During yesterday’s pivotal Senate hearings on Goldman Sachs and the Great Collapse (full hearings available at C-SPAN’s Video Library), the Goldies said, over and over and over, chanting it like a mantrum (strangely, it was a man-size tantrum, too): we’re market-makers, we make markets (just as god intended us humans to behave, goes the unspoken half). (Sen. McCaskill’s remarks were highlighted earlier by emptywheel here.)
But they also turned it around, saying, The market made us do this or that. Huh? Does the market make the market-makers, or do the market-makers make the market?
They want to both play god, and the victim of their god: the all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful Market.
In his article out today, Noam Chomsky notes a similar oddity. He points out a crucial omission from reportage regarding Obama’s Cairo speech:
Obama’s June 4, 2009, Cairo address to the Muslim world kept pretty much to his well-honed "blank slate" style – with little of substance, but presented in a personable manner that allows listeners to write on the slate what they want to hear. CNN captured its spirit in headlining a report "Obama Looks to Reach the Soul of the Muslim World." Obama had announced the goals of his address in an interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. "’We have a joke around the White House,’ the president said. ‘We’re just going to keep on telling the truth until it stops working and nowhere is truth-telling more important than the Middle East." The White House commitment is most welcome, but it is useful to see how it translates into practice.
Obama admonished his audience that it is easy to "point fingers … but if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security".
Turning from Obama-Friedman Truth to truth, there is a third side, with a decisive role throughout: the US. But Obama omitted that participant in the conflict. The omission is understood to be normal and appropriate, hence unmentioned: Friedman’s column is headlined "Obama Speech Aimed at Both Arabs and Israelis." The front-page Wall Street Journal report on Obama’s speech appears under the heading "Obama Chides Israel, Arabs in His Overture to Muslims." Other reports are the same.
The convention is understandable on the doctrinal principle that though the US government sometimes makes mistakes, its intentions are by definition benign, even noble. In the world of attractive imagery, Washington has always sought desperately to be an honest broker, yearning to advance peace and justice. The doctrine trumps truth, of which there is little hint in the speech or the mainstream coverage of it. [Source: Asia Times Online April 29 (Hong Kong), 2010 Peace that could happen (but won’t).]
Sen. McCaskill’s casino analogy revealed the blind spot of the Goldies: they’re pretending they aren’t involved, that they’re the perfect embodiment of objectivity itself, when we can all see them standing there with their hands in Lady Liberty’s honey pot.
So let’s ask ourselves: What’s the mythology of the Great Collapse, as manifested in this hearing? It’s as plain as day.
Sen. Kaufman complained that the Goldies were making it out to be a natural disaster. Later, Sparks said, “I believe in markets.” And then just a moment ago, Sen. McCaskill, showing her frustration with the reluctance of the Goldies to adopt her casino view/analogy/cosmos-shaping narrative aka myth (this is the power of the Light side, so to speak, of the “vision thing”), said, “I don’t know why we have to dress it up.”
BINGO! If they weren’t wearing fancy frocks and dressing up blatant thievery with grandiloquent BS, we’d see right through the charade. This is the process of the social-construction of reality.
The Goldies are market fundamentalists. McCaskill is asking them to commit heresy, speak blasphemy, by acknowledging that they’re just a gang of back alley crap-shooters in fancy suits and office suites.
They’re blind, or at least, want us to believe they can’t see, the way they structure deals–reality itself–to maximize their own hidden self-interest.
See, according to their mythology, they’re the victims here. All they wanted to do was make the world a better place, they’ve deluded themselves into believing. Naturally, they want us to believe in their gospel, too. They didn’t mean to
steal make billions, the Market made them do it. These are honorable men, high priests of the temples of market-making. Surely you don’t suspect market-makers of manipulating markets in the making, so that the house of GS always wins, do you?
They want us to see them as the god-like judge standing between two warring litigants, when in fact, they just so happen to be either or both parties, or they change the rules after the case is plead. That makes them perps running a rigged casino, not the masters of god’s own justice-dispensing machine.
The funny thing is, if you listen for the myth-making, you can see right through the masquerade.