I tend to bring modern perspectives into the past using historical actions that belie the human condition through the ages, as to show us as a species in a vaccuum, without preconcieved “normal” rituals of any particular age. It’s my way of “seeing” if the same actions hold up with or without the sum total of knowledge that we’ve acquired up to this point-that I think rarely turns into wisdom. Yes, this is a long sentence to begin short blog.
Free Markets-There have never been and will never be a “free market.” The first free market transaction took place in the stone age when a large man with a big rock threatened to bash another smaller man’s head in, if he didn’t give him his food. What the large man doesn’t know is that right above him behind a rock is a friend of the man with the food about to drop an even bigger rock on this trader’s head to get his clothes.
Trade has always been carried on by those who think they are getting a bargain and will do whatever it takes to leverage their position by obtaining and possessing more knowledge and technology for the advantage using, enslaving, abusing, or defeating the other guy. That’s Darwinian in nature and real “hands-off” pure free trade. We can move along to whatever age you wish and the same conditions apply. Those armed with better knowledge and technology can demand the better deal, or manipulate a market to enrich themselves whether it be Dutch Slave Traders, a Robber Baron Rockefeller employing Chinese railroad workers, or Dell Computer’s New Delhi computer phone support operators. Greed that is corporatized in this world starts out with no rules unless they are imposed from entities outside those corporations. It reminds me of the above photo of the mindless planet-destroying Doomsday Machine from the original Star Trek series. It does what it is made to do. Swallow everything without regard for any other lifeform. Our corporate machines make the most money it can at the lowest cost. This profitability is a good thing when society benefits from products being invented and good and services being created. If that were the case then all would be wonderful and the blog would end here, but it is not.
People that call for unrestricted free trade assume that the market forces will solve all their problems with whatever social bloodletting that occurs (as long as they have their piece of the pie first) and if one disagrees with that harsh concept, then they must be a communist, a socialist, or a pansy-ass liberal. Without rules we allow our society to become the blood-thirsty beasts that we are, taking whatever position we can to achieve the upper hand and take full advantage-of course we would use our ethics and morality to guide us. Go take a tour of a maximum security prison to see how naturally benevolent our species really is when conjuring images of a kinder, gentler, dog-eat-dog world.
We have allowed the institutional markets to create “products” that have no purpose other than to produce income, regardless of what markets they destroy. If one can jack-up speculation on commodities by pouring billions into a limited market, than we as a country watch as our way of life is destroyed by our allowing the “free market” to cleanse this stain of humanity by raising the cost of goods beyond the population’s ability to afford them. In the past, cash positions were used to dictate prices to the futures markets and now it is the opposite with the tail wagging the dog, as the Doomsday Machines have zeroed in on how to wring-out profits by manipulating destructive price actions. There’s no doubt there are shortages that contribute to price increases, but the machines don’t care about relative supply-less than 1% of those who buy future’s contract deliveries take delivery anyway. In the long term, whoever makes it through, will perhaps benefit from those who take the opportunity to cash-in on a way around the effects of speculative marauding and create alternatives. Until then, buckle up and hold on to your cash. It’s going to be a wild ride unless conditions change and we face up to the fact that we’ve allowed a system of financial institutions to destroy ourselves in order to reinvent ourselves-instead of tempering our excesses. Change is inevitable, the quicker, the more blood that will be shed the more human misery that will take place. That’s a human constant. Machines have sped up all processes of life, there is no stopping Moore’s law, so whatever “final frontier” that has yet to be exploited, will be quicker than ever in our history. The real Terminators are the machines of financial destruction that we allow to be invented without “human” structure.