Friday, 3 May 2013

Must be nearly time to bend over for your next banking spanking.

 "Ultimately, history will judge whether we got this right," says Mark Carney, the outgoing Governor of the Bank of Canada, when questioned over the unusual fiscal policies the world's central banks  have enacted since 2008.

 Yep.  Judging is what history does best,
because today's actions leave a solid footprint on the fabric of tomorrow.
Here's a real footprint in time:

This pothole, on the Adanac bike route at Main and Prior, 

 shows the old bones underneath the asphalt on the early city streets of the Downtown Eastside.  It's all wood, baby, block upon block upon precise, beautiful block of Cedar wood, sacred among coastal First Nations for its many remarkable properties.
And wood you look at that! It is still solid after all these years, just the way I like it.
 Wouldn't you know it?
Tick!  Got wood. :D

Isn't it beautiful?  Imagine.  It was built before cars.  
I love it.
Bikes were here first, so when you ride on the Adanac route, part of your journey is a real ride down memory bike-lane.

I love to take a ride through time, imagining what life must have been like then...
it's fun, and it always makes me ever so grateful for my silly old smartphone and Whole Foods.

If a building is to stand the test of time it needs many things, not the least of which is a solid foundation.  Healthy cities and strong economies are generally built the same way, right? 
With an eye to the future, that is. 

You've gotta take the long view if you want to do it right.

Oh no! I must be going senile.  

When Grandma started to go, she used to talk about her childhood all of the time.  She couldn't remember what day it was, nor what she had for breakfast, but she could tell you exactly what Mrs Smart said to her the first day of school, and she did. Again and again. 

And here we go. I must have lost a day in the week somewhere along the way, and suddenly I have this irrepressible urge to share a school-girl recollection with you. It wasn't the first day of school by any stretch, and you know I have the memory of a goldfish, so I've probably babbled on about this before, but I distinctly remember being taught  waaaaaaaaaaay back when that when Germany was in a deep, dire recession after the First World War they printed tons of money and it was a very very bad idea because it led to run-away inflation and massive unemployment.  

Hmm.  Even to a goldfish, that does have a certain ring of truth about it.

 I don't always agree with Neil Macdonald's take on things, but his current series on the world's central banks, entitled Monarchs of Money, makes a bit of sense, even if it doesn't go quite far enough.  

"Asked whether central bankers are not in fact enabling irresponsible behaviour by speculators enamoured of cheap money, not to mention politicians who can't curb their borrowing and spending, Carney merely remarks that voters in a democracy get the governments they choose."  Now, I'm sorry, but that's not entirely true, is it? We get to choose between the lesser of two or three known evils, generally speaking, and they are invariably working on behalf of corporate interests in the end, anyway.  We certainly don't get to choose the guys who make the big decisions at the central banks, either, and they are doing more to change the course of the global economy than anyone or anything else.  

Who will hold accountable those holding the accounts? Why is the wealth they create off the backs of taxpayers not then put back into the economy? Why don't we finance green energy initiatives the way we subsidize the petro-chemical industry? Now that would be a switch worth bending over for.

Why do our fiscal policies ensure that we sell off our natural resources like cheap souvenirs? 

The bankers say "Can you imagine the chaos if we hadn't taken these measures?  It would have been the depression all over again!" It's true that the system needed some kind of hot cash injection, for sure, but why aren't all of the bankers who profited from bad behaviour being held financially liable for their actions? Am I repeating myself ?  Sorry. That's the inner goldfish babbling on. Even silly fish know that when the banks screwed up in that mess leading up to and then triggering the crash of 2008, "the people," the great unwashed masses who don't get to decide on who makes banking policy decisions, bailed them out the first time around, and now instead of "the people" profiting from all of this quantitative easing, there is austerity everywhere and "the people" are being asked to bail the banks out yet again, only worse.  This time they're going to cut into your savings account.

Paradoxically: yet again, it's the board members of the central banks who've made vast profits along their merry way. There's the rub:  when central bankers talk about wealth creation, it's not about a better standard of living for everyone, it's about profits for the 1%.

It's about the status quo and serving the financial interests of those major multinational corporations who wield the most power on the planet today.  The New World Order is Corporate Earth.  It's extra-governmental and it influences the greater economic directives which decide whose agenda gets served and how.  The only way we can change it is the way we vote with our pocketbooks. 
C'mon already, people.

Make different decisions.  Fit your house with solar panels.  Park your cars already and give it a go.  Sign up for The Lorax David Suzuki's 30x30 Challenge and take your bike out every day just to see how you feel in the end.  And see how your end feels in the end, too. - it's probably pretty perky.

While it's definitely not to everyone's taste, you have to respect a person striving to create art where only garbage was before. These wooden bikes are made from urban wood sourced from dismantled homes, fences and piers. 
Masterworks Wood and Design in Vogue's Style Ethics, May 2013.

That would be reduced to kindling in no time, the way I ride. I prefer clean lines and simple elegance. 

I like simple solutions, too.

Bicycles are such an easy way to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and there are so many collateral benefits, too.  If we started with bike-centric urban planning and included infrastructure for sustainable energy supply in all new builds, we would quickly impact the global need for petroleum energy.  Why not do it before necessity forces the change upon us?

It might seem bizarre from inside your car, but life is better in the bike lane.  

History will definitely judge whether we've made the right decisions or not, 
but do we really need to wait for a verdict before we do the right thing?  


  1. don't have a connection to MC...and nice piece again! :)


  2. Way to rant, Babble. With you all the way.

  3. the san jose sharks are absolutely spanking the vancouver canucks in the first round of the playoffs & sure enough, you can already bank on one of the most skilled yet heartless teams in the league to revert to their old habit of playing "cheap shot" hockey...

    ...ohhh, sorry...thought this was the "hockey blog"...vancouver is a beautiful looking city but the canucks attitude doesn't do it my humble blah, blah, blah...

    ...regarding the cypriot 'banking spanking', ya, that little situtation is like a miniature game plan for what can happen around the globe when we evolve towards world-wide financial collapse...
    ...better to old school your savings in a mason jar & bury 'em in the backyard...& your head in the sand...
    ...easier to kiss your ass & your money good-bye...

  4. Babble:
    I think you, Frilly and the other ladies in our little posting circle are big girls and can take it, but as a member of the other sex, I'm embarrassed and upset at the bullies who take cheap shots at you.
    Please know that we're on your side and enjoy hearing from you every day.

    1. Thank you, DB. I put it out there, so it doesn't surprise me when people take shots. It's all good, though. The internet is a funny thing, isn't it? I'm surprised at how easy it is to care about people I've not yet met.

  5. ...we're fast becoming a society where the word "corruption" will disappear from our lexicon of descriptive terms as regards politics & financial institutions due to it being a considered & accepted norm...

    ...sad, indeed...

    1. What's really crazy is how willing people are to bend over for corrupt banks and governments.

  6. Down south of the Canadian border the bankers in the US of A have this neat trick going that was started during the Bush administration and has been continued by Barry the Poser. Someone at a financial institution does something illegal. The government levies a big fine on the institution and no one is charged with having done anything wrong. The institution promises not to do it again (apparently some institutions can't remember having promised so as Citibank has three times been fined for doing the same thing) and everyone goes about their business. The fines sound SO big in the media, but if you look at the profits of these outfits you realize the fine is little more than chicken feed to these guys.