I'm still flat lining - with regards to inspiration or motivation. But I thought I would give this a whirl, an injection of atropine so to speak. And thus I have proven that you can learn something by watching ER.
I'll let you in on what I have been obsessing about lately, and thus reveal how utterly odd and geeky I am. First, in order to appreciate how odd, I need you to know this. I cannot balance a chequebook. I don't really budget, I just have this intuition about what I can spend and what needs to get paid. I don't invest. I don't contribute to a pension plan. (I don't have an investment plan with my work - cos they are lame). I don't have a savings account. I basically live pay cheque to pay cheque.
I have debt, which I slowly pay off. I do understand the racket of making minimum only payments. I'd also like to take the opportunity to extend my gratitude to Eric, who makes this family viable economically. I have just proven in 7 lines (in this editor!) how utterly incapable I am.
When I lived in Korea I used to keep my money on a shelf. Stacks of money. Eric can attest to that. I was happy with that arrangement.
So, for the past 2 weeks, I have been inhaling economics 101. This whole business of economic crisis and bail-outs. Are we in a recession or depression? And does anyone really know? How did we get here in the first place? I mean, do people on the trading floor just up and decide I am going to sell off and create a mess? Why did everyone's investments loose 40% of their value?
That's what I have been figuring out. And guess what everyone! The old saying is true. Greed does make you stupid. Securitization is like the marijuana of economic collapses. A gateway drug. Initially, pretty innocuous, but that leads you down the road to the hard core, collateralized debt obligations (CDOS) and Credit default Swaps (CDS). By 2006, most bankers and financiers were hardcore addicts.
Today, the entire system is going through an intense detox. We are now experiencing the wonderful spasms of the dts.
Did you know that AIG basically mortgaged its own entire capital base...twice. And in the States, there are no checks and balances to keep that from shitting all over the floor. Imagine mortgaging the value of your home...twice. Eventually, your payments will be unbearable, and of course, at some point, what you would be required to pay out, will far exceed your income. In a word, you'd be fucked. At some point, pushing a shopping cart down alleyways and drinking pinesol.
In AIG's case, exces will be paid in the millions, be giving millions of American taxpayer dollars to their fatcat friends at Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank.
So, my rant is going to turn into a preach.
Please, take some time to find out what is happening to the economy. We all contribute to it. This system is human created, and we have the power to make it better, make it more equitable and just. (Having 1% own 90% of the wealth, is not, in my opinion, just). You don't need to read the Wall Street Journal. Read whatever interests you, but get engaged. I think if enough people were aware of the level of theft, dishonesty, greed and incompetence that contributed to the situation we are in today, we could put enough pressure to make it stop. So learn. And share what you have learned to your friend.
We all take time away from the people we love, to give it to companies big and small, so we can purchase food, education and save to make our lives comfortable when we get old and sick. That money has been borrowed away and spent. The largest corporations and multinationals are broke. Think about the word bailout. When you are bailing a boat, you are not addressing the root of the problem.
If you don't know where to start, and frankly not all that interested in learning about the economy (its fucking boring!) - start with PBS
(Someone take this soapbox, please!)
18 hours ago