Sunday, August 9, 2009
dangers of happinomics
Susan seems to think that I might not pay much attention to politics and problems like our economy and health care, at least she suggested that in her response to a comment I made on the post previous to this one, but it just ain't so.
No, no, no - I meant that you'd been away doing better things with your time but please accept my apology for a hasty answer to the well written comment you left last week. It was flippant and didn't take into account what you'd actually said, nor what I know about your life and the truly gallant way you have of dealing with life in a country we were always told was the greatest on earth. You spent a good part of the summer showing your children and young grandchildren how truly magnificent is this land where they were born.
I was never a passenger on the 'Hope Train' that whistle-stopped around the country last year but deep inside I thought some things might change. We still have Guantanamo, we still have wire tapping of citizens, we still have Presidential Signing Statements, we still have no help for the masses of unemployed, we have no climate agreement, we have no hope of national health care and on and on. I guess I'm just naive but let me explain further and turn this into a Sunday post:
'It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.'
When I posted the quote and the somewhat shocking image of the President I was relating it to all the people I know at work and in general who have returned to their comfortable delusions now that the major banks have been permanently bailed out by the government. They've equated too big to fail with the assumption that if they get even bigger and greedier they will never, never fail but they don't care that regular people will. For them it's all about speculation based on complex computer algorithms and not about lending money so new businesses can be started or adjusting mortgages on homes where people live. There is no such thing as a jobless recovery for a society at large and that's exactly what's going on now.
I've spent far too much time this spring and summer reading financial news reports and watching Congressional testimony by Hank Paulson who actually admitted that if they hadn't bailed out the banks that the whole theory of Capitalism would have been recognized by everyone as being hollow and worthless. In my opinion that would have been a good thing. It's capitalism that killed 10,000 people in Bhopal, India when the unregulated Union Carbide Company released 42 tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate gas in December of 1984. Thousands more have died since. It's unfettered capitalism in the guise of the Monsanto Corporation that forces third world farmers to buy seeds from them that have been made sterile so the farmers can't plant, harvest and plant again as they've done for millennia. It's capitalism represented by Big Media and the lobbyists of the Health Care Industry that won't allow a national health care plan to be presented before the people in this country when it's so obviously what most people want. As you well know it's capitalism too that's responsible for the only big manufacturing sector left in this country - the Arms Industry. Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northup Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics represent the biggest part of the Military Industrial Complex that Eisenhower warned about so many years ago. Weapons need to be tested and we all know who they test them on, don't we?
The logic freaks of economics don’t like to talk about ecology – their models don’t account for melting glaciers, dying coral reefs or the possible collapse of the entire Australian continent. But the reality is that it takes centuries to restore codfish to the Atlantic or to reboot a coral reef and it takes a thousand years to grow a single inch of topsoil. This is the kind of bio-speak that falls outside the theoretical framework of neoclassical economists who are much more comfortable talking money – the language of liquidity, stimulus packages and hedge fund regulation. There is no discussion within their profession of the real-world impacts of their economic philosophies.
People in general are numb and I blame television. I haven't watched it for years but I do understand how insidious it is:
I'll look forward to your post explaining everything :-)