Friday, October 10, 2008

Gordon Gecko, John McCain, and Fatcatism

Yes, the economy has been destroyed and we're all going to die. Well, we had a nice run.

The one saving grace of this whole situation has been hearing folks like John McCain rail against "fat cats" on Wall Street and their "excessive greed." Maybe I'm new to this, but since when has Wall Street ever run on anything besides greed?

Perhaps I missed the free breakfast programs and job training classes they offer down at the Wall Street soup kitchen, but as far as I know there's only one law on Wall Street: Get yours. Don't take my word for it, let Gordon Gecko break it down for you.

"Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed in all of it's forms: greed for life, greed for money, greed for love, knowledges, has marked the upward surge in mankind, and greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA."

Very poetic, in a Rumsfeldian kind of way. My point is that it's funny to have people complaining about the evils of Wall Street greed when the place was built on an ideology that favors the capitalization of all human life and natural resource.
(Well, if you want to get technical, Wall Street was actually built on a massive grave site for African slaves. In the pre-Revolutionary War period, Wall Street was a trading floor for African slaves and at that time 40% of all New York homes owned slaves. But I digress.)

So yes, greed has gotten out of control, but no, it's not surprising. When there's no one watching, greed is going to trump humanity and 91 year old women are going to be driven to suicide because they can't pay their mortgages. That's why we have governments and laws in the first place.

Gecko's words are prescient, especially when he identifies the United States of America as a "malfunctioning corporation." Think about it. Over the last eight years we've seen attempts to privatize almost every aspect of government, from our schools, to our military, to our voting rights, to our national parks, to our social security to our health care (oh wait, that's already privitized). And the list goes on and on.

Now we done bought 700 billion dollars of bad mortgages. We're not in the middle of an "economic crisis," y'all. This is a hostile takeover.


Vanessa said...

The thing that gets me the most about this whole crisis are those so-called economic purists who keep saying that if government hadn't been involved AT ALL, from the beginning, we'd be economically prosperous and everything would be fine and dandy money-wise. The rich would take care of the poor, etc. It's actually pretty amazing that people can associate what is essentially the art of greed with the art of social organization and altruism.

Jackson Brown said...

"When there's no one watching, greed is going to trump humanity and 91 year old woman are going to be driven to suicide because they can't pay their mortgages."

I don't know ... once the fat cats back people too far into a financial corner, greed for money will cease to matter. We'll revert back to some John Locke, citizens' right to overthrow government-type stuff. As the cliche goes, money won't be worth the paper it's printed on.

Greed for survival might actually be humanity's saving grace.