Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Coming Impression

The world as it exists is a product of our collective soul. Without an understanding of that, there is no broad understanding of wars, economics, politics, etc. So I look for people who have an understanding of life first, then I listen to whatever area of specialty they are concerned with. Usually, I can gleam a nugget of truth from that. With this in mind, I found the following to be illuminating:

NEWSWEEK: You say we're in a new Gilded Age. What do you mean?
Paul Krugman: We are in a Second Gilded Age. The first continued right up until the Depression. Pretax and pre-transfer-income inequality in 2005 was exactly the same as it was in the 1920s. And a lot of [the hallmarks] are the same: the giant private philanthropies (which mitigates economic inequality by giving away fortunes), the exhibitionist display of wealth and, of course, the malefactors of great wealth insisting that they're doing great things for us all.

Krugman has an understanding of how morality plays into economics and his statement helped me to coalesce a lot of nagging thoughts I've been having. People like to reduce economics to a numbers game, but remember, the value of money exists solely in our head. Lose your head and you lose your money. And clearly, we have lost our head.

I remember in the 80s there was a whole slew of books on the Coming Economic Disaster Just Around the Corner. This continued into the 90's but the doomsayers have vanished from consciousness. But they were only seeing the seeds of disaster, failing to account for the time needed to grow. The beauty of an economic disaster is that it can never happen unless we believe it can never happen. That's when you know you've lost your head.

Look at things now: National debt has doubled from 3 to 6 trillion, trade deficits and our national deficit are at nightmare proportions; the number of jobs remains high but the number of people earning a living wage is decreasing and we have the highest concentration of wealth (the richest 1% of Americans own more than the bottom 90% of Americans) among any western country. And in Iraq, war profiteering runs rampant as greed has become institutionalized. Basically, we are in a free-for-all.

You hears whispers of trouble now, but the stock market is still high and all the talking heads paint a mostly rosy picture, but the fatal error lies in that we have finally lulled ourselves to sleep. We are insane and out of control with our spending and yet nothing bad is happening! So maybe we don't need our head after all. Cool! Let's see where making an enemy of responsibility gets us!

Not that I'll be crying when you join me in the street. But here's the basic human truth to this all: Everyone - every man, woman and child, rich or poor - wants to be free of money. It's the inevitable, unstoppable direction of the human soul. For we are human, and in order to have a future, all things inhuman must be purged.

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