Friday, September 14, 2012
PBS has been airing the Met's Ring Cycle from 2011 all this week, with Gotterdammerung finishing off the series tonight. Coming, as it has, the week after the twin spectacles of the political conventions, it offers much food for thought.
In "Die Walkure", as Wotan ponders what his next move should be to try and extricate himself from the dire straits his financial shenanigans have landed him in, he holds the staff of The Wanderer, carved into which are the laws and treaties he has signed. Laws and treaties that limit the options open to him. Consequently, even as the ruler of the gods, and hence, the most powerful entity in existence, he despairs that, "I am the least free of all beings".
As political leaders in Europe twist and turn under the glare of scrutiny, something no enterprise can tolerate for long, and the US announces its latest iteration of QE, designed to pump up asset values and commodities, and to push more people into the "You've been down so long, there's no getting up for you" category, pushing them off the unemployment lists to join the legions in limbo land, who, by the way, are now expected to live so long with no jobs or healthcare, that well, they should wait until they're 69 to collect Social Security. Unlike Wotan's, covenants drawn up with politicos are made to be broken, so let's use that revenue stream to flow back into the river Rhine:
Compromised collateral, now is co-promised as well, since the Rhine Maidens' gold is well, the Rhine Maidens'. Yet in order to bring Valhalla into being, Wotan's promised it to the construction crew, only it wasn't really his to give in the first place, but he was caught in a bind since he'd promised initially to give them Freia. Yeah frickin' Freia of the "Apples of Youth" variety, without whom they'd all get old just like us mortals (the gods, not the crew, who BTW, are giants, so you don't want to squelch on that contract ... see how military might, or if you like, Power, always plays a background (well, if we're being civilized about it) role in all business contracts?).
So, Wotan has, with the help of the god of mischief and fire, Loge, (the unacknowledged Muse of Central Bankers the world over) concocted the great idea of using the stolen gold that he steals from the thief (if it's already been stolen, it can't be wrong to steal it from the thief, now, can it?) to pay the giants off and keep the vital Freia.
So, to me Rhinegold is gold, and the analogy of using it to pay for various enterprises at the same time is the very essence of capitalism's fractional reserve banking. Defalcation is built into the system and its up to the Wizards of Finance to keep their balls flying through the air in an act of juggling that gets into ever and ever more precarious circumlocutions so that not a nanosecond goes unused, not an angstrom's-width of margin of error has been left in the name of efficiency. So the machine gets whistling so shrill it even deafens the gods.
Who, BTW, can't really take a whole lotta stress, being gods and all. Tonight's Gotterdammerung: Their Twilight. Is it also the EU's?
Posted by Robert Lowrey at 5:23 PM