December 9, 2014 – MOPE is a crucial element of the “matrix.”
By The Cerebral Aesthetic Vagabond
The other day I heard the familiar, unmistakable and always unnerving sound of an uninvited “guest” scratching around in the ceiling overhead. Since it was Thanksgiving day and the stores were closed, I had to wait an agonizing twenty-four hours to buy some mousetraps. When I arrived at the store the next day the only mousetraps I could find were “new and improved” ones made of plastic, at four times the price of the “old-fashioned” wood and wire variety. Although I was put off by the high price, they were the only ones available at that store and the new design appeared to be superior to the “old-fashioned” mousetraps, imbuing me with optimism that perhaps somebody had finally invented a better mousetrap.
When I got home, however, and opened the package I was immediately concerned that the spring seemed rather weak. In testing the mousetraps I snared my finger several times and it did not hurt at all, in marked contrast to snaring my finger in one of those old-fashioned wooden traps. Anyway, I loaded up the mousetrap with bait – some freshly cooked pizza crust from my lunch – and placed it in the attic.
To my surprise, by the next day the trap had already been sprung, the bait was gone and so was the crafty mouse! Although the “improved” design appeared to preclude any possibility of the mouse taking the bait and getting away scot-free, that’s exactly what happened. I really felt cheated because I paid four times the price for the “new and improved” mousetraps and they didn’t work, and the worst part is that I suspected they wouldn’t work when I bought them, but as I said, that was all the store had.
My recent experience strikes me as a metaphor for our present day economy in which everything is a facade and normalcy is maintained through continuous application of MOPE, Management Of Perspective Economics. Those “new and improved” mousetraps are better because it says so right on the package; never mind that the mouse took the bait and got away; those mousetraps are better, dammit! If one says it enough times perhaps it will sink in. Such is the essence of MOPE. If Jim Sinclair didn’t coin the term MOPE, he certainly popularized it and it was through his writings that I first became acquainted with the term.
Increasingly, more and more experts on economic matters have been scratching their heads, marveling at how long “they” have been able to forestall the inevitable economic collapse. Of course, the collapse hasn’t been forestalled at all – we’re in the midst of it right now; this is what the incipient stages of economic collapse in the era of MOPE looks like: the outward appearance of normalcy while the structure decays from within.
Another word for MOPE is “lie,” something government excels at. All the “official” statistics spewed forth by the government are nothing but lies intended to shape public perception of the state of the economy, mainly so that the public will keep spending money and not shift into survival mode. I didn’t think there existed any more inventive ways to lie using the official statistics, but I was wrong. Recently the U.S. Government revised the nation’s GDP by adding all sorts of bogus things to raise the GDP for the last 80+ years (and lower the important debt-to-GDP ratio). Now the government is tinkering with the very definition of employment (again) to lower the unemployment rate. Observant people will notice, however, that the labor force participation rate (a truer indicator than any of the mainstream employment statistics) continues to decline, now down to around 63%, which to me implies a true unemployment rate closer to 37% than the official 6% (in fact, according to Shadow Government Statistics, the true unemployment rate, calculated using the government’s own erstwhile methodology is around 23%, which ridicules the government’s current 6% claim). In an effort to inflate their deflating GDPs, governments are even beginning to include the illegal drug and prostitution trades in their GDP calculations.
It’s not merely government statistics that are a lie, so are things such as “market” prices. The markets – stock, currency, precious metals, commodities, real estate, bonds, etc. – used to be genuine free markets that telegraphed authentic information about the state of the economy and more importantly, facilitated adjustment of imbalanced conditions, but today, for the most part all the markets are rigged, controlled by a few powerful entities for purposes of profit or politics. The small fry who believe they can profit in such an environment are foolish, in fact, they are precisely the ones upon whom the big fish who rig the markets feed.
In a nutshell, MOPE works because everyone has an incentive to keep the system going – even the people who think it ought to fail – so MOPE gives many people a comforting excuse to pretend that everything is just dandy and carry on as usual. Since economics is as much dependent on human psychology as on the laws of physics, human psychology has a very powerful impact on the economy, even capable of propping up a dead corpse of an economy, that is, until even the most delusional are no longer able to deny the manifest laws of physics.
Economic collapse will at the very least cause huge amounts of chaos, adversely affecting everyone. Those currently profiting from the system obviously want to keep it going, which includes those profiting money-wise as well as those profiting power-wise (i.e. government). Beneficiaries (i.e. 50% of the American public) want the system to continue, so they willingly bury their heads in the sand and deny reality. Only a handful of people, such as me, who are independent of thought and resources are willing to acknowledge the reality of the situation and even they don’t want to see the system collapse in chaotic fashion.
I think another reason MOPE works is that humans seem to harbor a “hope” gene, which makes good sense evolutionarily speaking since it would be a useful survival mechanism. Consider a prehistoric human lost in the desert, starving, dehydrated, their situation appearing hopeless. If such a human were to behave logically and find a rock to crawl under and await death, they would surely die and their genes would not be propagated. But if instead that person were to maintain “hope” that water or food would be found – I view belief in god as one manifestation of this hope bias – their hope or “faith” might be just enough to keep them alive a few more days until they actually find food, which secures their survival and enables them to propagate their genes. So boundless “hope” for economic salvation is a critical element in keeping the Potemkin economy alive, and MOPE begets hope.
“Hope” notwithstanding, one cannot suspend the laws of economics, which are rooted in the laws of physics and mathematics. At best one can defer the consequences for a while, and our economy has been deferring the consequences of its aberrant structure for far too long. Wile E. Coyote can postpone recognition of his plight after he goes off the edge of the cliff but he cannot avoid the inevitable forces of gravity. The problem with deferring the consequences is that people who are under the influence of MOPE continue their malinvestment activities, making the problems even worse, so that when the inevitable moment arrives that the consequences can no longer be deferred, the consequences are considerably greater because of the additional malinvestment made during the deferral period. This is exactly what has happened to the U.S. Government’s finances during the last few years. The U.S. Government, like many other governments and individuals, is suffering from an insurmountable debt burden. It has “run into the wall,” so to speak, so in order to avoid reckoning with the problem and doing the sensible thing, which is to slash spending in order to pay down the debt, it instead chose to borrow more money to paper over the problem, which has only made the original problem of too much debt even larger.
There’s no way of knowing precisely what future form economic collapse will assume, but be assured that in spite of MOPE economic collapse will eventually be recognized by all. Perhaps the only way of interrupting the collapse at this point would be through a global debt jubilee in which all debts, large and small are canceled. Since such a debt jubilee seems most unlikely, what we have to look forward to is that countries that produce more than they consume will probably fare better and recover faster than countries that consume more than they produce. People who have rejected MOPE and relied on their own intelligence and observation will fare better than those who have embraced MOPE. People who have embraced MOPE, especially the most ignorant of them, will be surprised when their cognitive dissonance is shattered by reality. Many will feel angry and betrayed; many will feel bewildered (“but the news said we were in recovery”); many will look for scapegoats (e.g. precious metals owners and “preppers”) to avoid accepting responsibility for their plight; some (not solely among the public, either) will resort to violence.
Increasingly popular psychotropic drugs mask reality and induce false positivity; iGadgets divert attention from reality; and the mainstream media plays a vital propaganda role in perpetuating MOPE. MOPE can probably continue as long as the majority of the world’s people tolerate it, but there is a limit to their tolerance and that limit is largely determined by their bellies. Around the world peoples’ standard of living is declining, leading to hunger and homelessness. People suffering from hunger or homelessness are no longer in the grip of MOPE, but in the grip of cold, harsh reality. Once the economic dislocations produce a critical mass of people who are hungry and homeless, that’s when MOPE will no longer be sustainable.