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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Imaginary problems need imaginary solutions

Not imaginative solutions; imaginary ones.

Baudrillard talked about the coming need for pataphysics or the science of imaginary solutions.

If one considers today's problems they all have an unreal, imaginary quality to them: fiscal cliff, sovereign debt in EU, currency, or Iran's nuclear potential.

Now contrast these problems with a few of days gone-by such as the Dust Bowl, war on poverty or especially the Cuban Missile crisis.

See the difference?

Europe is doing pataphysics well. They make dramatic gestures and timely statements to challenge crises (e.g. 'pivotal' summits). The US will hopefully follow. 

To the chagrin of ratings agencies like Fitch with their repeated, imaginary threats that it is all going to fall apart somehow. And to the chagrin of free marketeers who dream that the market is or ever was purely free without any manipulation of politics or the powerful. Markets are made (e.g. by Goldman-Sachs). Witness the Facebook IPO: one minute there is no Facebook market, then poof, the next minute there is, and then the next minute it is a 'down market.' And don't forget the Facebook market was never equal or free; insiders alone bought in low (and hoped to sell high).

So to all the imaginary problems let there be imaginary solutions. Threats of war not real war, threats of collapse not real collapse. And to these threats, threats of solutions such as diplomacy or deficit reduction.

Whatever you do though, avoid the reality trap. That has been the Greek approach and look where it is getting them. They have tried to solve what could be deemed an imaginary problem with real solutions. And they are no further along than they ever were.

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