|fart on conrad-izzy||question everything|
|fight lies||truth is beauty|
Top Of The List!
Canadians for Canada Coalition (CCC) - United Left, if you will - but bottom of the line - Get Rid of Corporate Government in Canada - 2004 Federal Election may be your last chance - act NOW PLEASE!!
The Debt Conspiracy Theory Fact - do you believe people who email you from Africa wanting to give you 10 million bucks? No? Well WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THE NATIONAL DEBT IS LEGITIMATE?!?!? (Sorry - I get excited about this...)
911 - as important as the debt scam - ask yourself why you are so afraid to admit the truth here, even when it's been kicking you in the face almost since it happened? When the world you live in is operating under a lie this big and obvious and monstrous, you have no security whatsoever.
RM 030605 Great God StockMarket |
Yeah I know it's been three days - sorry - but I got sidetracked, and then the damn thing just kept getting longer. And it still needs a book by the looks of it so far .....
Perusing the news as I am wont to do (deep, deep, deeeep!! thanks Tim B. Lee et al. for the means to do this! - huh? Al Gore too? Nahhh!?? Really?!?!) brought this item Air Canada shares gain after deal with pilots to my attention today The RM archive copy - read it here if the original link has problems, and for some odd reason in such a quiet chap as I it incited in me the desire, nay the urge - nay verily the compulsion to put some words to paper. Or code bits, I guess is the more appropriate modern phrase, although it doesn't have quite the panache of the older version. But we do gotta try to be accurate here, in the interests of what the site is all about, although a certain, shall we say, poetic licence is certainly allowable on special occasions (why do I feel a certain kinship with politicians at some times? - perhaps it is this strange similarity we have - never use one word if two or three hundred can be substituted - I think there is a certain separation, though, between oneself and, shall we say, Mr. Mulroney, in that my words are at all times intended to enlighten, while the words of the average politician (okayokay, even I will admit Lyin Brian was a cut above average - few attain that level of betrayal of their constituents or country) are usually quite deliberately intended to obfusticate (there's that Valley politeness again - using a word like obfusticate when one such as "lie" would be ever so much more accurate - was that an obfustication in itself, thus making me an obfusticator? Let's not go down that path at this time....).
Anyway, about the Air Canada story - the main thing that caught my attention was the phrase "Shares of Air Canada (TSX:AC) got a lift on Monday in the wake of a last-minute cost-cutting deal between the airline and its pilots.", and it reminded of something that's bothered me for awhile about this StockMarket - we get dozens of stories like this every week, about shareholders panicing and selling stocks, or stock prices rising on some good news (usually "good news" involves something like the Air Canada story - big salary reductions for workers, and a bunch of them being laid off, thus making that money available for the shareholders in their next cheques) - how amazingly crazy we are, or our leaders, or those of us who accept their bizarre ways of doing things - as a social construct, a society, how crazy it is to run something as important as an economy, to a very large extent on the whims of shareholders such as these mentioned here, who buy and sell these shares, often in great quantity, on the merest of whims or hunches or rumors, with no other goal in their little minds than making more money, or avoiding losses of that money. Their activities could and probably should be called simply gambling - more specifically, a special form of that pasttime called speculating.
One would not want to deny such people their right to spend their money as they wish (within legal limits, of course) (why, we've been known to recklessly throw down the odd quarter or two on an exciting euchre game ourselves), or deny the right of private companies (who are, of course, somewhere real people of some sort - something else one could write at some length on) to put their fates in the hands of such people - or even, although there might be a few more caveats, of the right of individuals to freely choose to work for such companies, knowing that they may be out of work overnight, with their pensions lost in cyberspace and those bits and bytes I mentioned before, if some high-rollers somewhere make a bad/good decision (where you have winners, you gotta have losers).
But isn't it just a bit crazy (sorry, there goes that tendency to understatement again) - isn't it fucking insane to submit the survival or wellbing of the entire economy of a country, upon which millions or tens of millions of people depend for their livelihoods and lives and who, much more to the point, have no say at all in the activities of these live-in-the-very-fucking-instant, no-long-term-outlook-at-all, very high-stakes gamblers, or have never been asked if they want their countries and economies and jobs so encumbered, on such a process?
I mean, really, feet on the ground, somewhat more understandable metaphor - how would you feel if you had worked hard and loyally at some company for 20 years, and bought and paid for your house, and pretty much had your entire future invested in that job and house - but that job and house could be gambled away by your Uncle Ernie anytime he felt like it, or had a bad day, with no input at all from yourself? - Hey bro!! Whatcha gonna do now haha? (Ernie, of course, has several private hideaways in wealthy places around the world to run to - but there's no room for you.)
Well - like it or not, that is essentially the situation you ARE in right now, unless you are one of the 5% who have enough money to survive an economic crash of the kind that capitalist societies have on a pretty regular basis. It probably won't happen - I don't want to sound like too much of an alarmist - but the possibility is there, in measurable numbers - and YOU have no control whatsoever over it. You and me and the other 95%.
Does that sound like democracy and security to you?
So why do we do it? Why do we let such a small group of high-rolling speculators have such an influence on all our lives? How did this thing called the "stock market" become such a god in our lives, capable (at least in the eyes of the media and the financial people) of making all our lives prosperous and happy - or miserable and poor? I don't recall ever hearing much discussion about this process, or if I wanted it, in the face of any number of better alternatives (at least for me and any average sort of person - no doubt the high-rollers who benefit might huff a bit at being denied this power and profit) - but who are we supposed to be running the country for - me and the 30 million others like me who don't really know or care much about the stock market (and don't start with the "millions of people with investments in that stock market" crap - 99% of them know nothing about it, leaving it all in the hands of their "financial advisors", most of whom apparently like to think they are bigshot-hotshot gamblers), or the few thousand high rollers? (RHETORICAL QUESTION ALERT!!! - we all know the answers - the "official" government line is that OF FUCKING COURSE the government is running the country to make life really good for EVERYONE!! - isn't that what they promised and why you elected them? - and the REAL answer is - don't be such a dickhead - grow up - the country is being run for the benefit of the elite, and anyone who doesn't know that shouldn't have been allowed to graduate from kindergarden.)
The central mythology we have to get a grip on here is that "Big Business" (as defined by anyone who offers shares in their companies on the open stock markets - and yes I know a lot of them aren't that big, but they're still playing in the big leagues - it's not an unusual phenomena, and occurs in all aspects of life - look at about 90% of the columnists writing for the media here, or about 90% of the politicians - little leaguers in the big leagues) somehow drives the economy, and provides jobs for everyone, etc and etc. In reality, though, all of these "businesses", big or small or in between, would be dick without their workers - it's the 20 +/- million WORKERS in this country who create the wealth, and one of the major tragedies and problems with (and stupidities of - sorry, there's that truth thing leaking out again) modern society is that we have allowed ourselves to be bamboozled into believing the bizarre notion that the workers are just some kind of cogs in the machine, and it is actually the paper pushers and managers who are the important people. But that's what this blight on the face of the planet known as Capitalism has always been about - a noble sounding name (and you thought "spin doctors" were a recent invention? NO WAY!!) for the process of the fast-talking and/or physically ruthless few absconding with the wealth of the many, who are much more honest and much less willing to use what strength they have to steal from those who are weaker.
But - the indignant "hard-working" capitalist interrupts this fine flow of words - where would the money come from for new development, for capital-intensive industries, without these diligent capitalists, the very heart and soul of the economy? Who is going to build the 747 plant? Or even the Ford plant? - without people with money willing to "take a chance" and invest it in such things? Hunh????
Well shit, I wasn't really planning on getting into the whole song and dance today - thousands of books have been written on this, and economic theories abound, and no matter WHAT one says, the discussions and permutations can pretty much go on forever - but let's see if we can keep it manageable, in the context of the above - their main arguments, after all, are pretty shallow and self-serving (one of the reasons for a LOT of the books, as they try to obfusticate (that word again!!) things - like any snake-oil salesman trying to make you believe their colored water is a magical potion, or the guy in the email REALLY wants to give you 10 million bucks (big print) as long as you give him maybe 1 million first, or whatever he thinks you are good for, after you talk to him), as they try to justify the presence of an "elite" in society, and such things are usually pretty easy to knock out of the water logically (which is why they so rarely resort to such a thing to justify themselves - and also why you are NEVER told about this stuff in your what?, 12 years of school....)
Where were we - oh yea, capitalism, and the assertion of the capitalists themselves (or their minions - lots of those around, who have (or had) pretty fair minds but would rather sell them to the highest bidder than use them for something constructive or take the chance of defying the overlords - selling their souls for a bit of comfort - how pathetic, not the finest moment of the species) that they and their great wads of loot are indispensable in the running of modern society. Actually, not really - there are any number of other options for organising large industry, options wherein the workers, ALL of them, share in the fruits of their labours, rather than getting paid peanuts while the factory owners abscond with the loot. Yes - such options can be abused (as in being taken over by a group of people whose goals are exactly the same as the capiitalists (their own personal gain at the expense of everyone else) but they call it by some other name - Orwell's Animal Farm describes the general pattern) as easily as capitalists abuse their workers, and examples of such abuse abound - as do examples of capitalist abuse. The greed and immorality of SOME humans is not confined to any political organisational system, and that is not the point of what we are talking about here.
The point here is that, in a democratic society where the government is SUPPOSED to be looking out for the people who elect it (greatest good for the greatest number sort of theory), such abuses of capital should be much better constrained than they have been, at least for the last 20-plus years. No-one objects to innovators and hard-working people being well-rewarded for their work - but the government should be around to make sure that the people who are actually generating the wealth for these innovators share in that wealth as well - your great idea for a new space shuttle or a new kind of coffee or anything else ALL depend on well-trained and reliable workers to implement, from the gathering of whatever raw resources you require, through transportation, through whatever assembly things and out the other end with marketing, distribution and retail offering - and without ALL of those workers taking care of your product, your great idea and 2 bucks or whatever will buy you a cup of coffee. (not to forget, of course, that if you don't have a consumer base of enough people with decent enough paying jobs to BUY your friggin product, you're dead in the water before you start)
There is something profoundly wrong with the idea that just because you or someone else has or can raise the money to build a factory, you then have the "right" to exploit the labour and lives of as many other people of your own bloody species as you can manage - very, very wrong. There is something very, very wrong with the idea that you and your wealthy friends can create a country with an economy so constrained, so totally controlled in every aspect, that people will come and work for you NOT because you offer a good job and benefits, but because you and your etc friends have not only created this constrained economy, but also "convinced" (shall we say more truthfully bribed) the government to slash social support programs to the point where people more or less have to take your low-wage jobs or starve, or face the indignity of "welfare" (who was it anyway who made accepting government money such a demeaning thing? so ironic, when you consider the huge government handouts that wealthy businesses demand daily from the government - so demeaning to accept a few thousand dollars a year for a family, yet so clever to receive a few tens of millions as a business!! - what a perverse sense of values you people have created in our society!), and again let us not forget, that this system requires pretty much total enclosure (check out the enclosure movement of the early modern era in Britain - interesting reading) - that is, there is basically no land or resources left in the country where a person who wishes to NOT participate in modern, capitalist-based society can go - all land is owned either privately or by the government, and even if someone wishes to settle somewhere and not be involved with this society - some "revenue man" will eventually be knocking on his or her door, demanding "coin of the realm" for, if nothing else, taxes - and the ONLY way to legally obtain this "coin of the realm" is to somehow involve oneself in the capitalist system. (A rather well-known case 10 or 20 years ago of such a man and his family in Kentucky, had never bothered anyone or done anything criminal, but one day found his house surrounded by a whole troop of "national guard" (read Elite Enforcers, think Darth Vader on a smaller scale, same principle), guns pointing at his home and family - come to get the taxes he had not paid, or get him off the land. Or dead. Western civilisation, American style)
I seem to have lost my way there - we started off with talking about the influence of the Great God StockMarket on our economy/society, and should probably return there, since we got sidetracked and never finished taking the original discussion wherever the hell it was going. (I know people who can do this kind of thing in stream-of-consciousness talk - 20-30 minutes non-stop or longer - it's scary, and very friggin hard on the brain of the listener - be thankful you're reading this, if you've lasted this long).
To recap - our leading commentators, financial and political, pay great homage to the ups and downs of StockMarket, as one of the (if not the) main indicators of the health of our economy and, by extension, our society, since the modern political-economic paradigm is that the two are more or less the same. MY point is - that's a stupid way of doing things - a very very bad way of doing things for your average workers and their families (shall we say conservatively 95% of the population of the country) who have no say at all in the movement of this stock market - which, although at one time was a vehicle for raising money for new businesses, has trans-mogrified (great word in this situation, and very appropriate!) into something very much different, and very detrimental to the wellbeing of our society.
And, more importantly, has assumed this role with no, that I am aware of, discussion of the players involved - that is, the 95% of us who are affected by it, but have no say in what happens with it.
Thus my opening point - it is very stupid of us, the average people in this country, to let something so completely beyond our control have this kind of impact on our lives, to live with such a Damoclean Sword suspended on such a teeterous string, held so loosely by skitterish "investors" so prone to panic at shadows, so greedily concerned with nothing but their own bank accounts, so careless about the effects of their actions on others, above our necks. Such a thing was perhaps unavoidable for people like the slaves we read of in history - but if this grave threat to our lives is unavoidable for us, if we are powerless to do anything to remove it - what then does that make us? (and don't even dare to mention Adam Smith - read his book first, and you will see that he in no way would have supported what is called modern capitalism - he would have condemned such a system out of hand)
Leading kind of naturally, in an inquiring mind, to the question - what is our government doing about this situation (aside from option number one - IGNORE IT as long as "the voters-cum-masses" don't start asking what the hell is going on)?
How do the words "complete capitulation" sound in your ears? Didn't pay attention in English? How about "I GIVE UP!! PLEASE DON'T HURT ME!!"? Well - that was the polite version - the more honest one is - "Okay - you (check out BCNI-CCCE-CCCT elsewhere) bought us - what do you want us to tell the
Short answer - "The general population knows absolutely nothing about higher finance or the operation of the national or international economy (we saw to that in 12 years of forced "education" - they can recognize the Golden Arches or the Famous Nike Swoosh at 12 blocks, however, so we done what we set out to do), so just bullshit 'em - they'll never catch on - we did also, did we not, teach 'em to trust the news every night? Tell 'em that the news every night about (Great God) StockMarket is really, really important, and they'll believe it - you don't really need to go any further than that, because nobody will want to know - a few minutes of "news" every day is compulsory to a "good citizen" like we trained them, but after that it just gets really boring and they'll want to get back to Survivor or Millionaire or some other fantasy, which is much more interesting than national finance. Trust us on this."
I know you might have trouble believing this - but if it ain't true - who's been voting for these clowns who tell you this the last 20 years?
Yea I know there are all kinds of arguments to be made against what I am saying here - but there are solid answers to all of them - you may have noticed there is a slight difference in length between this and, shall we say, Das Kapital, which lays out things in somewhat more detail. The main point is - we could, if we wanted, make a very good, prosperous and secure society for ALL of us, mainly through some rather basic controls on the "High Rollers" in our society, and the formulation of government policy to that end, without going anywhere near the dreaded bogeyman of Stalin-style communism - where there is a will, as they say, there is a way - but as long as the political "will" in the country is increasingly primarily directed to making things better for the elite, and increasingly, deliberately making things worse, and less secure, for the rest of us (you will no doubt see that the two go hand-in-hand, somewhat inevitably) - obviously, things CANNOT improve for most of us.
So much left to say, so little time to say it in - probably only a year or so to the next federal election - do you want to try to save Canada in that frantic four weeks when big Paul drops the writ and EVERY friggin advantage is his - or would you like to start now, when we have some sort of outside chance? Canada for Canadians Coalition - get involved.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: With thanks to the Editors of the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen, Ch'town Guardian, Vancouver Sun, and others I cannot think of at the moment, for their refusal to print my letters over the last few years on various issues of national import - had I even a hope of being printed occasionally in these fora and my voice acknowledged in the national debate, I would undoubtedly have not bothered putting all this together. Cheers!