Oh, go ahead and panic if you want to

A 6-ton satellite is about to crash to Earth in hours or maybe days, no one can say where, and our whole planet is about to be destroyed by some unstoppable force called "the markets," but hey! — don't panic. It's only the destruction of the world we're talking about, it's not like this was a matter of life or death. Except yours and mine, of course, but what does that matter on the scale of the Universe?

And, as the pilots of the demolition ships keep reminding us, we have had ample warning, at least 4 years' worth, enough time for our leaders first to deny that anything serious was happening, then to blame one another as things got worse, and now in the final stage to run around frantically waving their arms and doing things — like spending huge sums on failing systems — that negate what other leaders are doing — like cutting back on social investment to the point of strangling all economic life as we know it.

And I'll bet you thought A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was fiction. Now we see that all Douglas Adams did was to change the names to protect … well, himself, I suppose. In that radio and then book series, he called the pilots of the demolition ships "Vogons," the incredibly stupid but technologically empowered beings who believe they need to destroy the Earth to clear a path for a new interstellar highway. See? Just like what is really happening, except we call those incredibly stupid and technologically empowered beings that are destroying our world  "markets." And just as in the Guide, we eventually learn that the world destroyed was an artificial planet commissioned by super-intelligent mice as a highly complex computer to discover the meaning of life, the universe and everything — not the answer, but the question. Well, maybe they weren't really mice in our case. Super-intelligent cockroaches, could be. Or something. Or nothing. More likely, some not especially intelligent or foresighted humans thinking no farther than their immediate advantage.

Because yes, we can now see that what is threatened with imminent destruction — just ask Christine Lagarde if you doubt me — is an artificial planet, though only a few centuries, not tens of millions of years old. It is what we used to call the First World, until the other two self-destructed. (The Second, piloted from Moscow, by enormous internal tensions and its stubborn and futile battering of itself against the First World; the Third World by allowing itself to be absorbed into the fringes of the First one, where its denizens are still hoping to wriggle their way higher in the ranking.)

Yes, fellow First Wordlings about to be hit in the head by a failed 6-ton satellite, our world of self-feeding, self-destroying capitalist construction and consumption is fast coming apart and about to disintegrate entirely under the repeated and ever fiercer attacks of the markets that feed on it.

Of course, just as on the planet Magrathea, the infinite improbability drive may come into operation and something may save us. Let's hope so, because the European Union, the European Central Bank, the US Fed and the IMF haven't a clue, or else have clues leading them all in opposite directions. Or maybe that 6-ton satellite will hit one of us in the head and we won't need to worry about life, the universe, or anything.

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