Bonds and war

The world really is moved by money, just not by much. It’s hard to understand things when, in fact, we think largely the same way our closest circle of friends does. I grew up in painful and destructive financial circumstances, and the world looked cruel and unfair to me. Everybody around agreed. Now, I’m having trouble understanding the national chorus of complaint. My friends eat organic food and fly to Europe and the unemployment rate is falling – what’s the problem?

I’ve been criticized for spending too much time thinking about money. But I wouldn’t be surprised if you do, too. Indeed, all our best and brightest do. They play games with ‘financial products’ called stocks and bonds, according to rules they set themselves, with currency printed up by bankers they often sleep with. The world looks good to them indeed.

There’s a point where reality intrudes. I woke up this morning to find the US is dropping laser-guided bombs into Iraq, while Russia proceeds with genuine territorial ambitions in Ukraine. In the old days, war had a material effect on bankers, because occasionally armed men arrived and shot them. At such times, rather than frittering it away on their customary sex-and-travel pastimes, they would loan their money to powerful governments and beg for protection.

So today, despite overwhelming inflationary pressure and a host of game-board positives, folks are buying bonds again – as if war might still matter somehow.

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