Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Real/Un-Real World Wide Web

I will begin by saying I know nothing about economics, especially on a global scale. Apparently, this ignorance contributes to my slack-jawed, head-shaking amazement upon finding out that chaos theory applies to naked Frenchmen; for, it seems, just as a butterfly flapping its wings on a teensy hill in, say, Iowa, can, in an eventual and non-linear sense, cause a hurricane, it seems that a naked Frenchman chasing a maid through a hotel and (allegedly) sodomizing her could lead to a global financial snafu.

In case you haven't heard, I am referring to the case of IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. As you might have guessed, I am not going to dig into the news, because in the rare cases I mention "what's going on" I tend to use it as a springboard for considering our human situation, in general. This case will be no different.

DOES ANYONE SEE A PROBLEM HERE!!!?????? We could experience global economic repercussions because the head of the IMF and a (formerly) most-likely opponent to Sarkozy for the gig of grande fromage of France (allegedly) decided to reveal his (allegedly) sub-human, misogynistic, evil, inexpressibly unmanly nature by (allegedly) violating another human's dignity and her right to safety. There's nothing funny about his, but the absurdity of the human condition does tend to make one chuckle, sadly, over a(n)(alleged) pervert's effect (as if there should even be one) on the human condition.

According to reports I heard on the radio and have read on news sources, this event could have a major negative impact on the world economy. This said, it often seems to me the economist is, as one of my professors, Dr. William Lutz, once said, "not unlike the witch doctor who spills the entrails of a chicken on the ground and 'reads' them." Nevertheless, I get that the guy is the head of a major financial institution involved in finances on a global scale. So, there you have it. The guts have spoken.

But isn't there something intrinsically wrong with a system that can be put in jeopardy by a 62-year-old man who (allegedly) chases chambermaids around and (allegedly) molests them?

If I hear one more financial report that "stocks dropped because investor confidence is down as a result of . . ." What? The sinking of a shrimp boat in Thailand? A protest in Zimbabwe? Too much rain on farmland that didn't have enough rain last year? Charlie Sheen's announcement that he is running for Prime Minister of the Galaxy?

I'm willing to admit these economists know what they are saying, to some extent. But if my mutual funds are going to wrinkle and wither because a 62-year-old naked guy took too much Viagra with his aperitif one night, we need to reconsider the impact of the artificials we have created.

Here I go getting all Tao-istic again.

Money is not real. We humans created money and we gave it power. And like other bolt-necked, Milton-reading monsters, our creation hard to control, especially when we walk away and let it do its own thing. I know there is no realistic reaction to this philosophy. I know it's dreamy, if-only wish-making. I know no one is going to say: "Hey, that money thing is stupid. Let's forget it." And I'm not a neo-Communist. I like cash just as much as the next guy (or the naked guy, for that matter).

It's just, from time-to-time, I have to lament the cages we have built around ourselves. Or better, still, the web we have wound ourselves up in. We're all connected by it, and a little tug from the vicinity of a hotel in New York can send the spiders scurrying out to suck the life out of us all.

(For a dark parable I wrote on this idea a while ago, you might want to check out : "Engineering Doom.")


  1. Although we didn't create him, we humans also gave power to Dominique Strauss-Kahn in his role as chief of the IMF - and now we're going to take that power away from him. As a result there won't be any economic effects at all - we'll simply give that power to someone else. Meanwhile the waters will close over his head, and it will be as if he never existed.

  2. I can only hope it winds up as you say. But based on the word of some witch doctors -- I mean, economists -- it might not work itself out so neatly. I hope you are right, though.

  3. It's an intriguing story, but the stand out point for me is the price he was happy to have us pay for his hotel room.