I do not now, nor have I ever, personally owned stocks. I don’t think I’ve ever even felt the slightest financial interest in investing in the stock market. It’s likely due, it part, to my more pressing financial interests in groceries and heat bills, but I’m not sheltered or dense. I’m aware of the systems and carry some layman knowledge of its mechanisms. I read history and I didn’t sleep through my economics class. And, I’ve got this unending, morbid fascination.
I’ve had the “advantage” of an education that prepared me, in its own way, to negotiate the modern socio-economic system, one which isn’t likely to survive as it is much longer. I was taught, through nearly exclusive saturation, the memes of the global ruling class. I’m talking about people with sprawling cul-de-sac homes and armies to insure their economic interests.
And, along with that education I was told, by my family, educators, and the television, a highly popular and inaccurate fairy tale. This very same story has buoyed the stock market to its heights. It is there that the seed of my interest takes root.
On March 6th, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 6,477.20. It’s lowest point in recent years. The high, for the day I was born, May 19th, 1983, was 1,208.49. The all time record high hit at 14,164 on October 9, 2007.
The fairy tale goes like this…
“Once upon a time, (which is right now!) there existed a beautiful world (like North America!). On which, there lived many beautiful and deserving people. They worked well paying, fulfilling jobs, nurtured exciting and meaningful relationships, and, via the fruits of their labors, amply met any and all of their needs. For some vague and dirty reason or deficiency, there also lived, on this world, a sub-race of people who were stupid, lazy, and undeserving of a beautiful life.”
“But, you, My Darling! O, My Best Beloved, you are (or can be) one of those beautiful and deserving people. It is, in fact, your destiny. The beautiful world exists so that you may achieve your glory, My Beloved.”
And so, buoyed by the hopes of my predecessors, I was dressed and trussed for college. The stock market, buoyed by the oil economy, grew.
“There is a key, a magical key, My Beloved. It shines like a star at the center of a long and difficult maze of bureaucracy and knowledge. But, if you are steadfast, if you are brave and hard working, if you can pay for it, the golden key can be yours.”
“Never mind the debt. Only the deficient and undeserving struggle with debt. Any you, Beloved, are beautiful. You, my Golden One, are deserving.”
As with the stock market, beautiful stories and blind belief propelled me forward into an insupportable situation. Unaware of the enormity of the task, I attempted to support myself (for all the preparation, there was no savings for my education) and navigate the maze.
This is where the dire, Grimm-style fairy tale kicks in. No more shining Kipling. Here is where the bubbles burst, stocks devalue, and reality kicks in.
“If you stumble, tire, or fall; if you can’t pay, or find enough hours in the day; if you so much as look up from the twisting path; you will be lost. And, everyone who looks upon you will see a stupid, lazy, and undeserving thing. Deficient as you are, you will be cast out and tucked away, in some dirty corner of the beautiful world, to struggle as best you can until you die. And, your children will be born to it, and their children.”
“But you may tell them the tale, the golden story. You may whisper them to sleep at night, and prepare them with your meager resources for the maze.”
“You may and you will, because they are your Best Beloved, beautiful and deserving.”
The cycle and system are as heartbreaking as they are broken. The maze itself is crumbling now as the support of a finite and ill-considered system withers. I have been very lucky to have seen clearly, years ago, that it was a fairy tale. And, I made my escape. I came to the communities movement., where I watch the end of an age draw closer and ponder the tales I’ll tell our children.