Stock Markets Are Bad Granfalloons, and Need To Stop Being Taken So Seriously
by Donald Croft Brickner
Oh, what -- the world's stock markets haven't crashed ... yet?
Before tackling the American DJIA, etc. stock markets for major problems in their conception -- to my knowledge, a huge topic rarely discussed with a straight face of late -- please grant us now a brief detour into what I see as the current state of our financial freefall:
First off, the country's deadened economic woes have not been seriously addressed by anybody -- possibly falsified plus-numbers announced on our news programs to the contrary (corruption and anarchy are ever on the increase) -- and so we're still teetering.
Secondly, however, I encourage readers to cease holding their breaths in these troubling matters, and simply let the ever-traipsing-this-way collapse play itself out, in its own way, and in its own time -- although, yes, do keep an eye on protecting your money sources as best you can, absolutely.
Why just sit back?
At this stage, from my perspective, there's little else to be done. The dominoes have already begun to fall. New leaks still keep popping open, spewing sewage, in U.S. and global Financialville -- particularly here in America, where rising gas pump prices alone could trigger another downward spiral, just as they had four years ago. Are our legislators' and investors' memories that short, that they would allow this to happen so casually? Who can afford such increases? It's all beyond self-destructive behavior -- it's suicidal.
Ah, but, alas: there's more:
Over the past month, the EuroZone appears to have assuaged the Greeks to play ball, so to speak, in terms of curbing their economic undertakings to just about nothing. How long that holds isn't clear.
In the meantime, apparently -- not that there's much, if any, coverage about any of this lately, even on Germany's DW-TV Journal -- PBS (at least here on both stations in Eastern Iowa) opted to replace its half-hour Journal news' afternoon time slot with: (1) some academic's bor-ing blah-blah take on CERN and smashing atoms; (2) three consecutive repeats of a Journal's news features show out of Brussels (!); and, now, (3) the annual teeth-gnawing arrival of PBS' money-drive Festival, which has taken over the DW-TV news slot -- which is about the only place one can find out news about ongoing struggles in the EuroZone.
Those struggles include this: Spain's leaders have begun acting up, suggesting their economic crises in Euroland will not go down like Greece's: Germany's Angela Merkel is not going to take away Spanish livelihoods, nosiree! And so on. That from BBC World.
Lord knows, American TV news is loathe to talk about any of this -- that would violate what can only be interpreted as (long since in-collusion) U.S. corporate news policies of playing down DOW difficulties -- ostensibly, one supposes, to prevent a run on banks by, in part, retirees who, 15-20 years ago, lost all of their company pensions to 401(k)s (and don't want their money taken from them again). So, by now, who doesn't know our Robber Barons want us removed from under foot? It's like, die, already.
But retirees' 401(k)s still help provide a total collapse-prevention foundation intended to further stabilize the Dow with (theoretically) immovable investors -- so these creepy, irrelevant old Little People are at least serving that purpose, it must be widely acknowledged.
Our Big Money Thieves need to be sentenced to long jail terms -- and, down the road, likely charged with crimes against humanity.
Unfortunately -- and it pains me to say this -- I don't think it's going to be our current president who's going to initiate that action.
He has no track record over four years to suggest he'd do anything.
When it comes to justly dealing with free-ride American financiers, President Obama appears to have his Achilles Heel -- a flaw that's being duly exploited by political TV spots at this moment.
In addition -- as of this writing, too, the EuroZone largely bought time in its stimulus package dealings with Greece to create what it's calling economic and trading-related "firewalls" to help prevent deep, widespread collapse, should a Euronation claim bankruptcy.
But, dammit, you know -- enough about all of that.
* * * * *
On to stock markets -- as a concept:
The writer who's had the strongest influence over my 65 years has been, hands-down, Kurt Vonnegut (Jr.), whose lifetime body of work has commonly proved itself to be engaging, even prophetic.
In its heyday, too, it was often wildly funny.
Vonnegut invented words, by the way, some of which have worked their way (more or less) into mainstream American vocabularies. Vonnegut was an American, BTW, born in Indiana and dying in (I think) New York.
One Vonnegut word I'm striving to both focus upon here now, and introduce into the bowels of this essay, is one of my favorites of his -- not in the least because it's also one of his silliest-sounding.
That term is granfalloon.
* * * * *
Here's what Wikipedia has to say about this cut-to-the-chase-of-prospective-Hubris noun:
"A granfalloon ... is defined as ... a group of people who outwardly choose or claim to have a shared identity or purpose, but whose mutual association is actually meaningless...
"The most commonly purported granfalloons are associations and societies based on a shared but ultimately fabricated premise. As examples, Vonnegut cites: 'the Communist Party, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the General Electric Company -- and any nation, anytime, anywhere.' A more general and oft-cited quote defines a granfalloon as 'a proud and meaningless association of human beings.' ..."
Yes -- and here it is as a song lyric:
"'If you wish to study a granfalloon, just remove the skin of a toy balloon.'" -- from Vonnegut's 1963 novel, Cat's Cradle.
I was so inspired by the word, I once put those brief lyrics to music, replete with a lead vocal melody with three male harmony parts.
I could sort of sing it for you now, if you'd like.
* * * * *
Let's begin by approaching this group term as a topic from a globally-in-denial applications standpoint:
None more so than in ours, it's no stretch at all to suggest every nation's inhabited stock markets are granfalloons.
* * * * *
Lots of granfalloons are mostly harmless human identification contrivances rarely intended to establish significant relevancies -- more on this determinative statement in a moment. Vonnegut himself agreed that he, himself, was a born "Hoosier," for example -- and he flatly stated there was nothing at all wrong with anyone (correctly) being labeled a Hoosier, nor should there be. (Even with its "H" in upper-case, or not.)
Lots of Hoosiers routinely call themselves hoosiers.
The act of doing that, one way or the other, though, doesn't mean squat.
* * * * *
Or, it means squat -- which also means that it doesn't mean squat. (Isn't that peculiar of us? Shouldn't those phrases be opposites..?
(...How on earth do so many foreign nationals ever learn English?)
* * * * *
Our capitalistic monetary system is not a granfalloon (it's a system, not a group) -- but its stock markets necessarily are. This is not to place blame, per se. There is no attachment of "good" or "bad" in either instance, if they're left in place, on paper, as just concepts.
Both are contrived concepts, to be sure -- as they were conceived by people. But "contrived" is itself also ethically neutral, too.
No granfalloons, therefore -- and this applies to every stock market on Earth -- can be called good or bad without "good" or "bad" first being placed in front of them, as adjectives.
And even then, it's not a lock that they're really good or bad. It's just one person's (or a group's of persons) opinion.
But once any granfalloon is taken seriously -- and universities, for example, even establish curriculums and degrees to acknowledge its level of impact and/or importance ... well, then: we've all got big potential trouble right here in River City.
And at this very moment in our global history, we've got big trouble in River City.
* * * * *
All stock markets have become "bad" for the way-overwhelming majority of our citizens -- again, more on that shortly. Worse, as a group, they've long since come to view themselves as significant and important, based entirely on math and science and so on; and furthermore (!!), stand for strength, stability, liberty and happiness.
Oh, and both figurative and literal wealth, too. Lots of wealth.
More so than on any nation on Earth. (Why, we should all privatize, now!)
Stock markets are more powerful and astute than any nations are -- that's the mostly-unspoken belief in place by a lot of the wealthy. Is there one megawealthy representative, say, who is not heavily invested in stocks from stock markets? Isn't it propped-up stocks that grant them their continued wealth so they don't have to work?
You know -- so they can continue to rake in outrageous sums of free money? And sail their huge yachts or schmooze at golf clubs?
Do keep in mind that some of these better-than individuals have the gall to bark at our Occupy Movementeers with words like this:
"Why don't you go get a job! And while you're at it, take a shower!"
Free money. Free money. Free money.
Some have it. Some don't. Too many of the ones that do have it are not more deserving -- they're simply a lot more psychopathological.
Which provides a clue as to why America is overrun by crackpots.
* * * * *
When I was growing up (from the post-WWII late 1940s through about the mid-1970s), this nation did not presume -- in fact, no nation did -- to concoct a way to make free money. My father (who received a Bronze Star for wherewithal, action and bravery during WWII) had to work to make a living once he returned to being a civilian -- and he expected no less from his neighbors (nor they of him, nor of each other). Greed, self-absorption and casual corruption rarely turned up their ugly faces during those years.
We had honor as a nation. We had integrity. America stood for both.
* * * * *
But when stocks began to take back over a U.S. culture that had ignored or forgotten The Great Depression during the 1980s and 1990s --never mind all traces of due Humility -- we became a Bad Granfalloon as a nation because of it.
Stock markets grew and not only became gigantic casinos in this new cynical caracature of America, it's far closer to the truth to say that they became cleverly disguised pyramid schemes for the top one percent of our take-the-free-money-and-run capitalists.
Isn't that kind of what our economy looks like nowadays?
Bad granfalloons practice Hubris repetitively. Nations do not.
Both are granfalloons, I'll repeat here. But nations remain neutral conceptually -- and might be compared, as a group, to ... Autobots.
Stock markets, then, have comparatively become Decepticons.
All of it is based on contrivance and delusion. And so on.
* * * * *
Want to do something really revolutionary, world-changing and fun? Well, have I got an idea for you:
If things get bad enough from a mass survival perspective, largely ignore all of planet Earth's existing currencies, and begin to create your own. (Bands of specially-coded Monopoly money might do for starters. At least you could forego printing and distribution efforts.)
Hint: none of it -- any nation's currencies, as with ours or any new ones we opt to create -- have any inherent value at all.
Neither has gold, silver, copper, molybdenum or other minerals -- and that even includes anything whatsoever that lands here from outer space.
You can't eat it or drink it -- any of it. You also can't take it with you when you die, as they say.
* * * * *
And then there's this one final Gigantic Secret, which falls under the category of philosophical ontology, at least for the time being:
Our entire reality is a construct and, in many respects (all of those respects physical in nature), a bonafide contrivance. I'll say it here, again: ours is not a primary reality.
If anything, our foundational quantum reality would be. We only exist in human form because of its building blocks.
Although, even that's not a lock. Everything, including God, could be One Grand Consciousness, transfigured into thises and thats.
Including us, and any and all of our alien visitors.
It all harkens past string theory, and most other quantum musings.
Should we opt to take God out of the picture -- well, all that's left is one unbelievably complex and humongous granfalloon.
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Tags: Stocks , Markets , Granfalloons , Vonnegut , EuroZone , Economy , Reality , Money
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