Opinion Letters

LETTER: History repeats

My intended immigration to Canada fell victim to reactionism in 1968, and I've had a front-row seat ever since. I've had to 'look on' while relying on good Canadian friends in a good steward relationship to hang on to a primitive, family cottage property, which was finally pushed into a sale in 2011. Now we are both bereft, victims of the changing economy.

It's an historically repeated story; 'Riches to Rags in Three Generations,' since the invention of the zero made its way into Western culture only about 800 years ago and revolutionized finance about 500 years ago. That is because the zero makes it possible to mathematically combine operations, and most importantly to make the computing of compound interest reasonably easy and comprehensible. Yet in that mathematics lies a moral hazard. It becomes impossible to recognize just how much is being paid in accrued interest unless there are strict regulations on financial markets. And it isn't the lender that has to issue the money to meet the demand for payment of those exponentially increasing amounts of 'interest' to the lender. Since the election of Nixon in the U.S. in 1968, consumerism with its reliance on easy credit has progressively displaced the production base of Western economies, led to an inherently immoral concentration of wealth, and required an unsustainable sovereign debt. Just as had successive affluent societies done before.

And along with that decadence of real production of wealth into 'consumable' product has been the rationale that if it's good for business, it's good for the economy. It no longer requires a businessman to qualify benefit of doubt, gives carte blanche benefit of doubt to investors, and denies the customer the original benefit of doubt. That turns the democratic rule of law, that law itself must obey, upside down! And societally the consequence has always followed the same diversionary arguments, like sexually themed businesses shouldn't be legislated upon. Nonsense! It isn't called 'the world's oldest profession' without due cause. And failure to address the real economic issues by focusing on entertainments has led to boom to bust too many times in Western history.

John R. Cox

Wooster, Ohio 

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