Amid the gloom of a business summit at a time of financial crisis, former U.S. President Bill Clinton managed to deliver an upbeat message, telling delegates, “This is still a good time to be alive.”
“This financial crisis proves, as nothing else should or could, the fundamental fact that global interdependence is more important than anything else in the world today,” Clinton said. “We cannot escape each other. Divorce is not an option.”
“This is not a time for denial or delay. Do something. Give people confidence by showing confidence,” said Clinton, who served in the White House from 1993 to 2001. “Don’t give up. Don’t bet against yourself. Don’t bet against your country. This is still a good time to be alive.”
It was September of last year when global news about the impending economic meltdown descended upon us.
World economic powers led by the US immediately convened their top fiscal gurus to chart the road maps out of the financial mess. Since then, the newspapers and the rest of the media were never the same again.
Daily, we were bombarded by never before crystallized financial vocabulary previously mouthed by Wharton’s whiz kids or the UP School of Economics or Wall Street alumni. Overnight we were transformed into some kind of economic experts with clear understanding about mortgage-backed assets and toxic gobbledygook.
From the evening news we see the nauseating fulminations of our harebrained legislators with their mouths dropping what looked like, yes, plain droppings and some dribblings. We devour the business page as if salvation is all written on it.
It has been several months since, and governments are still at it designing a New Deal redux to get us out of this fix. Historians suddenly are being tapped for their services guided by what Plutarch said that history is nothing but a DVD.
At this interesting times however, every time history repeats itself, as one wise guy said, the price goes up. From where 43rd sat, 44th revised the figures.
Just like devouring the same tuna sandwich each morning, the sight of the bread concoction simply makes us puke. Enough is enough.
Vladimir Putin has called it a perfect storm. Governments, just like Homeland Security, must be on their toes warning us little mortals to brace ourselves from the impending breach of the levees. They are telling us to ensconce ourselves in one predictable corner while they sweep the mines up.
On second thought, was the warning on economic Category 5 a ruse to hinder us from coming back? Coming back from where? From the Thain Effect! (John A. Thain is the former Merrill Lynch chief executive fired by Bank of America last week; one reason privately cited by the bank, according to the NYT, was Mr. Thain’s decision to go to Davos after being told it wasn’t a good idea. After he was fired, he had to cancel anyway because as the convenor of Davos puts it, they don’t want has-beens in Davos. His advancing of the $4 billion worth of bonuses for Merrill executives and the $1.2 million redecoration of his office was denounced by no less than President Obama who suggested such actions demonstrated callousness of someone who should know better but still doesn’t get it.)
But what’s wrong with John Thain? In a third world country like the Philippines, this is the right time to splurge and act naturally. Our dwindling middle class indeed agonizes not on their diminishing income but by the mental torture bearing on them about the fictionally unraveling economic fiasco. But the agony is largely self-inflicted. To most of us however, ignorance is bliss. Marthaesque, we are not.
So, let’s get on with our lives.
Enjoy the daily theatrics of our presidential timbers. Enjoy John Resado and his phlegmatic Boss. Enjoy the World Bank scuttlebutt. Enjoy the best fertilizer ever, Joselin Bolante. Enjoy the absence of JdV from the Lakas-Kampi spitting session. Enjoy Henry Sy’s Taj Malls. Enjoy Roberto Benigni’s Buongiomo Principessa or Vikas Swarup’s Slumdog.
Remember, we are our own last refuge.