Deficit made flesh

Not everyone today can understand Charles Dickens’s formula for happiness:

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

This is because the currency was decimalized, to make it more simple to misunderstand; or as I would say, decimated. We might suggest, for update, national revenue twenty trillion, national expenditure nineteen trillion point nine nine nine repeated, result happiness. National revenue twenty trillion, national expenditure forty-three trillion seven hundred and fifty-eight billion four hundred million and spare change, result misery. This merely extends the Dickensian reasoning. But few get it, and of those, fewer would do anything about it, including no (zero) politicians.

Our intellectual decline since the mid-XIXth century may be discerned even on the streets of Parkdale, where almost no one uses money any more, and almost everyone uses computer cards. (I tried to proffer cash, yesterday, and the fleshy young cashier was dumbfounded. My attempt to teach her to count also failed.)

The best folk songs (composed, some of them, just the day before yesterday) were, fairly consistently, modal, or in a modal style. This was a direct inheritance from the Middle Ages, as, generally, the rest of our music. Not everyone understood these songs, but most could sing and dance along with them. This was not the case once the world went (via tonal to) atonal.

Similarly, with the (gold and silver) mediaeval pounds, shillings, and pence in Mother England (and livres, sols, deniers, in Canada, too, in the olden days). There was no inflation, for centuries at a time. This was only interrupted when the ghastly criminal, Henry Tudor, seized the fiscal powers of state during Protestant Reformation; or when, later, gold began to be “phased out” by Keynesian economists. Our economy became modern, “atonal.”

My experience of rural India was: the poor are happy. But the indebted, hoooo, they live in misery, even when they have no idea how much they owe.