A book like this is remarkable in its ability to foresee the future. I'll highlight some of Ivan Illich's thoughts that are relevant to the current bailout.
Industrial innovations are planned, trivial, and conservative. The renewal of convivial tools would be as unpredictable, creative, and lively as the people who use them. Scientific progress is also dulled by the present identification of research with industrial development. Most of the cost of research derives from its competitive nature and pressure: most of its goals are set by the need for more power and efficiency. Leisurely scientific research does not exclude a bevatron or some ultracentrifuges; removal of access restrictions now created by schools would again admit the curious, rather than the orthodox, to the alchemist's vault; and study for its own sake would produce more surprises than team research on how to eliminate production snags. [p. 75-76]
Counterfoil research is concerned first with an analysis of increasing
marginal disutility and the menace of growth. It is then concerned
with the discovery of general systems of institutional structure which
optimize convivial production. This kind of research meets
psychological resistance. Growth has become addictive. Like heroin
addiction, the habit distorts basic value judgments. Addicts of any
kind are willing to pay increasing amounts for declining
satisfactions. They have become tolerant to escalating marginal
disutility. They are blind to deeper frustration because they are
absorbed in playing for always mounting stakes. Minds accustomed to
thinking that transportation ought to provide speedy motion rather
than reduction of the time and effort spent moving are boggled by this
contrary hypothesis. Man is inherently mobile, and speeds higher than
those he can achieve by the use of his limbs must be proven to be of
great social value to warrant support by public sacrifice. [p.83]
The body of laws that regulates an industrial society inevitably reflects and reinforces its ideology, social character, and class structure. "More" is always in the common good -- more power to firms, professions, and parties. [p.94]
The stance of each man or woman takes when a social problem becomes an overwhelming threat depends on two factors: the first is how a smoldering conflict erupts into a political issue demanding attention and partisan actions; the second is the existence of new elites which can provide an interpretive framework for new -- and hitherto unexpected -- alignments of interest. [p.102]
Further growth must lead to a multiple catastrophe. That people would accept multiple limits to growth without catastrophe seems highly improbable. The inevitable catastrophic event could be either a crisis in civilization or its end: end by annihilation or end in B. F. Skinners's world-wide concentration camp run by a T. E. Frazier. The foreseeable catastrophe will be a true crisis -- that is, the occasion for a choice -- only if at the moment it strikes the necessary social demands can be effectively expressed. They must be represented by people who can demonstrate that the breakdown of the current industrial illusion is for them a condition for choosing an effective and convivial mode of production. The preparation of such groups is the key task of new politics at the present moment. [p.106]
The current bailout is an effort to keep growth going regardless of all the signals. The market actually knows that growth must contract, but the heroin heads in Washington have to keep the fix going.
It should be noted that debt will increase by several trillion dollars in the next four years. The only way out that I can foresee is for a group of independents to run for office in the next four or eight years and make the valid claim that both parties are corrupt. Their willingness to sell the country out amounts to heroin addiction. A case can be made that all public debts incurred since 1913 should be wiped off the books.