Sunday, 14 September 2008

On the nature of things

And so the recession is finally upon us like an apocalyptic tidal wave, sweeping along with it all the property shows, home improvement magazines and ‘buy a new place in the sun’ paraphernalia that has been ubiquitous over the past decade. In much the same way the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah must have gossiped excitedly at drinks parties about the meteoric rise in value of their riverfront property, oblivious to the deluge of fire and brimstone sweeping up behind them. Despite innumerable warning signs, the collapse of the sub-prime market and the accompanying economic downturn were not expected by many people and were met with incredulous disbelief. My theory is that this is due to a secular reinterpretation of the Judeo-Christian tradition. With the arrival of Christianity, it came to be believed that history had directionality and a predetermined goal, which was human salvation. In the enlightenment this idea was hijacked by intellectuals like Rousseau, Saint-Simon and Comte who instilled the belief that civilisation is moving towards some kind of a global society based on science. In the 21st century, having shorn the past and future of its metaphysical significance, people seem to believe that history’s goal is to increase the value of everyone’s house, ever onwards and upwards till we reach some glorious utopian future where the British middle class are enthroned as the privileged aristocracy of Europe, all the menial jobs are done by Polish wage slaves and everyone owns a second home in Bulgaria and the Algarve. In pre-Christian Europe and eastern cultures, human life was understood as a series of cycles and history was seen as tragic or comic rather than redemptive. I would argue that in terms of economics this view is of considerable merit. Events such as the ‘South Sea Bubble’, the ‘Dot.Com’ boom and the ‘House Price’ revolution can best be understood as a series of tragic-comic cycles with people becoming overexcited and irrational about the value of their over inflated assets, only to be brought back to reality with a resounding thud once the market begins its customary plunge. The nature of the economic asset changes, whether it be shares in non existent companies, barrels of oil or bricks and mortar; but it is usually accompanied by the same cycle of greed, volatility and hubris; and finally nemesis, decline and eventual collapse.

The central tragedy of my life is that people are always phoning me up to ask me questions on topics I couldn’t care less about. Perhaps the best example of this occurred a couple of years ago when the office switchboard number was mixed up with the information line for Marks and Spencers travel insurance. As a result I was subjected to a torrent of enquiries from holidaymakers looking for information about their potential coverage and eligibility. When I told them that I couldn’t help them they sounded deeply wounded and had enormous difficulties coming to terms with the fact that they had the wrong number. Above all they were extremely resentful, as if, despite not being an employee of Marks and Spencers, I should at least have the decency to find out something about their travel insurance to pass on to them, or that I had fooled them into calling me through some piece of Machiavellian trickery. If anything I should be the one who is justified in feeling aggrieved. I would have few complaints if my number were to be advertised as ‘The Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow hotline’ or the ‘Battle of Stalingrad information desk’, as then I would have something to say to people. As it is, people assume I must be the world authority on such matters as ‘the availability of parking spaces in the vicinity of Edgware high street’ or ‘the layout and topography of British motorways’ but are loathe to question me about things I actually have some knowledge of. Unfortunately tedious information is the currency of the universe.

8 comments:

oakleyses said...

tory burch outlet, tiffany and co jewelry, coach outlet store online, polo ralph lauren outlet, chanel handbags, true religion outlet, ray ban outlet, red bottom shoes, burberry outlet online, prada outlet, kate spade outlet online, nike free, polo ralph lauren, christian louboutin shoes, nike air max, christian louboutin outlet, coach outlet, louis vuitton outlet online, burberry outlet online, true religion, nike shoes, longchamp handbags, coach purses, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, oakley vault, tiffany jewelry, louis vuitton outlet, nike air max, prada handbags, coach outlet, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet online, gucci handbags, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton, longchamp outlet, jordan shoes, michael kors outlet store, kate spade handbags, louis vuitton handbags, cheap oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, christian louboutin, longchamp outlet online, michael kors outlet online

oakleyses said...

chaussure louboutin, ralph lauren pas cher, nike free pas cher, burberry pas cher, guess pas cher, ray ban pas cher, converse pas cher, barbour, true religion outlet, tn pas cher, air max pas cher, sac louis vuitton, longchamp pas cher, louis vuitton pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, vans pas cher, nike roshe, nike air max, abercrombie and fitch, air jordan, nike free, louis vuitton uk, scarpe hogan, michael kors uk, mulberry, true religion jeans, nike air force, sac vanessa bruno, oakley pas cher, air max, nike roshe run, new balance pas cher, longchamp, north face, ralph lauren, lacoste pas cher, nike air max, hollister, ray ban uk, hermes pas cher, hollister, lululemon, michael kors canada, timberland, sac michael kors, louis vuitton, north face pas cher

oakleyses said...

canada goose outlet, asics shoes, giuseppe zanotti, soccer jerseys, soccer shoes, birkin bag, uggs outlet, bottega veneta, wedding dresses, reebok shoes, north face jackets, mcm handbags, ugg boots, babyliss pro, marc jacobs outlet, vans outlet, lululemon outlet, mac cosmetics, canada goose, herve leger, nike trainers, north face outlet, roshe run, beats headphones, longchamp, instyler ionic styler, valentino shoes, ugg soldes, insanity workout, p90x workout, ugg, jimmy choo shoes, canada goose outlet, abercrombie and fitch, nike huarache, ferragamo shoes, nfl jerseys, ghd, new balance outlet, chi flat iron, rolex watches, celine handbags, mont blanc pens, ugg outlet, hollister, uggs on sale

oakleyses said...

moncler, canada goose, links of london uk, air max, hollister canada, uggs canada, oakley, canada goose pas cher, swarovski jewelry, lancel, parajumpers outlet, juicy couture outlet, toms outlet, canada goose, montre femme, ray ban, replica watches, moncler, canada goose uk, coach outlet, swarovski uk, gucci, supra shoes, louboutin, baseball bats, pandora uk, moncler outlet, converse, nike air max, vans, louis vuitton canada, ralph lauren, moncler, pandora charms, pandora jewelry, thomas sabo uk, ugg, iphone 6 case, canada goose outlet, karen millen, hollister clothing, timberland shoes, moncler, juicy couture outlet, hollister, wedding dress, moncler, moncler, converse shoes

oakleyses said...

louis vuitton, nike outlet, nike free run, nike air max, polo outlet, longchamp outlet, nike free, replica watches, nike roshe, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, uggs on sale, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp outlet, prada outlet, ray ban sunglasses, tory burch outlet, ugg boots, tiffany jewelry, sac longchamp pas cher, christian louboutin, tiffany and co, louis vuitton, replica watches, louis vuitton outlet, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin uk, polo ralph lauren outlet online, ugg boots, michael kors pas cher, louboutin pas cher, polo ralph lauren, longchamp pas cher, burberry pas cher, jordan shoes, gucci handbags, nike air max, air max, longchamp outlet, jordan pas cher, prada handbags, oakley sunglasses wholesale, kate spade outlet, christian louboutin outlet, christian louboutin shoes, oakley sunglasses, cheap oakley sunglasses

oakleyses said...

michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet, replica handbags, nike tn, nike free uk, coach purses, burberry outlet, michael kors, polo lacoste, nike blazer pas cher, nike air max, hollister pas cher, ray ban uk, guess pas cher, michael kors, true religion outlet, hogan outlet, michael kors outlet online, nike air max uk, uggs outlet, michael kors outlet, new balance, michael kors outlet online, uggs outlet, mulberry uk, nike air force, abercrombie and fitch uk, lululemon canada, north face uk, ray ban pas cher, burberry handbags, michael kors outlet online, kate spade, true religion outlet, ralph lauren uk, sac hermes, nike air max uk, vans pas cher, converse pas cher, hollister uk, nike roshe run uk, true religion jeans, north face, michael kors outlet, sac vanessa bruno, true religion outlet, oakley pas cher

oakleyses said...

new balance shoes, chi flat iron, nike trainers uk, vans outlet, ghd hair, ipad cases, iphone cases, mont blanc pens, bottega veneta, ferragamo shoes, mac cosmetics, herve leger, timberland boots, s6 case, wedding dresses, nike air max, iphone 6 cases, ralph lauren, soccer jerseys, valentino shoes, oakley, longchamp uk, baseball bats, soccer shoes, nike roshe run, babyliss, beats by dre, north face outlet, iphone 6s cases, nike huaraches, north face outlet, hermes belt, iphone 6s plus cases, celine handbags, lululemon, hollister clothing, mcm handbags, asics running shoes, nfl jerseys, abercrombie and fitch, insanity workout, jimmy choo outlet, iphone 5s cases, iphone 6 plus cases, hollister, instyler, giuseppe zanotti outlet, p90x workout, reebok outlet, louboutin

oakleyses said...

juicy couture outlet, juicy couture outlet, ugg, pandora jewelry, moncler, replica watches, moncler outlet, pandora uk, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, gucci, canada goose uk, swarovski crystal, converse, marc jacobs, canada goose outlet, moncler, supra shoes, ugg pas cher, hollister, swarovski, thomas sabo, pandora jewelry, moncler outlet, louis vuitton, moncler uk, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, canada goose jackets, canada goose, canada goose, links of london, toms shoes, montre pas cher, pandora charms, doudoune moncler, moncler, barbour uk, louis vuitton, ugg uk, karen millen uk, moncler, ray ban, coach outlet, barbour, lancel, louis vuitton, hollister, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, wedding dresses, nike air max