Some of the most amazing things happened within the last two weeks. Hundreds of miles above the earth, an obsolete Russian satellite collided over Siberia with an American communication satellite, and the odds against that happening are so astronomic that nobody had bothered to calculate them.
So, many of us were more than surprised when we heard a few days later that two nuclear submarines, one British, the other French, had collided deep under the Atlantic That was scary, each sub was armed with enough nuclear warheads to destroy a couple of continents. They were patrolling in stealth mode, trying t ensure that the evil Russians didn't steal a march on the rest of us by destroying Switzerland or the Cayman Islands and thus throwing the world financial system into so much more confusion.
Some says the likelihood of these sub colliding was about as great as someone winning the top prize in the same lottery four times in succession.
Natural and unnatural phenomena keep defying the odds. The global financial system has vaporised, destroyed by its own greed, criminality and selfishness. Capitalist journalists, conservative politicians and people once considered Gods in Jamaica, like Professor Jeffrey Sachs are busy calling for socialist or proto-socialist solutions to get the world out of the mess we're in.
Only in the Caribbean are people unaware of what's happening in the rest of the world. Our politicians, central planners and central bankers, immobilised by the super-glue of globalisation, are still speaking the language of the IMF and World Bank, still calling for the poor to be disciplined so that the rich can generate the kind of profits which once pleased Sandy Weill, David Rockefeller and Richard Fuld. The people who paid a million dollars fora tin of an Italian 'artist's excrement ten years ago may still e in the markets in Jamaica.
Deep in the DooDoo
For one thing, the Jamaican Port Authority is still fixated on destroying Falmouth to create the world's largest and most expensive excrement disposal facility– the so-called homeport for the world's single largest floating generator of human waste –the cruise liner called the Oasis of the Seas.
The essential thinking behind the Port Authority's planned destruction of Falmouth is very simply to provide a sewage disposal facility for the 15,000 passengers and crew of this ship after a few week's cruising and then, once ever so often, to allow the Oasis time to release its captive audience to molest dolphins and other innocent denizens of Jamaica. In addition to the enormous amount of faecal matter to be deposited in the sewage disposal plant the new Falmouth will require hundreds of 'comfort stations' to deal with the tourists ashore
That, is of course,, if the ship ever manages to make it to Falmouth. Our ginnigogs do not appear o have heard of the great capitalist meltdown, with Goldman Sachs and other investment banks laying off hundreds of thousand of workers. These are the people whose droppings fertilise the markets for cruise ships and, when they are gone, the cruise ships and their patrons also disappear.
But our ginnigogs apparently cannot read and so, they are investing for the ultimate rainy day, building on sand for an economic hurricane.
When our Caribbean knights like Allen Sandford go up in smoke, when the Union Bank of Switzerland agrees to tell the US about the criminal activity formerly protected in its numbered accounts, when the Germans, the French and the British take off after the money laundering industries of the Bahamas, Cayman, Bermuda, Antigua, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Zurich to name a few, the bottom is likely to drop out of the Caribbean sewage disposal market.
In the meantime, Mr Sandford has created some really hairy problems for West Indies cricket. If his activities are as shady as the SEC and FBI allege, all the money he caused the WI Board to distribute to Chris Gayle, for instance, will have to be repaid. The WICB is going to end us owing an enormous amount to the criminal estate, and they won't be able to get it back from Gayle and Co.
Perhaps the Port Authority might be able to help?
The secret to this crazy investment is quite simple. Our ginnigogs believe the globalisation myths and truisms of four and five years ago, such as: Water is the new oil which means that anything to do with sewage and the sale of water in large quantities, such as cruise shipping, is sure to make a few millionaires. The Contractor General and the Public Defender should have a look.
Additionally, the PAJ does not appear to realise that super cruise ships like the Oasis are aimed directly at the destruction of the Jamaican hotel industry, providing the modern 'tourist' with no excuse to go ashore and mingle with the natives.
Bankers a go go
The world is beginning to recognise that there is no function that bankers perform that entitles them to live at such gargantuan removes from the rest of us. Basically, Bankers are supposed to be bookkeepers and custodians of our savings. Over the last few decades, the bookkeepers and finance managers of this world have carried out a wave of coups, taking control of our savings; and under the guise of 'improving shareholder value' – i.e. our prospects) have employed our wealth to criminally enrich themselves, oppress workers, reduce the workers levels of skill and job satisfaction, destroy productive diversity in the interest of more raw profit.
The market has turned out – as Marx and others forecast, to be an antihuman machine, creating misery, promoting conflict and destroying the conditions for happy and sustainable futures.
As we gaze at the ruins of the Enrons, the Lehman Brothers, the Allen Sandford and Madoff houses of cards, many of us will be tempted to seek qualitative difference between them, to try and find something good that distinguishes them from the generically criminal and elevates them into something that advances the public interest.
I should like to be informed when you make those discoveries.
Long ago the state – that is us in corporate guise – was the trustee for the public interest, that is, us in plain clothes.
In every country, for instance, there were laws against usury, imposing limits n the levels of interest a lender could charge a borrower.
In the seventies the IMF and World bank persuaded many of us to abolish the laws on usury, and the result was what the IMF and World Bank called growth. Usury, which used not only to be a crime, but a sin, became the hobby of perfectly respectable folk who went to church every week and did not commit adultery.
Then, the more adventurous set off on their piratical excursions into globalised capitalism. What is most strange is that this Gadarene adventure was led by, of all people, the sober, starchy accountants and bookkeepers who in losing their inhibitions have also lost their own souls and destroyed an enormous quantum of human savings and satisfaction. The World Bank and the IMF are even now embroiled in huge financial scandals going to the very top of these organisations, but they are still pretending that it is the poor who are dishonest, that it is the mendicants who are corrupt.
All over the world there are people trying to assemble hanging parties for the financiers. In New York a few months ago, remember that placard on Wall Street – 'JUMP, YOU F**KERS!"
In the present context it is going to take a great deal of persuasion to convince voters around the word that they should put their trust in anything resembling the old financial systems.
When Jeffrey Sachs and people of his ilk begin calling for nationalising the banks, even our Jamaican ginnigogs should take notice.
Of course, some of them may be waiting to hear from the once celebrated Professor Grassl.
I wish the Port Authority and the political parties the best of luck. I am old enough to remember, however, walking into the JBC newsroom more than half a century ago, to be confronted by an AP story which said inter alia, that the citizens of Istanbul had awakened that morning to find their entire cabinet hanging from lampposts in the centre of the city. The prime Minister, Mr Menderes, and his ministers with charming names like Cayalangil and Menemencioglu were all among those pendent. No one was spared.
The army apparently, had had enough.
Copyright© 2009 John Maxwell