… but there is truth in fiction.
I had the chance to “pleasure read” for the first time in a while, and was encouraged to read a book
by an author I had never read before. It was a good, suspenseful book, but I
came across a particular passage that really resonated.
In this passage, a media
personality was interviewing a journalist
and made a statement alleging that the Swedish economy was headed for a crash
because the Swedish stock exchange took a hit.
The journalist replied “You have
to distinguish between two things–the Swedish economy and the Swedish stock
market. The Swedish economy is the sum of all the goods and services that are
produced in this country every day. There are telephones from Ericsson, cars from
Volvo, chickens from Scan, and shipments from Kiruna to Skövde.
That’s the Swedish economy, and it’s just as strong or weak today as it was a
“The Stock Exchange is something very different. There is no
economy and no production of goods and services. There are only fantasies in
which people from one hour to the next decide that this or that company is
worth so many billions, more or less. It doesn’t have a thing to do with
reality or with the Swedish economy.”
“It means only that a bunch of heavy speculators are now
moving their shareholdings from Swedish companies to German ones. So it’s the
financial gnomes that some tough reporter should identify and expose as traitors.
They’re the ones who are systematically and perhaps deliberately damaging the
Swedish economy in order to satisfy the profit interest of their clients.”
“The media … have an enormous responsibility. For at least
twenty years many financial reporters have refrained from scrutinizing [certain individuals]. On
the contrary, they have actually helped to build up … prestige by publishing
brainless, idolatrous portraits. If they had been doing their work properly, we
would not find ourselves in this situation today.”
We should draw a parallel here. And in addition to 10,000
lawyers at the bottom of the sea (which is the oft-cited “good start”), we
should add the politicians, the Wall Street parasites, the media personalities/commentators and the so-called financial reporters who have contributed to the fantasy, hype
and wild speculation and obfuscation that have contributed to our current
BTW, this passage is
from “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson, pp. 574-575 of the
paperback. Great read!