From a correspondent:
I have often wondered what other people in America do and now, as the system starts to unravel, it makes some sense.
An immigrant associate from Russia was surprised at the number of stores when she first came. St. Petersburg has tiny mom-and-pop sized stores and one mall, MEGA mall outside town. (Well, back then) Metro Seattle had (I guess) more retail floor space than Russia. Now there is more vacant retail space in this region than all the retail space in St. Petersburg.
Still, I would guess that maybe 90% of the retail space in this region is unneeded. I wonder at Office Depots the size of an airplane hangar with two attendants and only me as a customer.
The US socio-economic momentum that kept the country functioning was based largely on traditional compliance by the population. Like the grossly unfair tax system.
But the transmission of this model from cohort to cohort has failed (i.e., there will never be another cohort that buys newspapers). In September, 2021 alone, 4.3 million quit their jobs because it did not make sense to them to even have a job. No one can explain it.
Moreover, a lot of the American system was populated by sinecures. Affirmative Action and ethnic nepotism and every other kind of corruption put millions on government and corporate payrolls who could not do the jobs they formally held, often at the career expense of better-qualified white personnel, a fact which undermines not just morale but productivity and generates cynicism about the whole social order.
For many the corona was the first time they had to make decisions and many were simply not capable of it.
At the same time, regime leaders believe that they can do anything without breaking the system: slash oil production and there will still be enough gasoline; shut down power plants and there will still be enough electricity. And when these problems arise, assuming they are even considered by the rulers, they are just baffled.
It is like trying to explain calculus to your cat: The cat gets bored and wanders over to the food bowl.
Moreover, the whole industrial world is built on Just-In-Time supply chains. A very efficient system when it works, and when it hiccups, it breaks. There is a trade-off between efficiency and how brittle the structure is.
And yes, the whole juggernaut is built around keeping it going one more day.
In that spirit, let me say, Let’s go Brandon.