Saturday, December 19, 2009

Advice from the Idler

In the words of Tom Hodgkinson "Boycott the Banks!"
OK the guys an anarchist, and yes judging by his writing he may be prone to alcohol induced romanticism, however the theory appears pretty sound to me!


The money path when we invest in the global economy... (by bank or by shares)


I have not studied this subject formally and my comments are based not on fact but on my bewildered observations... I was born at the end of the sixties, as a kid in the 70s I learned to meditate, helped my parents grow vegies in the back yard, helped to measure out food for the local co-op, collected aluminium cans and newspapers for recycling, visited working bees where people built houses out of mud and rode my bike in the streets with the other kids around the neighborhood. As far as I knew we were all supposed to be working together towards an enlightened, home spun, home grown, self sustaining future... The 70s must have been idealistic where I grew up... Some how by the 80s something changed... I don't know what did it but everyone got all greedy and really quickly no one seemed to give a stuff about the trees or the whales and the koalas any more. I cared but I was kind of rebelling in my own uninformed way that didn't require me to know too much, well actually I guess I (was) wasted most of the 80s and90s. I couldn't be used as a reliable witness but I still noticed a few passing trends in that time. I know my views are biased against the Economic Rationalists view of the world. But if you think a world view based on economics is rational then we're living in opposing universes.

It's been pretty clear that in this age our sense reason and compassion for our fellow human beings or any other species is tempered by our rationale as 'Shareholders'. Is this the result of a World nation wide conscription of the proletariat into the stock market? A cunning plan that makes us stakeholders in the very corporations that exploit us. This was delivered upon us via the enticing allure of Market Shares and self funded Superannuation! You probably don't remember when it happened to you but it did. Unless you've completely opted out of the system and rely on a local skills trading network or work for cash only and never invest in Superannuation then just like me and everyone else you are part of the problem!

There was once a time when we went to work, received our wages, paid our bills and if we were lucky saved a little in a bank account for a rainy day. We might have run our own business . Maybe we took a loan from the bank for a house and that was about the extent of many people's knowledge of the financial system. The Evil still existed but we were separate from it. We didn't respond to ethical issues by first asking will this affect my investment returns. We judged right and wrong based on our ethical standards which were generally founded in the tenants found in most religions. Personal responsibility, and a sense of justice and equality with the way we treat other human beings. The banks used to appear to be ethical, but now they don't even bother trying.

Back in the 60s and early 70s people caused all sorts of problems because they voiced their opinions based mainly on their moral convictions or how a particular situation affected them personally. I imagine this caused huge problems for exploitative companies whose only interest was in making lots of money. So someone came up with the most ingenious idea, I'm sure it came something like this...

"How do we deal with these plebs? The Unions have too much power! The bleading hearts are interfering with our profits! If this was Bolivia or China we could get rid of them! How are we going to deal with all these assholes and Greenies who are getting in our way?..."
Then someone at the back of the room says... "Make em all shareholders!"
Of course this would have caused some concern in the board room but the beauty of the plan would have won out...
If you can't beat them... Conscript them! And so somewhere in a back room in Canberra some papers were shuffled, bills were passed, regulations removed, and somewhere along the line we were committed to a system of self funding our retirement and becoming THE MACHINE.

Combine that with the idea that anyone can make a fortune from realestate and you've created a nation of Money Hungry Bread Heads! Our Moral Compases tossed to the wind or hocked at Cash Converters for a fist full of Futures! I used to avoid the poker machines because I found the atmosphere repulsive... Now that same sense of greed and obsession with wealth can be found in any home... These days if people aren't talking about the value of their stocks they're speculating on the value of their home. Or if they're a 'truly successful' kind of person, they'll be bragging about the value of their 'Investment property'! Unfortunately I find that all a little really, really boring... actually it makes me feel sad.

If you want out of this system there are other options. While you're deciding what good purpose you can use your money for, maybe you could leave it with Ethical Investments for a while... At least they won't be shooting - - - - - - - - or Bulldozing the last of our Old Growth Forests with your money. It shouldn't be too hard to change super funds.

Check out what Tom Hodgkinson has to say about the banks over at The Idler.

1 comment:

Cookiemouse said...

This all went pearshaped when Maggie started to bash everyone with her handbag, and sell off public assets. That era is now coming to an end, as people recognize the folly of the culture of greed, perpetuated on Wall Street. Yet, as Copenhagen proved, these guys still want to sell us their scams, this time at the expense of the planet.