Friday, 10 April 2015

Our gods: 'the city' and 'the markets'

I love the way in which commentators and experts
say the words 'the city' and 'the markets'.
They aren't given to us as groups of people
carrying out actions based on self-interest
or their desire to finish the day richer than they were
the day before.
They are talked of as elements in nature,
like the wind or mountains, yet mysteriously
and magically endowed with the power of manipulating
and determining our standard of living,
how much food we eat or what kind of home
or hospital or school we're allowed to have.
'The city' and 'the markets', we're told, are 'uneasy'
about us having too much.
And commentators invite us to think that
that's because some law of nature has been broken.
'The city' and 'the markets' are like the gods
in ancient Greece, like Poseidon who was
enraged when Odysseus maimed his son,
and went on taking revenge for years after.
Yet 'the city' and 'the markets' are just people
who do things like sell each other debts so big
they'll never be paid back
or buy promises and guesses that can never
And they don't stop doing what they're doing
even as the great towers and offices they work in
have to close
and thousands lose their jobs.
These are our gods.