Tomorrow I am going to London to have my photo taken for Dazed and Confused magazine. In an effort to get myself in the right frame of mind I went into my local Sainsburys and perused the magazines on display.
Jordan seems to have the right look and one that the camera obviously loves. Should I get myself some enormous fake breasts? Could I do this by tomorrow morning? And where would I keep them after?
Actually I am not maintaining the right tone of gravitas. You see, in essence, this week I have decided I wanted to be a major economist.
I admire Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel prize winner, greatly. His new book The Trillion Dollar War looks at the opportunity cost of the Iraq war. Could three trillion dollars have been spent more wisely than on lots of weapons and blowing lots of people into small pieces? You could have bought the country lock, stock and barrel for that amount and still got change for a new bathroom he writes. It’s a winning argument.
(In a brief aside I received a letter (a physical letter although they do have my email address - they provide me with an email service) from Virgin Media. They asked me if I would like to go over to paperless billing for the saving on £1 a bill. I was straight on the phone. I wondered if they would like to go over over to paperless letters. And had they ever thought of bill-less billing? I’m all for that!)
The next book on my list of books to read is Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine. This is about the economics of disaster management, i.e. the global business that have sprung up around managing disasters.
Say, for example, a former superpower engineers a war in a middle eastern country, blows it to bits. Imagine the money to be made from reconstruction! What a brilliant idea!
At the same time we live in a world seemingly incapable of pouring money into where it is really needed. Shell this week pulled out of the Thames Estuary Wind Farm project siting limited opportunities to make a really incredibly enormous pile of money for their already super-rich shareholders.
Jeffrey Sachs was on the Start the Week was talking about his new book Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet. He said the money involved in making a difference would be comparatively little. America under the Bush administration has failed to build even a single carbon capture coal fired power station.
(They have spent billions of dollars going to war. See above.)
In the same period of time Kennedy decided that man would go to the moon, sent them there, and brought them back in time to see his brains get blown out because someone didn’t like what he’d done in the Bay of Pigs.
Actually that might be all wrong.
What it needs is someone to take matters into their own hands. Sometimes I feel like putting everything I own into a kit-bag, setting off to China, become a leader amongst men (think Mao with a heart), engineer a war with a former superpower, and then rebuild the world in a more sensible image.
But I probably won’t.
For a start would my orange Ikea Klippan 2 seater sofa fit in a kit-bag? And I, like Nicholson Baker, am a pacifist.
Baker has just written a book, Holy Smoke, about Hitler and the Second World War. He forwards the argument that if we had made peace with Hitler things would have been pretty bad on the continent but Jews would have been allowed to leave. America and England didn’t want this, they didn’t want more immigrants.
Baker was the same radio programme as Jeffrey Sachs who took exception to this argument.
Fight, fight, fight said Andrew Marr banging the desk with a clenched fist. It took Sarah Walker, there to talk about Chopin and his lover the French novelist George Sand’s stay on a windswept Mediterranean island to sort the whole goddam mess out.
Actually that might not have happened.
Currently reading - George Saunders, Civilwarland in Bad Decline
Currently listening to - Kula Shaker, Strangefolk