In totalitarian regimes, the propaganda-machine (i.e. the media) is a vital tool in pacifying the population – since the populations of such societies are denied the “release valve” of ridding themselves of an unpopular government through elections.
I have pointed out in a number of commentaries that the United States “two-party democracy” has, in fact become a two-party dictatorship. There is plenty of evidence to support such a conclusion. To begin with, rampant “gerrymandering” (by both parties) has created a majority of political districts which are essentially fiefdoms – where one party or the other has a permanent grip on power, irrespective of whom they run as a candidate. Thus, in most U.S. electoral districts, “elections” are nothing but a pointless charade.
More recently, there was clear collusion between the two parties in hiding the severity of the Bush budget-deficits from the American people. The Bush regime literally only reported half of the increase in the national debt with its (supposed) “official deficits” - and never once in eight years did the “opposition party” (the Democrats) report these lies to the American people (see “Obama continues peddling fantasy deficit numbers”).
Further reinforcing this conclusion, when the Obama regime took power, they retained more personnel from the Bush regime than any other U.S. government in recent memory – despite the massive unpopularity of the Bush government, and the woeful incompetence of virtually all branches of that government. Despite his mantra of “change, change, change”, virtually all of the “changes” promised by Obama have been watered-down, or scrapped completely.
The only significant policy currently being pursued by his government which would not have occurred under a Republican government is the much-hyped Obama health-care “reform”. Even if some legislation eventually makes it through Congress, the convoluted mixture of private insurance and government-sponsored coverage is hardly the “socialist” system decried by Republican fear-mongers. Instead it is a watered-down bureaucratic morass, whose only redeeming quality is that it will reduce the number of U.S. residents without medical coverage.
Apart from that, there have been no significant policy changes of any kind from this “new” government. It is only a matter of time until Americans open their eyes, and begin to embrace the immortal words of The Who's Pete Townsend, in their song Won't Get Fooled Again:
Meet the new Boss, same as the old Boss.
Thus, the U.S. propaganda-machine (i.e. the “free press”) has now been co-opted as an integral branch of this totalitarian government, and no aspect of news-control is as important as disinformation on unemployment. The generally apathetic masses will absorb a great deal of suffering, with high unemployment being one of the few exceptions. Therefore, with the U.S. entering a new era of high unemployment (i.e. the Greater Depression), the propaganda-machine has been assigned several functions.
“Phase One” (in conjunction with the Bureau of Labor Statistics) has been to grossly understate the severity of job-losses. I have written on this issue on many occasions, most recently in “BLS Jobs Numbers Contradict BLS Jobs Numbers”. Phase Two is nothing less than redefining unemployment itself.
It is in that context that we can view the most recent propaganda from Bloomberg. This economic gibberish loosely borrows several concepts from economics, mixes them all together incoherently, and then spews out the conclusion that Americans will simply have to learn to live with permanently high unemployment. In other words, it was a perfect piece of propaganda.
Before getting into the specifics of that piece, let me provide readers with a few of the relevant concepts. “Frictional unemployment” refers to a permanent component of unemployment in every economy. It represents people who are either changing jobs or entering/leaving the workforce. Traditionally, economic theory places this component of unemployment at about 3%. This means that even in economies with an abundance of jobs, there will never be a reduction in unemployment below that 3% rate.
“Structural unemployment” on the other hand, refers to a different kind of permanent unemployment: unemployment caused by a failure of a government to structure its labor market so that “full employment” is possible (with “full employment” equal to 100% employment, minus the 3% “frictional” unemployment).
Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, technology has eliminated jobs faster than it ever generates new employment. As a result, every few decades governments would have to reduce the length of the work week – as the only possible way to reduce growing “structural unemployment” which occurred/occurs in every economy in the world. This is why we are all not still working seven days a week, twelve hours a day – the original “standard” work-week.
We are now decades overdue for another reduction in the work-week. This is why “wealthy” Western societies have seen a steady rise in homelessness (and permanent unemployment) even during the peak of recent business cycles. However, both governments and the corporate community are totally opposed to making this essential change.
It is too long a discussion to get into this issue in detail, so let me summarize it with a quote from former Bank of Canada Governor Gerald Bouey, who foolishly blurted out in a moment of candor, “We are fighting inflation with high unemployment.”
This concept has never been as important for governments as it is today – with insane, record-levels of money-creation producing the strongest inflationary pressures on the global economy in history. The goal of governments is to blunt those inflationary pressures with even more unemployment.
The stronger the inflationary pressures (and the weaker the economy) the higher that unemployment must go, in order to avoid the dreaded “wage/price spiral”. This is where workers who see the spending-power of their pay-cheques rapidly eroding have the audacity to demand wage-increases large enough for them to break even in “real” dollars. With unemployment high enough, workers will be cowed into submission – even in the face of severe inflation.
However, controlling the employed does little to help governments with quelling unrest among the unemployed. To do that, they enlist the aid of their propaganda-machine – to tell these people that regardless of the how high is the current level of unemployment that it is something they will have to learn to live with.
With the U.S. engaging in the most-reckless money-creation and having the weakest, major economy, Americans are about to experience the worst of both worlds: out-of-control inflation with their basic necessities, and all-time record levels of unemployment. While there are a plethora of “measurements” of unemployment currently being made, any “broad” measurement of U.S. unemployment already shows a level above 15%.
This brings me back (finally) to this morning's dose of propaganda from Bloomberg. In that incomprehensible nonsense, the writer (along with the usual collection of pseudo-experts) completely erases the distinction between “frictional unemployment” (which can never be avoided) and “structural unemployment” (unemployment caused by government). Instead, he uses the farcical term of “natural unemployment” to blend together those two categories of unemployment – and pretend that the government is powerless to do anything about it.
Americans can expect to hear a lot more about how the rising rate of “natural unemployment” in their society means that “tent cities” and record-numbers of Americans being forced to rely upon “food stamps” is simply a part of the “new reality” which everyone will have to learn to live with. Obviously, that “adjustment” will be much easier for those on top (who created this situation) than for those on the bottom – who are being sacrificed “for the greater good” of the 20% of Americans who hold 85% of all wealth.
The only way to resist the lies of such brainwashing is to educate yourselves. Obviously, we don't all need to be “economists” (especially given that most of those “experts” have been totally wrong every step of the way during the current economic meltdown). What is necessary is for people to acquire a level of knowledge on important issues that allows them to independently analyze what they see/read in the news – or, in other words, reacquire the ability to think for themselves.
We live today in societies accustomed to having everything “spoon-fed” to us. This makes us a perfect collection of “sheep”, to be lied to and manipulated according to the whims of government. If we had the same the corporate-controlled media in the 1930's as we have today, the “Great Depression” would never have occurred – because the propaganda-machine would have lied about the levels of unemployment, and “redefined” the economic conditions so that the economic suffering of that era would have been nothing more than “natural unemployment”.
It's all so easy when you have a (near) monopoly on the “truth”.