Monday, October 24, 2011
More or Less: The Luxury of Enough
While our global leaders figure out how to make all those swell twisty charts in the news go away, we rely on our news sources to make sense of what is essentially senseless. Jared Bernstein argues that the nifty chart in the Sunday NYT isn't quite accurate because it is not gross debt that's the issue, but debt that's held by the public. Who is the public? You and me. EU meets on Wednesday. They were supposed to meet on Sunday, but nobody could agree on who gets to stuff the debt down their throats, so it's back to trying to make Italy do it. Or Germany. Or us. High school home economics teaches what you owe cannot exceed what you bring in. The world has been ignoring that simple accounting rule for decades. We always want more. Shareholders want more profit, so the marketeers shove more consumables at us. And we consume. But we still want more. Upgrade your phone, cable, wardrobe, car with a free trial offer. Buying an ecofriendly tshirt is not responsible consumerism; self-abnegation is. Government and corporations aren't people, despite what the coneheads on the U.S. Supreme Court may believe. Governments and corporations have been free trial offering us into this precarious global economy. But we are the global market; we live in the global marketplace. Unscramble those twisty charts in the newspapers and on the internet, and it comes down to us. We drank the MORE cocktails, as my father says. On the rocks.