“My sphincter is an excellent dread-o-meter”
My sphincter is an excellent dread-o-meter the bigger the dread the more it twitches. Right now it’s twitching like a Chihuahua on amphetamines. Every newspaper I open is splattered like fish guts with the words – volatility, investor anxiety and possible GFC. Hey wait, come back! I’m not going to bang on about the stock market and it’s denial of the real world of production or declining wages and chronic unemployment. What do I know, I’m a comedian? What makes my buttocks clench is the way banking boffins keep referring to global economic patterns and market forces as if these intangibles are to blame for the current financial voodoo.
Call me an idiot but people are to blame for what’s going on and people will make it better. Somewhere along the yellow-brick cul de sac the muffin-heads forgot that we’re part of the human race we’re not just an economy. The signs were there last century when we were rebranded from patrons, passengers and patients to clients, customers and consumers. I wasn’t at that meeting. And where did we feel it most? At the bank, queuing like idiots about to board the Love Boat in single file along the chorded gangplank waiting our turn for rejection.
We were bombarded with warm, fuzzy ads on the tellie delivering unoriginal cheap lies. “We care about you, we're there for you when your life falls apart – when you buy a house–when you break a leg– when you get a terminal illness or your workplace is killing you. We were seduced with scenes of children getting an education and senior citizens getting the investment deal that drugged them into buying a Porsche. But a leopard can't change his spots. Not even when millions of dollars are spent on creative copywriters paid to delude anxious over-achievers.
Now the Royal Commission into misconduct and the rest of that sentence has confirmed what we always knew; there is no happy outcome when entering through the sticky-fingered doors of the major banks. They represent a constant and chronic no-win experience not unlike trying to remove a wart with an olive-stoner. However, all banks hold within their walls some glittering gems of personnel. Individuals who haven't let their souls be shredded to make space for the microchip that delivers balances or overdrawn account details. But these people are precious and rare and you may have noticed they disappear. They 're kidnapped in the dead of night like tropical birds and displayed in the vaults of the big city banks as specimens of an ancient culture that became extinct because it failed to electronically transfer.
The threat is not on the shop floor it’s at the top, in management and in Government. Like Boa Constrictors, the dappled light of power-without- responsibility easily camouflages these managers and technocrats. They rely on this camouflage to capture their prey. Where does this fauna come from? They breed in business schools and departments of Economics. What do they know about money or taking risks? As much as a Boa Constrictor knows about the prey it’s asphyxiating. They live in the make-believe world of the speculative market using words like risk and incentive, capitalism and trickle-down economics. But they wouldn’t know a risk if it was shoved up their arses with a pair of tongs.
They don’t even buy shares themselves; they get given shares as part of their package. And who can make sense of their flapdoodle? Recently the Treasurer (whoever it is this week, I’ve forgotten) said that the nation is experiencing growth and we shouldn’t panic. While the International Monetary Fund predicts that household consumption will be held back by low real wage growth. Are you gasping for air too? I’d rather stick a hand full of paper cuts into a bowl of battery acid than believe any of them.
American comedian Bill Hicks, used to say about life until his heart attacked him, “it’s only a ride!” That’s exactly what I’d tell myself when the Big Dipper teetered on the summit of its rickety track. I screamed and bawled and clung on to the rail till my knuckles were white and when it was all over the first thing I did was throw up. I can’t make the dread go away because I’m human and vulnerable to disease, natural disasters and the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation.