Monday, May 18, 2009

Pen Meets Paper, May 18, 2009

Opinion by Helge Nome
Have you ever wondered why jobs are sometimes easy to get, and at other times you are forever sending out resumes and getting no answers. It's a bit like fishing; sometimes you throw a line in and get one on the hook instantly, or wait all day without any bites.
Crows and ravens are the “fishermen” at my place these days. They are looking for scraps of meat, surplus from a supply of same from a local meat retailer for the benefit of my rather well fed German Shepherd dogs: Whenever I dump a load of fatty scraps down by the property fence, the air fills up with ravens and crows, competing for the delicious tidbits. In other words, it is possible to control and manipulate the collective behavior of a lot of very smart creatures (and ravens are about as smart as we are) by providing them with something they want.
I remember being in Baghdad in 1961 and observing my dad doing the same to a group of local kids in a poor suburb. His intentions were good when, after some prompting, he bought some candy and proceeded to hand it out to the kids. What ensued was rather ugly to observe: the bigger kids brutally hogged the candy, pushing the small ones out of the way.
Now, let's take a look in the mirror. What is it that makes us push one another aside for more? Money does, because money is a ticket to wealth and that is something that most of us want above just about everything else (in spite of claims to the contrary by some righteous folk).
So where does the stuff come from? Does it just appear out of nowhere, or does somebody deliberately make it available, or withhold it, like I do with the meat scraps? Is our behavior similar to that of the crows and ravens?
I could easily trap a whole bunch of those birds by simply building an enclosed aviary and put the scraps inside, get them into the habit of coming in for a feed without any consequences other than a full belly, and then trapping them at my pleasure at any time.
Is that what is being done to us by the financial establishment when they make money freely available for some time, creating lines of credit, loans etc., at very low rates of interest? Then some kind of event occurs that makes it “impossible” for these poor “tickets to wealth” (money) dispensers to continue their arduous support of worthwhile enterprises. And when this action is taken on a grand scale, as is happening today, it becomes impossible for even the most energetic entrepreneurs to meet their financial obligations: the aviary has a bird proof roof.
The financial institutions can then use the coercive power of the state to steal the assets of the people that used to be their financial partners.
In truth, it is a bit like fishing, except we are the fish, not the fishermen.

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