Abbé Boulah He Is Looking at the Stimulated OutragePosted: April 15, 2009
Abbé Boulah He Is Looking at the Stimulated Outrage at the Bank and AIG Bailouts and Bonuses.
And wonders mightlily at the number of split minds He can harbor about all this. For: yes, it does gall the peace-and-justice-loving soul to contemplate the injustice of big bonuses and payments to people whose foolish actions (or so it seems) have caused the downfall of the mighty institutions, and the loss of employment of untold workers not only in their own companies but in many other segments of the economy. It’s just not fair. Even though He does understand the alleged legal basis of such decisions, there being contracts involved that must be honored — the question of whether such contracts also would have to be honored if the people involved were also lai off? He is a bit more mystified at the argument that these people, being so knowledgeable about how they maneuvered the company into the current trouble, are so very much needed to get out of it: without any acknowledgement of just what the mistakes were or what new improved principles are now to be followed? Just get the money flowing again? He is not totally without understanding for those folks and even a smidgeon of compassion: they were faithfully following the glorious tenets of free enterprise and profit-maximizing they had been taught: growth, at all cost, beating the competition, even playing some little devious games with the accounting and promotion policies — after all, buyer beware, — but invest with confidence even if the fund managers turned out to be confidence men…
He does shake His head in incomprehension at the contradictory arguments regarding regulation: that is was the lack of regulation that allowed the misconduct, that the brave Republicans who even warned of such lack of regulation when the Democrats were — finally — beginning to cave in to the sustained onslaugth of Reaganesque (unsustainable) deregulation fervor, finally conceded that business was suffering from too much regulation. Huh? and Treble Huh? And He admits to being at a total loss when pondering the question why the role of beliefs in fundamental mantras and the role of power in all these events is not even brought up in any of the startling discussion revelations of having told us so long ago and we just didn’t pay no tuition? Such as the issue of growth. Has there been no MBA or economics professor ever showing these bonus-prone folks an exponential growth curve? And ever so slyly encouraging a question as to where that curve would end, if allowed to continue? But of course, in a culture of quarterly profit-orientation, such questions would be utterly incomprehensible. So if anyone in the employment of the institutions in question were to even contemplate questions of this nature, this had to be seen as potentially damaging to said quarterly profit growth but tendentially treasonous — heretical to the high principles of free trade and enterprise proclaimed by prophets like Milton Friedman? No, Abbé Boulah cannot really blame these people; the combined peer pressure and profit prospect would have been too much to resist for even the most virtuous of free traders. Nor can he really blame the government officials who, along with the much lower incomes than their former classmates now in the banking and insurance industries, finally caved in to incessant drum of demands that governments be run like a business, and accordingly adopted strategies akin to those so successfully demonstrated in business by hostile take-overs financed by future debt of the companies taken over: massive debt-financing of all kinds of government programs and wars, and now bank bailouts, relying on the very continued future growth that just had proven elusive in the business world?
Or regarding the role of power: having endured for decades the lamentations of the business leaders as to the deplorable temptations of power afflicting government leaders, He wonders why even timid questions about such afflictions were never raised about leaders in the business world? Or why the valiant efforts of the Constitution-framers to contain government power — by means of checks and balances, division of government into its various branches, time limits of appointments and the like, were not also applied to the business segment of the economy: because they still did not work well enough?
Left to ponder all these questions without guidance from either the business, government, or religious leaders much less the so-called free press that also has been subjected to the iron rule of Murdochian quarterly profits and line-toeing, Abbé Boulah is playing in His sandbox with his own heretical suspicions:
What if the measure of performance of both government and business were changed to something like ‘maximizing opportunity’ or maximizing occasion (i.e. life event) opportunity quality (for citizens and consumers, rather than pecuniary profit? To include equilibrium instead of growth? What if the marginal interest and profit rates were inverted from their current shapes all rising with higher deposits or investments (some even unsustainably exponentially?) to shapes of declining marginal increase as investments and sales volume increases? What if budgets of governments were not established in terms of dollar amounts but as percentages of whatever revenues will actually be received? What if power were recognized as just another human need, even addiction, for which those who wish to indulge in it would be asked to pay, rather that having all of us pay for it? With decisions likely to affect large numbers of people requiring a ‘deposit’ which will be forfeited if the decision turns out poorly, and a bonus if it succeeds — but only after establishing success? What if there were a ‘dual’ economic system? One public, in which everybody is a member — owner-employee — by virtue of being a citizen, and working in it for nominal wages or credits on common purpose projects that increase opportunity for everybody (infrastructure). The other private enterprise, with everybody encouraged to work there according to the ‘free trade’ and ‘free enterprise’ principles and higher earnings? But on a flexible sliding time scale– so that if either sector runs into trouble (as in the current housing-construction-financing crisis — people’s involvement in one or the other would be automatically adjusted, thus avoiding the massive layoffs that merely increase the problem? That would free the enterprise part from all kinds of burdensome paperwork, since basic taxes and insurance would be done by the public sector? (People of course being able to buy enhancements on the free market for other-than-basic coverage.) What if people would be able to indicate on their election ballots how much, in percent, of their taxes they would like to see designated for what programs and purposes?
Ah well. Too many questions and possibilities. He just wishes there were somebody He could discuss at least some of these with, over a glass of sustainably priced wine?