Wednesday, January 28, 2009

We are killing the Goose that laid the Golden Eggs

"The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs" by Aesop

A man and his wife had the good fortune to possess a goose which laid a golden egg every day. Lucky though they were, they soon began to think they were not getting rich fast enough, and, imagining the bird must be made of gold inside, they decided to kill it. Then, they thought, they could obtain the whole store of precious metal at once; however, upon cutting the goose open, they found its innards to be like that of any other goose.

Sounds just like the story of our bankers and CEO's. Their greed tore apart the system that had worked and they are "killing the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg". That Goose was the buying power of 300 million Americans. When the bubble burst and they lost 16 trillion dollars in the stock market and housing meltdown (an average of 50 thousand dollars for every man woman and child)they couldn't keep the Goose alive.

The economy has gone into the tank and we are investing trillions worldwide into quick starting a recovery to return everything back to what it was, but it can't return to what it was because we face two insurmountable problems:

1. Globalization in its present laissez-faire form has undermined the earning power of consumers in America and Western Europe, namely their domestic workforce, while shifting the nation's wealth into the hands of a small favoured elite. With the collapse of the housing bubble there simply isn't enough earning power in the hands of the public to sustain these economies. A handout in terms of tax relief or mortgage support might temporarily put off the damage but greed at the top has seriously crippled the very financial system that made them wealthy in the first place.

2. The American way of life is admired and copied around the world and this small planet can't handle it. The issue here is a progressively deteriorating environment and with it human suffering and dislocation, and eventually the issue of human survival. We simply must reshape how we intend to live and get on with it now.

In short, the system is badly wounded, we can' return to what it was before, and we have only a limited time to fix it.
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