view with boundaries
My ‘life coach” has a hair style that reminds me of a cartoon cat that stuck its tail in a wall socket. Should I be taking advice from someone that cannot tell a good hair cut from a shocked chia pet.
To first put things in perspective, Benjamin Franklin once said “Wise men don’t need advice. Fools won’t take it.” So to pay someone who claims to be so wise that its worth some serious coinage is a scene from an existential play where one clown keeps pestering another clown, asking if his clown shoes were big enough. I once knew a retired tailor, a tall distinguished gentleman with the requisite silver hair, who spent his entire working life making custom suits for men. Every time I saw him he was wearing the same suit. I also knew a woman that claimed being truthful was of the highest virtue. To anyone that would listen would come the righteous declaration, she hated liars. She was a serial liar and gossip, totally oblivious to her hypocrisy. Is there some great truth to be learned here. I’m not sure, but people can have qualities and skills that one can learn from even though there are absurd contradiction between what they do and, well, what they do. That is not a typo. So a life coach that reminds you of Albert Einstein on a bad hair day will allow you to feel a slight superiority and thus keep you from feeling like a complete weenie for paying someone to help you decide how to live your life. Should your finances take a turn for the worse, you might consider replacing your coach with a used paperback copy of The Great Gatsby, listening to some Warren Zevon and eating a bowel of blue berries with real whipped cream once a week. If this all sounds a little screwy, truths are like that in a propaganda enriched culture and consider this, The CIA is offering free Viagra to Afghan warlords and chieftains in order to build alliances.
Dollar shift: While Americans spent, Chinese saved
“Usually it’s the rich country lending to the poor. This time, it’s the poor country lending to the rich.”
In March 2005, a low-key Princeton economist who had become a Federal Reserve governor coined a novel theory to explain the growing tendency of Americans to borrow from foreigners, particularly the Chinese, to finance their heavy spending.
The problem, he said, was not that Americans spend too much, but that foreigners save too much. The Chinese have piled up so much excess savings that they lend money to the United States at low rates, underwriting American consumption.
This colossal credit cycle could not last forever, he said. But in a global economy, the transfer of Chinese money to America was a market phenomenon that would take years, even a decade, to work itself out. For now, he said, “we probably have little choice except to be patient.”
Today, the dependence of the United States on Chinese money looks less benign. And the economist who proposed the theory, Ben Bernanke, is dealing with the consequences, having been promoted to chairman of the Fed in 2006, as these cross-border money flows were reaching stratospheric levels.
In the past decade, China has invested upward of $1 trillion, mostly earnings from manufacturing exports, into American government bonds and government-backed mortgage debt. That has lowered interest rates and helped fuel a historic consumption binge and housing bubble in the United States.
China, some economists say, lulled American consumers, and their leaders, into complacency about their spendthrift ways.
“This was a blinking red light,” said Kenneth Rogoff, a professor of economics at Harvard and a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. “We should have reacted to it.”
I remember reading that nonsense from Ben Bernanke first as an echo by far Right bloggers as a way to defend Bush and an incredibly obsequious Republican Congress’s insane spending spree. Professor Rogoff is off base when he says “We” should have reacted. “We” objected and complained. We might have as well have had a long conversation with a wall. Conservatives were well aware that the only real economic growth during the Bush years was in the health-care sector. Combined with disproportionally distributed tax cuts, revenue from GDP growth became a pie in the sky promise that We knew it was.
William Eggleston is one of my favorite photographers. Since he’s from the South I also get to bask in a little regional pride. He currently has an exhibit at the Whitney. The Nation has a write up, Point and Place: William Eggleston’s Vibrant Spaces
Calling his grand and gorgeous retrospective at the Whitney “Democratic Camera,” Eggleston might seem to imply that anybody can do it. (The exhibition can be seen there through January 25; it then travels to the Haus der Kunst in Munich, where it will run from February 20 to May 17.) Well, maybe anybody could have made these pictures–anybody, as long as he was born in 1939; raised in Mississippi (in the town where Emmett Till was later lynched) as the asthmatic scion of a wealthy old planter family; developed an early affinity for art and music, and for the gear associated with it (cameras, audio equipment); passed through Ole Miss and various other Southern universities without bothering to take a degree; discovered Henri Cartier-Bresson’s The Decisive Moment at just the decisive moment when he was still young enough for the book to have the deepest and most unprepared impact yet mature enough to be able to start reacting constructively to it…
This will take you directly to the on-line exhibit at the Whitney.