Not much going on upstairs, but I can’t help noticing, though I try not to, that the economy seems to be…I don’t know…in some distress. The rates of housing foreclosure have reached Great Depression proportions. Carol saw a list of like 26 foreclosures right here in the Goleta area.
Americans are now spending more servicing debt, 13%, than they are on food, 12%, though I would expect that with continuing rises in the cost of gas, the food percent will catch up with the debt percent, though Americans may have to borrow more to be able to buy food, so that would mean an additional increase in debt servicing.
In one column again, I saw some financial expert saying that the reduction in consumer spending was endangering the whole economy, and that by not buying Americans were only bringing down further ruin upon their heads.
So it’s all our fault because we are not buying enough even though buying more would seem to mean going into deeper debt. Oh, woe is me—torn between my selfish desire not to go into enormous debt and my patriotic duty to my country to spend as much as I possibly can with no thought of personal consequences. Talk about self-sacrifice. So buying an SUV I guess means one is a truly righteous and self-sacrificing American. I find something confusing in this logic.
Two articles I have recently skimmed were titled in effect “Is the Next Big One Upon Us?”—the big one being of course the Great Depression. If we don’t know history, I suppose we are doomed to repeat it. But a little history also suggests that the conditions of the Great Depression simply to not apply to the current one. In part because of the first Big One, we now have our money federally insured. Even if the damn bank goes under, we will get our money.
So I thought till reading that of course the federal money backing the banks is not without limits. The government sells bonds to back what’s in the banks; if they can’t sell the bonds or sell them fast enough, the government will actually print more money. The idea of the government printing money just because it needs to print money freaks me out and puts me in mind of grainy footage of Germans after WWI pushing wheelbarrows full of the money necessary to buy one loaf of bread.
We of course can fill up our SUVs with the money necessary to buy gas to get the SUV to the bank.
Marx on money:
By possessing the property of buying everything, by possessing the property of appropriating all objects, money is thus the object of eminent possession. The universality of its property is the omnipotence of its being. It is therefore regarded as omnipotent. . . . Money is the procurer between man’s need and the object, between his life and his means of life. But that which mediates my life for me, also mediates the existence of other people for me. For me it is the other person.