Fools Gold

Hands up if you understand the workings of the Stock Exchange?

Most people probably have a vague notion of what goes on at Wall Street or the City, but up until now we all considered it to be fairly serious business didn’t we? Huge amounts of money being won and lost in the flash of an eye, buying and selling, wheeling and dealing. After all the flow of funds has a significant impact on the nation’s balance of payments.

Now, I don’t profess to be much of an economist (and those who read my mathematically flawed and hence removed previous article will concur)  but I’d expect to be assured that those traders who are responsible for investing the mind-boggling amounts of money had a pretty solid basis that they made their decisions on.

Alas, this appears not to have been the case. We’ve since learnt that these traders have been living in cloud cuckoo-land. To them, dealing in bonds, hedge-funds, futures and the like has been like a game of monopoly or roulette. What’s worse is that they’ve frittered away other people’s retirement funds or hard-earned cash destined for children’s education.

What of the repercussions of destroying ordinary folks’ dreams and ambitions? Has the money gambled away like a wild weekend in Vegas been paid back to the victims of these speculative games? I doubt very much if it will.  Who has taken the rap? Apart from a few scapegoats paraded around in the press such as Bernard Madoff, most of the suspects have probably got  away with a slap on the knuckles or a demotion to the photocopying section while all the fuss dies down.

They’ve lost millions. That’s the bottom line. Banks are having to be nationalized, thousands have lost their livelihoods and the world has slipped into a gloomy recession.

So what have the governments done in reaction? Given millions back to the same idiots who lost all the dosh in the first-place. You might argue that it will be distributed to X, Y & Z, but I mean that it’s basically all going back into the funnel to be filtered through the financial and industrial institutions.

Why not distribute it among the citizens so they would be encouraged to spend and kick-start an inflationary trend? Wouldn’t that create confidence, jobs and generate the feelgood factor?

One of the main reasons for the bubble bursting was over-borrowing and the credit craze. We were encouraged to spend now and pay later. Everyone loves a growing economy but has anyone considered if infinite growth is really healthy?  If you eat too much you become obese.

So it won’t happen again then? Sure, they’ve imposed and strengthened regulations but the ones that have to foot the bill are Joe Public i.e. the taxpayer. That’s akin to locking the stable door after the horse has bolted and then taking the price of a new horse out of the stable-lad’s wages even though he was off-duty when the horse escaped.

And still the vultures want more.  As companies fold or lay-off their loyal employees, the suits at the A.G.M.s want their dividends more than ever . They can’t wait a year for the economy to improve. We read in the papers about  Chief Executives retiring with massive, mouth-watering golden handshakes. What does this say about modern western culture?

I read somewhere that 7% own 84% of all the wealth on Earth. If this is true, then something is seriously wrong. Where is it all hidden? Probably in accounts in banks that do not come under the financial regulations proposed by the governments.

Just how much money does one need to live a happy, healthy lifestyle?

I’ve asked more questions than I’ve provided solutions. Having said that I do see one factor that seems to undermine what we should be seeking to create as a community..

It’s called greed.

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2 Comments

Filed under Money

2 responses to “Fools Gold

  1. ichabod

    Hi tigercity;

    I agree with your analogy and unfortunately it is the Achilles Heel of Western culture which is based on an ideology of individualism and materialism.

    Not that individualism and materialism are bad, but when it becomes an obsession as in the modern day society with its anchors, slavery to corporations and creditors, you have to wonder.

    This is the second time the US has caused a massive recession, but it has affected the world to a greater degree because of trade. During the Great Depression America’s fall was largely isolated, today it is not.

    It is like flying on an airliner with box cutters hidden and an open cabin door. You never know who and when will use them, so it is with America’s economy and now the World.

  2. Phil Newman

    Meritocracies finacially reward success. Success is thereby measured by wealth and poor old Johnny who shall only get a penny a day because he can’t work any faster.

    The problem is who distributes the rewards, to whom and on what grounds – there’s the rub and most would agree it’s not fair. ‘All men are created equal but some are more equal than others’ wrote Orwell in animal farm and don’t the super rich just known it? Well, bully for them. Here is my consolation:

    Wealth is in the human spirit; in Man’s character; in his beliefs; in his inter-action with other human beings.
    Wealth is in the nature; in a rain drop, in a petal, in a sunset.
    Wealth is in our cultural heritage; our mosques, churches and temples; our libraries, museums and art galleries.
    Wealth is in our human variety; black, white and brown, with the 6000 or so languages, the vast array of musically created sounds, and the extensive collection of culinary dishes, colourful garments, living quarters and daily routines.

    Those with heads down busily counting their piles of pennies have little time for such things. And perhaps we should pity them, for whilst they stock take on their riches, they have no concept of the things that have real value and hence are not, in fact, so wealthy.

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