Invisible Hand

Where were you on December 7, 1949, the day Pearl Harbor was attacked? Where were you on September 11, 2001, the day the World Trade Center was brought down? Where were you September 14, 2008, the day Lehman Brothers collapsed?  Ten years ago today the invisible hand of the market became quite visible. The day Lehman Brothers went belly up ordinary people learned that extraordinary deals still left them as ordinary people while Extra celebrities would continue to be promoted as extraordinary. Today, along with other things, Dear Leader says ordinary people are more well off than ever in the history of the US if not the world. Economists, however, are not so sure. Lehman Brothers sobered them to the limits of the invisible hand. Could the not so invisible hand be likewise unabated by greed? To counter this, they pointed to economic cycles; like dark matter, invisible but real just the same. Today market deals promise to solve all of societal ills, from global warming catastrophes to tooth decay. WIKI succinctly states that Adam Smith’s invisible hand “has come to capture his notion that individuals’ efforts to pursue their own interest may frequently benefit society more than if their actions were directly intending to benefit society.” Analysis finds this may well glove the lives of those featured on Extra. The ungloved reality of those featured on the imaginary (and invisible) show, Ordinary, is more that the glove no longer fits while being handed the bill to cover the entire cost of the collapse. After ten years, who has benefitted from the financial crisis? Who has paid for it? Every debt is an asset for someone. To perversely paraphrase Johnnie Cochran, “If it does not fit, you must indict!”

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