Wednesday, October 07, 2009
The New Economy, Act II
"This morning, I seen the curtain pulled back on the misery. People fighting over a line. People threatening to shoot each other. Is this what we've come to?" ~Walter Williams, after witnessing events in Detroit this past weekend
Back on the 16th of February, in a blog subtitled here, "Birthing a different currency, or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the new economy!", I hinted at my vision of the economic future of America. While the timing I predicted for this birthing was premature, I confess, in part that was intentional.
I can't predict with any precision when what I foresee in store for most of us will happen, but part of my motive was to pull the future closer to readers of that particular blog to give them something to look forward to besides the World Series or the next episode of "Dancing with the Stars." While my timing may have been imprecise, I still stand by my vision.
Let me just highlight a bit from a recent event that took place in Detroit this past weekend . The occasion? A governmental "temporary financial assistance and housing services program to individuals and families who are homeless, or who would be homeless without this help."
Thousands of people ("one police officer estimated the crowd at 50,000") scrambled for five thousand applications for the $1.5 million being offered up. The article, "Chaos at Cobo", reads like good satire, i.e. it's laughable -- if it wasn't so very, very damn serious. Here, then, is a smattering of what I'm talking about:
They came by foot, wheelchair, bicycle and car. About six left by ambulance after tensions rose and people were trampled, according to a paramedic on the scene. One unfortunate soul got his car booted.
Or how about the (typical) unprepared bureaucracy that underestimated the extreme number of needy who would answer the government's call to opportunity. That gave birth to some creative on-the-spot little capitalists, to wit:
By early morning, the applications had run dry. But some hustlers got the bright idea to photocopy the original and sell the copies for $20 a pop. They were doing a brisk business. The desperate are easy prey. The white original applications stated clearly on the bottom: "Do not duplicate -- Must Submit Original Application."
But not to worry, by late that morning the city of Detroit was handing out its own photocopied applications with one volunteer's admonition, "I'm not even sure the government will accept these." But it was the city's means of public appeasement -- to avoid a possible riot.
Keep in mind, those of the upwards of 50,000 who came for aid and who were lucky enough to get it, will be paid in increasingly worthless dollars. Globally, faith in the dollar to retain any glint of value is rapidly eroding. And when that faith collapses, Americans can then marry the cynicism of their political science to the worthlessness of their economics.
So in the process of birthing a new economy as our current one fades, we're sure to hear more and more stories like the one out of Detroit this past weekend. And we may finally get to have social intimacy with those we wish didn't exist. I'm speaking of those we ignore begging for our change as we sit at the intersection in our SUV's looking the other way, waiting for the light to change, commanding, "Oh, please, hurry. Please change light before he gets to my truck with his 'Hungry...God bless you' sign!"
Think of it as a reuniting of Americans. (Let's just hope it doesn't turn into one big riot.)
Attribute: Quotes used in today's blog courtesy of Information Clearing House