The View from Xmas 1928…er…2007…

The U.S. overclass responded to Vietnam, Watergate, the great democratic cultural quickening of the 1960s, and the economic stagflation of the 1970s by clearing its collective head and tapping a new generation of war-mongering “trickle-down” ideologues to run the state for it.

Ever since, the rich have been dancing from victory to victory, socking away ever-more cash and goodies, and creating new bubbles when old ones pop — as they inevitably do, since new elite “investments” are now usually only loosely related to the employment of proletarians.

The ensuing quarter-century poker game, though, looks like it is breaking up. The red-eyed 4:00 a.m. headache has arrived. Capital has won all the money, and even in the business system’s core selling zones, the bottom four-fifths are simply too broke to borrow any new chips. Banks and “mortgage companies” are unwilling to extend third (sub-sub-prime) “home equity” loans to those needing, once again, to “consolidate debt.” Instead, all the remaining non-elite “equity” is gone and the chits are finally hitting the fan.

Evidence of this barely deniable (hence, in the corporate media, still massively denied) reality abound. The role of this blog is not to dwell too long on the underlying political economy, but simply to pass along a special branch of the evidence on this topic.

To wit: This item from a story on the worsening implosion of corporate ad spending (itself a major indicator of trouble, as BBM growth always, always outpaces the overall economy) in the latest Advertising Age Mediaworks newsletter:

If you’re in the market for good news, keep an eye on venues for luxury advertising. “We’re seeing our bookings coming in earlier than the same time last year,” said Gina Sanders, VP-publisher, Teen Vogue. “There are no huge storm clouds we see. And at this point last year we were already aware of some non-returning business. No such issues seem to be on the horizon.”

“Our fourth quarter was up 17% in ad pages,” Ms. Sanders added. “It’s my hope that that momentum is going to carry forth into the first quarter.”

[T]he trouble with technology and automotive advertising can be increasingly offset by that familiar bright spot: luxury. “There is a new age of affluence out there,” [a Fortune magazine representative] said, citing recent account wins such as Four Seasons and Cathay Pacific Airways. “Fortune is covering the business of luxury, and I think that we will try to capture some more lifestyle advertisers.”[Advertising Age Mediaworks, December 3, 2007]

Translation: Game over. The rich have “won.”

Good luck to them (OK, not really), and to us, and to the billions who will never get a chance to default on a “consumer” loan. We’ll all need it, sooner rather than later.