Monday, March 23, 2009

The Two Worlds

This weekend was the first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Trees that were dormant are producing leaves and photosynthesizing. There are copious amounts of pollen in the air. Animals are mating and raising families to pass on their genetic legacies. The natural world is celebrating Life.

Then we have the human world, that crazy, insane human mindset that may or may not acknowledge the natural world. In the U.S. and maybe elsewhere, people wonder where their savings went, whether the banking system is solvent, and whether the current administration knows what it's doing to solve the financial problem created by the shadow banking system. Judging from Paul Krugman's reaction and others, to Geithner's Plan, the country is still not out of the woods. Indeed, Krugman is beginning to despair. I must admit that I am beginning to despair as well. I expected a smart man such as Obama to have smart advisors who would do the right thing. What we seem to have is an administration that believes the banker's version of events, that there is a crisis of confidence, not a crisis of solvency. However one sees it, the end result is the same - they are throwing money at a problem in order to fix it. The standard fix for insolvent banks is FDIC receivership, and for other institutions, bankruptcy court. But that is not on the table since Lehman failed. So now we see AIG being given money and that money being given to its counterparties such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and big European banks. Why are the taxpayers having to make good on AIG's losses? Why are we paying 100 cents on the dollar as well? Why is the government making paper entities (corporations) whole and sticking the taxpayer with other peoples' and companies' losses? Isn't this the Dennis Moore School of wealth redistribution over and over again with each publicised bailout or plan?

How does one live in a world that values money, when he or she knows that money is just bits of paper that are a convenient fiction? Money is a way to judge the value of a person's work be it a service, a craft, art, or product. As we have seen, some people are paid more than they ever deserved. Is there a way to live without money, besides barter, that is? There's no more free land that I know of. If there is, please let me know. Jesus lived without money. He lived day to day on handouts. From what I can tell, the Buddha did as well. One died homeless and alone, executed by the Romans as an example to others. The other died revered. In the West, we'd likely never see Jesus in our midst, for he would likely be one of the homeless. What would he make of the public saving the wealthy from themselves? Would he say that it is insane? Would he say that it is the brotherly thing to do? There is the mention of giving one's shirt off of one's back to another who needs it, but does that hold for a relatively poorer man giving his shirt to a wealthier one who has everything he needs? What is the correct spiritual course? How do we fix this human world?
Comments:
Hi John

I think the strategy of the US Fed Reserve and Treasury is to give the bastards (banks/underwriters etc) Confidence. Confident bastards hopefully means confident public. Doesn't matter who is in power the financial system needs junkie fixes fast.

Your words are eternally eloquent. Therefore I'm signing you up to my local Australian writers group post haste. We're on a great river (by Australian standards) somewhere between Sydney and Melbourne. I wish to volunteer you my friend.

Your "application form" will be coming in the private email within a day.

Sleep well.

Pete
 
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