Our Simulacrum Economy

by Charles Hugh Smith
Of Two Minds

In the hyper-real casino, everyone has access to the terrors of losing, but only a few know the joys of the rigged games that guarantee a few big winners by design.

Readers once routinely chastised me for over-using simulacrum to describe our economy and society. The problem is this word perfectly describes the hollowed-out, rigged economy and social order we inhabit and so synonyms don’t quite cut it: it’s not the same as simulation or imitation or counterfeit.

My use (or over-use) dates back to the 2009 publication of my book Survival+, which included a chapter titled Simulacrum and the Politics of Experience. I use simulacrum to describe a carefully constructed representation of a once-authentic system that is intended to shape our behavior to suit the interests of those constructing the simulacrum.

The simulacrum has the look and feel of the once-authentic system but it’s rigged to benefit the few whose interests are better served by the simulacrum than they could ever be served by an authentic system.

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