Of Mayan Gods, Government Elites, and an Arrogant Financial Industry

I had expected by the time I write my first post of 2010 many politicians and heads of investment banks would have humbly resigned and joined Habitat for Humanity as show of remorse for their ugly deeds. In the alternative, they would have been put on trial for their roles in causing the historic fall of the US. But alas, my hopes and those of millions have not been realized and we are angry. We are angry when we hear that at the height of financial crisis Tim Geithner, at the time, the head of the New York Fed, in several emails urged AIG to fudge their numbers to avert systemic failure of the financial industry. We are angry because instead of being on trial for such blatant and arrogant collusion he is now our Treasury Secretary.  We are angry because congressional hearings about regulating financial derivatives, the main cause of the crisis, started when Congress was on break and lobbyists send in farmers, the only group that needs derivative-based insurance to secure their crops and made them the face of this ugly and corrupt industry. We are angry at the hypocrisy of billionaire investment tycoons like Bill Gross who blasts the dysfunction in Washington and blatantly calls the Treasury a kleptocracy for being so friendly to bankers, yet his firm PIMCO takes absolute advantage of that dysfunction every single day. We are angry because we are no longer in a democracy. We voted for hope and change, but Wall Street made sure that these words are only parts of a speech recited daily to the masses by an incredibly effective orator.

Now, you might ask what  do Mayan Gods have to do with Wall Street and Washington politics. The answer lies in the history lesson that brought the demise of the Mayan civilization. At its zenith, the Mayan elite, made up of priests and politicians progressively turned away from addressing the needs of their people and turned their focus to serve their own needs. Well, as often is the case with hubris these became the defining moments that began the decline of a 3000 year old dynasty.

What will be in store for the US for 2010 and beyond is still to be determined. We are a resilient self renewing culture that must build a new model which makes the old, tired, corrupt, and self-serving model obsolete.


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