Thursday, September 29, 2005

Pilot fish, blood in the water, and economic reform

Having once, in a distant and hard to remember past, been an economics student, I still find myself drawn, every day, almost against my will, to various online financial pages, where invariably, as today, I encounter claptrap about "economic reform."

Why is it that the rulers of the world, presumably under the guidance of their economists, who function much as the paid clerics of Saudi Arabia, universally use the word "reform" to mean programs that make the middle class poor, the poor poorer, all but the very few insecure in their livelihoods, uncertain of their retirement, and fearful for the prospects of their children, even as the already astonishingly rich get unimaginably richer yet?

These water-carriers for an increasingly nasty and brutal social order, which would certainly include a majority of economists since Keynsianism disappeared from the earth, have by and large returned to a 19th century social Darwinism, which, then as now, cloaked unapologetic ideological propaganda on behalf of the rich and powerful in a peculiar imitation of science, nowadays reinforced with a fishwrap of impenetrable mathematics, as if we will thereby take these economists at their word and no one will notice the blood spurting from under the wheels of globalism's juggernaut. Or if we notice, perhaps the mathematics makes it look enough like physics that we will take the operation of the juggernaut to have the inevitability of a law of nature.

If we can be convinced by the pilot fish that a vicious economy, like a great white shark, is kinda the way it's spozed to be, constrained and directed by inevitiable laws of nature, the blood in the water may still turn our stomachs, but we will be resigned to not trying to do anything about it.

But in fact, just about every nation of the world that has achieved prosperity and a decent life for its people has done so precisely by meddling with these imaginary economic laws of nature. Every place on earth that is now, or ever has been, a decent and civilized place for people to live, has gotten to that condition by interfering, sometimes quite markedly, in the operation of the free market.

The Thatcher/Reagan/Bush I/Bush II counter-reformation against human civilization has set itself the task of rolling back mankind's lot to the mid 19th century, at the very least, and has succeeded to a degree no one could have imagined before the conspiracy was joined. Never mind that the brutality of their chosen golden age, a world of workhouses and imprisonment for debt and the billowing smokestacks of Blake's dark Satanic mill, produced Marx and unrest and revolution and, eventually, the most terrible wars the world has ever known, and all-in-all a sea of endless trouble.

But we still have empty suits blithering about economic reform as if it were a _good_ thing. Seemingly the people who actually advocate economic reform think that they have tarted up rightwing ideology enough that we will really mistake it for science, and will believe that such reform, if it is unpleasant for some, is somehow a setting-free of more or less inevitable natural processes, a restoring of an ecological balance, like re-introducing wolves into Yellowstone. Hard on the sheep, but, hey.

What silly crap. Who would believe that impoverishing the middle class is a good thing, whether you call it "reform" and pretend that God, or Science, has spoken, thy will be done, or you simply and correctly call it a great organized conspiracy of the rich and powerful to steal everything there is and make themselves the lords of the earth forever.

But then who would have believed that George Bush would still be talking about tax breaks for the idle heirs of people who die worth billions, and that his congress would at the same time be trying to find turnips to squeeze blood out of to pay for George's War and FEMA's incompetence?

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