Friday 26 September 2008

Bailout: The premise that stinking shit becomes durable gold

Our duty of care betrayed

I have agonised in private and silently wept with tears streaming down my eyes as I read and heard of how the vulnerable had been betrayed.

Harsh as it may sound, babies by reason of our humanity and bond of parental love do not have to expect because they do not know, that we owe them a duty of care.

We as highly developed social animals just know that our babies’ needs are to be met and sometimes at great cost. We tend to believe that our governments have accepted and engaged in the duty of ensuring that health and safety rules and regulations are strictly adhered to, enforced without laxity and infringements punished severely.

In no place is this need for confidence expected, required and implicitly demanded than in food safety – except in places where a government has malevolently decided to commit genocide by allowing poisons and harmful substances to be ingested as food, it should be a given that our food is safe.

Profiteering on the lives of the helpless

Not being a parent, even I had a pain in my heart and it ached so painfully when I read that the protein content of baby formula had been boosted by adding a false-positive indicator – melamine [1].

I had to read up on that stuff and found it could be used in fabrics, plastics and fire retardants – it was definitely not, I repeat, definitely NOT for food or consumption even though it was partly soluble in water.

Some smart guy must have deduced that the test for protein content was poorly constructed since it only tested for the presence of nitrogen; so diluting the milk and adding melamine was a sure way to boost assumed protein content and make great profits no matter whose ox was gored [2].

They killed the babies

Sadly, it has been 4 dead babies and 54,000 infants sick, babies developing kidney stones some resulting in renal failure and parents literally helpless with desperate anxiety seeking respite for their child as well as being unsure of what now to feed their baby.

This is in China where the one-child policy [3] is still in force and this is not to say that the loss of one child can be assuaged by the presence of another – one cannot begin to understand the unspeakable torture and pain the babies and the parents are going through.

Fundamentally, this episode of deliberate poisoning of food for profits is more far reaching than the localities in which the outrageously malevolent middle-men of the dairy market plied their devilish trade.

To my mind, hell is too cold to receive their evil and wicked souls – it is no doubt the best place to send them to, but before they are sent off, they have a price to pay and none of them have enough in money, means or their own very lives to pay for their heinous unforgivable crimes.

Confidence, trust, integrity and reputation

As far out as Asia, Europe and Africa [4], food products from China are undergoing stringent scrutiny to outright bans [5] and worse is yet to come because we now have a collapse in confidence that standards not are being adhered to, such that we do not trust those products to be harmless, since there is clearly no integrity in their standards and this has completely sullied the reputation of doing business in China; it will no doubt adversely affect all other products from China.

The highlighted words in the previous paragraph cannot be quantified in any measure but they are the basis on which any transaction can be comfortably conducted in our world.

The loss of any of these is priceless; there is probably nothing that can done to regain them without a very costly expenditure, a great act of contrition, meaningful restitution, a sense of justice meted out to offenders and the long passage of time.

It applies to all people, their activities, businesses, organisations, companies, governments and life – it allows relationships to be built and partnerships to thrive; the absence of any would lead to strife and possibly the loss of lives.

The bailout is just as bad

In the same vein we see the $700 billion bailout [6] of banks in the United States where the Treasury is seeking funding to buy toxic assets off banks so that they can return to the business of banking and ease the credit crunch.

Much as we have heard so much about the lack of confidence; the fact is, the problems were brought on by untrustworthy practices in granting sub-prime mortgages where the debts were given ratings of integrity when in fact they were borne of disreputable transactions.

It is now clear that the banks were engaged in practices that would put the ordinary man behind bars for years, but as banks they are about to be absolved of their misdeeds by having the public buy off their toxic assets.

Stinking shit becomes gold

The US Treasury would have us believe that these toxic assets have short half-lives and in time they would appreciate in value and can be sold off for profit offering a net gain to the tax payer.

At the risk of sounding crude, the bailout is supposed to turn horribly stinking shit into durable gold, over time – I would like to see the alchemist that would conduct that experiment. The assets have become irradiated with the toxicity of dishonest, disreputable provenance, they cannot be treated with a bailout to give them respectability - who is buying this shit?

You cannot afford to lose it

I have this much to say, when confidence is lost and people have no trust in each other such that they cannot vouch for the integrity of the other and stake anything on the reputation of another – there is no price that can buy back trust, restore confidence, confer integrity and enhance reputations as much as not losing it in the first place.

With hindsight, it is just too obvious that nobody can afford to lose the confidence of others, create an atmosphere of distrust, convey a lack of integrity and become disreputable – the price is just too high.

What is clear to all is the price of these losses is looking like $700 billion and that is a hefty price to pay for millions of little white lies that secured paltry mortgages around America encouraging the world to think they could invest in the reputation of liars and their accomplices (the banks) as a worthwhile business venture.

Address trust or pay more still

I would contend that the price to regain trust would be a lot higher than $700 billion and if those people who instigated, tolerated, condoned, encouraged and abetted the lying are still in position to play with money, we have another gaping black hole of lies to swallow up more money without restoring confidence and buying back the foundation of good business dealings – trust.

Unfortunately, no one is addressing that simple fact, it is the loss of simple old-fashioned virtues that has created this big problem and until that clear truth is spelt out and the criminals are made to pay for their lies and dishonest activities – we might well prepare for a depression because I see $7 trillion going into this bailout and things getting no better.


[1] Melamine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[2] Melamine use "rampant" in China feed business - Yahoo! News

[3] One-child policy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[4] FACTBOX: Africa, Asia, Europe: bans and recalls on China milk | International | Reuters

[5] Medical News Today News Article - Europe Bans Chinese Baby Foods Containing Milk

[6] Financial crisis: Good points and bad points of US bail-out - Telegraph

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