Bloated fat cats living in a gated community on the hill, while emaciated hoards struggle in the desiccated, drought-plagued valley below.
Anything wrong with this picture? It defies gravity, right? Must be a vacuum pump somewhere pushing water uphill?
Does that scenario remind you of the current financial markets?
It leaves me wondering whether there might not be some sort of jolt available to shock the entire financial matrix back into equilibrum?
I'm lucky you see, I don't know enough about economics to not ask such a question.
I do remember in 1972, when the US was in a threatening debt situation, Nixon sent everyone home at 1700 hrs one Friday, devalued the dollar by a whopping 10% over the ensuing long week-end, and reopened for business at 0800 hrs Tuesday while thumbing his nose at the creditors.
Now, I understand that in order to pull off such a stunt, the devaluing country must be able to withstand the backlash. To devalue one currency in the absence of a neutral standard, such as gold was back then, means that all other currencies appreciate relatively. But that was an eon ago when 'globalization' didn't even apply to the World Cup yet, let alone the World Economy.
I mention it now only as an example of a time when we dared shake up the world's extortive shakedown system. What wild, out-of-box, shock could we use today to reset the very meaning of 'money' itself to some kind of start-from-scratch tabula rasa. What tactic of global economic policy would be the equivalent of turning off the aforementioned pump, even temporarily?
Individual sectors of the world economy are rife with local and hemispheric collusion, of course, but these are only mini-tycoons on local hillsides. What about the planetary petro-pharma-agri-banco-insurance 'cartel'? It doesn't even act like a cartel anymore. That word implies a gathering of at least several actors. These buggers act as one highly integrated central vaccuum.
Their insidious gleaning machine permeates from the marrow of our bones to the farthest reaches of our economic vascular system, into the very meat of the Earthly being itself. It vacuums our taxes, profits and bonuses through a venous capillary system that sucks us dry to feed a single narrowly held capital escrow.
Make no mistake about it, the process is indeed venous, not arterial. The net traffic is 'return', toward the center. It was designed from the start to feed that gated and privileged reservoir at the top of the food chain.
That is why the main symptom of this current economic disease is not edema (swelling from excess fluid at the periphery), but ischemia (lack of circulation and oxygen in the economic muscles that move us.)
This isn't the first time it has happened. Each of history's great revolutions has posed the same question to petrified privilege. Has the time come to sabotage the pump? Are the hoardes determined to see the water flow back downhill for a while until nature and cyclical evaporation can restore regular rainfall to the valley again?
The difference, despite the broad availability of small arms, is that we, the valley riff-raff, are unlikely to launch any sort of guerilla revolt this time thanks to the pharmacopeial and misinformation-induced stupor into which we have fallen.
Instead, the pump that is sustaining the uphill flow of wealth and privilege is about to fail all on its own. It is running dry naturally and, once it has, the diaphragm will perforate and the shrinking gaskets will fail to seal the valves that currently ensure a one way flow.
That flow, on which the accumulation of plutocratic power and priviledge depend is called 'interest' in the case of banks and 'premium' in the case of the insurance companies. They are wealth-diverting and concentrating strategies that no longer bear any relation at all to the actual costs of managing currency or actuarial risk.
Only a very few prophetic voices among us seem able to step off the consumerist presuppositional treadmill long enough to even notice what is happening and, predictably, we dismiss them as platitude-spouting old socialists from a bygone era. There is no Twenty-First Century Deep Throat willing to blow the whistle.
Nobody wants to hear a prophet whine.
instead, a necessary seismic upheaval is on the way that will not be of our deliberate chosing or design, not this time. We are functionally incapable of a well-crafted deliberate change of direction. There will be no brilliant, game-changing Obama-led end-run around the debt markets some Monday morning to shock them and draw the planet away from the brink.
Crisis averted? Water flowing with gravity again? Not a chance. Not with the whole shamozzle compounded by the percentage of the world economy that is off-book, a narco-criminal 'black market' and informal economy that runs parallel to and increasingly unconnected to the 'legal' (i.e. taxable) economy.
Instead, in the absence of a deliberate act of human will and communal planetary sanity, Mother Earth herself is going to take over and teach us a bitter lesson. Our behaviour as a species on this planet is unsustainable. We are stark raving mad. BP and Grecian fiscal policy are only tips of the melting iceberg.
And where I live, fellow drones, that iceberg is no friggin' cliché!