Talk about hoisting yourself by your own petard!
The graphs at the bottom of this post are from the New York Times. They’re self explanatory. What isn’t clear is how the movers and shakers of the world can be so bloody stupid. The figures are for the USA but it all applies here in New Zealand and throughout most of the world.
At the top of the graphic you can see that for the last 30 years wages have pretty much stayed the same relative to inflation for 82% of the workforce. The top 18% however, have creamed it. (The top 1% and even more avaricious 0.1% have really creamed it; we’ll get to them at another time.) As a result, in order to be able to buy all the flash cars, flat screen TVs, the ever more fancy houses, and the iPads that media advertising bombards we peasants with, we’ve been borrowing up to our ears. Hence the current mess, and a situation where the people doing the lending are almost as deep in it as the borrowers.
Almost, but not quite. In some cases, not at all. (Continued below the graphic).
Monumental stupidity from the top
What is mind-bogglingly and infuriatingly stupid about all this is that–as you can see from the second graph–it’s all happened before and it was perfectly clear that it was going to happen again. Not only that, it happened in the previous century (the 1800s) as well! More than once!
Here’s how it works–or not
The money manipulators–the John Keys of the world–the so-called Wall Street people: Bear Sterns, Merrill Lynch and the like, screw the system and cream off vast quantities of money. The people at the bottom have their income slashed, are overcome by rising debt, and by soaring interest rates, they often lose their homes and they stop spending. People with young children are forced to work in one or more jobs when they’d rather be nurturing. When the majority of people drastically cut back on spending, businesses can’t make a profit so they go down the gurgler and so do their workers. People are laid off, spend even less, businesses have even less custom… you get the picture. Ever-decreasing spiral.
The whole financial edifice collapses and the bloody fools who caused it ultimately get screwed as well, except for a few at the very top who’ve screwed even the Wall Street types, created century-spanning, mind-boggling wealth which funds wars and kings and can weather the storm until the next cycle of blood-sucking begins.
You have the power
Why does this happen? Because governments fail to regulate perfectly serviceable capitalism. Because we vote in university lecturers, retired cops, lawyers, peanut farmers and union leaders who know bugger all about running a country and even less about economics. Because through bullying, out and out bribery, or through cronyism big business pulls the many of the politicians’ strings as well
Why don’t we deal to them? I don’t know! We have the power! We have 99% of the votes.
OK, I do know. Although we have the power, we’re too ill-informed to understand the issues. We are lethargic, we are ignorant, and we are stupid, we lack foresight, we have a “They should do something about… whatever” mentality. Blame the education system, the news media, and yourself. And ask yourself why the media and the education system are failing to get the message across. Why don’t we learn economics at school, why don’t we teach our children about money, interest, the exponential function, limits to growth, and financial leverage? Ask yourself who is in control? Why have the unions died. They could have the power.
My Christian friends’ scriptures say, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” things were different when that was written. Caesar was in charge. There was no democracy. Even when the Athenians invented democracy, only the top tier of Athens’ society had a vote and even there, in the end they abandoned democracy because the demos stood around arguing about what to do while the enemy were burning down the bloody gates! Remind you of anywhere? Now we, the damn people, are supposed to be in charge and we’re abrogating that responsibility. We are Caesar. It’s our fault.
Come to think of it, Athens is going through the same thing as we speak. Déjà vu all over again. 🙂
Say it again.
You have the power.