21st Century Capitalism: It's Alive!
Wednesday/March/03 2010 Filed in: Philosophy / World View
Our intentions were good.
After all, we were smarter than all those trust-busting commie-loving wimps of the mid-20th century.
Didn't free-market guru Milton Friedman say it all when he told us "the business of America is business?"
Business was the new religion, requiring no less faith and divine devotion as any other religion.
Pre-Depression President Coolidge said "the man who builds a factory builds a temple. The man who works there, worships there."
If that was true -- and how could it not be? -- the spire of the Temple of American Commerce should stand as a monument to modern capitalism, towering above all the rest.
Because if bigger was better, then certainly humungous must indeed be heavenly.
Dr. Frankenstein, I presume?
Only a Socialist wuss could not understand the self-healing, self-correcting dynamics of the laissez faire, dog-devour-dog marketplace.
So turning over the keys to the global financial Hummer to a disciple of super-uber-libertarian objectivist Ayn Rand seemed the perfect idea.
For that matter, didn't even Ayn Rand seem a little too soft in her devotion to the All-Mighty-Dollar as our Lord and Saviour?
She muddied up the principles of true capitalism with the too-touchy, too-feely ideas of virtue and value as ultimate measures of human worth.
What was up with that?
We didn't have time for that mushy, qualitative stuff. We were re-inventing Capitalism and we were giving it a new brain.
It was going to be new and improved. Bigger, better and badder than it had ever been before.
The Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 had stood as a barrier to the realization of the full potential of American Commerce for 66 years.
And while the world made ready for the celebration of a new millenium, liberating-lightning from the hands of Senators Gramm, Leach and Bliley shattered and scorched away the last constraints that kept our new Capitalist Creation in bondage.
For 9 glorious years, the Creation freely roamed the financial landscape.
And we trusted it to do the right thing.
It made billionaires out of millionaires, trillionaires out of billionaires.
And for all the poor schmucks who weren't clever enough to join the ranks of the savvy super-rich, the Creation provided a steady and almost unavoidable stream of quick-and-dirty, caveat emptor, no-doc indenturing credit.
Even if they weren't rich, even if they were tens of thousands of dollars in debt, those poor schmucks could could still strut about in rented peacock feathers and leased limousines.
Life was good. Damned good.
The new, re-engineered Capitalist Creation, devoid of heart and soul, and spared of Ayn Rand's pesky idea of virtue, was discovering its true manifest potential.
So we were all surprised in the fall of 2008 when the Creation threw us into the lake and watched us drown.
The Final Reel
All the money we had gathered to feed, clothe and shelter ourselves today and to keep us from devastation in the years ahead was vaporized within a twinkling.
And as we stood bleeding and broken in the smoldering wreckage of what had been our financial past, present and future, a man, THE man, stepped forward.
While we reeled in the shock and awe of the Creation's horrendous attack and twisted assault, its masterminding caretaker, its guiding guru gave us these words of comforting consolation and compassionate wisdom...