Is it ethical to laugh at the financial crisis?

Our ethical columnist does a jig at the downfall of the anthropocentric, wealth-generating nightmare that is the world economy.

Ethan Greenhart

Topics Politics

This is a bit of random text from Kyle to test the new global option to add a message at the top of every article. This bit is linked somewhere.

Dear Ethan,

Is there something wrong with me…? Every time I read an article or hear a news report about the financial crisis and the coming recession, a little part of me jumps for joy. Indeed I find myself thinking, ‘Come, recession, come…’ The rational side of my brain knows it will mean people losing their jobs and possibly their homes… but the other side thinks: well, at least it might break our addiction to economic growth! Ethan, is it ethical to laugh at all this? Is it ethical to pray for a recession???

Maggie Mayfield
Edinburgh, Scotland

Dear Maggie,

If there is something wrong with you, then there is definitely something wrong with me. Not only have I prayed for a recession (to Gaia, of course, not ‘God’ – yet another arrogant invention of man-unkind who thinks he is so special that a higher being with a beard must have created him! Ha ha ha!) – I have also danced for a recession. Yes, inspired by the beautiful Native American and Maori practice of Rain Dancing, I have created the Recession Dance. Where native tribes stamped and grunted to try to coax rain to come and save their crops, I have taken to chanting and humming to try to coax Recession to come and save our planet.

Sheba thinks it’s mad. But as I said to her, Maggie: ‘Is the Dalai Lama mad? Is Uri Geller mad? No they aren’t, and they know very well the power of thought over real-world events.’ I’m very pleased to see that my Recession Dance is already bearing fruit: the banks are collapsing, people are panicking about whether they can continuing buying pap they don’t need and which is made from Gaia’s guts and tears, and according to one news report fear is ‘gnawing’ at the average American’s mindset. Yes!

I never use rhyming slang, because unlike the beautiful and musical Hopi it is a BAD native language, a code spoken by those most foul and shaven-headed of polluters: the U-class, with their dangerous dogs and even more dangerous attitudes. But I DO think the rhyming slang for banker is appropriate… The Satanists who run banks, the dullards who work in them and the interest-loving consumers who stuff their money inside their vaults deserve everything they get. There is no more sensible reaction than to guffaw wildly at their misfortune. Maggie, the BEST thing that could happen to the planet this year is a recession: a big, beautiful, stock-crashing, Wall St-burning, consumer-baiting, home-evicting, bank-busting recession.

Actually, even better than that would be the emergence of a preferably painless but speedily contagious disease that might finally reduce the human population to sustainable levels – two billion at the most, according to my mates in Jonathon Porritt’s Optimum Population Trust (or was it the Church of Euthanasia? One of them said the human population must be more than halved if the planet is to survive… can’t remember which.)

But as we wait for a planet-friendly plague that might, in the words of Earth First!, ‘bring the human population back to sanity’ and ‘end industrialism… just as the Plague contributed to the demise of feudalism’, we will have to make do with economic shocks to our system, with the economic equivalent of the sniffles before the final big disease – the burning of the planet in a fireball created by the greed of Tesco shoppers, cheap flyers and other lunatics – takes care of ‘us’ once and for all.

Maggie, the more painful the recession is, the better. Don’t worry about people losing their jobs, silly! People who work in banks or shops will be most affected and they deserve it. Banks are parasites on the arse of Gaia, pumping wads of cash into corporations that plunder her resources or build houses (including mock Tudor monstrosities!) on her surface. As for shop assistants or shop managers… I’m sorry, but why should we feel sympathy for people who make a living out of sustaining the cancer of consumerism by helping greedy people pick out the latest brand of cookie, car or coat-stand without giving a moment’s thought to the billions and billions of trees, plants and natural metals and liquids – Gaia’s guts and tears – that will have been sacrificed for their petty pleasures? Worrying about these people losing their jobs is like saying in 1945: ‘Oh no, the war’s over! What are all those poor little concentration camp guards going to do now…?’

The fact is we need something to stop us raping the planet, and the recession might just be the chemical castration for the job. We have become so addicted to ‘stuff’ that anything which reins in consumerism is a good thing. Did you see the New Year sales earlier this year, Maggie?!! All those Burberry-clad product-addicts stamping on each other’s heads and stabbing each other with knives – literally! – as they hunted down the latest kettle or crop top. The consumer society has turned us into savages. Well, not us obviously, but certainly them: people who think that just because they earn £30,000 a year (they actually think that is a good wage, bless them!), they must spend it all on garish décor and monstrous mod cons for their post-council houses or Barratt eyesores.

On the topic of houses… How can you fret that some people might lose their homes??!! Have you seen these people’s homes? Losing them will be the best thing that ever happened to them! With their garish crazy paving and claddagh brick work; their pointless ornaments in the shapes of dogs and penguins (SPECIESISM), their plates and mugs with pictures of Princess Diana or the Queen Mum on them (when we all know that Prince Charles is the ONLY decent royal, especially since he spoke at a climate conference by hologram this year! Go Charlie, King of the Greens!); their constantly blaring TVs, radios, computers, DVD players, toasters and tea-makers… these houses are more like (VERY badly decorated) prisons than real homes. If the recession leads to evictions and people have to live more humbly – well, hurrah.

Some psychologists say consumerism makes us mentally ill. Actually, being human is itself a form of mental illness: our brains are programmed to pump various chemicals around our bodies that make us want to fight and destroy and buy, buy, buy. I am confident that evolutionary biologists will shortly discover a gene that triggers the shopping urge; indeed, a scientist friend of mine (don’t worry, he’s a good scientist – his degree is in Climatalogy, Ecosystems and Industrial Terrorism from the University of South-West London) is currently trying to raise funds for his study to discover a Tesco Gene, which he is convinced occurs in malnourished, under-cultured sections of the human race, nurturing in them a pseudo-natural urge to exchange small amounts of money for breadcrumbed chicken legs, strawberry-flavoured milk, copies of heat magazine and other bits of Tesco tat.

This is what we’re up against, Maggie: beings that are actually programmed to destroy, to become poisonous bacteria in Gaia’s bloodstream; let us hope and pray (and dance) that a recession will be the antibody Gaia so desperately needs to deal with her human itch.

Of course, a recession will not cure people of their innate, inbuilt human insanity – but it might help to restrain their shopping savagery and insatiable lust for stuff, and make them a bit more docile. Think of the opportunities for people like us, Maggie, if man-unkind finally, after 30 years of yuppie-dom and the emergence of mass travel – EVEN for Social Class V and VI – becomes a bit more timid and fearful! At last there will be an opportunity for the ethical outlook to take hold! De-cluttered of the demented desire for more and more useless rubbish, the human mind might finally open up to rational arguments for austerity, mass eco-euthanasia and the replacement of ALL light bulbs with CFLs. Only then will we start moving towards a more sensible world, towards the eventual glorious voluntary (perhaps semi-voluntary) evacuation of the planet by the plague that is mankind.

Maggie, join with me in my Recession Dance and let us speed in the economic crisis for mankind/happy, happy days for the planet. Email me for the dancing details.

Ethan Greenhart’s book Can I Recycle my Granny? and 39 Other Eco-Dilemmas is published by Hodder & Stoughton in October (for more details, visit Amazon(UK)). Ethan is here to answer all your questions about ethical living in the twenty-first century. Email him {encode=”” title=”here”}. Read his earlier columns here.

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Topics Politics


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