A homeless population equivalent to the size of Los Angeles is
unacceptable, and with over five times as many empty houses,
we have not only a moral obligation but also an economic
imperative to come up with a creative way to fix this travesty.
Richard “Skip” Bronson
The Huffington Post, August 25, 2010
Living in Zimbabwe once,
I read in the paper that the Reserve Bank
had run out of currency in the capital of Harare.
No one could withdraw funds because the bank
had no bills. This went on for days until the government
had the Munich company under contract print more,
which was actually just one small step toward what eventually drove
the economy into absolute ruins so that by July 2008
the official inflation rate was reported to be 2.2 million percent.
“What?” I asked myself at the time.
How does the bank of a country's capital simply run out of currency?
How can you just print more legal tender?
Given the situation, I thought that handing out herds of mombe
might have momentarily eased the plight—
cows remain a highly valued commodity in Shona culture . . .
yeah, I was waxing with disdain at the time
but it got me thinking. And now I think we should all return
to more of a barter system because banks and their lending and
their paper money are a farce. When bungled and corrupt,
the true circus of modern economics comes to town
with all its shabby tricks. Everyone just ends up
stuck in their seats holding greasy bags of popcorn—
to lengthen the metaphor—listening to the stout man
with the bullhorn direct our interests
because we are not in charge of our own show.
Zimbabwe has now completely abandoned
its dollar in favor of foreign currency, but I’m not really talking
about Zimbabwe in this poem. The underlying travesty
of money controls the world, just in varying degrees
of transparency—and, like chained bears ambling
on two legs for our trainers we are all part of the awful act.
Time to shut-down the lousy spectacle, but leave the tents up
for those in need of shelter.