Thursday, June 25, 2009

The purpose of civilization

Greetings good citizen,

The markets were, at last glance, treading water…although some would say they’re ‘levitating’ or floating at a valuation that has no basis in reality.

I just had one of those ‘duh’ moments where the obvious hit me right between the goggles. I’m watching a Bloomberg video where Nouriel Roubini was being grilled on the global economy by a female anchor and some guy in a bright pink shirt.

They were dancing around the topic of Eastern Europe and the ‘banking crisis’ over there that is threatening to wreak major havoc on Western European banks.

Um, in case you haven’t noticed, there is a common denominator here that raises some serious issues about why we exist.

The common denominator is that every one of these crises are centered on ‘banks’ and the epiphany I had was when the hell did civilization turn into a ‘life support system’ for the friggin’ banks (and by extension, bankers?)

Instead of working in concert to improve the lot of mankind (the ‘commonly understood’ purpose of civilization) we are mired in questions of how we’re going to ‘pay’ for all of these bailouts of collapsed economies?

Understand good citizen that what this crisis amounts to is a pissing contest over the fact that I gave you three rocks and you promised to give me back five, so where are my five rocks?

Worse, even if I ‘take possession’ of what you used the three rocks to purchase, I can’t recoup because nobody is willing to buy what you used the three rocks to purchase!

Simply put, the situation, as stated above, devolves into a question of who was the bigger idiot?

But no! The bigger idiot is demanding to be ‘made whole’ (under normal circumstances we’d tell the big idiot to go fly a kite…but the big idiot is a banker don’tcha know!) He’s claiming that if he isn’t ‘rescued from his own stupidity’, all of the ‘smaller idiots’ that trusted him to be frugal with their money will lose everything!

Naturally, the real issue here is why was the bigger idiot was trusted to handle any funds in the first place?

It sure looked like a sweet deal, five rocks for three, but stupid didn’t bother to find out what the borrower was going to do with the rocks before he lent them. He had a contract for repayment and as far as he was concerned, it wasn’t his problem.

And now he’s made it everyone’s problem.
There are a lot of ways of viewing this situation but I believe, returning to our ‘commonly accepted’ definition of civilization, that bonehead shouldn’t have been in a position to lend anyone rocks!

Worse, those ‘patriotic flag wavers’ are mighty quick to sing the praises of the great civilization that capitalism built for…truth be told, the capitalists.

Fuzzy distinction time. ‘Believing’ in capitalism does not make you a capitalist. The only thing that makes one a capitalist is the ‘ownership’ of capital (and even that doesn’t make you successful.)

While we’re here why don’t we take a good look at the ‘mighty’ civilization that was built for…um, ‘us’ by the capitalists.

The first thing to strike us is that our magnificent capitalist civilization is broke! How broke is it? It’s so broke that an income tax of 100% for a hundred years wouldn’t be enough to pay off our debts.

This, bizarrely, isn’t considered a ‘problem’ because nobody actually expects us to ever pay down, never mind pay off the debt we’ve been collectively saddled with. Like the loan sharks of old, all our creditors are really interested in is the ‘juice’.

It costs a couple of billion dollars a DAY to pay the juice on what we collectively owe…and we ‘borrow’ that too!

Then we come to budgets and what it ‘costs’ to keep civilization ‘running’.

We fund these obligations with taxes and ‘theoretically’ borrow this money from ourselves…but that’s not true either because we have a privately owned institution that ‘charges us’ to borrow our money from ourselves!

While this particular situation is not ‘illegal’, it should be. It’s taken them less than fifty years to turn the wealthiest nation in the world into the world’s largest debtor.

Yes, they still maintain the fiction that we’re ‘number one’, but we’re no longer ‘top of the heap’ in a ‘good way’.

Then there’s the health care issue, which is tightly coupled with aging population issue.

Where are the jobs in our badly broken economy? In our ‘too expensive’ health care sector. How well do you suppose that’s going to work out?

Speaking of jobs, if you can’t find one, it’s not the capitalist’s problem, it’s yours!

Which in itself is bizarre because the capitalist fully expects you to ‘pay’, whether you can afford to or not.

Which brings us full circle to the ‘purpose’ of civilization…or how we became a ‘life support system’ for the bankers of the world.

Maybe it’s just me but somewhere down the line the ‘banking system’ seems to have grown beyond its basic social function, which was to ‘efficiently allocate’ resources to where they would do the most good.

More importantly is the issue of what we can do about this ‘sure to end in disaster’ situation.

Well, the ‘money bone’ is connected to the ‘government bone’ because money is a ‘legal construct’. It is not possible to correct our money distribution process without, um, re-arranging the decision-making process, a process that exists to ‘preserve’ the current system.

There was an interesting broadcast on the BBC last night about ‘Greed’ and how to successfully ‘harness’ it. I didn’t listen to the whole show but I heard enough to get the gist of it.

Capitalists have always championed the notion that ‘Greed is Good’…which may be true if resources were set to infinity, otherwise more for you means less for anyone else.

Civilization is all about ‘balance’; civilization doesn’t work when a few have everything and the rest have nothing…and are forced to pay dearly for that!

Civilization will continue to strive to ‘balance’ itself, it is this persistent drive for balance that causes civilizations to collapse.

I don’t think anyone needs a magnifying glass to see that our current civilization has become extremely ‘unbalanced’…(and more than a little ‘unhinged’ as well!)

Which in itself contains a ‘good news’ and a ‘bad news’ situation rolled into one, the ‘good news’ is things can’t go on like this any longer, the ‘bad news’ is the likelihood that hitting the reset button will not change the ruinous system an iota. It will merely buy them a little time.

Make no mistake about it good citizen, they know things can’t continue the way they are. What we should all find as disturbing is that there has been zero discussion of what to do next.

Which means ‘what comes next’ is already a ‘done deal’, there’s nothing to ‘discuss’…and given the ‘chaotic’ nature of democracy, this approach is understandable, sadly, it has been proven repeatedly that our ‘betters’ are piss poor decision-makers, especially when it comes to ‘the common good’.

I’ll go a step further and predict most of us will find out about the ‘new rules’ when someone we know gets fucked for doing something they’ve been doing for years.

Your city or town will post ‘strange ordinances’ which your co-workers/friends living in different municipalities confirm have been issued in their towns/states too. Certain types of businesses will notify you they no longer perform this or that service or it will cost you extra if you want to continue to have it done.

Then there will other little dirty deals like ‘exemptions’ from paying overtime while charging you extra for the ‘convenience’ of being ‘serviced’ at night or on the weekend.

Hey, we all know there a million little things they might try to ‘enhance’ the private sector’s revenue stream, hell, we already know the ‘public sector’ is going to sock it to us so hard that we may not recognize the place when they’re done.

Imagine what the roads will look like when EVERYBODY is driving five miles an hour UNDER the speed limit. The traffic jams will be incredible…mostly because there will be a cop with a radar gun sitting under every other overpass/entrance ramp.

Why will all of this (and more) happen; because bankers need their ‘ROI’ so they can pay dividends to their investors and bonuses to their executives.

Which is to point out that the banking system is ‘leeching’ so much money out of our society that we can no longer pursue the purpose of civilization, otherwise known as the common good.

I know I’m laying it on a bit thick here but you know none of what I lay out here is ‘impossible’ or even particularly unlikely as it has happened before under more ‘despotic’ regimes.

I’ll leave you with my original point, when the hell did our society turn into a life support system for the greedy bastards that own the banks?

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


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