Just some stuff that’s been floating around in my head.
Among the mantras of our recession that has been annoying me is the insistence from bankers, Wall Street, CEOs, right wing politicians and pundits that the economic climate will not improve until there is certainty in the corporate world.
What they want us to believe is that if the realm of commerce were made more predictable, they would hire millions of workers and everything would be hunky-dory again.
Of course that’s not true and it is hardly a secret that their call for certainty is nothing more than a lobby effort aimed at Congress to reduce regulation and taxes on their businesses – preferably to zero.
Christian Dorsey of the Economic Policy Institute stated it clearly on Tuesday:
”They absolutely want government to stay out of their business when profits are soaring, but absolutely plead for taxpayer funded bailouts as soon as the system collapses. It is fundamentally wrong that they want to rig the game so that it’s heads they win and tails we all lose.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were certainty in life? When I was young, I wished I could be certain that everyone would like me; that I would not be alone on Saturday night; that I would not lose my job and that I would find someone to love.
Now that I am old, my personal uncertainties are more serious and frightening. Will my mind turn into Swiss cheese? Will I become physically disabled? Will I be able to adapt if I cannot drive anymore? What if I run out of money before I die?
It is a blessing of old age that I am able to continue daily living with these worries much more easily than the sillier ones of my youth.
After she had suffered a stroke, a double mastectomy and a broken collar bone all within 13 months, the actor Bette Davis famously said, “old age ain’t for sissies.” No kidding. No one plans on such things as befell Ms. Davis in quick succession and unless one has great wealth, there isn’t much to do to mitigate the disasters life may or may not inflict upon us. Mostly, it’s a wait and see game.
Uncertainty has been the way of human life from time immemorial. Pliny, a Roman philosopher who lived at about the time of Christ, seems to have been the first (we know of) who said the only certainty is that nothing is certain.
A 20th century philosopher, Bertrand Russell, believed that certainty, while desirable, is an intellectual vice. Voltaire declared certainty to be absurd – and of course, he is correct.
Life is filled with uncertainty. Doubt. Indecision. Ambiguity. Insecurity. Precariousness. Suspense. Fear. Risk.
I see no reason corporations should be granted any more immunity to these conditions than you and I.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Jackie Harrison: Eyes to Behold