QA 20. (Dec 09) Reason of the heart

Talk about racism moves like a veld fire. It flares up, is spread by strong winds, then hunkers down until the next spark ignites. It would be best to stop feeding it, but mostly we keep on producing more wind. Why?

It feels like intransigence, as if people have dug in their heels, refusing to yield unless the other side meets some impossible demand. A deadlock. Couldn’t that indicate a secret longing for something alive, and open? Something unconditional, something that could surrender itself without shame. Something fearless. Something like love, or ubuntu, although these words grow more unusable by the day.

This intransigence locks us inside our skins (our culture, our side), like they were our very essence. In some sense, of course they are. But if this is the only truth, or the highest truth, then we have nothing ahead of us but the endless war of all against all.

We try to manage these conflicts of interest, but that only damps the fire down. It doesn’t bring peace. What is needed is a counter-logic, another understanding of our humanness. Read more

QA 19. (Nov 09) What’s fundamental?

From the Cape Times, 1 December 2009, in their series on “The Next Economy”

No wonder they can’t fix it: it doesn’t exist

Helen Douglas

It’s another day in the global financial crisis and I’m looking at the front page of Business Report: “Worse still to come, says economist”. The article offers three expert opinions. One says that the global economy could face a second dip as a result of recent massive injections of liquidity. Another sees a threat in South Africa’s reliance on exports. The third is hopeful the current recovery will be sustained.

On SAfm’s Market Update, they speak confidently of corrections, profit taking, sideways adjustments and – my favourite – the dead cat bounce. Yesterday the analyst said that prices had fallen because “traders were nervous”. Why were they nervous? “No, it’s a herd thing,” he laughs. “They’ll sell first and make up a reason later.” He’s equally frank today why the market has rallied. He doesn’t know – but he’ll “take it”.

Such are the specialists who report on the performance of the economy. They have two things in common. First, their analysis is not very reliable. Second, they all work primarily in the financial sector. This is the sector that, internationally, has caused all the trouble. Can somebody tell me why we’re still listening almost exclusively to them? Why share prices are the measure of everything?

Look. See. This emperor is stark naked. His counsellors are blinkered or blind. These economists (and financial journalists) didn’t see the crisis coming and they don’t know the way out. The empire’s treasury has been stripped by bandits who are laughing all the way to the bailed-out bank. Even Joseph Stiglitz says so. Read more