We are, at the same time – the best-informed people in history – and the worst-informed.
How this happened, I have no idea – but this is the situation we find ourselves in.
I am reading Capitalism: A Short History – which describes all the different kinds of Capitalism we have been through. I have reached page 157 of 198 – that describes the Capitalism of our time.
A growing instability of capitalist processes can be discerned, to the extent that these processes have become detached over the last several decades from the restrictive but also stabilizing grounds in which they were once embedded and have, moreover, become internally differentiated. This was illustrated above in the case of two different transitions, first from ownership to managerial capitalism, and then with the shift to capitalism’s current phase of financialization. In the second transition, the investment function has been so powerfully detached from its ties to other functions (such as management of the enterprise or personnel policy) that it has become an independent force, carried away to the point of self-destruction unless the investment function can be recaptured and reembedded.
The key word here is instability. That should set off all kinds of alarm bells – but no alarms are going off.
We have driven off the edge of a cliff, and are in freefall – with a very hard landing in sight. And we can see nothing.