Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Gordian Knot and other Impossible Riddles

It seems I am the expert on things economic. Ha ha ha. Actually I'm the furthest thing from it. I never understood economics. Curiously enough, I did it in high-school as a major and did quite well at it. I even momentarily considered studying it at uni. But the truth is, I never got it. It was like I knew how to use a sextant to find a true midday, but I didn't care what time it was, nor knew why it mattered. It's a less than brilliant analogy, but whatever.

And whatever! Here we are on the edge of the economic armageddon I cleverly predicted years ago and obviously I must know the ins and outs of it. So a friend who didn't care for any of my ideas then, is now emailing me with questions like, 'Why is the Australian dollar falling?' Ha! Hell if I know! Instead I told her about Alexander and the Gordian knot.

This is a myth, sure, with various versions and various meanings. But since we're here, this is my version. And my version is less interested in what the knot looked like, say, than in whose knot it was and what purpose it served. Apparently the knot was tied on the brace of the first king of Gordia's ox-cart. Or was it a chariot? Who knows? Who cares? The main thing was that the cart was in the temple and it belonged to the priests. The knot was their impossible riddle to ensure that no one else took the reins of power (ahem).

And sure enough, everyone fell for it. 'I want to have a go at the puzzle!' 'No, me!' People came from far and wide to see if they were smart enough to solve the priests' genius puzzle. But truth be known, it wasn't a genius puzzle. It was a con. The only genius in its making was in ensuring that it couldn't be solved and that no one would be any the wiser. The trick with impossible riddles is that they're hard to solve but easy to make.

Does anyone remember that old sitcom 'WKRP in Cincinnati'? I used to like that show. I recall an episode where, in a desperate attempt to boost ratings, the staff decided to host a competition with an absurdly large cash prize. They didn't have the cash natch, so they made a name-that-tune competition that no one would ever be able to solve. There were ten songs jammed into one second and all you got was pi,ca,fa,mb,pe,ho,ip,un,ca,gr. Nuts. But where would a sitcom be without a situation? The comedy situation was that the listeners unbelievably solved the puzzle and the team had to flail about looking for the money. Thank you ball-boy, thank you scriptwriters.

In the real world however, with no writers pulling the deus-ex-machina strings, the puzzle would never have been solved. Just like the Gordian knot. For those who don't know, the fellow to 'unsolve' the Gordian knot was Alexander the Great. Whilst uttering the famous words 'Fuck this shit!', he cut the knot in two with his sword. And sure enough went on to win whatever it was the solver of the riddle was promised - the keys to Asia or something. Mind you, I expect having a big army helped somewhat.

If it hadn't been for Alexander's involvement this story would have been a very minor footnote. It's Alexander's action that counts here. The conventional wisdom on the Gordian knot is that it represented 'an intractable problem' and Alexander's cutting of it was a 'bold stroke'. God forbid we should discuss it in terms of who made the knot and why, nor should we view Alexander's actions as an emphatic rejection of an impossible riddle and the bullshit artists who made it. We may not have that discussion because where would the priest class be then? Impossible riddles is all they have. And God forbid they should be called bullshit on it.

'Hmm... is he having a go at religions now?' Sure, why not? The logic works and the argument is sustainable. But let's do a quick double-pike-with-twist and say that between God and money, money wins. The old religions ain't a patch on the new one. The religious might pray and go to church but the other ninety five percent of their waking lives are devoted to things economic. Bankers comprise our priest class now.

And in the last couple of years they've really topped themselves haven't they? Their impossible riddles have reached impossible heights. Take derivatives. Please! No one understands them. Except for Warren Buffet who famously called them 'Weapons of Financial Mass Destruction'. And what - we think that the people who invented derivatives don't know that? Ha ha ha, of course they do. In fact, it's why they invented them. And you'll note that Buffet isn't explaining derivatives so much as calling them out as bullshit. Well almost anyway. He's Alexander without a sword and without wishing to cause offence. These be powerful priests.

Mind you, derivatives are just the piece-of-resistance, the final curlicue, on the insanely busy Gordian knot that is control-of-the-money-supply and usury. This impossible riddle isn't sitting harmlessly on an ox-cart in a temple. It has each and every one of us tied up. And how we labour looking for the end of the snarl! We tug and we pull and spend our entire lives labouring to free ourselves. And all we want is what we see on TV. We want big houses, cars, nice clothes, and a life that doesn't seem to involve much work.

And yet madly, we imagine that this can be done with debt. We imagine that interest is natural and right. We imagine that those who've accumulated heaping great sums of money should be rewarded with yet more money for letting people use their piles of otherwise inedible paper. At a really fundamental level there's no logic to this. Like there was no logic to a knot on the brace of an ox-cart in a temple in Gordia.

The only answer to the Gordian knot was Alexander's anti-bullshit sword. The only answer to the current impossible economic riddle is to likewise call bullshit to the whole caper. Monetarism is bullshit. Interest is bullshit. Banks are bullshit. Throw them all down. And the priests? They can all fuck off.

Governments may print money. People with an excess of money may put it in a safe place - say, a non-profit publically-owned bank. Those with more money than others may consider themselves fortunate. But that's it. Their money doesn't then go on to earn more money by way of some imagined gravitional pull. All debt is reconsidered with interest viewed in a new (and unflattering) light. Any interest paid to date is counted against the principal. This consideration is only extended to real humans. Debts to banks, the IMF, and other supranational entities - wiped off the board. Tabula Rasa Time.

And that is how you cut a Gordian knot.


kikz said...

ahahaha :)

that was a good one:)

the Silverfish said...

Funny ,Hitler also untied a Gordian knot of sorts. His method was simply absurd, or absurdly simple. It was simply to say enough is enough and from here on in the German people will receive one Mark paid for one Mark earned. This system was not based on gold or funny money but on sweat equity, and dammit it worked.

This was Not rocket science, this was fundamental economics. Anyone who doesn’t understand this couldn't find their own asshole in the dark using both hands a flashlight and a mirror.

"Arbeit Macht Frei"

notamobster said...

Wow! Only a Buddhist would answer a friends question with an intractable riddle... hahaha.

Brilliant summation. Get rid of the usury, (for-profit) banks - and SF, how apt to apply the "devils" economics as a solution to real devils "interest". Hitler was a madman, no doubt, but he had many a good idea. I recently watched that shit movie, "Hitler: The Rise of Evil".

Even if I didn't know it was made by Jews to reinforce their bullshit arithmetic... I would surely have recognized it upon watching the movie. They did everything they could to portray him as a Jew-hating, slobbering, madman (he was, but this - I don't think - was priotity numero uno).

He was absolutely an egotist, and I suspect had 'issues with his mother'... I think most of his actions and beliefs camefrom a deep-seeded insecurity. (overcompensating maybe?)

Well, just look at what happens to any who dare to question the Zionist bankers and their Ponzi-scheme extraordinaire...

To quote another slobbering madman:
"honest elections and death to the Fed"...

nobody said...

Well, his call sign is unarguable. It's just the rest of the mad slobbering that drives you nuts.

Magdelena said...

Good one Nobody, I've sent it off to my sis to read, as we were discussing this BS mess over the weekend.

Did the Aussie banks not just report whopping profits in the last quarter? I know our banks are not hurting as much as they make out.

I'll leave you with what my sis said: "If this were being done by anyone else it would be fraud." (in regards to the 'debt' crisis).

I'll let ya know what she thinks of your article - I hope she can read it at work.

Anonymous said...

Hey, did you hear that economics is finally, truly, a "science"? Here is an article trotted out by some folks defending the current system as the one and only true solution (it just needs a bit of "tweaking" and to be fully unleashed, or so the argument goes).

Here is my favorite part - you can get the tone of the argument here if the article is too long to endure:

"The free market still has enemies and critics, ranging from those who dream of a world more just, more spiritual, or transformed in some other utopian way to those who simply seek to defend their own narrow material interests to those legitimate researchers who try to look beyond the market. And we must not overlook ignorance: economic principles aren’t widely understood among the public or even among lawmakers. The indisputable fact that the world has experienced a long period of growth as global trade has expanded remains strangely unknown. Doubtless the news is too good."

You are too stupid to get it, growth means all is well (until it, um, isn't??), and you can't deal with it because the news is too good! Brilliant.


Penny said...

economics as a science?
scratches head?
from my limited understanding of it, I just don't see it?

"economic principles" what does that even really mean?
and if there are not even understood??? are they principals?
or sleight of hands?
sounds like much gobbldygook, or shameless self-promotion?

As for predicting this economic abyss, I think many of us could see it coming.
Not because we are particularly gifted or have esp, or any such thing.
But, if you are really paying attention, not to tv or video games, you can see that one and one was not adding up to two.

Following trends, wages down, house prices up, what???

How is that possible? Debt?

People were no longer buying cars, they were leasing them, so their egos could be satisfied, but, the reality? They didn't have the income to buy them, so they rented.
To do so, they had to incur, debt.

It became obvious, the whole economic miracle, was built on debt, money owed. From there anyone could see the writing on the wall, if you were paying attention.

nobody said...

Hey folks, very good.

Pen, he's taking the piss. Economics is about as much of a science as phrenology. The thrust of Zed's quote there (which was written by a 'free-market' booster obviously) was that if you disagree you're a mad utopian or stupid. My response, as a right-thinking individual, is to tell that fellow to go fuck himself. What a load of self-serving shite. Thanks Z, well spotted.

Hey Buff, our banking is as crooked as anywhere. Did you know that Larry Silverstein had a partner in the WTC 'real-estate-deal-of the-century'? That was Frank Lowy, one of the richest men in Australia. He was just recently caught up in a bribery scandal in Israel. Very good friends with all manner of Israeli politicians. He was also caught up in that Lichtenstein banking brouhaha. The Australian Taxation Office is investigating him for tax evasion. But the punchline of the story is that he still sits on the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia. And sure why not? What's a bit of criminality between bankers? We laugh in the face of such trivialities - ha ha ha ha, like that...

Rights of Man said...

Noby- what's this WTC deal of the century nonsense you're on about? This poor man invested his hard earned money and lost his investment just a few short weeks later...tragic, I say!


Anonymous said...

Economics could be a science if it depended on the laws of simple math
and non-contradictory absolutes.

However, the economy designed by the illegal Fed. cartel has never been audited and the paper it prints represents nothing but what it says is value.

True Capitalism can never exist with with this vague fiat JOKE.

And as it is obvious that Theistic
religions be separate from government, separation of a Collaterally-backed currency should also be separate from government.

What exists now is a "religion" of economy, supported by FAITH.
It has nothing to do with science.

Liaise fare Capitalism could be a
true science of economy, but it must be an economy with the absolutes of simple math.

nobody said...

NaM - It was tragic. I know for a fact that Frank Lowy cried all the way to the bank. In Lichtenstein.

A fair call Bostus. Economics could be one thing but it is another. The government could be one thing but it is another. The media could blah blah blah.

Everything we're on about, everything that's doing our heads in, is all about this about the dichotomy between what a thing is and what it is represented as. Everything boils down to truth v falsehoods.

Whenever someone is discussing something and says, 'I can't believe that...', 'How can it be that...', or 'It's crazy that...' you may know with complete certainty that they're about to discuss a thing that is falsely represented.

Sorry Bostus, I went on a bit of a tangent there. Thanks for popping in.

Anonymous said...

Maybe a clue to our world's present status is to be found in one of the last Roman emperor's actions.

I don't recall the name of this emperor, but he came along at a time when the empire was crumbling, over-extended in debt and with hugely taxing military outposts flung across the known word: He decreed all debt was canceled.

When a US president, or G.B. prime minister comes along, and starts talking about canceling all debt, I think we will have reached a turning point in our present civilization.

A new paradigm will HAVE to appear....the old one will have passed away.....