I could hardly believe this when I read it, and judging by the comments that follow, nor could most others. Whatever happened to
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!
It just seemed to confirm the worst nightmares of the direst critics of capitalism. What did I expect? That the markets are led by altruistic people who might actually forgo their bonuses just this once?
So when I read this, my dismay turned into a kind of fear.
After seeing my fears about the US economy being proven right, although not quite in the way things have turned out, economic and political developments in the US have begun to scare me of late. Not least because I have both sons living there, with their own families in the making. But there's not much anyone can do about it, even if they vote, except to try and reduce their exposure to risk as much as possible. But how does one do that when one is working flat out to pay the bills? What possible calming effect could it have on people to have watched their 401K's disappear down the toilet, their homes repossessed, and their jobs exported to Dalian.
I try to console myself by remembering that people in the west often think all kinds of scary thoughts about other parts of the world I am familiar with, such as Calcutta or Istanbul, where life goes on pretty much normally, and that I shouldn't let my imagination get carried away. Of course, I am comfortably employed, and belong to the class of people who should feel relatively unmoved by the financial Vesuvii erupting in various parts of the world. Having spent a summer month in the the relatively calm affluence of two university towns in the US, I should feel more reassured. Seeing the dollar go from 1.25 to 1.70 against the Turkish lira in less than a month should lift my spirits. But I am continually finding stuff that seriously scares me. So I'm trying to find the right balance between being irresponsibly quiet and ridiculously alarmist. I find myself in the tragi-comical position of a Chicken Little scurrying around wishing he were wrong.
Anyway, we have little option but to carry on as if these things are not happening, hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. Apparently, I am not the only one who feels this way.
And the schadenfreude among those who brought America their original 9/11 must add a certain poignancy to the suffering of being a citizen of that country today.