Saturday, March 1, 2008

Bull Guts and Prosperity

Dear George,

Fiat currency is to finance capitalism what the element lead was to alchemy. Both are base materials their possessors hoped to transform into something of value through the muttering of incantations. Only finance capitalism succeeded. Fait currency obtains value when a well-armed bully shakes a dollar bill in a peon's face and snarls, “This mother is worth what I say it’s worth!”

I wonder if the alchemist, as he stood over his bubbling cauldron, asked himself, “What if I succeed and turn this lead into gold? What will that do to the price of gold on the open market? Will we not reach the point where it would take a ton of gold to purchase what a pound of gold now purchases?”

One thing we can be certain of, the finance capitalist never asked this question about his fiat currency. Why bother when you can produce value as fast as you can print it.

Finance capitalism is the alchemy of today as it busily produces value out of a base material--paper. It is all fantasy, which is why you are so adept at it. Your greatness is your deftness at spinning fantasies. You are Fred Astaire and your Ginger Rogers is the make believe that twirls and swirls like the multiple folds of her ball gown.

Fantasy is the hot air that has inflated the multiple bubbles that have maintained the illusion that we are a prosperous nation when, in truth, our economy has been stagnant as we shipped our manufacturing base overseas.

Ours has been the prosperity of increased indebtedness, even as we have shriveled up our consumer base by adding to the ranks of the impoverished. We need the poor because debt is a major source of revenue for our financial capitalists. They are the vultures who profit every time funny money changes hands.

Their goal is the total economic meltdown that would give them the opportunity to wrap a neoliberal garrote around the neck of what remains of the New Deal and slowly strangle it.

All of this was made possible when the bean counters enticed the virtual economy to pack her bags and leave the real economy. There’s more profit in make believe than there is in actually making something or in providing a real service.

Loved it, Big Guy, when you told the world there is no recession, just some minor problems that your administration will handle with the same “can do” attitude that liberated Iraq.

The priests of old assessed risk by studying the innards of a gutted bull. The priests of finance capitalism assess risk using “risk assessment models.” I suspect the priests of old had better luck with their bull guts.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

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