Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Road to Recovery

I watch the news every day on CNN or the BBC. Since I have to follow the currency exchange rates, I also get some idea of the state of the world economy. I listen to the stock market pundits and prognosticators examining the daily data who assure me that the world is recovering from the financial crisis.

Two metaphors spring to mind when I listen to them. The first is that they remind me of big game hunters who want me to believe that they are also conservationists. They want the animals that they hunt to remain plentiful and not endangered so they can go on slaughtering them for sport.

Evidently there are many people who are actually waiting for the world economy to return to "normal," oblivious of the lesson that the crash should have taught them: that returning to normal will lead inevitably to another disaster. Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan refused to call for regulation of banks and trusted that the "invisible hand" in the market would fix whatever imbalances might arise. His total failure to see the coming disaster not only revealed Greenspan's inadequacies as Fed Chairman but the unreliability of our economic model.

Contemporary society seems more and more to be populated by the rich and the erstwhile rich. I am astonished that so many apparently intelligent people continue to participate in the enormous swindle called capitalism. They are the same people who flock to Las Vegas and walk around inside the gigantic casinos wondering who pays for it all.

But there is one other metaphor that this "road to recovery" reminds me of. When my mother was working as a nurse's aide forty years ago, she became acquainted with a patient, a man who had been admitted for an operation to repair what is jocularly known as "pink sock," or rectal prolapse, to re-attach his rectum inside his anus. The condition occurs usually through exceptionally rough anal sex.

My mother described with amusement how, during his stay in the hospital, the patient's sole visitor was his doting boyfriend, bringing flowers and anxiously awaiting his lover's recovery.

No comments: