The Old Gods

Doc Russia used to quote "The Gods of the Copybook Headings" from time to time.
A great bet is underway, a poker game with stakes in the trillions, between those who are buying time with central bank money and believe that they can continue as before, and the others, who are afraid of the biggest credit bubble in history and are searching for ways out of capitalism based on borrowed money.
Great. Yet it just says what we all know when we dare to think about it.

We're broke. Europe is broke. China is broke. The system will end.
What then? Nobody knows, but the history of the times when the Old Gods have ridden high are certainly of interest. The good news, and the bad news, is that they are dependable.


Joseph W. said...

An excellent short explanation -- and recorded reading -- of Kipling's poem is <a href=">here</a>.

I have never understood why Kipling names the "gods of the Market Place" as the purveyors of disarmament-pacifist and redistributionist ideas to "the Gods of the Market Place" - because I'm used to seeing these ideas from the Cult of the State. It's a great bit of writing, whatever the reason, and deserves to last.

Joseph W. said...

Whoops, screwed up the link.

Grim said...

In Kipling's era, the clash was seen differently by conservatives: the enemy was not yet the state, not in 1919 when the Soviet Union was newborn, democratic socialism not yet in childhood, and a very long and bloody war having just been fought to preserve Mother England. The English government of today looks nothing like the state that Kipling knew. Indeed, if we could have such a limited and constitutional state back as Kipling knew in his own time and place, we would likely consider it a complete victory.

I did not realize that he and H. Rider Haggard were friends. Of course it makes sense that they would be, though! That's another character who, at his best, can turn a remarkable piece -- although I think his ghost would forgive me if I own Kipling the greater of the two.

Joseph W. said...

Agreed on all points - though the bad ideas that Kipling writes against (here and in "The City of Brass") have a very modern feel - because they are in a sense timeless, though I think the idea of getting rich by picking each other's pockets didn't get popular 'til there was a lot of wealth around that people don't understand. (On the disarmament thing, Aesop had his fable of the sheepdogs, so that bit of nonsense needed answering much earlier.)

douglas said...

"I have never understood why..."

I think it's partly as when business gets big, and unbound by an overarching moral code, it too becomes a kind of organ of the state- perhaps a symbiotic organism in a more free state, or it's subsumed completely in a communist state. Big corporate business in the U.S. today is often not supportive of the ideals of the constitution if they think there's an advantage to be had in some new legislation that makes it harder to compete against an exisiting powerhouse in a given industry. The 'Peter ...Paul' line perhaps having to do with subsidy for industry. Or I have no idea what I'm talking about, which is about equally as likely.

David Foster said...

The phrase "Gods of the Market Place" as used here by Kipling, has nothing to do with markets in an economic sense. He is referring to the *popular* Gods, ie those that people would be talking about as they did their our time, such Gods would include environmentalism, Marxism, and various forms of mysticism like magical crystals.

Joseph W. said...

That makes a lot of sense. Thank you.