With regard to the current financial crisis, it seems to me that there is an abundance of analysis and a dearth of activism. I’m perfectly willing to be wrong or misguided about this, the responsibility is as much mine as anyone else’s, so feel free to straighten me out. It is as if one removed the police department of a city and simply established various groups of citizens, media, academics, politicians, etc. to analyze crime in the city. Perhaps a better analogy is to the civil rights movement of the 60s -- if blacks and other Americans had decided they would just analyze racism in various parts of the country and write about it, but not really do anything about it.
John Kenneth Galbraith advised that “the study of money, above all other fields in economics, is the one in which complexity is used to disguise truth or to evade truth, not to reveal it.”
It seems to me that our troubles are the result of corruption of money and monetary systems for personal gain by criminal minds who have engineered legal frameworks which ensconce their schemes in law. These are the “Jim Crow” laws of our monetary system to make sure everything is “orderly”. We have political frameworks which give these criminals a high place in the hierarchy of power, educational frameworks which “confirm” their superior knowledge and understanding, and social frameworks which announce their intent to do the best for mankind in these complex and difficult times. Conspiracy? None needed. All that is required is an ignorant populace and ignorant elected representatives.
It is interesting that one can get a handful of academics to sign a letter about global warming in just about any country on earth and suddenly governments are falling over backwards to comply with and fund demands for change. And yet, as corrupt individuals in banking and government manipulate and destroy entire economies, destroy citizens’ lives, the apparency, to me at least, is that those who know what is happening – academics, economists, website analysts, media, etc. – have not organized, have not come together to speak loudly, to noisily expose crimes, to demand change, to alert citizens, not investors, CITIZENS! Isn’t stable money a civil right? Don’t citizens have a right to know that the dollar they earn this week will buy a loaf of bread next week, and the King can’t decree that a dollar now only buys ½ loaf of bread? That if they work hard they need not live at a level of bare subsistence, but may indeed reap a fine reward -- a routine family meal, creative pursuits, the enrichment of art and literature, an abundance to share with those in need, or simply time to dream a better tomorrow, to reflect more on the noble and less on the base, to look up, not only ahead or down? The criminals are not merely destroying economies. That is the least of their villainy. They are destroying all that makes life itself worth living.
Mostly, it seems, we continually analyze and staticize and graph the myriad markets and esoteric instruments – things 99.9% of us (self included) can’t begin to understand. We analyze the symptoms of our illness – inflation, deflation, how much silver got mined, foreclosures, pension funds, the new stock market bubble, dollar out - renminbi in, credit default swaps for dummies, living in Argentina. We offer advice on how to protect oneself, profit, prepare, avoid, relocate, etc. As our economic rowboat is sinking, we have experts in fluid dynamics discussing the various flows and eddies of water in the boat, experts in marine varnish explaining coatings chemistry, experts in wood reviewing buoyancy physics, experts in geography writing about the nearest islands. Oh, and that guy with the drill at the back of the boat who says he is drilling a hole to relieve the internal pressure on the hull caused by the water coming in the other holes he drilled? Well, yeah, he’s trying to help but his theory is all wrong and he really shouldn’t be doing that.
I say it’s not complex. Criminals are in charge and are making things appear complex to an ignorant populace. Those who endlessly analyze are complicit in forwarding that notion that things are, well, really complex and hard to figure out. Respected economists, authors, academics and political leaders who know what is going on must cease business as usual and come together, organize, noisily, “guns blazing”, and alert the people in the boat that they are going to die if they don’t stop the guy with the drill at the back of the boat and expose him as a criminal and a fraud.