Sunday, February 13, 2011

Divided Perspectives

So this homeless woman inspired me, with all sincerity, to write an essay on the consequences, with respect to her condition and society at large, of handing her my spare change… And while I expected my message might provoke a direct response from some (who’d relate), as it did, I honestly (naïvely) didn’t expect to touch what is clearly a very sensitive nerve in others. A couple of altruist-at-heart responders did not (at all) appreciate (nor accurately interpret) what I had to say. I.e., “Marty, show a little sympathy, there’s more to life than the economy”.

Whether we’re talking the economy, politics, foreign affairs, entitlements or homelessness, I am forever intrigued by the divisions of perspective. While one sees last week’s commentary as a thoughtful exposé, another sees it as a feeble attempt to justify my capitalist-pig-minded self-centeredness… While one economist sees our current state of affairs taking us into a sustainable period of growth, a comparably educated and IQ’d economist sees our current state of affairs leading us down a road to debt-induced destruction… While one voter assigns all culpability for today’s struggling economy to the Bush Administration, another blames it all on the policies of President Obama… While one analyst believes Google to be a good buy at $600/share, another thinks it’s way too expensive…

I watched some of Congress’s grilling of Ben Bernanke last week – talk about your divided perspectives! The Fed Chairman was greeted by some with a “thank you for saving the world” and by others with a “your printing of dollars, by the trillions, is already showing up in global food prices, when the hell are you going to stop?” Meanwhile the bearded wonder adamantly defended all he and his committee has done and went on to suggest that their actions to this point have created 3 to 4 million jobs… Huh?

Three weeks ago, eighty-one year old Hosni Mubarak crawled out of bed expecting nothing less than another day in paradise… He was the duly-elected president (I mean ruthless dictator) of Egypt, he ruled the Suez Canal, and he was allied to the greatest nation on the planet – nothing could touch him… Nothing, that is, other than his own people…

“Ask yourself why totalitarian dictatorships find it necessary to pour money and effort into propaganda for their own helpless, chained, gagged slaves, who have no means of protest or defense… The answer is that even the humblest peasant or the lowest savage would rise in blind rebellion were he to realize that he is being immolated, not to some incomprehensible noble purpose, but to plain, naked, human evil…” Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness


While I have somewhat joined with the railers against the Fed’s current monetary policy, having myself bemoaned (ad nauseam) the risk of unintended consequences, higher commodities prices (once such consequence) appears to carry with it a perhaps (time will tell) silver-lining unintended consequence of its own: I.e., while Mr. Bernanke vehemently denies any causal relationship between the printing of dollars and rising global food prices, clearly, higher food prices precipitated Mubarak’s demise, and has thus opened the door to true democratic reform in Egypt. Again, time will tell…


  1. I am more likely to give to the homeless after your last message especially the Rescue Mission. I did well in economics in college and love your take on how money given goes directly to stimulating the economy. I see the big picture. It is possible that they buy drugs with it, and that may not go anywhere except in a mattress. Dealers can't spend more than the IRS thinks they make. The solution is to find out what they drink and just buy them a bottle (tongue-in-cheek).
    I see our economy suffering because of big government and high taxes. Also, if each American did just a little bit more work each day (be it faster, harder, longer) the value of our dollar would improve. Some want more for doing less; raises are not for length of employment, but for value to the employer. People don't seem to work as hard as they did in years past, and minimum wage hurts poor people by making everything more expensive. Minimum wage is a scam to raise taxes. Let market forces dictate, so that employers can afford to give raises to those who deserve them.

  2. Marty,thanks for the education.

  3. Marty, we must have patience with those that don't get it; remember that half of the world lies below the mean. (as a matter of point, they won't get this)