The Rallying Stock Market–And Why Star Trek Explains It All

Jul 5, 2012

Here is an undisputed truth: All of life can be explained either by The Godfather or Star Trek. Period. Full stop. Which brings me, logically, to the rising Aussie stock market.

In the Star Trek movie, “The Final Frontier”, there is a moment when “God”, all-knowing and apparently benevolent, asks to be transported from the planet’s surface on a starship. To which Captain Kirk, clearing his throat, interrupts and asks, “What does God need with a starship?” That simple question exposes “God” as a fraud–no God needs a starship as his or her wheels to skip around the universe–and, well, Kirk’s question pisses off “God” who quickly turns malevolent…but I digress…

The point is: the stock market’s rise is a fraud, or, at best, a very bad yardstick to ask a better question we ought to want to know–how are most of the people doing? Of course, transcribers of press releases (formerly known as “journalists”) in the business press don’t ask those questions. They just revel and rejoice in the stock market going up, up, up

Shares back in rally mode

The Australian sharemarket has closed higher as local investors took heart from better-than-expected economic data out of the US and an improved outlook for the troubled eurozone.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 45.0 points, or 1.1 per cent, at 4172.2 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had lifted 47.4 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 4213.8 points.

CMC Markets senior trader Tim Waterer said the Australian market had followed a positive lead from markets in the United States.

Yes, if you are retiring today, then, your Super is looking a bit better–until the next financial crisis hits…But, there is a reason people feel uneasy about the future. If you’re finding it hard to pay the rent, or make ends meet, a soaring stock market is really a false God–and, in many cases, a higher market is driven by a bunch of gamblers gaming the system (more on that down the road).

How many times have the transcribers of press releases (formerly known as “journalists”) in the business press reached orgasmic rhetorical heights–anyone remember the predictions of the Dow Jones reaching 30,000? I do–only to write the very next week in sour, deep disappointment when the market comes plunging back to earth because, surprise, bankers didn’t bother counting all the bad mortgages they had on the books. Oooooppppssss!

Because, like Star Trek, a lot of the stock market is fantasy. It’s built on a house of cards of psychology, not reality.

And, reality, in the lives of most people, is what they see in their paycheck and in their bank balances. And what’s left at the end of the month when the bills come due.

At the very least, we should demand that every report about stock market gains or other business-driven data includes what the Australian Council of Trades Unions points out: that 40 percent of Australians are in insecure work. Because long after the stock market bursts or flies higher, and long after Gina and the other mining robber barons each pocket an extra billion dollars while whinging about paying just a smidgen more in taxes, and long after the Empty Suit leader of the Coalition exhausts his fear campaign over carbon pricing–long after all that millions of people still won’t be employed in jobs with secure futures.

Or, as Captain Kirk might say, the Prime Directive (if you have to ask, Google it) in a decent society should always be guaranteeing prosperity for all, not capital gains for the few people lucky enough to be riding the wave when the market soars.


@jonathantasini

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