In order to cope with the two Ms (monotony & mendacity) of growing up in Suburban Hell of my beloved #Americant, I participated–at the duress of my broken family–in two organised sport activities. One of those activities was tennis. And, if I recall correctly, I was actually ranked within the top-100 players of my state during the tennis season of which I participated. Of course, let it be known, I couldn’t serve worth a hoot. Yet I was “ranked”. Yea, that says a lot about organised sports back then–long before the inheriting, under-achieving classes came to be what they’ve become and thereby given us #Trump. But I digress.
The second sport I participated in was Football. And I don’t mean football of the round ball kind. I played American football–where the ball is the proper shape. The reason for the shape? When that ball flies through the air it is either a bullet or a duck–and you better know what you’re doing when it comes your way. And so… There is clarity in (some) sports, dear worst-reader. That clarity is in how a ball can fly like a bullet through the sky.
Although I did participate in a few other sports here and there, e.g., lacrosse, baseball, wrestling, fencing and girls, football is the one that stands out the most in my worst-memory. Ask me if I regret wasting my time on it, I do. Then again, the sport did teach me a bit about participating with others in a so-called “team”. It really is a shame how my beloved #Americant (sport) and her cult of the entrepreneur (the team) have warped the idear of the game in recent years. “Team” for me had a different meaning once. That was the only thing worthwhile about playing football. No a total waste, that is.
Now get this: I learned a few other things while playing American football. For example, my coach used to tell us when we were doing the cardio portion of our daily practice–and we watched those soccer guys in the field next to us run like gazelles all day–that soccer is a game for communists. Can you believe that, dear worst-reader? Here’s how you teach youngsters–back in the day:
Whaaaa’ da heel kaind ah spo’art is it anywho if’n you caint use yer damn hands? It’s a communist spo’art, I tail yee. Dats zackly wha’ it eezz. Damn darn communists! -My Coach
My coach added something about balls shouldn’t be perfectly round anyway. “Nothing is perfect. Check your own,” he said. Of course, being the prepubescent worst-writer I was, during the last two years of wasting mind and body playing football, I actually believed that soccer players were communists. Heck, when I approached some of the guys on the soccer team, I would even ask them:
Say, Comrade, hoist any sickle and spades lately?
But. Again. I digress.
All this worst-talk about communists brings me to my latest read. It is a book by Comrade Richard Wolff. Comrade Wolff is a “professor of economics”. Comrade Wolff has a somewhat interesting presence on the Interwebnets, too. Much of his work can be found at http://www.democracyatwork.info and he even has a monthly podcast called Economics Update where he talks about all things-worst (man to occupy my heart) in this world of capitalism run amok.
At first I didn’t think much about reading this book. There was/is enough of/from Comrade Wolff online already. But then something he said itched me. That itch was Wolff’s academic POV of all-things economic. Better put, he writes and talks a lot about economics as though… Now hold a sec. Get ready for it. Sit down if you got a weak ticker.
Comrade Wolff talks about economics as if it is science.
Now. Did you get that? Let me repeat it just in case, dear worst-reader. According to worst-writer, economics ain’t no science. Instead it is (should be) an academic field within The Arts. But let’s not get too far off the issue of what itches me.
There is one topic that Comrade Wolff keeps comping back to over and over: He is obsessed with the pseudo economic science of Greece and Germania. That’s the real reason I broke down and bought this book. It’s also the reason I read it over a two month period. It’s not that it is hard to read. It is. It’s just that it is boring, too. Boring as boring can be. Boring as wrongly placed academia can be. But then again, so too are all things that try to be scientific that should instead be artsy. And guess what happened after I finally finished the book? Comrade Wolff’s obsession with Greece and Germania is still a mystery to me. Gosh darn it! I hate it when I pick the wrong friggin book!
Allow me to summarise my issue (itch) with Comrade Wolff’s obsession. Comrade Wolff says that Germania is a locomotive. He also says that Greece is a caboose. In case you’re unaware, the caboose is at the back of a choo-choo-train. A caboose is a special, single car that in olden times served as a kind of housing facility for those who worked on the train as it crossed landscapes. And so… Germania is the front of the train and Greece… Well, ok, you get the metaphor.
Btw, if you were to ask me why I expatriated to the EU my third1 most important reason for doing so would be because of the fascination of witnessing the catastrophe that is an effort to unite something that should never be united as though it were a train crossing some heartily confused landscape. Either that or I am a freak for Schadenfreude?
In #Eurowasteland where the choo-choo-train metaphor can only go so far, that which determines everything… Is the fcuking caboose. -worst-moi after living in this Euro shithole for the last 25 yrs.
Now wait a sec. Comrade Wolff says it another way. Here, try this (pseudo-paraphrase):
The #Eurowasteland caboose is literally a fcuk machine that rides the train. The train is made up of voyeur, perverted nation-states that like gawking at the fcuk-car from the back. And who’s the biggest voyeur of them all? That’s right…
In his podcast Economic Update I’ve listened to Comrade Wolff lambast the Germans because Greece is an economic disaster. That is, Greece is a disaster, according to Wolff, because of the Germans. IMHO, Comrade Wolff is wrong. Greece’s problems have nothing to do with Germans. Greece has problems because of Greeks. Comrade Wolff likes to focus on banks and bankers and how they take advantage of European pions–all of which is lead by dastardly Germans.
Worst-writer’s explanation of the Greece problem is much simpler–and much clearer. To paraphrase the great oral tradition now being propagated by #Americants in the form of #Trump: Europe is a shithole and it’s full of shiteaters.
That’s Greece’s problem.
In order to understand Greece and thereby the entirety of #Eurowasteland, aka, Greedland, all one has to do is look at what Europe has given the world. From the Bronze Age to the Renaissance and beyond, we can all thank Europe for mass, systematic, unadulterated greed. Luckily, in recent times, there has been something done to try and mitigate this great gift.
Since WW2 (or maybe it was WW1–who the fcuk is counting?) Europe’s gift to the world has been split into two schools of thought. There is the Anglo-American school (of greed) and there is the Germanic school (of greed). If one looks at the social and political structures of the various confused nations that make up Greedland–from locomotives to the cabooses–it’s easy differentiating between these two schools of greed. It’s also easy to figure out who’s the bigger or biggest Schadenfreud-ist.
Let’s summarise, shall we?
Greece is, out of choice, part of the Anglo-American school (of greed). It is failing miserably as a nation-state because of this choices. Therefore it doesn’t matter if Greece were in the EU, off the coast of the UK or stuck somewhere between Alabama and Montana. Because of its choices, Greece is where it is today. More importantly it doesn’t matter who or what state bank leant money to whom. Greece would be where it is no matter where it was at the end of any train–considering how it has traversed the landscape. Btw, most of southern Europe is failing in the same way as Greece. Those countries too have chosen the Anglo-American greed $hitshow. Which begs the question: Is there enough space at the end of the shit-train for all these fcuking cabooses?
And now for the other school of greed.
Pause. Oh God. Brace Yourself. Here it comes.
Those fcuking Krauts.
The Germania school of greed is not about Germans of old. Can you imagine how things would be if they still wore those stupid, pointy helmets and everybody was named Gunter Leckmichamarsch? No. We’re dealing with new Germans here. And these new Germans got a few things up their slimy sleeves, don’t you know. That’s right. The slime is the one thing that was never defeated in any of those dumba$$ wars, don’t you know. In fact, most of northern Europe likes the slime that is in the German sleeve. Hence northern stoic Europe, compared to the lazy south, is doing just fine. With that in mind, what’s your favourite school of greed?
One shouldn’t look at the caboose to see how the $hitshow train is running. Also, Greece is too minuscule to use as an example of the failures of capitalism. The fact that old Greeks have hoarded everything and thereby practically choked the country to death doesn’t make it an example of what or what not to do. It might just be better (easier) to focus more on human nature–which transcends all of the above–even Comrade Wolff. Again: economics is not science.
Then again, Greece is a good example for something else. Capitalism is nature’s best system for dealing with greed. For Comrade Wolff and so many others like him, everything is easier to decipher when lumped together and thrown into one basket. I guess that’s why I prefer artsy over science (science being the basket). Even though I can sympathise with some of Comrade Wolff’s ranting and raving against capitalism–for I’ve given Marx’s Das Capital a glance or three–he doesn’t really offer any viable alternative other than what all others offer: scapegoating.
Anywho. As usual, I’m off subject. This was supposed to be a quick worst-post about Comrade Wolff’s book:
Capitalism’s Crisis Deepens: Essays on the Global Economic Meltdown.
Wanting to understand Comrade Wolff’s POV regarding Greece was the reason I decided to give this book a read. (Un)fortunately this book only substantiates my belief that economics is a pseudo-science.
Is there an alternatives to the greed $hitshow (capitalism) we’re all living in today? If so, it’s not in this collection of essays. And. NO! Coops and workers taking over the system isn’t an alternative–which is mostly what Comrade Wolff proposes. If, on the other hand, you’re still kind of suffering from the duck-and-cover trauma of the 60s and 70s and hard-up on avoiding all things communist, then you don’t need to read this book. With that in mind, I’m gonna continue checking the Interwebnets for whatever Comrade Wolff has to offer. Who knows. If he keeps at it, he might figure out an alternative someday.
Good luck with that, Comrades.
- I’m sure the first and second can be found somewhere at worstwriter.com ↩︎