08 July 2016

Simple Economics

It was a short drive back home. It was the same drive. It was the same drive made shorter by the roundabout way her brain was working. The many homes she had seen, those with immaculate yards and without, those with siding that had clearly been redone within the last year, in historic areas, with leisurely middle aged people reading their books and chatting, had given her pause somehow. Driving past the cemetery had ushered the pause into steep contemplation. The whole thing impacted her in a way it hadn't before.

For she had no frame of reference for wealth. The economics of the upper-middle and upper classes were vague mysteries her mind could not successfully grapple with. That there was enough money to sustain so many people choosing to abide in historically unprecedented abundance was baffling. Perhaps she was too well-versed in history, too much a student of the past to come to terms with the fact that everyone, seemingly everyone had more than they needed.

This was, of course, strictly not true, as there were many in this country and around the world who did have what they needed.

But today, however, today was proof positive that many had more than they needed. Each house, either perfectly groomed or neglected, meant a job. Not just any job,but job enough to pay rent or mortgage and car note and gas and utilities and trips to the (evermore expensive) supermarket and nights out at the unending, amoebically dividing restaurant hive. That job and the subsequent spending meant more jobs and more spending and so, her high school macroecnomics teacher had claimed, the economy went and the capitalist march.

The drive continued. She took the last turn onto the stream of a road that led to the tributary that was her driveway. Strange that we drive on parkways and park on driveways, she thought. And as she stopped the car before her home, she noticed a package resting on the stoop. It was, she felt, another thread in the yarn ball of a world full of money where so many had so much and so little.

She began to reckon it and thanked God her car had working air conditioning. There were more than three hundred millions of people in this country. If one, say, had a product that netted the producer $5 a pop, then they'd need to sell 10,000 or so of these gizmos a year for a comfortable living. That's a small piece of the pie, without even factoring taxes and the potential world markets and the like. And yet, she felt and had been told the same, that countless such business endeavors failed every year. Was it for lack of competence? Sheer bad luck in spite of best efforts?

Again, the scope was lost on her.

It was not that she was lacking in intellect; she was well educated, graduating from college Dean's List with a degree in philosophy. Hers was, it seemed, a mind of intuition. That of and wanderer, rather than that of an accountant. If a worthy abstraction could not be made, then the feeling failed to become thought and, so, lifted to the skies above. Supposing that was the problem, that the shape of her brain held no context for wealth and the many gears of the somewhat terrible money-machine, she slipped inside.

Philosophy was, for her, the high view of life. It was also the low view, the one that viewed the human experience from the inside out. She liked the "high" metaphor more, though, and nodded her satisfaction for the thought as she poured a glass of water. What did cold, hard numbers tell us about life on this planet or it betterment? Moreover, the endless trail of capital told no story. It was cold and mute. And with thoughts like these in her mind, she sat down, drank her water, and took a nap.

CARS, URBAN, IMPRESSIONIST CITY SCAPE OIL PAINTING - Tom Brown

No comments: