The Market – by P.K. Odendaal - November 2015.
If there is one which interests me immensely, it is the Market, but for totally different reasons that you might think – and it is totally non-market related.
I was inspired to write this article after my excursion, in my previous article, into the realms of Cause and Effect, which led me to apply it to the Market and Economics and their offspring called Supply and Demand.
By the Market I do certainly mean the market of commodities, shares, vegetables, barter and all those nice things - and I need to study this Market and its properties and behavior before I move on to a totally different type of Market or a different interpretation thereof – one which is similar but much more than what we know as the Market.
The (Global) Market is not a place, nor a person, nor a physical object and that is the reason I find it so intriguing to warrant this rendezvous with it. We cannot see it, talk to it or understand it, apart from a few adages we have about it. We know the market moves, but it is always there. We know it changes but it never loses its properties. We know it can be influenced, but not by us individually. We know the Market does not even know who we are and or what we think. We know it is subject to a lot of abuse and criticism. We almost never like what it does, and it does not care whether we do or what we like or what we are like.
If you reread the above paragraph, you will see why it interests me - because it reminds me how we mostly describe God or our view of Him. If we can learn from the Market we can learn how God is and quite a few other things.
Firstly I will poke fun at my old friends or foes called atheists and agnostics, as I have come to do on many occasions in this blog. For them the Market cannot exist in any realm or domain. It is not physical, meta-physical, spiritual, and audible and cannot even be thought of as an object. It is rather a notion or a concept – and still atheists believe in it. Why, I would not know. God is much more real and tangible than the Market to me.
Can I influence the market as an individual? No way. It takes zillions of people to influence it. Do we know which causes have which effects in the Market? Not specifically and whilst we think we know, we are almost always wrong. Economists tell us exactly what is going to happen on world markets and our local economy and after they are proved wrong time and again, they tell us exactly why they were wrong.
God is also affected by us, even on an individual level, but we have battled for millennia to try and figure out how God can be influenced in a certain way. All we say and believe is that God answers prayer – but how he does it, we do not know. All we know is that He has a thousand ways to answer any prayer.
On this point I need to elaborate somewhat. Some of us would like to think that if we pray, a fairy with a magic wand will appear and change everything at once. I do not think that God can even remotely be compared to that fairy or genie which we so wish would do the trick. Just thinking about what it takes to change the effects of our actions and the intense and dedicated attention to somewhat change its course, must already convince you that God must move in strange and diverse ways to affect change to suit us or to suit someone else – and suiting us would definitely not suit someone else.
The other point which we should also bear in mind is that when these fairies are there for us we would quickly misuse or manipulate them and the world would become an unbearable place when we start to compete with the fairies of the Joneses.
Please give God a break and be more realistic on the possible and equitable outcome of events.
Is the Market benevolent to us? Almost never, because just when we think it is going to move upwards in a certain commodity or sector, it surprises us and move downwards and let us lose our money. It does not care how much we gain or lose. God is benevolent and will always increase our blessings if we invest in Him.
Yes, we have some inkling of how the Market works and reacts, and the first thing we need to know about Economics, is the concept of the Invisible hand. The concept of the Invisible hand as postulated by Adam Smith (from the Theory of Moral Sentiments) states that: The rich ... are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society ...
I do not know of a better analogy and idea that we can apply to God, than this.
Just before you think God is the market, expressed in this sequence, because many people think that the Market is god, I must cast away this analogy, because it stops there.
Where is the rub then?
The rub is that people manipulate the market and God cannot be manipulated. People from a lowly and despicable part of mankind manipulate the Market for personal gain and greed, be it false rumours, insider trading, toxic bonds, toxic securities, sub-prime loans, rigging Libor rates or excessive leverage. The Market thus becomes artificial and unstable, but that does not detract from its usefulness. The market only became seriously manipulated with the advent of Central Banking, and these two together are a real menace to humanity, whereas they could have been such an asset.
It thus becomes all the more evident in the present unstable markets and unstable countries with unstable economies or unstable financial systems, that the ultimate load on the financial and economic systems have been reached and we are on our way to paperless money which will be even more subject to abuse then our present inequitable system or we are to go back to the feudal system and barter – and what a wonderful prospect the latter is. Maybe that will bring us back to the soil, to real values and to production. That will maybe also bring us back from our binge with entertainment, opulence and waste to our calling of hard work: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”.