It looks like we are approaching “punctuated equilibrium” — a time when events and changes move rapidly — the “old” crumbles and a new way of doing things settles into place.
Only one thing seems certain about the present financial mess. We will come out of this punctuated equilibrium much poorer than we were when we went in.
For decades, we’ve been in the business of subsidizing the Wall Street grasshoppers and penalizing the Main Street ants (if you need a reminder of the details of Aesop’s fable, read it here).
The parasitical Wall Street economy has been sucking the life-blood of Main Street for a long time, with the regular assistance of the US Congress and the various presidential administrations.
But now comes the piper presenting his bill and demanding payment. As a Kondratieff winter looms, the Wall Street grasshoppers are wailing for a rescue, and the government is obliging by taking all that it can from the Main Street ants and giving it to Wall Street grasshoppers to keep their cozy party well stocked with the finest wines and the best drugs.
The political mantra of the hour is “this economy is fundamentally sound.”
Well, no it isn’t. If it was, we wouldn’t be seeing panic in the financial markets. Our economy is characterized by serious misallocation of resources driven by insane and irrational economic policies and a corrupt and decadant political aristocracy.
Here in Oklahoma, we’re building a half billion dollar bridge to nowhere, the I-40 Crosstown Freeway Relocation Project. Instead of investing in an improved public transportation system that will meet the challenges of peak oil, we decided to spend $120 million to become a “Big League City” and steal the Sonics from Seattle. Like, party on, dudes.
I suppose when the next gas crunch comes upon us, somehow our NBA team — the “Thunder” — will magickally produce oil to fill our cars since we won’t have a bus system to take us anywhere.
I guess it won’t matter, because we are a Big League City. We even have a nice Potemkin Village downtown.
Like Mugabe in Harare, we will drive the poor away from our glittering new downtown area. He crudely used soldiers and earth moving machinery. We will be much more civilized, we will use a due process eminent domain riot that will be completely legal, just like we did 20 years ago when the OKC Chamber of Commerce teamed up with the City Council and ODOT to ethnically cleanse the historic Deep Deuce area next to downtown. They had to drive out the black folk so that white people could use the land for development.
They also needed some of that land to build a freeway between Edmond and downtown. This freeway was necessary since many white people were leaving OKC because of the integration of the schools and were moving to mostly-white Edmond so their kids wouldn’t have to go to school with “those kind of people”.
The present financial crisis is what you get when you elect pretty boys to local, state, and federal office based on their ability to manipulate people’s fears and greeds for their own private gains. When this is over, we will all wish we had made much better political and financial decisions. But we didn’t, and so we have made a bed in which we must lay, uncomfortable as it may be.
As the Bible says, “Sow not in furrows of injustice, lest you reap a seven-fold harvest.”