On page 180 of her little book Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth , Canadian author Margaret Atwood  writes of something called The Market. She says people have substituted The Market for God, attributing the same traits to it: all-knowingness, always-rightness, and the ability to make something called ‘corrections’. She’s right, of course. It’s a wonder the US hasn’t updated its official motto In God We Trust  to In The Market We Trust. I’m relieved the good old GFC’s put a halt to that – at least for the time being. Here Down Under it’s no different. Newscasts regularly proclaim that The Market did this or that – as if The Market possesses cognition and volition independent of the humans (I use this noun loosely) who work in it. All of which is background to this item in yesterday’s Age  about the scalping of tickets for Test Cricket. (By the way, the etymology of this use of scalp’s interesting .) To naïve old me, scalping’s nothing more than a microcosmic example of a Market in action – with pricing according to supply and demand, selling and buying, upside and downside risk, and winners and losers. The public likes it; or at least tolerates it . So it’s beyond my ken why ‘the authorities’ – who no doubt in other contexts worship The Market – eschew ticket scalping. Maybe it’s their loss of control and thus power. Who knows? Who cares? Not I. Ho hum.
4 days ago