Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Financial Times:

Stock markets tend to prize political gridlock, believing fewer new regulations will emerge and less government deficit spending will keep borrowing rates low. A study by Fidelity Investments found that large-cap stocks saw average price gains of 23 per cent during the four periods of gridlock -- a split in party control of the White House and both houses of Congress -- since 1970.

Some of those gains will already be priced in, however, in part because gridlock to some degree has been the rule in Washington since Democrats lost their 60th vote in the Senate. Only a surprise Republican seizure of the Senate could be a near-term catalyst for further gridlock-led gains.

If someone were to approach me today and ask if I voted, I could only tell them "I hope so," because I think it is important to vote everyday on the things you care about most. Whether we supplement this activity by endorsing one or another faction of the ruling class under particular circumstances isn't as important to me as the primary activity of our lives, which I hope would be organized around independent aims.

What is called "voting" for civic purposes is just a specific kind of voting. It's not a very good one. Sometimes you can make an argument that it is important. But, again, if you can sometimes make an argument that electoral voting is important, you can always make the argument that "voting everyday" is critically important.

Voting everyday, by being true to yourself as much as possible, is not an easy thing to do, society being what it is. We are very sensitive to the requirements of daily life, yet most of us have little control over how they are met. This immediately makes us dependent on somebody else for survival: either private property owners or the state. At this point in history, we spend our lives working for the benefit of one or the other, while "what is true" about ourselves is deferred indefinitely.

What I observe, even amongst those who benefit materially in return, is tremendous psychological strain. Mental health issues feature prominently at each stage of human development within this country. Part of that must come from the social emphasis placed on participating in processes, like politics or work, that ultimately leave the individual person with less control over their lives, by the very act of participating.

1 comment:

Randal Graves said...

That's the upside to furlough days, surely coming down the pike if rumblings be true, more time to read. Woo, I suppose.

The local school levy, as usual, failed. Without going into the structure/purpose of the modern educational system, I always find it comical that those screaming against such levies whine about their property taxes going up while spending hundreds of dollars each year on the newest editions of gasoline-powered "lawn care" equipment.

Homeowners, buy a twenty-dollar rake.