In Appreciation Of Depreciation

The age of America's 'strategic sea lift' (ie invasion) fleet. (Via Sal Mercogliano)

Depreciation is my favorite part of the Renaissance art of accounting (shout-out Luca Pacioli, Da Vinci's homie). Depreciation is the idea that if I buy a machine 'worth' $100 I 'use up' that machine at, say, $10 a year. In 10 years the asset is 'dead'. Depreciation is the closest the machine world comes to understanding death.

I'm (from another life) on the board of a public company and I know that depreciation is just a guess. Nobody really knows if a machine will last 10, 1, or 100 years. Someone (hopefully an expert) takes a best guess. After an asset has depreciated, you have to explain to your auditors why you're still using this thing that is technically used up. You have to fill out forms if you want a little extra life after death.

I also know that, most years, people just ignore depreciation. 'Cashflow, cashflow, cashflow' is the businessman's mantra. I say Fidel Cashflow because it's funnier. The Cash Flow Statement actually removes depreciation to give you the 'bottom line'. Remember that depreciation is just an approximation. If my machine 'uses' $10 of value in a year I don't pay the machine, it's just a made up number. That $10 is actually in my pocket. When you're operating a business—especially during stressful times—you often just ignore depreciation and focus on the Cash Flow Statement. Cash is king, as long as the throne is secure. Any given quarter you can safely disregard deprecation, but it hurts you every year, and kills you eventually.

If you ignore depreciation completely you end up with no business at all. Everything that lives must die, and the machine world is no exception. Your machines (ie capital) will just fall apart and then your corporate body will fall apart and the metabolic juice it spits out (dividends, salaries) will disappear as the host dies. You get kicked out of capitalism without capital, them's the rules, and nobody wants that. Most corporations (that haven't been brainwormed by Private Equity) aren't stupid and don't want to die. Long before a machine depreciates, the management requests a replacement, and the board checks the depreciation value (should it be dying?) and decides. Depreciation is a normal part of corporate planning (unless, as mentioned, the host has been consumed by a PE parasite).

Depreciation Of Matériel

What the military calls matériel is just capital. It also depreciates. The US is 'depreciating' two (of twenty) aircraft carriers right now. The Eisenhower—an aircraft carrier just humiliated in the Red Sea— was commissioned in 1977 and is being decommissioned in 2027. It's a dead man walking, defeated by Yemen. Ukraine's much hyped F-16s are old junk from the 1980s. Europe has already retired (re: depreciated) them. The vaunted arms transfers to Ukraine are just worn out hand-me-downs for Europe's bastard child. The F-16 is already defeated by Russia, it won't even get off the ground.

All of these machines have effectively died. They're getting decommissioned. They've depreciated. They don't work anymore. It's not a coincidence that the US military is losing every war. In accounting terms, their war machine is already dead. As Nas said, ‘[deprecation]'s a bitch, but God forbid the bitch divorce me.’

Just look at the cannibal corpse. Look at their invasion fleet (Afloat Pre-Positioning Program), their guns (Extended Range Cannon Artillery), their nukes (Minuteman III). That shit is all being decommissioned, was never replaced, or can no longer be maintained (respectively). As the Head of US Strategic Command terrifyingly said about 400 nuclear weapons, “Let me be very clear: You cannot life-extend the Minuteman III [any longer].” In accounting terms, America's military assets have become liabilities. The armies of World War II, of Vietnam, of Iraq, of Afghanistan, they longer exist. They have been depreciated into dust and accounting fraud.

Increase Of Fraud

This all seems insane because America is spending more than ever. Why is a braggadocio trillionaire driving a beat-down Lincoln Continental? But you must understand what I mentioned in passing. The US military has a brainworm. It has been devoured by Private Equity. Columbia University and Cal Poly Humboldt are shareholders in the military industrial complex, that's what the students are protesting. That's how deep the corruption has spread. The entire US economy is a Ponzi, and everybody and everything is in on it. The United States Military is just another asset for investors to strip, not a military asset at all.

I have a friend in commercial shipping and they've been taken over by private equity. Those bean counters don't give a fuck about maintenance. That's just a cost, and they're trying to cut costs and take money out of the company, that's it. They don't care if the ships depreciate 10x faster or actually kill people, they just want to hit their numbers by Christmas. This is the algorithmic nature of Private Equity. They're parasites, literal brainworms that devour productive assets and shit out cash. That is their metabolism. The core PE business model is a mafia bust-out.

The entire US military budget is just a measure of fraud. It's a big corruption scoreboard, that they proudly vote on every year. More corruption! Yeah! Americans didn't notice their military depreciation because they weren't actually fighting everybody. They were throwing Ferraris at school-children and making big explosions, wow. But now that they're fighting men in Russia, Yemen, and Iran, the cracks are becoming visible.

Part of the US fleet just caught fire on the way to Gaza. Patriot missiles failed over 'Israel' and 'Israel' is retiring them. Their ground army lost in Afghanistan and actually can't be deployed again. They're barking at everybody but have no bite left. The US Military is actually in full-ass retreat, throwing proxies and propaganda in front of them as a smokescreen. Their military is very expensive simply because it's very fraudulent. It's like a body-builder bragging about how swole they are when in fact they have cancerous tumors everywhere.

The General End

I believe in natural and artificial life. Death and depreciation are just two sides of the same coin, and the house wins every time. Everything that lives must die. Everything that claims existence must lose it. Only Allah is eternal and They give and taketh away, from human and djinn (re: engineering) alike. Every component of every corporation, every corporation in a stock market, every market within every civilization, each component and each whole lives and dies in its own time. Artificial beings are fundamentally no different from natural beings. Impermanence is a basic principle of the universe. Everything that exists must desist at some point. It is the same for ants as for empires.

The White Empire—under a rotating cast of Portugal, Netherlands, UK, and the USA—had a good run, but now it's simply dying. This is as inevitable as it is incomprehensible. All empires die. As a capitalist empire let me put it in terms the Leviathan would understand, in terms of accounting. The White Empire has depreciated its most important assets—its military—to death. It has also depreciated its roads, its bridges, and its entire infrastructure. That stuff is all falling apart and it would bankrupt the nation to rebuild it.

The America economy is—in all veracity—a giant Ponzi scheme. It's all Ponzi. America has sold a lot of bonds (liabilities to the private sector) that it cannot possibly pay without inflating its currency into oblivion, like a dying star outgassing furiously. All America can do now is pay one investor off with the next investor, ie a classic Ponzi. This worked when they had the guns to back it up, but now the guns themselves are depreciating. This worked while they had planetary runway, but now that's running out. Few people appreciate depreciation, but they should. It's just the accounting expression of the eternal law. Everything that lives must die. Man, machine, military, empire.