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Lynching Loathsome, Licentious Loansharks

Ship WreckThe Times Online expresses its fears of civil unrest in the United Kingdom arising from the ever escalating financial crisis. It’s all believable, what with a record budget deficit, collapsing exports, escalating unemployment, astronomical personal debt levels and the real possibility of further bank failures.

Some of the comments made to the original article point out what the public might be thinking:

Yes, we all hate bankers — but replace them with what? If the ideology of capitalism is discredited, the alternative — socialism — collapsed in 1989. So we are now left without any ideas at all. Which is why everyone is running around like headless chickens.

A narrow-minded comment, as there are surely more than two ideologies in the world. The ideology of capitalism is not discredited but would have been working perfectly had it been allowed to. If life were a game, then the reason why people are losing at it is because they weren’t told the rules and the others are cheating. The most likely mistake that people have made is to neglect the most basic question to ask when investing:

What is a risk, what is a gamble and what is plain stupid?

A risk is taken by an investor when he is certain of the maximum gain and maximum loss that may occur, that the benefit probably outweighs the potential loss, and is hopeful that he will get the maximum return. Any future investment plans are made, depending on their priority, on what is certain, probable or hopeful. In following this principle, the investor would have known not to trust “financial instruments” as a “certainty”, for example.

A gamble is taken when the investor considers the potential loss to be 100% (or has no idea), and believes that the maximum gain is probable (but he cannot quantify this probability). No risk vs. benefit analysis can be reasonably taken, no plans can be based on the projected outcome because there is nothing that can be done with zero money.

Plain stupid is the investor who thinks everything is a risk when most of the time it is a gamble. Banks were in a position of having so much money, so many people’s deposits, that they lost all sense of risk vs. gamble. They gambled all over the place. This has happened, particularly in the UK, because of the absence of a real meritocracy. Stupid people became CEO’s on the basis of club memberships and family associations. The same phenomenon exists all the way down the management chain. Arrogant and afraid of being shown up, the decision makers ignored sound advice, departed from concrete principles and sailed the navy of fools straight towards a reef.

The reason people are such suckers at this time is that they have too much faith and no Faith. The ancient wisdom contained in traditional religion would have saved the skins of many, had they applied it. Building a house on a rock is about more than architecture. Keeping one’s affairs tidy as though it were the last day has greater meaning than attending confession regularly and saying one’s prayers. The thought that God is watching our every thought and act is about more than the supernatural world. It is an aide to proper conduct in times of chaos and lawlessness. The prosperity of previous generations was built on this kind of sound reasoning.

In the absence of this time-proven wisdom, people turn to men in fancy suits for their dose of religion. Instead of believing in angels and saints (an altogether harmless undertaking) they believed in money and bankers. Instead of betting on real horses at the races, where one can at least take a bit of a look at the horse and see if it is limping or, perhaps not even a horse, they gambled on the hearsay of a financial advisor and his pie charts, bar graphs and trend analysis.

In any case, it’s all done now.

It would be nice if there wasn’t a bloody solution to all of this mess, but if people aren’t willing to turn away from the emptiness and the lies that got them to this point, then blood and death is the inevitable way out. The reason there is so little hope for the likes of the United Kingdom and the USA is that, by and large, people are not the decent sort that their grandparents were. They keep telling themselves that the reason their grandparents don’t swear but behave civilly towards each other is on account of their age. They don’t realize that it was because their grandparents were better cultured. And now the older generation is gracefully moving on.

The greatest pity is that the current generation has altogether broken its link with the past and remains adrift in a sea of lies with fools at the helm. A shipwreck is all that can come of it.

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