economic system

Paradox of the Border

Paradox of the Border

"What is this addiction? We have destabilized much of the world with our addiction. We’ve created a drug economy in Afghanistan, in Thailand, in Bolivia and we’ve caused turmoil in Guatemala and now we have elevated thugs in Mexico to the status of billionaires with our despair. And yet, we are an optimistic people."

~ Richard Rodriguez

Some Unprotected Desire

Skybox Imaging HD Video of Burj Khalifa on April 9, 2014 (1080p) from Skybox Imaging on Vimeo.

Mergers and Acquisitions
by Edward Hirsch, from The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems

Beyond junk bonds and oil spills,
beyond the collapse of Savings and Loans,
beyond liquidations and options on futures,
beyond basket trading and expanding foreign markets,
the Dow Jones industrial average, the Standard
& Poor’s stock index, mutual funds, commodities,
beyond the rising tide of debits and credits,
opinion polls, falling currencies, the signs
for L. A. Gear and Coca Cola Classic,
the signs for U.S. Steel and General Motors,
hi-grade copper, municipal bonds, domestic sugar,
beyond fax it and collateral buildups,
beyond mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts,
hostile takeovers, beyond the official policy
on inflation and the consensus on happiness,
beyond the national trends in buying and selling,
getting and spending, the market stalled
and the cost passed on to consumers,
beyond the statistical charts on prices,
there is something else that drives us, some
rage or hunger, some absence smoldering
like a childhood fever vaguely remembered
or half-perceived, some unprotected desire,
greed that is both wound and knife,
a failed grief, a lost radiance.


See also: Alfred A. Knopf's Poem-a-Day 2014

Which Capitalism It's Going To Be

George Saunders in conversation with Michael Silverblatt on KCRW's Bookworm, Jan. 31, 2013: 

Photo of George Saunders by Damon Winter for The New York TimesI think [these are hard times], but also they've probably always been, in the sense that we aren't really born very well equipped [for] the struggles that we're gonna go through. We're kind of born with this idea that we're permanent and we're central and we're enduring and we're the most interesting person in the room, and then, especially in times like these. 

When I was growing up, the sort of things was that capitalism was in a battle with socialism and communism and anarchy was sort of the crazy uncle over there on the side. And now, in our time, I think capitalism has just won. There's no question. It's just overwhelming victory for capitalism.

But I think we're in an interesting time, in that maybe capitalism is trying to decide which  capitalism it's going to be. And it seems to me that just in my lifetime, it's kind of been decided that the form of capitalism we're going to embrace is the one that says, "If you got it, you deserve it. No guilt. Don't worry about it. And anybody who doesn't like that is whining."

Whereas, the one I like is sort of a Emersonian-Whitmanesque form which says, "There's no point in any of thisdemocracy and capitalism—if we're not simply making more citizens—making brighter citizens, making the lives of the least among us better. 

So I think it's some kind of weird diffuse way, fiction can remind us that even those people are on a continuum with us and that remembering that actually enobles us. 

See also: