Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Adult Mind - Part III: The Vampire

The Vampire Mind
 - Blood-sucking as a lifestyle ...

How much blood can you suck out of an entire country?

University of Missouri economic historian and former Wall Street economist Michael Hudson explains, his job on Wall Street was to be the balance and payments economist for Chase Manhattan bank in the 1960s. His first job there was to calculate how much debt third world countries could pay, and the answer was, "‘Well, how much do they earn?’ And whatever they earned, that’s what they could afford to pay in interest. And our objective was to take the entire earnings of a third world country and say ‘Ideally, that would be all paid as interest to us.’”

In terms of magnitude of effect and the raw number of people harmed, finance leads the battle force.  Federal sanctions are bought by wealthy influencers for marketplace behavior that spills over onto the world.  The result?  The widening gap between rich and poor, the disappearance of a middle class, the decline of income for the majority ... and thousands die in the third world as a direct and attributable result of specific decisions made on Wall Street by less than 50 executives and in Washington by a few dozen more.

Question: how could a human being be so dull about their own choice to take from others?  In Part II, we saw a stage in preadolescence where the mind sees nothing but its own needs, feelings, desires, ....  Is that where these have stalled?  Arrested development, willing to take the food out of the hands of millions so they can themselves be rich and comfortable far beyond any reasonable measure?  Incredible.

The troubling corollary, that same self-centeredness is in us all.  Each of us has the opportunity early on to love ourselves alone or to love others as well.  If what we do is the measure of our success, it's perhaps clear to us and others if we understand at least that much.  Is there more?

Money problems:  In this morning's commercials, AIG says they've paid back everything they took from the American people.  And Merry Christmas.  Not true, of course. 
      • We've recouped a portion of the bail-out costs, but the multi-trillion dollar loss in the U.S. marketplace came out of our collective savings.  The break-even timeline of six years to recover the losses only points out that we've lost six years of returns on investment.  
      • The impact on the developing world was larger.  Those without savings to lose lost the ability to participate in the marketplace.  Wildly fluctuating prices moved wealth to the monied players while the working class lost ground, options, access, and ability to feed their families.
Does knowing such things require a different behavior from us?

The Adult Mind - Part I
The Adult Mind - Part II
The Adult Mind - Part IV