In the pantheon of great monotheistic religions, the most powerful and pervasive is that one known to its believers as the Market.
This shiny new übercult has been worshipped by the world’s most powerful people since its creation. Primary adherents include chief economists, Wall Street traders, senior government ministers, central bankers, leading businessmen, even realtors: essentially, anyone wearing pinstripes can be considered a true
Appeasing the Market
Much like the OT God, or Zeus’ crew atop Mount Olympus, it is not possible to act with certitude in the face of the Almighty Market.
The Market is a capricious god: actions that have been rewarded in the past might be stricken down mercilessly this quarter. No mercy shown, no answers available. Past performance is no indication of future results, to quote believers.
The priests and soothsayers of this cult, a nebulous group known as Economists, attempt to interpret the signs for rulers and the masses alike, but inevitably they can only shroud their visions in vague terms.
Their equivalent of such interpretative tomes as Augustine’s Confessions or the Divine Comedy – that is, attempts to understand the behaviour of the god – are known as forecasts or quarterly reports (economists do not suffer an excess of creativity). Dissecting these documents yields little but a confused jumble of dry words, numbers clustered in an appendix to the rear, a mass of hearsay, endless charts and projections, and cover-all blandities, not to mention disclaimers and legal escape clauses.
Uncovering the Veil of Secrecy
Much of the language common to the adherents is deliberately difficult to understand to an outsider, much as with Stonemasons, Kabbalists and art critics. Terms are used that make little sense, such as returning to the Market, Bull Market, Bear Market, Market Slump, or the Market reacted aggressively to the forecast.
Regarding that last phrase, as pertains so often for so many gods, the Market does not like to be predicted. The Market has not vested authority in these Economists and analysts, who have assumed some divine knowledge by themselves. The Market is angered by these necromancers with their obtuse, incorrect and hopeless predictions, and shows its disdain for the low minds of man by acting in the most fickle manner possible.
Explaining the Inexplicable
Of course, though the Market has power over us all, on aggregate, it does not know the depraved twisted minds of each and every individual, for the low and base mind of man has devised deceptions and delusions so beneath a god that it could never comprehend them.
When the Market reacts counter to the predictions of Economists, they rush to stake claims over comprehension of this new behaviour, marking out tracts of data here and graphs there, not to mention providing sermons and opinion pieces in important daily newspapers to assuage the panicked public that everything is okay.
If this inexplicable behaviour of the Market can indeed be understood, so Economists tell the leaders of nations, then the public will be reassured, and if the public are reassured, the Market will be calmed. And indeed, the Market will be calmed in time, but how?
Blood and Misery
Like all gods, only sacrifices will soothe the Market. And yes, sacrifices must be made, grave sacrifices. Lives must be fed into the hungry gnashing mouth of the Market to sustain it, to prevent it from unleashing further anger when quarterly projections are less than expected. No slump can be countenanced. No, the Market must take livelihoods and, if necessary, lives.
Blessed are they…
Not the livelihoods of the priests, however. No. Never! Not the lives of those most vocal in praise of the Market. Nor economists, nor ministers, nor the traders. Never! The pinstripes remain safe within the fold, the robes of the markets carefully draped about them in pristine parallel-threaded perfection.
Punish the meek…
The Market demands ordinary lives, the common people. They must be made to pay for their subversive comments about the Market. Happy are they who have not seen, and yet believe in the power of the Market. Those who question it, and even speak out against this slavish reliance on the Market for everything, they shall be punished most of all. With relish, the acolytes remove the possessions of non-believers, then they really get to work on them. Their dignities and livelihoods are next, for it is certain that if the menial work of non-believers does not directly concern the Market, the work can be dispensed with – robots or overseas labour will replace unclean non-believers.
A special punishment is reserved for those fools who would speak out and seek to protect certain things – life, liberty, health – from having a price allotted to it by the Market; these will be made to fall on their own swords, the blade of hubris penetrating deep into their hearts.
For the Market is a vengeful God, and It knows all.
Let Us Prey. Terms and Conditions Apply, Amen.