Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Now I’m Mad. For a While, Anyway

I shouldn’t be mad, I should be Wisely Calm. Serenely intelligent, with a gentle but knowing smile. Sadly, I’m very human, quite naïve, desperately romantic, and want this absurd system behind me, done with, over. Of course that’s going to take years, but I’m impatient. And sometimes, the old sense of being tiny in the face of a crushingly enormous juggernaut blind to the damage it does, it gets to me. It does. I want more power. There. I said it. And this is why.

Central banks have acted in a globally unified move to reduce central bank to commercial bank lending rates by 0.5%. Even more than on the rumour of the IMF boning up a cool 600bn euros for Italy, the markets are climaxing over this. There's coke and jism all over the shop. Adam's Invisible Hand is hard at work, pumping those boys good and proper. And it isn't even Friday yet! Here are some choice quotes from a Guardian article I just perused:
The Bank of England joined the Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan, the ECB, the Bank of Canada and the Swiss National Bank in taking the measures. Stock markets around the world surged after the central banks said they would cut the price of emergency dollar loans to cash-strapped banks by 0.5 percentage points, and extend the scheme until February 2013.


"Clearly the world's central bankers have had enough of all the political mud-slinging and intransigence and they've decided to take the situation by the scruff of the neck."

How nice to have had enough of politicians who can’t seem to cure the worst debt crisis in history by forcing their underlings to pony up their futures, without rioting, for generations to come, as tribute to the system that serves only two functions; growth and enslavement. How meek and incompetent of them. How indecisive. How immature. Not that I’m a fan of politicians, but doesn’t that financial-expert view of things sum it up nicely.

It’s the money, stupid. No money; no planet. No credit; no planet. No debt; catastrophe, mayhem, disaster, raining fire, earthquakes, boiling seas, kraken devouring lambs and babies. You name it, we’ll do it.
The central bankers fear that if financial institutions rein in credit, it will hit ordinary consumers and businesses, and threaten a double-dip recession in the world economy.

"The purpose of these actions is to ease strains in financial markets and thereby mitigate the effects of such strains on the supply of credit to households and businesses and so help foster economic activity," they said in a joint statement.

Scary, huh? The very last thing we want is a double dip recession. Just think, wages might stagnate. People might lose their jobs. Standards of living might fall. Crime might rise. Any one of those would be, quite frankly, unacceptable. Nobody in their right minds would want all of them at once. So thank the central bankers that the markets are rising again. Because if there is one thing that is crystal clear by now, it’s that we all benefit, people and planet, when the markets are surging upwards.

Trot out the bonuses! Those ‘hard working’ folk in finance can buy their wives and Class Act Escorts another Porsche Cayenne or Audi Q1.

The Audi Bonus. “One in each colour, sir?”

But this is boring, isn’t it? This is like the twentieth time this month a ‘fresh injection of liquidity’ has revived the fetid rot this system clearly is. Squeezed some noxious activity out of it. I mean, apart from it being historic and everything, this is getting just a tad repetitive. Let’s try and spice it up a little, remind ourselves what we’re dealing with here:
"This may have been a signal that the money markets were a short shove away from complete collapse."
Complete collapse? Ooh! I think I can ... yep, there’s a butterfly in my stomach. Thanks, Jeremy Cook, for bringing a little excitement back into my old body. The Cinema of the Media sure knows how to knock us out, eh? Wham, bam, boom, up and down like jet fueled yoyo. It don’t get much better than this. And the only way to fly in this beast is passively. Lie back, let the Masters take care of business, and hope you don't belong to one of the billions about to get squished under the juggernaut's weight. Like a bug.

[ADDENDUM, 18:51 CET: This point should have made it into the article, but them's the breaks. Lowering interest rates worked like a charm so far, got banks lending again, right? It says in the text books that low interest rates = cheap money = lending and then Even More economic growth. It's in the text books, clear as day. With charts and everything. So let's do that again, because last time people didn't notice enough. There wasn't a sufficient Attention Quotient (AQ) operating at that moment in time (2008, 2009, and 2010 or so, roughly). It didn't really bite, you know? Didn't quite find purchase as we'd hoped. This time, now that the problem has been taken "by the scruff of the neck", those eye-wateringly low interest rates will have the effect the text books promise. Everybody knows that!]


Longhaired blog said...

Sickening isn't it?
I'm glad you have poetry Toby have you seen the poetry group on linked in its quite interesting there are a number of editor types who frequent it . Net working is key to leading from the front Johanna and I were discussing it the other day? Keep the faith Brother we are not the only people waking up to and following this particular path.
I am really feeling your form filling health insurance thing I have a phobia for snail mail and all things form filling when I was divorced 8 years ago my ex was a Lawyer and had done all the form filling I didn't open any post for nine months I think it was, I'm still the same.
Hope your keeping chipper one of my friends favourite quotes is this one.

I suspect its already familiar to you. But hey the oldies are the goodies.

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Read more:

Toby said...

The Way is Hard.

Nietzsche, whom I haven't read, seems to have had quite a thing about being an all out individual. I'm with the more network-oriented or systems theory school, which insists on words like "emergence" and "embedded". As Goethe put it:

“We are surrounded and embraced by her—incapable of stepping out of her, incapable of penetrating deeper into her.”

He was talking about nature. I always say there is nothing which is not nature, nothing which is not Universe, nothing which is not god. Escaping the tribe in which you grew up is impossible. You use the language they 'taught' you with which to develop a 'new' perspective, out of which an escape might be possible. Except it's never escape, even if it seems that way. As Newton said, "If I have seen far, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants." We all do. No one can start from scratch. Their entire biology took billions of years to make, contains wisdoms and experiments beyond our fathoming. The tribe emerged from All That Is as we emerge from the tribe. And change is the only constant.

That said, the urge to 'escape' the 'grip' of the group, to be 'true' to your self, that is part of nature too. And good. And bad. And however else we can perceive that desire. So I agree with Friedrich, but would qualify that quote with the wisdom of other great thinkers, stand on their shoulder too awhile. The more wonderful views we enjoy, the wiser we become.

Toby said...

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

Debra said...

While I feel a certain kinship with Friedrich, I must say that the idea of OWNING ONESELF is rather.. PROTESTANT, should I say ??
The "autonomy" trap...
How ironic that the man who pushed it so far ended up.. IN HIS MOTHER'S ARMS.
Logical. Too logical...
Nice to see I'm not the only one who views the absence of any sort of INSTITUTIONALIZED, official mail with considerable relief....

Toby said...

I'm not an expert on these things, but isn't that sense of self-ownership catholic too? At least nowadays, anyway. And if earlier Catholicism did not contain this concept, perhaps it was merely because our culture had not yet evolved it. For whatever reason, good or bad, its evolution happened alongside Protestantism.


Debra said...

Not a good idea to imagine that Catholicism escaped the effects of the Reformation anyway.
They had that Counter reform.
I'm not an expert, Toby.
I was rather surprised to discover that the Catholic Church that I came over here to find did not exist any more.
Them's the breaks, as you say.

Fungus the Photo! said...

The world has been very successfully run for some while now.... we have more people alive now than have ever lived before!

We have more now living like kings and queens, with many houses that would be the equivalent of a palace, in the past.

We have many wealthy things that own us, too. We can feed the 12Bn population.

But we now need a rational system for deciding areas where competition is proper and where it is not!

Money creation must be in public hands, only. Wealth creation can continue to be in private hands.

The current depression is due to the over creation of debt and now we have too many claims, money, on too few assets. Yet, we no longer need the concept of scarcity!

Toby said...

I'm not sure I agree with all of your comment here, though it is brief.

Could you point me somewhere which lays out how we might feed and house 12bn souls?

And I don't believe in the concept of private property. And I doubt you do either, since abundance renders private property redundant. 'Private' etymologically stems from 'to rob', and that makes sense, since no one can cut up the land and have total ownership of it, or not steal it from the commons, or anything else for that matter, including 'intellectual property.' I've written on that here:

and would recommend Charles Eisenstein's "Sacred Economics" for a more detailed analysis:

Agree on competition; it has its place, but is absolutely not the core driving force of nature. Cooperation is more fundamental still, gives competition the ground, and framework too, out of and within which it makes healthy sense. Thus, they are not opposites (com + petere means 'to strive together' anyway) but rather complements of each other.

Money creation in public hands: perhaps, but that depends on how we define public and private. I believe there is much work to be done here.

Old Odd Jobs said...

"And I don't believe in the concept of private property."

Can I come over and take your stuff? Or will you now distinguish between personal possessions and "means of production"?

I don't disagree with your statement - it's not even wrong, as they say. Just dazzlingly incoherent.

Toby said...

Hi Old Odd Jobs,

your request to come and take my stuff assumes the existence of private property. So, no, in this system, you may not take my stuff, because it is hard to replace, due to the price system, the assumption of scarcity in market economics, and a host of other historical/cultural factors. The origins of my statement that I don't believe in private property stems from an ongoing and very long analysis of what the implications of a resource-based economy might be, and how we mght get from here (a private property situation), to there (an open access situation). In other words, this blog post does not represent the totality of my philosophy.

So to contradict myself, yes, you may (one day) come and take my stuff. Should (one day) you still want it, that is, as you would not need it from me. But when (if) you do come round, try to be polite about it. Please.