Monday, March 23, 2009

Greed and Stupid Beget Pain

There is another thing about spending the daylight hours of the the last three days digging in the garden besides fresh air, good exercise and preparing for eating over the coming months and that is, it takes your mind off the fact that the majority of us in the nation are "well and truly fucked".

From Matt Taibbi’s latest article at Rolling Stone:

The mistake most people make in looking at the financial crisis is thinking of it in terms of money, a habit that might lead you to look at the unfolding mess as a huge bonus-killing downer for the Wall Street class. But if you look at it in purely Machiavellian terms, what you see is a colossal power grab that threatens to turn the federal government into a kind of giant Enron — a huge, impenetrable black box filled with self-dealing insiders whose scheme is the securing of individual profits at the expense of an ocean of unwitting involuntary shareholders, previously known as taxpayers. …

…So it’s time to admit it: We’re fools, protagonists in a kind of gruesome comedy about the marriage of greed and stupidity. And the worst part about it is that we’re still in denial — we still think this is some kind of unfortunate accident, not something that was created by the group of psychopaths on Wall Street whom we allowed to gang-rape the American Dream.

A pretty good summary of where we are I would say.

While some might be able to quibble over a few details, Taibbi gets to the heart of the situation we find ourselves in fairly well. The crude and painful reality is that the financial "wizards" have managed, over the last decade or so, to rape and pillage the entire economy. Our national wealth has been hijacked into a vast scheme of money chasing even more money and less and less of our energy and productivity has been used to create tangible things like a sustainable and healthy food system or valuable and useful consumer products or smart and much needed infrastructure. We are no closer to being energy self sufficient, no closer to having a national health care system and more and more people are going hungry. The great majority of the vast resources of the country, and the world's for that matter, have been ruthlessly plowed into meaningless and fundamentally worthless financial investment instruments. In other words, we have spent the last decade or more building a huge pile of fictional shit and what's worse is that we can't even use it for fertilizer for Goddess' sake.

What’s really sad is that it appears a huge number of apparently intelligent people still don’t see the big picture. Even sadder, it seems, is that this large number includes the Obama Administration, which appears to be in tweak rather than overhaul mode. My fear is that the people closest to the game and complicit in its creation are the ones in the positions to do something material to get some badly needed corrections in place. One might despair!

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