Monday, July 26, 2010


On page 180 of her little book Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth [1], Canadian author Margaret Atwood [2] 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 [3] 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 [4] about the scalping of tickets for Test Cricket. (By the way, the etymology of this use of scalp’s interesting [5].) To na├»ve 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 [6]. 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.

1 comment:

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