One sees immediately that the credit crisis is also a crisis of hegemony. To believe credit can be extended and repaid is to believe that the U.S.-led geopolitical order can continue to expand, that the globe can be sewn together even more totally. This particular belief is the state religion, and it's going the way of Mithraism and the gold standard. It is the end of an empire, and it is a better reason to celebrate than is a presidential election.
Meanwhile we are told that we must make this final round of expenditures because what is ending is not our empire, but the world - the end of history with a vengeance. What is on offer is the apocalypse itself, or rather, a defensive spell against it. We are getting nothing for $700 billion but promised protection from systemic failure, a threat issued hour by hour on the news, by polticians and economists. We are made to purchase end-of-the-world insurance, but may sell nothing onward. It's an apocalypse bubble. It smells like nitroglycerin.
--Joshua Clover, "Notes On The Meltdown," THE BELIEVER, Jan. 09.