, I’m genuinely interested.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
6 months ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

The problem is that there are very convincing arguments being made by both sides of the argument. Searching the internet only leads to frustration, as “experts” from both sides will argue and provide manufactured “facts” to make their cases.
What I tend to rely on is the honest fact that our planet is 4.5 billion years old and our climate has changed dramatically during that time, from ice ages to massive warming, over thousands or millions of years. Mankind’s impact represents a miniscule blip on the axis of time (200 years?) IMHO it is hubristic to believe that a single species can make much impact on the climate of our planet. Once volcanic eruption or a solar flare can set into motion the next mega trend.

Studio Largo
Studio Largo
6 months ago

The author had me nodding in enthusiastic agreement until the thirteenth paragraph, where his reasoning takes a decidedly pro-China turn. Excoriating the West for its totalitarian bent when China is doing the exact same things, only more so, is staggeringly disingenuous, to put it very mildly. Exhibit A: China’s pandemic policies. As grotesque and despotic as the West’s were, the CCP took things to an even more horrifying point.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Studio Largo

An excellent succinct comment, thank you.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
6 months ago
Reply to  Studio Largo

Ditto. Had exactly the same turn around at the same paragraph

Robert Hochbaum
Robert Hochbaum
6 months ago
Reply to  Studio Largo

I was thinking of commenting that this was a subject I actually found myself in agreement for once with Mr Fazi when I read that bit. I was going to say, “Is this the same China that is trying to wall off the South China Sea?” and thought – screw it. Mr Fazi almost had me, there.

Arthur G
Arthur G
6 months ago

Agree with you all. Excellent article until the China bit.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
6 months ago
Reply to  Studio Largo

Same here. It’s a shame Fazi seems to be captured so completely by his blatant anti-American bias, to the point he’s willing to overlook how much worse China would be. He spent all that time building a really good article, drawing excellent insights about how the international ruling class tries to dominate the world with no accountability to anyone but themselves, only to throw it in the furnace and take up his usual America bashing sledgehammer at the end. Fazi is frustrating. He makes so many excellent insights but his conclusions seem disconnected from his observations and ultimately guided by his resentment of American hegemony, a sentiment he shares with, ironically, many if not most Americans who are just as weary of paying the costs of globalism and American hegemony while seeing the benefits accrue almost exclusively to those same international elites he so effectively excoriates through the first twelve paragraphs.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
6 months ago
Reply to  Studio Largo

If the fall of the Western hegemony is the elites nightmare, the moves toward Chinese-style controls (social credit ratings, surveillance cameras, harsh lock-downs, etc.) are the nightmares for the rest of us.
And with good reason.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
6 months ago

Indeed. My reading of the situation is that the elites believe they need to maintain global hegemony, the so-called rules based international order, in order to maintain power over increasingly hostile domestic populations. They’re probably right. They can safely ignore domestic outrage while there’s no international conflict that demands nationalist economic policies and while they can continue to use the free flow of people and goods to shuffle their assets around, exploit whatever and whoever they can, and continue to make money that they use to dominate domestic media, support the single cause activism that divides western populations over fringe issues, and otherwise manipulate the democratic process. If, however, great power conflict and/or the revisionist agendas of China, Russia, Iran, BRICS, and others begin to disrupt the free flow of capital under the almighty dollar, producing something closer to the Cold War era or going back even further to the era of colonialism, regional powers, and spheres of influence, their ability to project economic power abroad will be greatly diminished and they may face being pushed out of foreign investments by nationalist economic policies while still under siege from angry domestic populations. It’s all falling apart and there’s not much they can do about it but hang on as long as they can and hope someone does something colossally stupid, like Xi starting WWIII over Taiwan, that allows them to point the finger at someone worse than they are, or perhaps some technological development to spur another economic expansion similar to what happened with the Internet in the late 90’s and early 00’s. They’re just about at the level of praying for a miracle.

Nardo Flopsey
Nardo Flopsey
6 months ago
Reply to  Studio Largo

Now be quiet, Captain Obvious!

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
6 months ago

Crises are the cornerstone of WEF policies. We have a Quisling government installed, as do many of the countries in the West…

Dylan Blackhurst
Dylan Blackhurst
6 months ago

It’s so very odd.
So much of this permacrisis is self inflicted.
A complete lack of courage, lies and clear thinking has got us here.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago

‘We’ used to call that Lack of Moral Fibre (LMF).
If you were unfortunate enough to be a sufferer there was NO hope.

William Murphy
William Murphy
6 months ago

But that was in the middle of WWII. Even Leonard Cheshire, an extraordinarily humane man, as proved by his post war achievements, noted that he felt forced to be ruthless on weakness as a bomber squadron commander.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  William Murphy

Perhaps Heraclitus was correct when he said “War is the father of all, and the king of all”?

Johnson Kalo
Johnson Kalo
6 months ago

War is peace… freedom is slavery… ignorance is strength…

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago

It’s a lack of strategic thinking and dereliction of duty. Since the 80’s politicians have seemed to think their job is to just “leave it to the market” and everything will turn out ok. The housing crisis should be proof enough that this isn’t always the best policy for every situation, however nothing ever seems to change, they’re happy to sit and fiddle while the country slowly grinds to a halt

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Well, “leaving it all to the markets” has been a religion for decades. Screeching u-turn on that of course in certain quarters, once the markets rogered Truss lol. Surprising amount of statism evident in Brexiter circles.  

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

But housing hasn’t been “left to the market”.
Planning restrictions are the main reason too few houses have been built.
Monetary central planning (interest rate manipulation, rampant money printing) has worked along with restricted supply to drive house prices to many multiples of average earnings.
These are government failures, not market failures.

George Venning
George Venning
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

Actually, planinng restrictions are not the reason that too few houses have been built.

Government policy has been to ameliorate house price increase by planning to build more homes than are required to meet demographic change (including migration). The national target has been 250,000 a year for over a decade and it has recently been increased to 300,000.

Local planning authorities have duly made provision for building the required number of homes (since about 2007) but responsibility for building the homes falls to the market – i.e. developers. And developers do not, in aggregate build enough homes to meet those targets. Indeed, for many years, they undershot by about 50%.

Why is that? Well, because, if developers were to build enough houses that prices stagnated, they’s all go broke.

In short, government has an ambition to build enough houses to end inflation but it leaves it to the market to deliver – it has no power or ability to compel – and the market has not performed.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

I’m skeptical of this argument. In Canada at least, there are plenty of builders, all competing with each other and quite willing to step in if one contractor opts out. The problem here is land and regulations. Even things like rent control can depress incentives to build.

Ira Perman
Ira Perman
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

A crisis of available land in Canada? That speaks volumes.

Last edited 6 months ago by Ira Perman
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

My thoughts exactly. Isnt the housing problem caused by govt interference in the markets?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

NIMBYs slowing down building certainly doesn’t help, but land banking by large developers is a much bigger problem. The amount of land they’re sitting on that’s been consented to build on is simply obscene

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

This is another issue completely. It’s the land developers driving up prices. Yet this should only happen if there is a scarcity of land.

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You can’t just ‘leave it to the market’ without listening to what the market is telling you AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. The ‘housing crisis’ is a case in point. The market was saying there are too many people chasing too few houses so prices are rising beyond what is affordable. That’s when tough action to keep out &/or repatriate illegal entrants to the country should have taken place. Frankly, that’s when the Government should have governed according to the law of the land. Illegal entrants should have been expelled immediately. If they had the money to pay people smugglers then they had the money to enter legally. Clearly, they could not enter legally either because they had no right to do so because they had no genuine fear or persecution ro claim refugee status in the first country they entered OR they had a criminal background. If the first thing you do on entering a country is act illegally, what are the chances of you being a law-abiding citizen in the future?

George Venning
George Venning
6 months ago

“The market was saying there are too many people chasing too few houses so prices are rising beyond what is affordable.” Not true. Housing completions over 20 years is greater than household formation over the same period. And overcrowding hasn’t increased either – check the census.

Prices are rising across the world, even in jusisdictions that build loads more houses than we do. (Seattle builds at about three times the rate London does and prices are rising even faster). The reasons for rising house prices are way more complicated than supply vs demand.

Government housing policy (Labour and Tory) is to oversupply the market in the hope of slowing house price increases to a stop but it doesn’t work because the people responsible for over-supplying the market are… developers. i.e. the very people who benefit form price rises and who would go broke if prices ceased rising. so the market actually builds enough homes to make developers’ business models work.
If you actually wanted to fix that, you could either reverse the direction of migration (albeit likely at the cost of collapsing the entire economy, at least temporarily) or build enough affordable housing that the affordable homes would provide price competition for open market housing. How much affordable housing that would be varies from place to place but it’s totally doable.

Last edited 6 months ago by George Venning
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

Why would bullders go broke if housing prices drop? They build a house and sell it. In Canada, there is not enough construction in communities with high prices like Toronto and Vancouver, and there’s lots of construction in markets with lower prices, like Edmonton and Calgary. The big difference is availability of land and less restrictive regulations.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Because if house prices drop then they make less money per house built. Why would they employ more builders and pay for more materials to build 100 houses, when they can instead slow the build and make more money by only building 50 if it keeps prices higher

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I’m pretty sure the construction industry doesn’t work that way. Developers build a house for X dollars, add in their profit margin for another percentage, add in the cost of land and put it on the market. If their profit margin is say 20%, and the resale market doesn’t support that, then they won’t build. That basically only happens when the housing market declines and there’s more houses available than demand. Competition in the construction industry is too fierce for developers to demand obscene profit margins. The difference in price is almost always the cost of land, and it’s the cost of land that drives prices. This is where the govt has a role. In Ontario, the govt has driven up prices by setting aside green space, which has reduced the land available for development.

George Venning
George Venning
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Because their biggest input cost is land and land is a function of development value. (The old rule of thumb was a third of completed value but it’s actually: value minus costs minus profit equals land value).
But, if you buy (or option) land today, you won’t be selling houses for a couple of years. So, if property prices are £280k today, a developer has to project house prices in a couple of years. Say he assumes that they’d be worth £300k. He might then pay £100k/plot for land.
But now, imagine the market stalls in the meantime and, by the time he’s selling, the value isn’t £300k, it’s only £270,000. None of his other costs have fallen and he can’t recoup his over-payment from the landowner. His profit is down by £30k/unit.
Now, this example is a reduced profit – it’s a survivable event for a developer. But if costs rose in the meantime (as there often do), it would quickly become loss making.
But the point is that developers aren’t helpless in all this. They have a simple remedy against falling prices – don’t over-supply the market. So, because they’re not stupid, they don’t over-supply the market and they don’t go broke. But the government’s policy of asking developers to deliberately over-supply the market in order to stabilise house prices never gets fulfilled.

Last edited 6 months ago by George Venning
Stuart McCullough
Stuart McCullough
6 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

You have stated the issue quite plainly. The only solution is to enable the free supply of development land but at the same time raise the costs of land banking through taxing land with outline or detailed planning permission. But the large house builders are now a political force in their own right and governments of either colour will never risk offending them.

George Venning
George Venning
6 months ago

Which is why Labour wants to CPO a load of land…

Niels Georg Bach Christensen
Niels Georg Bach Christensen
6 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

Build affordable houses ?. How would you do that. No time in history has the lumpenproletariat ever lived in good housing. Apart from the migrants or fugitives in northern Europe, because the state pays their rent.

George Venning
George Venning
6 months ago

Apparently, your history is pretty shaky in this area. But sure, I’ll bite. Do you know how many families there were on Council housing waiting lists in london in the early 80s? About 4,000. That was considered a scandal at the time. Do you want to guess the current figure?
Did you guess 170,000? No? Well, perhaps that’s because it isn’t considered a scandal any more. We’ve stopped expecting to solve the problem.
My point being, we used to be much better at this.
And I’m not talking about the “lumpenproletariat” here – as in the criminal underclass – I’m talking about a situation in which an increasing proportion of middle class working households can’t afford to buy a normal home and increasingly struggle to rent one. The fact that two incomes are now required to sustain the open market rent in large swathes of the country goes a long way to explaining the collapsing birthrate (see also childcare costs).
Back in the 1950s and 1960s the average working household spent around 10-15% of income on housing costs. The figure is now double that.
Now, you could argue that the housing wasn’t what we would now call good. But it was OK. After all, most of that housing is still in use. And most of everything that we had back then looks a bit rubbish now.
And Council housing (back then) was overwhelmingly for working people in work. Council rents weren’t much lower than private rents. But people wanted to rent from the Council because the homes were newer and better and the Council made a better landlord than many private landlords in what was, after all, the Rachman era.
The divergence between Council rents and private rents isn’t because Council rents got lower (they’re still linked to average incomes – as they always were) it’s because private rents got much more expensive.
Back in the mid-century, land was cheap (thanks Luftwaffe), and construction costs were low, so Council rents were almost enough to fund development. They didn’t quite cover the full development cost but the need for capital funding to top up was modest – so the state built loads of it (and acquired more on the open market). It required investment but, after a 25 year payback, the ongoing rent, eventually paid back the initial capital funding and then some. The state lives longer than you and I do, and, as a perpetual organisation, it will eventually make a profit on any affordable homes it builds.
Part of what makes our present crisis a scandal is that the state chose to stop investing capital in social/affordable housing – even though it knew that it would eventually get its money back and more. This was an unforced error driven entirely by short-term thinking. It also sold off about half the stock, and didn’t even use the proceeds of that to fund new affordable housing.
As late as 2017 (i.e. well into the housing crisis) the Housing Revenue Fund had a positive balance i.e. the state received more money in rent on older affordable housing than it had capital invested in more recent affordable housing. Once again, the state was investing so little in solving the housing crisis that Affordable housing was a net earner rather than a net cost for the state.
Meanwhile the share of GDP that the spent on rent support (much of it to private sector landlords) is the highest in the OECD.
Choices
Council/Affordable housing isn’t a burden on the state. Properly considered, the necessity of providing decent housing (and making sure that everyone has access to a home as cheaply as possible) is one of the fundamental justifications for the existence of a democratic state in the first place – along with justice, education etc. If you can’t figure out how to do it, you’re failing at being a state – just as you would be if you couldn’t figure out how to provide healthcare or education or public transport. or a functioning legal system.

Last edited 6 months ago by George Venning
Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
6 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

Excellent post George!

George Venning
George Venning
6 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

Thanks

P N
P N
6 months ago

The housing “crisis” has been largely due to loose monetary policy.

George Venning
George Venning
6 months ago
Reply to  P N

When do you date the “crisis” from? Because, if you’re starting post financial crisis, you’re missing the big ramp

David Barnett
David Barnett
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Relax planning controls and the market will solve the housing crisis.

George Venning
George Venning
6 months ago
Reply to  David Barnett

Which ones? The ones that say you can’t build in national parks, or the ones which require you to contribute towards the cost of the infrastructure from which your development draws value? The ones that stop you blighting your naighbours? Or the ones that stop you discharging your effluent into the nearest river?

Getting plannig consent is slow, expensive and frustrating. But, if you’re investing £1bn over 20 years, and expecting a return of £200m, then arguing that the need to spend a couple of years and £1m on dealing with the planning system is what is holding you back is, frankly bananas.

Ira Perman
Ira Perman
6 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

Residences in National Parks? It’s already happening. Joshua Tree National Park (in California of course) is near perpetually overrun by (mostly) young adults living months-on-end in large communities of tents outside the designated camping areas. The lack of waste management is disgusting.

George Venning
George Venning
6 months ago
Reply to  Ira Perman

I’m being facetious, obviously. But I would also point out that our National Parks have little in common with yours – they are much less protected. Not only do they contain plenty of homes already but building new ones is also permitted under certain circumstances.

There are four internationally recognised grades of “National Parks”. Those in the UK are in the fourth category, which was invented – in large part – to accommodate Britain into the regime. Otherwise, our national parks wouldn’t qualify as such at all.

P N
P N
6 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Housing “crisis”? It seems this article is lost on you.
Why do you assume market failure for the so-called housing crisis and not policy failure? We have policies that restrict house building, both through planning and building regulations, whilst the state has printed money for over a decade. Where do you get your certainty from? You have fallaciously assumed that the thing you don’t like (the market) is the bad guy and the thing you like (the big state) can fix it, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary.
Florida suffered a massive boom and then bust during the GFC whilst Texas didn’t. Why was this? Simple. Planning restrictions are much less stringent in Texas than in Florida.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
6 months ago
Reply to  P N

BB is very sure of his/her views, regardless of how ridiculous they sound, and regularly disparages everyone else. In the States, we call folks like that horses arses.

Last edited 6 months ago by Warren Trees
Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
6 months ago

What is a crises but a change that is faster than the human’s ability or willingness to adapt. Permacrisis is thus a product of a static mindset.

Peter Kwasi-Modo
Peter Kwasi-Modo
6 months ago

Brown has got to take some responsibility for the 2008 banking crisis because he went along with the regulatory light touch which led to what we now call “casino” banking and which gave our central bankers an appetite for QE. He must also take some responsibility for the refugee crisis because he did nothing to stop Blair getting involved in insane invasions of Afghanistand and Iraq.

Chipoko
Chipoko
6 months ago

Brown must also accept significant responsibility when, as the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, he colluded with Blair’s covert (but subsequently confessed by him in a Sunday Times article) policy to maximise the admission into the UK of people-of-colour in order to dilute what he considered to be the monochrome state.

Jennifer D.
Jennifer D.
6 months ago

I’d also say for selling 50% of Gold reserves and his end of boom and bust. I’ve had to learn about Gold and it’s true value of being money.

Peter Kwasi-Modo
Peter Kwasi-Modo
6 months ago
Reply to  Jennifer D.

Yes, indeed!! Gordon abolished boom and bust in just the same sense that King Canute abolished the tide coming in and going out. Thanks for reminding me about that particular aspect of GB’s legacy. It never ceases to amuse.

David McCluskey
David McCluskey
6 months ago

That clown, Brown. He, who in the run-up to the banking crisis repeatedly claimed, “No return to boom and bust.” That alone showed how utterly unfit he was to hold the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Last edited 6 months ago by David McCluskey
Mint Julip
Mint Julip
6 months ago

He’s recently said that we polluting Western countries should create a three trillion (£s $s?) fund to help out Africa and some other “third world” places, as reparations for the global damage he asserts we have caused. No doubt coming to a political platform near you soon.

P N
P N
6 months ago

The 2008 banking crisis was not caused by the “regulatory light touch.” Regulations had actually increased over the previous 20 years before the GFC. Allowing retail banks and investment banks to join forces certainly didn’t help but this so-called light touch was not the cause. The root cause of the GFC was people failing to pay their mortgages? Why did this happen? Because banks had lent to people who could never repay their mortgages? Why? Because the US Government, thanks to Clinton’s Community Reinvestment Act had forced them to. The GFC is an excellent example of the state causing a crisis with its interventionist policy and then blaming it on the market.
QE is something else entirely.

Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
6 months ago

Never let a good crisis go to waste…

Sage Vals
Sage Vals
6 months ago

All aided and abetted by the 24 hour news media who rely on crises to maintain their audience.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
6 months ago

“There is no politics without an enemy,” according to far-right Curtis Yarvin.
So when you’ve run out of enemies like Kaisers and Nazis and Commies, you need a good solid climate war to fight. And really, until with have our nice little war with the Martians, our global elite can only unite on a global war on climate, or COVID, or the horror of misinformation.
Our leaders really are the best of the best, you know.

R Wright
R Wright
6 months ago

“The specific political distinction to which political actions and motives can be reduced is that between friend and enemy.”

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
6 months ago

“This means that countries have to rethink ‘traditional assumptions about nation state sovereignty’ and be ready to ‘give up a little autonomy.'”
The author puts his finger exactly on the motivating force here: The Progressive Left has realized that more and more people have caught on to their scams and won’t support them, thus we need to turn to a more and more electorally insulated bureaucratic regime on the EU model. That way sensible people (like them) can manage things without the bother of getting the permission of ordinary people.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
6 months ago

‘Power’ is their one principle and ethic combined.

Citizen Diversity
Citizen Diversity
6 months ago

Gildas described a crisis in the previously accepted definition in his work, On the Ruin of Britain. An excoriating indictment rather than a history, his work indicates what happens to global bodies. In their extent of control – the Roman Empire was ‘the empire of the whole earth’ – they create the condition for the crisis when they fail. All the eggs are in one basket.
By all means create ever more extensive global bodies from the foundations of the UN, the EU. All that apparatus is storing up the real permacrisis. The same for the other side.
As for the opportunity, the nature of it can be seen in the sad story of Argentina. Once ‘that other America’, and just as rich, with Buenos Ares ‘the Paris of South America’, and just as cultured, now reduced to begging at the door of a club comprising a variety of authoritarian states, one now waging aggressive war, another run by a religious nationalist, and another having achieved the remarkable feat of 20,000 murders a year and a soon-to-be anti-immigrant political party; a country that defeated apartheid. And that is not a crisis? That is not authoritarian?
There were opportunities in post-Roman Britain. Alongside those, the poetry written in those centuries speaks of the impermanence in the gains of wealth, reputation and power; the treasures that moth and rust consume. At the same time, the tone of that poetry (all very Luke xxi.9-11) can determine how we see everything in that period. There is enough evidence to suggest that pockets of Romano-British calm existed for a considerable time. Even if those people in West Yorkshire weren’t able to eat eccles cakes.
It might be thought that Narnia was in a state of permacrisis. Each crisis is never permanently solved. In the frozen Narnia at the end of The Last Battle, that permacrisis is indeed permanent.
As a child, the author Katherine Langrish thought that Narnia was a place of permanent adventure. The adventure demanded by the permanent crisis. A quite understandable assessment. And not only because a crusading spirit would see it so. Jill, a character in these stories, thinks so too.
However, in The Last Battle, a Narnian corrects Jill’s mistake. For hundreds of years, and for all the generations in all their days, Narnia has been a place of peace. ‘The picture of all those happy years , all the thousands of them, piled up in Jill’s mind till it was rather like looking down from a high hill on to a rich, lovely plain full of woods and waters and cornfields, which spread away till it got thin and misty from a distance.’ (The Last Battle, pp110). This is the accurate description of the experience of each human life. The disturbances are impermanent. God is the restorer of the lost years (Joel. ii. 25).

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
6 months ago

I’m not sure why you got panned for that comment. It’s rather intriguing and I think I concur

AC Harper
AC Harper
6 months ago

This was a good article. I’m reminded of Peter Turchin’s Cliodynamics hypothesis where he proposed that there are periods of calm under a particular Elite, a period of chaos as the old Elite lose their grip, followed by the birth of a new Elite.
So a key question for me is whether or not the current state of world affairs is truly a ‘permacrisis’ or merely the chaos between the end of the old guard and the creation of the new.
You could argue that the old elite represented ‘Pax Americana’ but that the gerontocracy has now lost its grip. What will replace it? I suspect all the usual global organisations are struggling to get their feet under the new table… but there are some big countries that won’t be prepared to join a ‘Pax Mundanus’.

Karen Arnold
Karen Arnold
6 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

My sense of where we are, is in the chaos of the old Elite losing their grip, panicking as they are aware of this. What we can’t yet see is quite who the new Elite are, what they believe in and the impact on the life of ordinary citizens in the West. Will it be better or worse? Don’t know, but there will be chaos getting there.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
6 months ago

A good piece, but I suggest that the “Permacrisis” is not the thing to focus on–rather, the PermaPANIC. Not the panic of the elites, but the panic they induce in the rest of us.
The so-called crises are in many cases real problems that should be studied and thoughtfully addressed, but they are being framed by the subservient media and culture in such a way as to induce panic, and people in panic are mobs and easily manipulated.
In other words, the goal objective is to create and sustain panic that allows manipulation to succeed. The crises are, in a sense, only the Macguffin. They can never be ameliorated, let alone solved, because they are there to sustain the panic. So, the proposed solutions almost always involve more control for the elites, but also are nonsensical if the goal is to solve the problem.
There are several crises, but take climate change as an example. Climate change is real, there is almost certainly a human-induced contribution involving CO2 and a few other gases, and beyond that we speculate but know very little. There is no scientific basis for focusing on a 1.5 degree Celsius increase as marking catastrophe, but it easy to throw out plausible sounding BS to persuade people and is therefore a great tool to induce panic because there is no rational way to avoid 1.5 degrees. So, now in a panic, we are told the answer is NetZero by, say, 2040, which is so ridiculously unattainable (and unnecessary) that a person not in panic would laugh at it. But NetZero hugely increases elite power and control, for our own good, of course. Meanwhile, China, India, and other huge emitters go their merry way, while the elites fly around the world in their private jets, because climate is not the real issue–it is panic in the Western population. Climate is the Macguffin.
You can apply a similar perspective to virtually every “crisis” in the West: climate, energy, COVID, race relations, sexual identity, immigration, the rise of China, Russo-NATO/Ukraine conflict, in the US Trump and “threats to our democracy” from him (rather than the real threats who are now in office and ginning up that panic)… And as we see in most of those areas, the rest of the world looks at us in bewilderment and fear that whatever insanity is going on in the West may be contagious.
The threat is always overblown to stoke a panic, the proposed solutions increase central power without being practical or effective ways to address the problem, thereby guaranteeing that the problem appears to grow even more intractable and threatening. Keep repeating the cycle.

Last edited 6 months ago by Martin Johnson
Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
6 months ago

All crises fundamentally are crises of the will.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
6 months ago

Surely some are caused by systemic dysfunction, terrible ideology and abuse practised by failed ruling Elite. The national Will is opposed to almost everything our Establishment & Blob does. Think of the CCP rule in the Soviet Union. We are now in our own UKTraumazone. Watch it. We are Ep1 of 6.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
6 months ago

I was going to point out how Fazi is a very intelligent writer with some very astute observations, and he is, when he isn’t captured by his almost reflexive tendency to blame America for everything, but alas, in the last couple paragraphs, he successfully oversimplified and reduced all of his intelligent discourse to more America bashing. The global elites that have caused a lot of these problems are, strictly speaking, mostly of American origin, but there are more than a few European representatives in that global elite. None of them are acting in any country’s or any citizenry’s best interest. A great many no longer even pretend to do so. They act, in many cases openly and brazenly, as ‘citizens of the world’. Given that the world’s people don’t agree on much of anything and there are no democratic structures for them to express their will or hold public officials accountable, it means that international elites decide what’s best for the world and then do it, which somehow leads to them getting richer, everyone else getting poorer, and sovereign nations losing their sovereignty and the world, including America, becoming less free and democratic. Let’s not pretend America or America’s interests ever enter into the equation. They have their own interests and their own ‘citizen of the world’ ideologies in mind and are simply using America’s military and America’s wealth to accomplish that.

Niels Georg Bach Christensen
Niels Georg Bach Christensen
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

‘None of them are acting in any country’s or any citizenry’s best interest’, how ? and examples . I think they try, but the interests is conflicting. The green policy is full of conflicts, and migrations policy also, and there are no easy solution for any of thee conflicts. Fazi dreams of a society without any conflicts. Get lost.

starkbreath
starkbreath
6 months ago

How do they try? The do nothing but relentlessly exploit whatever existing conditions they can and then do everything possible to create more situations that they can then mine for ever more wealth and power, with the naiveté of the populace as handmaiden.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
6 months ago

The 2008 bank bailout, opposed by 80% of Americans, yet passed almost unopposed by Congress. We Americans are a vicious lot. We want to see the guilty punished. We wanted those banks to fail and be forgotten, and for everyone involved with them to lose everything, even if it started a recession (which it did anyway). Europe’s acceptance of millions of refugees from the Middle East and Africa over, once again, broad public disagreement. The way the government of the UK dithered over Brexit for years and negotiated only to give the EU most of what they wanted and never seriously considered simply doing what the people voted for and asserting national sovereignty, almost as if British politicians resented the results of the referendum. The way both parties in the US did nothing to stop American corporations from offshoring and transferring technology to China until it directly threatened elite control. I could go on all day. They ignore public sentiment because they don’t really believe in democracy or basic human freedom and they think they know what’s best for everyone. I won’t deny some of them may actually be naive or self-congratulating enough to convince themselves they’re acting in their respective nation’s best interests, but they are, with few exceptions, ideologues who act for the sake of globalist goals over and above national interest or the public will, opportunists who only care maintaining power and enriching themselves, and/or spoiled aristocrats born to generational wealth and institutional power who don’t like being told ‘no’. The evidence is plain for all to see if you ignore their words and observe their actions.

Last edited 6 months ago by Steve Jolly
Paul T
Paul T
6 months ago

The west is becoming dangerously decadent and every prescription of the elites seems to exacerbate it. If only they would listen to normal people and not dehumanise and ridicule them and their concerns.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
6 months ago

The crises have all been created by the elites. The endless wars from Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya to Ukraine were fought to provide profits for the arms industry and to justify surveillance at home. They created much of the migrant crisis. The financial mini-crash in 2008 and the financial crash to come were and are due to financial speculators leveraging themselves up to profit from always rising asset prices with a pleasing side-effect being the enslavement of the home buying class on which the economy depends. Covid was created in a lab.
The chickens are coming home to roost. The only way the criminals can stay in power is by increasing surveillance, censorship, repression of protest and fear. The option is the end of capitalism and its replacement by the unknown.

Last edited 6 months ago by Christopher Barclay
Mark V
Mark V
6 months ago

They want to own everything and make you a serf.

Mangle Tangle
Mangle Tangle
6 months ago

Dictators, elites and bureaucracies don’t want settled, happy societies. The people in such societies have an irritating habit of asking the ‘wrong’ questions and being a bit, well, uppity. The international order and the development of the web / social media makes it very much easier for elites to engineer the best narrative for them. I have a horrible feeling we’ll all look back in hindsight and think that the period between 1950 and 2010 was truly a golden age of freedom of expression.

Last edited 6 months ago by Mangle Tangle
David McKee
David McKee
6 months ago

Thomas Fazi has done us a service here. His arguments seem reasonable, until you realise that he thinks that there is collusion here, by our leaders against us. In other words, he’s peddling a conspiracy theory here.

A crisis is a problem for which a practical solution has yet to be found and acted on. We are not the first generation to be beset with overlapping problems. What makes us unusual is the cluelessness of our leaders. We need fresh ideas, persuasively articulated. Well, we’re waiting…

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
6 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

The crisis is our leaders.

starkbreath
starkbreath
6 months ago

And universities and media.

Melanie Mabey
Melanie Mabey
6 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

‘until you realise that he thinks that there is collusion here, by our leaders against us.In other words, he’s peddling a conspiracy theory here.’ If you don’t think this ever happens try reading a bit of history, especially when civilisations are collapsing, this is precisely what leaders do.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
6 months ago

A very long way to say what Rahm Emanuel said in seven words: “Never let a crisis go to waste.” We certainly don’t need a book written by three guys to explain what has been a basic rule of government for at least 15 years. What we need is a plan of action to put a stop to it.

Cate Terwilliger
Cate Terwilliger
6 months ago

An interesting and thought-provoking essay; thank you.
Exhaustion, accompanied by checking out, is a predictable result of feeling ever immersed in crisis. Personally — and I am not sure this is a good thing — I feel myself becoming more separatist. Perhaps if each country (state, community, individual) seriously tended its own business, rather than continuing to invoke the necessity of global cooperation (in its impossibility, a perpetual obstruction), the sense of crisis would recede and real progress could be made. This is roughly a statement of Stephen Covey’s wise observation that effectiveness requires focusing one’s attention and efforts within one’s own circle of influence..

Rod McLaughlin
Rod McLaughlin
6 months ago

@BareReality Laura Dodsworth is better than Naomi Klein on the subject of fake crises generated by the elites imho.
I wonder if there’s a deeper cause. Oikophobia and Millenarianism are words which spring to mind. See
Oikophobia – Beckeld
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1501763180
Pursuit of the Millennium – Cohn
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0195004566

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
6 months ago

Thank you, Thomas, for reading this so we don’t have to. I’m sure the prose just flowed beautifully.

R Wright
R Wright
6 months ago

Surprised there was no mention of Carl Schmitt’s ‘state of exception’ there. Authoritarian regimes have long known that the secret to rule is a continual terror.

P N
P N
6 months ago

This is hardly a new phenomenon although it’s very good to see someone in the media point it out. War socialism has been around since at least the First World War, when Western governments (certainly the UK and the USA) used the war as an excuse to implement previously unthinkable policies restricting our freedoms. Governments gave up a lot of power in the 18th and 19th Centuries but the First World War was an excellent opportunity to get it back and it’s been largely one way traffic ever since.
Linked to the concept of a crisis is that of a crusade. This allows the media, governments or anyone else with either a vested interest or an ideology to frame the crisis in war-like terms with dissenting voices being portrayed as enemies, selfish, dangerous or any number of slurs.
In short, the permacrisis or the crusade is a battle of collectivism versus individualism.
As an aside, The Great Reset, claims about the deep state, global elites etc are often written off as conspiracy theories. Apart from the fact The Great Reset is actually the title of Klauss Schwab’s book, Gordon Brown has provided further evidence that such fears are not merely a conspiracy theory.
Lastly, I thought the author went off on a bizarre tangent with reference to China etc. Fears about China are real. China’s totalitarian behaviour is real. We don’t have a “China crisis” (yet) but that does not mean that we should not treat China with suspicion.

Last edited 6 months ago by P N
Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
6 months ago

It is not impossible that “permacrisis” is a passing phase. The manipulative tactics leveraging perceived crises only make sense if the public is barely paying attention. Post 1990 and the end of the Cold War, there seemed no major threat, the public tuned out of politics and the “news” became a branch of entertainment. It was a post truth world. But now the public is focussing on the real world once more and truth is beginning to matter again. Instead of the voters responding to politicians who “feel their pain” and play identity games, increasingly they want action on real issues with observable results. I do not wish to sound Panglossian but we should also avoid extrapolating current trends for ever. One can at least hope that we are witnessing the birth pangs of rational public debate being reborn and not the death throws of the western approach to government, the Enlightenment project or however one wants to put it.

Last edited 6 months ago by Alex Carnegie
Gareth Rees
Gareth Rees
6 months ago

A very interesting article and one that resonates with my feelings when I originally read Herman & Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent (showing my age here). The internet and its ‘owners’ have to some degree usurped the power formally held by the MSM. However, we do have a crisis, a very serious existential crisis for democracy and civil liberties in the West, but what I see around me is a collapse in the autonomy of the individual and an inexorable rise in tyranny by Western ‘Governments’ controlled by and colluding with massive corporations that control the flow of information and censor according to whim, political beliefs and persuasion. In short, we are royally f****d. This Wiki article on Manufacturing Consent provides useful additional context. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturing_Consent

Iris C
Iris C
6 months ago

Rishi Sunak had already grasped this with his environmental speech a day after parliament broke up, much to the ire of the Speaker. Postponing the banning of electric and hybrid cars before the National Grid infrastructure was upgraded to cope with the extra demand and banning gas boilers when many houses/flats did not have the ground to install heat pumps needed to be highlighted and made law but it might not have got through parliament.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
6 months ago

If our leaders are clinging to a dying world, then what are the rest of us doing. Watching and waiting for it to happen seem to be the answer.

mike otter
mike otter
6 months ago

Do the ravings of a phone throwing buffoon who marched resolutely into a broom cupboard in front of the worlds’ press really merit an essay? If Brown and his sinecured pals had written something original and interesting that would be worthy of comment. Sadly they just trotted out their usual oikophobic bourgeoise trash. The trouble with “elites” is only they think they’re elite. History suggests the greater their delusion the further their fall.

TheElephant InTheRoom
TheElephant InTheRoom
6 months ago

SPOT ON >>>>
“Several critical scholars had suggested that, in recent decades, crisis had become a “method of government” in which “every natural disaster, every economic crisis, every military conflict and every terrorist attack is systematically exploited by governments to radicalise and accelerate the transformation of economies, social systems and state apparatuses”. In her 2007 book The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein explored the idea of “disaster capitalism” — the notion that, in moments of public fear and disorientation, it is easier to re-engineer societies.”
Also a great way to move money around through shells, NGOs, slush funds, and actual 404 countries.

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
6 months ago

“former Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown”
I’m not a fan of the man, but wouldn’t “Former Prime Minister” be the customary summary of his political career?
Sure, he was never elected, but he did reach the top of the greasy pole.

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
6 months ago

Gordon Blair: what a cnut!

Rob N
Rob N
6 months ago

Gordon Brown may have spent a long time as Chancellor of the Exchequer but he was also Prime Minister, for almost 3 years!

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
6 months ago

This is the mother of all conspiracy theories and utterly insane. Talk about over thinking something. I don’t believe our elites are manufacturing crises in order to govern. More likely they are responding to actual crises and governing badly. If you haven’t notice most of the time over the last 50 years, we have been led by incompetent fools whose campaigns are funded by oligarchs This is what the neo-liberal economic elites, the big banks and corporations, want. Governments of knaves, bought and paid for, that allow them to do whatever they want.

Last edited 6 months ago by Benjamin Greco
T Bone
T Bone
6 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

Are you saying, there’s no conspiracy needed where interests converge?

Chris Maille
Chris Maille
6 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

Does it really matter if the crises are manufactured or just a result of incompetence ? A good guess would be to assume that they are both.
I believe the faultline is the paradigm shift that has taken place in the past 30 years, from problem solving at a national level to planet management on a global level. This is what is going wrong: the head bureaucrats naturally lack the fundamental skills required for such a task.
Other than leaders in the past who were visionaries and highly intelligent people, the leaders of today are socially skilled manipulators, without any of the wisdom that comes with being an outsider. They truly don’t understand what is happening and in their frustration at their own inability to understand, they don’t look for people to explain to them what they don’t understand, but they try to shut down everybody who does. They are scared little rats with way too much power. They should be terminated in their positions and go back to being facility managers and divorce lawyers.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago
Reply to  Chris Maille

I guess the real question then is why political leaders across the west have become so incompetent over the last 30 years. And what can be done about it.

Dominic A
Dominic A
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

They are now – subect to never-ending intense personal scrutiny; one of the most loathed professional groups; earn a pittance compared with what a similarly successful professional could earn; many of the the big, passionate political issues (commmunism, fascism, radicalism) have petered away, leaving us with managers rather than innovators; the growth/triumph of opinion news/infotainment (MSNBC, Fox) has corrupted discourse; the phone/net has given rise to short attention spans, governance by soundbite. In short, the field attracts 2nd grade minds, narcissists, failed actors (not attractive enough) – whether on the right, left or inbetween.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The rise of professional politicians has had an impact. Perhaps make it a requirement that anybody who has not had a job unrelated to politics should not be allowed to stand for public office?

David McCluskey
David McCluskey
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Un-invent the curse of social media. Digital technology on balance is serious bad news for democracy. Those who would become competent leaders quite understandably run a mile. Western governments are peopled by menageries of second/third rate humans – middle-management material at best.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
6 months ago

I completely agree with this and have thought it for some time. Most interesting and intelligent people have skeletons in the closet; you’d have to be crazy to go into public life now.

Mike Fraser
Mike Fraser
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Yes. This is the fundamental underlying problem of our time. To be a politician has become so thankless and underpaid that rarely, if ever, is there a competent, foresighted, decisive leader, who enters that domain. We are ruled therefore by incompetent, inadequate men and women in a time when their opposites are most needed. The evil side of the web and our Oxymoronic “responsible journalists” have a lot to answer for.

James S.
James S.
6 months ago
Reply to  Mike Fraser

I’m not so sure about the underpaid part, at least in the USA. For local politicians, perhaps, but those positions are stepping stones for higher office. And then once you get up to the federal level, one can milk elective office for a lot of secondary gain$. Cf. Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, etc. And then there’s a cash out waiting in terms of becoming a lobbyist or influencer for corporate interests.

And let’s not forget the intoxicating lure of wielding power. Most of the upper tiers of elected government may have been the C students, but they’re lording it over the B and A students (as in corporate America).

Mike Fraser
Mike Fraser
6 months ago
Reply to  James S.

you give the impression of not so sure. Please explain how the “one can milk elective office for a lot of secondary gain$. Cf. Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, etc” has anything to do w1th competent, far seeing, decisive leadership. and in the uk they are certainly underpaid.

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
6 months ago
Reply to  Chris Maille

I don’t think the crises are the result of incompetence just that the government response is. Governments don’t run things, the banks and corporations run things. That was my point. And trust me, no one is managing the planet.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
6 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

Good.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
6 months ago
Reply to  Chris Maille

Facility management requires a level of competence that isn’t apparent in government or bureaucracy.

Chris Maille
Chris Maille
6 months ago

Depends, but I may be biased after 15+ years in a large corporation where even the innovation departments are headed by bloody bureaucrats. Although there has been a trend in recent years to replace innovation departments with transformation departments.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

I don’t think they are manufacturing crises. I think it’s a convenient way to govern – if you magnify garden variety problems into horrendous existential threats. If you’re not fighting a crisis, people will expect you to implement policies that promote flourishing. This is decidedly more challenging. Expectations are lower in a crisis because it’s perceived as an existential problem. People will be happy to muddle through. Crises are also a powerful propaganda tool, to sell controversial policies through fear and nudging. It’s also a convenient way to deflect attention away from more serious issues that are more difficult to manage.

Last edited 6 months ago by Jim Veenbaas
Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Was the pandemic a garden variety problem? Is Climate Change? Were terrorists toppling the World Trade Center a garden variety problem or the tanking of the economy in 2008? No, the problems are real, the solutions the governments come up with are incompetent, because the government is not allowed to do anything that would disturb the profits of multinational corporations.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

You can argue the pandemic was a real crisis, but its magnitude was exaggerated way beyond its actual threat to the vast majority of the population. 9/11 was tragic of course, but it wasn’t a crisis for anyone beyond the US.

Climate change is a good example of a manageable problem being distorted way beyond the actual threat. In Canada, Trudeau blamed climate change for this year’s wildfires, even though stats from his own Forestry Department show a distinct decline in forest fires over the last 20 years.

Why does he do this? To absolve himself of the federal govt’s responsibility to manage forests properly, to clear the deadfall that has built up after 50 years of fighting forests fires.

It’s just easier to blame climate change than actually do something about it. With the pandemic, it’s easier to create hysteria and follow the herd forged by the CDC and the WHO – Sweden being the only exception to this.

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

9/11 was a warning to everyone else but has been ignored! Totally agree on pandemic & climate change. Pandemic should have resulted in banning flights from where the pandemic was already up & running & testing everyone who arrived on our shores & NOT letting them in amongst the general population until they were proved clear of the virus. Yes this would have been expensive but more than the cost of the actual pandemic? I don’t think so, especially when you factor in the cost of vaccines, PPS ( & the waste that occurred), cost to the economy & the personal cost to people who went through it either as patients or NHS staff. Not to mention the ongoing costs of enabling NHS walkouts to be used to blackmail the government into paying them more because of what they had to do then &/or expecting to do lest with limited contact with patients. I have a phone consultation with a gastroenterologist coming up. I am not sure what he will be able to examine down the phone! This follows on from physiotherapy by phone which, when I paid to see a private physiotherapist because it was not improving, turned out to be because I was doing things the wrong way. Also allowed hospital to cancel my annual MRI (on the say so of a young inexperienced junior doctor) which my senior & highly qualified oncologist had advised & fought for the funding to enable me to have it past the 10 year date at the hospital (for specific reasons) was reduced to an annual mammgram which does not look deep enough to identify (possibly in time to save my life) the particular attributes of the cancer I had which has a 50% likelihood of reoccuring as the gene mutation is rampant in my family.

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

It is funny to me that people keep thinking the government is the problem. Who made billions on the War on Terror, the defense industry and they are now making billions on the war in Ukraine. Who made billions on the pandemic, pharmaceutical companies. And who got bailed out after the great recession, banks, and who got screwed, homeowners. What better uses could those billions be used for.
Open your eyes! Trudeau isn’t in charge, neither are any other so-called world leaders, they’re just a front, a clown show to keep us all busy arguing over silly nonsense why the people who really run things are screwing us on a daily basis.

Last edited 6 months ago by Benjamin Greco
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

But it’s govt corruption that allows this to happen. The US is a cesspool of govt corruption because they don’t have campaign spending limits. Politicians have to accept obscene amounts of money from corporations because it’s so expensive to run a campaign. Business is just doing what business does. The corruption in the US spills over to other countries, even those with campaign spending limits, because the US is the dominant hegemonic power. Canada and Britain basically do what they are told by the Americans. Weak, corrupt political leaders allow it to happen.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Clearing the deadfall would be a great summer job for a lot of young people; three months in the great outdoors, return in September with a pile of money and lots of new friends from all over the country, healthy and (sort of) clear-headed. A wonderful cure for the non-specific anxiety that’s overwhelming our society.
Amazing, shameful really, that no one in government is even talking about this.

Last edited 6 months ago by laurence scaduto
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago

It’s shameful really

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

In other words, governments know how to block and ban. They are hopeless at creating and building.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago

Very much so. One is hard and requires vision. The other is very doable by virtually anyone.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
6 months ago

True. Of course, that describes a general condition of humanity. Senior managers in corporations are no different. 

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
6 months ago

Not all of them. Our governor in Florida is an outstanding manager. Everywhere you look, Florida is a gigantic construction site.
He’s a creative thinker, too: his Parental Rights in Education bill returns the fundamental rights of parents to make educational decisions for their children, and the racist DEI initiatives are not welcome in Florida schools and government departments, just to name two.
His successful leadership would be the model for other governors and mayors wanting prosperity for their states and cities. That he’s an exception rather than an example is tragic.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago

Compare his response to hurricanes to that in Hawaii. Night and day. We

M Doors
M Doors
6 months ago

This was going so well until you invoked the Boogey Man.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
6 months ago

Re: Shock Doctrine.

Surely a permacrisis is the opposite of a shock?

Last edited 6 months ago by Dumetrius
po go
po go
6 months ago

And I anticipate a new “crisis” in Sept 2024. Biden has agreed to hand over decision making to the United Nations to handle it.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
6 months ago

The falling hegemon thesis where a major military thesis only gives way to a new global #1. So the US vs Russia to facilitate the rise of China.

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
6 months ago

I read the headline, and knew exactly who had written the column, and what he said. Save column inches, and just condense Fazi to ‘more of the same today’ and fill the space with something more illuminating.

Niels Georg Bach Christensen
Niels Georg Bach Christensen
6 months ago

Dear Fazi is allowed to continuing his attacks on the western world and the USA. It’s getting boring. He hasn’t anything new to say. Putting up Brics or China as an alternative is ridiculous, He doesn’t mention that China have it’s own crisis at the moment, and most of the BRICS countries aren’ able to establish internal growth. They are dependent on the cycles in the West. All the same the West at least Europe is trying the handle the ‘green so called revolution’ and the ukraine war. And a migrant crises which is costly and erodes natural growth. The public institutions have difficulties handling all those people where most of them isn’t educated to live or work in our societies.

j watson
j watson
6 months ago

The irony is that the Author’s modus operandi, and that of UnHerd more broadly, thrives on what he terms a ‘Permacrisis’.
The old adage ‘it bleeds it leads’ well known to drive headlines and media focus, esp when considerable market competition for viewers and readers. It part explains why also such an increase in conspiratorial nonsense. ”I have to find a niche where I can ‘grift’ and what better angle to pull on than narcissistic tendencies that imply myself and the reader are party to some secret knowledge only we can see”. And of course it’s coupled with the ability of stories to race so much faster around the Globe.
The Author predictably of course blames some Western Elite for this – groan -, but that’s as much about responding to a niche-base. Just a more up to date version of the Protocols of Elders of Zion codswallop. Always been suckers for this sort of nonsense.
Does not mean we don’t have some serious problems to confront in the modern world – exactly how we handle climate change, the CCP, Putin, AI, and the ‘tug of authoritarian Populism’. Only the first may be completely unique, (and maybe the 4th?). We in the West, and remember it’s only in the West UnHerd could exist, remain freer and long living than in the whole of homo sapiens history perhaps something not going help the Author sell copy.

Andrew R
Andrew R
6 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Lol, go on JW please explain how we got into this mess and who is responsible for it (cough, technocrats).

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
6 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Again a bit vague – sounds like you start with who’s to blame and conclude they must be technocrats. Not really sure what a technocrat is

Andrew R
Andrew R
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

You could simply look it up, it is in current accepted usage or how about Plato’s “Philosopher Kings”.
or maybe you and JW can carry on being deliberately obtuse.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
6 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Crisis is the antidote to democracy – as Mussolini explained at some length. So yes, it is the policy of the elite.

AC Harper
AC Harper
6 months ago
Reply to  j watson

You missed out authoritarian Leftism.

Andrew R
Andrew R
6 months ago
Reply to  j watson

You’re very much into conspiracy theories by the look of it.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
6 months ago
Reply to  j watson

‘We in the West, and remember it’s only in the West UnHerd could exist, remain freer and long living than in the whole of homo sapiens history’ This is of course true. But so is the fact that our civilization has developed an unprecedented level of complexity necessary to achieve this halcyon state of affairs. It depends on energy and throughput orders of magnitude greater than Rome or China. Most civilizations only last a few hundred years. And as a matter of general principle, the past doesn’t predict the future. Yes there are problems. Yes they are serious. Yes the fragile structure of democracy and small L liberalism is in real trouble….and yes global elites have lost what connection they had with their more place attached populaces….and this may/will spell the end for the lovely historical hiatus that rose-tints our vision of this sceptered isle. People, cities, technology will continue. But whether people in the future will understand the next 500 years as ‘progress’ in the way that moderns have understood the Renaissance, the ENlightenment and modernity….I somewhat doubt.

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
6 months ago

I smell rat when the expression ‘ruling elite’ pops up. You always know the author doesn’t mean the Rupert Murdochs, the Conrad Blacks, the tech titans, the private equity and hedge fund billionaires, the oil sheikhs who own all the expensive bits of London, the Indian steel magnates, and so on. They mean some unseen lefty/liberal cabal of Guardian readers.

Dominic A
Dominic A
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

and I can’t recall a Fazi article wherein the-things-going-wrong-in-the-World were attributed to anyone else than ‘Western Elites”. He’s Dave Spart redux.

Andrew R
Andrew R
6 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

I don’t entirely agree with the article but perhaps you’d like to explain how they are not “Western” or “Elite” and how they’re not responsible for the cluster **** we are now experiencing.

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
6 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

So who exactly do you have in mind as western elites? Governments? – well at least most western ones have some democratic legitimacy unlike those I list above.

Andrew R
Andrew R
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

It appears governments are in thrall to just about everyone except the electorate; multinationals, billionaires, supranational bodies, NGOs, Quangos, think tanks and charities. With a lot of those bodies (especially “The Third Sector”) receiving a fair amount of taxpayers cash to bolster a non productive economy and bypass democratic accountability.
Perhaps you work for one of these.

Last edited 6 months ago by Andrew R
Martin Butler
Martin Butler
6 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

People vote governments in. The argument that governments are in thrall to XY&Z is no doubt true but could it be otherwise? The theory of democracy is that if governments are seen to be corrupt they will be kicked out. Of course it never works quite like that but then we live in a seriously imperfect world. You sound like a utopian conspiracy theorist – the fact that you are suspicious of my motives indicates you live deep in conspiracy land.

Andrew R
Andrew R
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

”You sound like a utopian conspiracy theorist – the fact that you are suspicious of my motives indicates you live deep in conspiracy land”.
Hysterical, what does that even mean? Are you employed by one of these useless bodies, have I triggered you? The only thing I’m questioning is your ability to debate
We do live in an seriously imperfect world so why do technocrats, utilitarians think they can fix it, they are stupid enough to believe in an Utopia. Every attempt has failed and has led to misery and collapse but still they try to “force” it on to electorates who reject it. For people supposedly so smart, they have no idea what a paradox is.
People want governments to be competent, not implement ideology. Government (not NGOs) serves the people, not the other way round.
Do you believe in Utopia?

Dominic A
Dominic A
6 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Because the human world is endlessly complex and systemic; and binary notions of good/bad should increasingly be moved on from after about 8 years of age. This often doesn’t ahppend because that way of thinking may be emotionally satisfying. Let those who are without sin….why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye….etc I think that the Great Man (or Great Country) Theory is illusory in two major ways – people are not actually responsible for their own greatness; and the ‘great’ things they did (whether of the Great War or Great Society kind) would almost inevitably happen at some stage with or without them. Humanity is systemic – a hive mind within a hive world.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Everyone is an elite nowadays, apparently. The term is up there with “the patriarchy” in terms of vagueness.

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
6 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Exactly, but that simple point undermines the whole argument of the article. Until there is a clear explanation of who the elite are and why they are the elite then it has little significance. Yanis’s (the Greek guy) article about techno feudalism at least made this clear.