The Death of Capitalism: I’m Feeling a Bit Sick

I broke my ankle last week and had to have surgery to put a plate and a series of screws into it to hold it together while it heals.

It was a very, um, rude experience. Painful, without much dignity and completely out of my control. But I’m feeling much better now. The surgery is a couple of days in the past, the pain has receded far enough that I’m able to put away the codeine pills they sent me home with and I’m generally on the mend.

But I’m not seeking sympathy here – well, OK, you can send Whitworth over to fluff my pillow if you insist. Eww. I just reread that. I sounds more than vaguely unwholesome. Seriously though, just wanted to explain the absence of new posts over the past few days.

But I’m back and the boredom is really setting in, so I’m sure I’ll remedy that over the next six weeks or so, where all I’m allowed to do is sit around with my foot elevated.

Allow me to start with something that might be a bit of a boring economics lecture, except it captures perfectly the death spiral that the western economies, led by the US and UK, are stuck in. Perverse incentives are causing loathsome, self-interested (reptilian some… OK… I… would say) investment bankers to pile on the risk knowing that the government will bail them out because their banks are too large to fail without total chaos following – as the death of Lehman Brothers proved just a year-and-a-half ago.

The INVESTMENT banker distinction is very important here, because we’re not talking about the more-or-less friendly banker next door that you talk to about your mortgage or RRSPs, nor the risk-adverse dweebs that most entrepreneurs encounter. These guys are the libertarian/anarchist minded cowboys with quantum mathematics degrees. The “Greed is Good” set who appear to have no moral compass whatsoever.

Here author, blogger and former International Monetary Fund chief economist Simon Johnson sums it up better than I ever could – the economic and political system is broken, stuck in an endless feedback loop courtesy of St. Ronnie’s financial deregulation (though to be fair Jimmy Carter had a hand in it too) and unless this concentrated power bloc can be broken up, they’ll milk the public purse ’til it all flies apart.

I gagged a little bit when I watched this – and I never even did that when I heard the bone break.

4 thoughts on “The Death of Capitalism: I’m Feeling a Bit Sick”

  1. The word “Whitworth” and the phrase “fluff my pillow” are not to be used in the same sentence ever again. And sorry for your ankle. What the hell did you do?

  2. As much as I would LOVE to say it happened in some dramatic, dangerous and spectacular way — like say tracking a ring of international diamond thieves or taking shots of an auto race wreck a’ la Jimmy Stewart — the truth is downright pedestrian, so to speak.

    I was helping a buddy move a couch, hit an icy patch and fell. The truly amazing thing was just how quickly the whole thing happened.

    And just how stupidly I reacted to it. I could move the toes and it would bear a little weight. So I didn’t go to the doctor for six days to hear the good news.

    It was on day 6 my wife came home. To say she was pissed at me would be an understatement. As would saying that I deserved it.

    Ah, life’s little follies. I guess I now get to test my own personal development, patience level and so forth. It’s just six weeks, I shall keep reminding myself. Why that’s nothing.

    I have a feeling the internet will be my friend.

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