The uneasiness I have felt for months about the unraveling economy has come into clearer focus with the realization that America is entering a state of institutional anarchy. We are now in a situation where it is no longer clear who is in charge. The nominal supreme institution, the US Federal Government, is effectively being run by large private financial concerns. Superficially, the Obama administration may pretend to tell Goldman Sachs what to do, but on a practical basis, corporations like Goldman Sachs are directing the economic policy of the White House through a network of careerist influence that they don’t even bother to conceal.
We would not be in an anarchic state if the Government would simply capitulate, and put its economic affairs in the hands of the financial barons, but the fragmentary legal and political apparatus of our Federal system keeps making random and isolated challenges to the defacto authority of the financial oligarchs. It is like watching some great machine break down with a shower of sparks and short-circuiting, as misdirected energy continues to flow through a broken structure. Nationalization is off the table, not merely for political reasons, but because the Federal Government of the United States appears no longer to believe in its own competence. The financial corporations, having demonstrated incompetence, by contrast feel fully entitled to keep running the show.
Just who is in charge here? It’s not Obama. It’s not the bad boy plutocrats. Neither side is willing to take full responsibility. This is an anarchic state, and it will not be long before its pernicious consequences become more noticeable. Anarchy is worse than any system of government, and this awful realization is what will eventually drive us toward a resolution of the current crisis.