Friday, June 25, 2010


Looking through my bank statements I saw that, at one stage I had a balance that earned 0.03 cents in interest for the month.
That it would have cost me about $60+ per month, or thereabouts, to borrow this sum from the same bank irked me considerably, as did knowing that if I owed someone 3 cents, I would be obliged to round it up to 5 cents.
The banks, whose billion dollar profits escalate each half-year, don't have to round up. Why?
It reminded me of other grievances, such as energy-saving light bulbs. "40 watts = 80 watts"or somesuch, they trumpet.
I've come to the conclusion that, re light globes, when they put up these equivalences, they are talking about the COST of having these things, not the output of light. My standard lamp has 3 bulbs, by which I should be able to discern the germs under my toenails, but instead I find myself peering at, and trying to decipher, the written word. I don't think, for a minute, that the three of them churn out more than about 60watts. But, my electricity bill continues to climb, so I assume that when they speak of equivalence, they don't mean that 40 watts provides the illumination of 80 watts, they mean that the cost of 40 watts of this new stuff is equivalent to the cost of 80 watts of the old.
Of course the new ones carry the exciting possibility of occasionally exploding and showering you with glass shards.
Paying more for supposedly using less electricity, makes me feel exploited, just as the bank makes me feel exploited. I feel that we are all being squeezed just a little too much.
These are, I suppose typical small grumbles of "small people", as the BP executive recently referred to the populace at large.

I read that BP is going ahead in autumn with a new well in the Beaufort Sea that is far riskier than its Gulf of Mexico one. BP has "been implicated in each of the worst oil disasters in American history, dating back to the Exxon Valdez". BP was also the biggest donor to Obama's campaign, and I am inclined to think that multinationals run the world. Or destroy they choose.
No wonder so many of our "leaders" resort to advising us to pray: governments can really do nothing, as Frank Rich explains (NYT 18/6/2010). Our power has slipped away.

And when I read that the newly nominated candidates for Senate for Kentucky and Nevada have marked for elimination or privatisation the Department of Education, The Federal reserve, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and also marked the Energy Dept; the Environmental Protection Agency; Social Security, the Dept of Veteran Affairs, and Medicare, I feel that we are entering the uncharted territory of the robber barons. Alas, where the U.S. goes, we tend to follow.

The world, and the "small people" in it need a Wat Tyler. Now.


Penny said...

We need something, or someone. Perhaps not Wat Tyler - remember what happened to him!

A thoughtful post, Frances, I'm going to have a look at the NYT article you mention.

Frances said...

Thanks for your comment, Penny.
Can I suggest that if you find the time to check out the article, you follow its link and read the Rolling Stone article?
Truly toe-curling, in my opinion - but, well researched and verified.