America Is a Failed State (It Just Doesn't Know It Yet)
A country that cannot tax the rich cannot protect itself
Don’t panic, but the American experiment with self-governance is over.
America is now a textbook-definition failed state.
And no, we’re not even talking about:
We’re talking about a far bigger enemy who captured the entire country.
Who stole America?
Abraham Lincoln dreamed of a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
But it’s become brutally clear in the past three years that America is now ruled by a government of elites, by elites, for elites.
In other words: America is a failed state.
When most people think of the phrase “failed state,” they picture an Armageddon-style total-collapse scenario, like a national Chernobyl.
But it’s not like that at all.
There’s not really such a thing as a failed state in that sense.
Rome fell to the Goths, but who doesn’t want to visit the Eternal City?
Gaul is no more, but much of France is still lovely.
Nazi Germany was a “failed state,” but regular old Germany is doing great.
Greece goes bankrupt on a regular basis, but who doesn’t want to visit?
Turkey is currently collapsing economically and politically, but it won’t disappear either, because it is an epic and glorious nation with a long history and a proud culture.
Politicians come and go — who cares?
Countries come and go — so what?
After all, nation-states are just legal fictions anyway.
So long as beautiful cities and good cultures survive, life moves on.
Unfortunately, America’s borders have been invaded by an anti-American, anti-freedom, anti-human entity that is rapidly devouring American culture, shattering its cities, enslaving its citizens, and will obliterate America as we know it within our lifetime:
Words with meanings
We live in an unstable age where everyone is redefining words to mean whatever they want, so it’s important we’re all on the same page with what I mean when I say “a failed state.”
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, a failed state is defined as:
A state that is unable to perform the two fundamental functions of the sovereign nation-state in the modern world system: It cannot project authority over its territory and peoples, and it cannot protect its national boundaries.
Let’s look at another definition of a failed state.
According to the Fund for Peace, a failed state includes the:
Loss of control of its territory, or of the monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force
Erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions
Inability to provide public services
Inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community
The US is packed with private mercenary defense contractors and cities and states that openly flout federal oversight, it has a complete inability to make democratic decisions, when it isn’t privatizing/corporatizing public services it’s failing miserably to deliver them well, and it has a highly dysfunctional relationship with the rest of the world.
Does America still successfully project authority over its territory and people?
Does America still successfully protect its national boundaries?
We can be honest here.
Surviving Tomorrow is all about trajectories.
If the USA stays on its current path, it simply cannot and will not succeed at either of these two fundamental tasks.
In fact, it’s already failing to do so.
That’s the percentage of American corporate revenue that can no longer be taxed because corrupt accountants have found a way to offshore the money and evade the US tax system.
Here’s what that looks like on a graph:
In other words:
America is completely unable to tax more than half of all corporate dollars, losing hundreds of billions of dollars every single year.
And there is literally no end in sight. These evasion numbers will keep spiking higher and higher until all major corporations are beyond the arm of the law. (In fact, in the UK, every single one of the FTSE 100 corporations uses tax havens.)
The fact that an American court simply does not have the power to force Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos to pay their fair share — let alone send them to prison for avoiding their responsibilities to the society that made them rich in the first place — is a sure sign that democracy has lost the battle to the corporatocracy.
America has lost its ability to project authority over its territory and people.
If a nation can’t move faster than capital, capital will destroy the nation.
In fact, the American people can’t even see corporate tax returns. These documents used to be public, but corporations lobby-bribed their (s)elected politicians to keep their numbers hidden in the dark, away from the eyes of accountable democracy. Why? Because if the people learned the truth about how badly corporations are looting their nation, they’d lose their minds.
But surely the IRS is on the case, right?
Not since corporations gutted it.
In 1960, they audited 3.2% of all American tax returns.
Today, they spend more money but audit fifteen times fewer returns, and they almost never go after the big guys.
According to Scott Galloway:
“Today individuals pay 8% of U.S. GDP in taxes and corporations pay 1%.”
A country that cannot tax its rich cannot protect itself.
It’s time to face the facts
Remember, a failed state doesn’t necessarily coincide with economic collapse.
And a failed state isn’t synonymous with societal collapse, which often takes far longer to disintegrate.
But the process is clearly underway.
Does America still successfully project authority over corporations?
Does America still successfully protect its national boundaries from corporations?
Therefore, America is, de facto, a failed state.
The people just haven’t woken up and realized it yet.
The American people are no longer sovereign in America.
That power has been violently wrested away by elite powers, by nameless, faceless, dark power — by money itself.
Private profits dictate every inch of public life in America, and the corporate boa has just begun its death-inducing constriction of human rights and freedoms.
America will still exist for a long time, but it won’t be the people’s America.
The United States belongs to money now.
In his rightly-famous Gettysburg address, Abraham Lincoln said that the reason all the Union soldiers died was so that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Luckily for humanity, such places still exist.
Just not in America.
Jared A. Brock is an award-winning biographer, PBS documentarian, and the cell-free founder of the popular futurist blog Surviving Tomorrow, where he provides thoughtful people with contrarian perspectives on the corporatist anti-culture. His writing has appeared in Esquire, The Guardian, Smithsonian, and TIME Magazine, and he has traveled to more than forty countries including North Korea. Join 25,000+ people who follow him on Medium, Twitter, and Substack.
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