Death of A Salesman

16 10 2008

So its official, we are all going to hell in a handbasket (what a phrase). At least for anyone lucky enough to have been tuned in to BBC1’s special this evening on the state of the economy. Determined to squeeze the last drops of the will to live out of a fearful nation crowded round their wireless tellyboxes, Jeremy Vine and co, told us how a) Our fate is in the hands of incompetent jugglers between the Banks and the government. b) We are powerless and were probably always unwitting patsies to the global credit conspiracies. c) Theres no way out of this and we will all be wearing sackcloth and eating ashes until the end of days (which is probably scheduled for next week).

I dont agree with all of this scaremongering and badgering the public into feeling helpless victims. It is another example of media irresponsibility scaring the public into not spending their money anymore and thereby worsening the financial recession. But perhaps the biggest act of irresponsibility is towing the line that the banks and governments are the criminals whilst the consumer public were unwitting victims – a line of thinking that I find hard to accept.

Each member of the public knew what they were doing when they signed a credit agreement. Each member of the public should have known whether or not they could afford their mortgage. But, yes, I am willing to conceed that not all of us knew that our savings and pensions would be swallowed so quickly by this finanicial holocaust.

The fact is that a lot of us are waking up feeling like Willy Loman these days. The rules have all changed. There is no security in the things we held as being true and indestructable. Thousands have been given redundancy notices and millions already in unemployment.

So where does it end? Well we all know what happened to Willy Loman, but I cant see that happening here. What we need to do is move on and start taking responsibility for our individual and in turn, collective, actions.

The UK have to stop relying on the media to dictate their spending habits and beliefs about the financial system, and start realising that we all understand the basic rules of business whilst we’re at it. The US have to make the right decision in November and vote Obama into power. If anything, this will at least affect an air of change, if not proper change itself. The world needs a change, and the US needs to wake up in November to hope and not some angry white old man with a military history.

World take a note from the story of Kind David. Kind David was denied the opportunity to build the temple in Jerusalem because he had so much blood on his hands from waging so many wars. There is a lesson in the responsibility of governance here: An effective politician and leader cannot lead build for peace and the future with a background of war. There is always an alterior motive and agenda in their policies. McCain will undoubtedly be a rash decision maker and war mongerer far worst than the current administration (although given Bush’s military history maybe this theory has been proven wrong).

Lets begin effecting change, lets begin taking responsibility: for our finances, for our environment and for our actions. The alternative is Willy Loman.

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Carry the can or else.

27 09 2008

The interviews that littered the recent news broadcasts about the emergency talks around the US treasury’s desparate plans to save the US banking system, had the average Joe on the street saying “I don’t see why I should have to carry the can for Wall Street’s mistakes.”

Like it or not, if average Joe wants to continue living his American dream or nightmare, he will have to listen to Hank Poulson for the time being. Perhaps its not everyone’s idea of a prudent plan, but inaction and apathy would be far worse.

The fact that some stores and gas stations are no longer accepting credit cards as valid payment options, shows that the overall faith in the banking system is at an all time low. Imagine not being able to underpin your daily purchases with a credit card. For the many of the world’s citizens, let alone the US, this scenario is unthinkable.

But those of us worried about the security of our savings or future of our credit cards are missing the point, a very valid point raised by a man that doesn’t normally talk sense. In his address to the American nation, unusually, George Bush used draconian language for the possible consequences of inaction mentioning possible “collapse” and “danger” and explicitly “major sectors of America’s financial system are at risk of shutting down.”

Neither George Bush nor average Joe can afford to let this happen. This means much more than a threat to financial security. This is a threat to US national security and the stability of the western world.

The consequences of a collapse in the American economy would send resounding shockwaves across Europe and the rest of the world, but it would also leave America looking and feeling vulnerable and weak. Open not just to financial attack but also physical attack, the US economy and tax system supports a huge number of military projects that has helped to keep America as a one of the world’s superpowers. Military spending alone is not sufficient to keep the status quo, and general economic strength also dictates America’s standing on the world stage. For the first time in many years, Americans face becoming downgraded from superpower to has-been.

Senator John Mccain’s recent hijacking of the crisis talks have done little to boost his own credibility and arguably threaten the future of the western world. Many see this as just a taste to come of what life would be like if Mccain sees victory in the upcoming elections, others see little more than a transparent and ill-timed delay tactic.

Unless Mccain wants to inherit a defunct superpower, average Joe better pray that the US government strike a deal this week. With Russia riding the crest of a gas fuelled economic boost in military spending, the US needs to maintain its image and the integrity of its dollar.