11 June, 2010

GOD and Finance!

“I saw God. I saw God”, exploded Satish, barging into my office. I thought I’ll have some uninterrupted time between 8 to 10 in the morning as I wanted to wade through and get over a lot of pending work. And now, this loony is talking about seeing God. “Do you mean Goa… or GOD?”, I wanted to know and be absolutely sure that I heard it right. “ I said GOD & I mean GOD… You don’t believe me, do you?”, Satish asked me in a pained voice. I wanted to humour him… nothing like starting a morning with a smile!

“So, when did you see GOD?”, I asked, with as much an honest face as I could contrive in 10 seconds. That seemed to work. “I saw God in the wee hours of the morning today. I thought it was a dream. But no, he was there and looked exactly like in my house Calendar”, Satish said. “He was so nice, you know. I offered him tea, as it was pretty cold. Then, we talked for sometime”, he said.

“You offered tea to God? Fantastic. What did you talk about?”, I pushed the thing along. It was getting interesting, by the minute. “So much pain and mayhem has been caused in the last 2 years. I wanted to know his perspective”, said Satish earnestly. Perspective from God, I was thinking to myself… Isn’t he going bonkers? I had to let him clear the doubts.

“I have provided for everyone in the World. Greed in Human beings is the root cause of all the problems. Why does a man want to amass wealth, beyond what he requires? Beyond a point, wealth becomes poison. The excesses committed due to greed is the cause for misery, inequity. I cannot intervene in everything. When man was given free will, he should also be responsible for outcomes. After all, you cannot cry over spilt milk. You should have been careful”, God had said.

“ That means God will not intervene in matters of the World?”, I wanted to know. “I had asked him that and He had said that He would take care only if a person had completely surrendered to him. But since most act out of free-will they would have to be prepared for the consequences of their actions”, Satish said.

“I thought humans would act rationally, intelligently & with compassion. I had created you all in my image and took it for granted that these qualities will enable the human race to live contentedly, in harmony with nature. Alas, I have been wrong. Greed is creating situations I never thought might happen… like the sub-prime crisis which was caused by indiscriminate loans given to people on basis of their home equity… the structured products that were sold as investment products and people buying them without understanding what was the underlying. This is really amazing. I always thought that you people will use the superior intellect you are all endowed with and not keep it in the freezer…”, God had trailed off.

Satish was getting impatient. “But God, what has happened, has happened. What about the future? Will it improve and come back to pre-crisis levels this year?”, he had asked.

“The fundamental problems remain. People have been living beyond their means. Every American, on an average, has a loan of over $1000 on his head. Over 70% of US economy is accounted for by consumer spending, Reckless spending has created unheard of debt levels now and it is escalating. Are they cleaning up? Nope. They are goading their people to go and buy more! But is that not what caused the problem? A chimp has enough brains to understand this. Yet, the US government is fuelling the problem, than solving it. They have brought the interest rates so low that people would be tempted to borrow. But very low interest rates are creating what is called the dollar-carry trade i.e borrow in dollars at almost no cost and invest in other parts of the world, creating bubbles elsewhere in the world. With such recklessness, it’s anybody’s guess when this situation will reconcile itself”, God said.

“But God, you are supposed to know”, Satish almost pleaded. “When you are given freewill, you are responsible for your actions. There is actually nothing good or bad. It is all your perception. This crisis could be used to clean up the system and lay the foundation for a better tomorrow. If it takes a couple of years, does it really matter?”, God had said.

“Does that mean that it’s going to take time for the recovery?”, Satish again queried, clearly worried. “Why do you worry so much? You people need to introspect. Greed creates problems. Greed emanates primarily in three areas – Money, Women & Territory. All upheavals in history can be traced to these. Can you people not learn from your mistakes? You need to see Avatar, the movie, where humans try to colonise an alien land, for resources. They are prepared to destroy & decimate the natives – all for greed of money. You people need to learn…”, God said impatiently.

“God, you have seen Avatar”, Satish had wanted to know. “ My child, I don’t need to see it. I thought, you knew I’m omnipresent & and a living witness of all that has happened all through history & am present and know all that would happen… you are asking me if I have seen a mere movie?! I mentioned it to just point out how greed is at the root of all misery. Huge disparities are the result of greed. Environmental degradation is the result of greed. Your trade imbalances, territorial disputes are all fuelled by greed… The thing to ask is not when the situation will get normal; but how to remove the fundamental problems dogging the system. For starters, the interest rates should be allowed to revert to appropriate levels, the idea of thrift needs to be inculcated, the swagger & the thoughtless “we-will-bomb-you-back-to-the-stone-age” threats need to abate & a more compassionate & broad world-view needs to emerge. That is what I’d want to see”, God had concluded.

It was 10.30 AM. The morning had certainly started in the most interesting way. “Satish, but God had not finally answered your question of what this year will be like”, I asked. Satish said, “God had told him that he obviously knows what will happen. But by exercising free-will humans could change the trajectory of the future events… Also, he did not want to reveal and smother enthusiasm or kindle unwanted expectation. He just wanted us to live in the way we were supposed to be – enlightened, compassionate, loving beings. God was particularly happy about the ending in Avatar. They fought back the aggressors and restored order. The question he left behind was, can we clear up the mess & restore order”, he finished.

He got up, bade me goodbye and moved on. Now the lingering question in my mind is – Can we?

Unpublished post - specially for the blog

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