Monday, November 3, 2008

Pen Meets Paper, Nov 3, '08

Pen Meets Paper
Opinion by Helge Nome
This (Monday) morning I tuned in to the local radio broadcast over the Internet from Kristiansand, Norway, my old home town, and listened to the local news. The main item was a drop in the value of homes in September alone, of an average of 4% in the city and 5% in the surrounding municipalities. And real estate agents are having a hard time making ends meet due to the low volume in turnover of properties. The similarity in the story here and what is taking place right in our own back yard is amazing. Particularly when you realize that Kristiansand is on the other side of the globe. That just goes to show you how interconnected human beings are. And when I read comments on the Internet to stories about the faltering economy of the United States many, if not most, of them reflect my own sentiments to a tee. I can't help but believe that we are, in our nature, very similar to those flying ants who migrate in huge numbers, over a large area, during a very narrow window of time. Like one great unified organism with a life and mind of its own. The ants then proceed to shed their wings and form relatively independent colonies in new locations. Airborne seeds of plants do much the same thing in their own way.
What is happening all around us in the economic life of nations has been in the works for a long time.
The insanity of the frenzied rush towards self gratification, facilitated by readily available credit for all but a few, has been understood by most people for a long time, without having been acknowledged by same. When the inevitable consequences became evident in the adverse effects on the world's climate, it became more difficult to sweep the evidence of the collective insanity under the carpet.
And now, at last, we have hit the wall, just like the man with heart disease who chose to ignore his symptoms for the longest time and ends up having a major heart attack.
We can play the blame game and accuse the corrupt bankers of causing all our problems. But the fact is that their guilt lies in giving us what we wanted, while raking in a major share of the loot for themselves in the process, without any regard for the consequences. Their mindset has hardly been different from our own. So we are all in this stew together, like it or not, and the central banks' choice of throwing more money at the problem is only making it worse by strengthening the balance sheets of the biggest banks out there, so that they can gobble up the smaller ones. The net result is that fewer and fewer people are in control of more and more public resources and that is not good news for small folks like you and I. The time has come to get connected in a different way than before and take charge of the economic affairs of the nations we belong to, rather than letting strangers determine our fate.

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