Of gloom and thinking positive
Very often I am asked why I shoudl always be so negative. Clearly there are some very positive things I could see and write about.
Clearly there are. For one, we are alive.
The other thing I can tell you is that there is light at the end of the tunnel… though we cant see it yet, it will be there. The good thing about this depression is that when we’ll come out the other side, we will enjoy a renaissance in the proper meaning of the term. Society will have been chastened and will emerge with a renewed sense of morality, respect, tolerance and duty and will be eager to rebuild what will then be perceived a more positive future. The cost of living will be once again reasonable compared to wages that too will be reasonable. Our children will be able to attend schools where teachers will once again have earned the respect of parents. Agriculture will once again employ large numbers of young men and women as will manufacturing. In developing countries, women rights will move ahead to a significant degree.
In short, once we come out the other end of this bloody mess we can look forward to what some would describe as a more “wholesome” and meaningful life.
But our concern righ now is how to get there in the quickest possible way. And let me tell you. Our leaders are doing nothing today that has not been done in the past and that lead inevitably to extended depressions and, often, war.
But that is the nature of politics. At a time when the thing to do would be to do exactly nothing, politicians must be seen to be doing something. That’s because it is the nature of politics; it is partly opportunism, partly manipulation of people’s sentiments, partly ignorant conviction and partly misguided but honest fiduciary duty, all be it a very small part of the latter.
The technical difference between a recession and a depression is that in the first instance the economy and the stock markets may weaken for a time but in a depression it is the credit market that implodes. Guess which we have now.
At any rate. The amount of money we are borrowing and “spending” is gargantuan. The trouble is that this money is given to the same entities that have brought about this mess. So, instead of using this money to either prop up viable companies, strengthen the social safety nets and eventually starting brand new banks unencumbered by toxic assets, we give it to failing companies thus reducing market share for all, we give it to banks that are creaking under the weight of their failed bets and, more absurd still, in order to manage this galactic pool of dosh we hire the usual suspects that play musical chairs in the corridors of banking power and whom, by the way, did not see this crisis coming.
I’d like to sound more positive and tell you like Mervin King told you yesterday, that next year we’ll be back up and running like it was 2007. But I ask you: was the period between 2000 and 2007 really so great for most people other than the folks in the finance and legal industries?
(Taken from “Short Essays” on this blog. I was going over some of my old posts and thought this one to be as topical now as it was then. I think I wrote this circa end 2008)