Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Force Majeure

I like to think of good King Solomon as a claims adjuster
Whose renown came from the application of force majeure clauses
For the essence of his intervention in the famed custody dispute
   was none other
Than that how one reacts to sudden adversity
   determines whether we should get applause

It was Ananse the Spider who clean absconded with the pot of wisdom
When the tale of the lost stories became part of humanity's curriculum
Solomon's later strategic insight lay in the soul insurance he dispensed:
When the snake is in the house, there's no need to discuss the matter at length

Later, one can satisfy those with delicate sensibilities
Who would rudely cite due process, chapter and verse
But in the heat of the moment, borne of necessity
None can argue, decisive measures are of the essence

It is no wonder that a central banker,
In extremis, acts first to protect the rich
Ignore the cover story that the world was falling,
And all that business about systemic risk

Like a mother who instinctively gathers her brood
Hastening to escape a fire or avalanche
There's no time for observing the rules
Forget regulations, this is soul insurance

If I recall, it was the Sage of Omaha,
Warren Buffett, who once said
"Only when the tide goes out do you discover
Who's been swimming naked"

And Walter Bagehot in Lombard Street, it was that noted,
"Every great crisis reveals the excessive speculations
Of many houses which no one before suspected",
An altogether astute observation

We saw during the Great Recession,
Rules set aside, as if they were no longer in vogue
The haste with which the political system
Rushed to indemnify so many financial rogues

Scoundrels whose vulture capitalist behavior
Fomented wholesale casino Ponzi misdeeds
Not for nothing, many still made shocking profits,
Not the least of which the great vampire squid

Disasters, not least the covidious,
Reveal what societies are wont to value
They lay bare the fig leaves of consensus,
It's not what we say but what we do

Call it sharpening the contradictions
As the actions are often shown to be crude
These fugitive glimpses of the real world
And of those who were swimming in the nude

Oh the celebration at the outset,
   of the hordes, the brave essential workers
Yet some others formed betting pools
   on who would survive of their number
It was made fairly clear that if you worked in a meatpacking plant
You were an afterthought, for they only made to protect the banks

But back to our song of Solomon
And our erstwhile soul insurance agent
Who negotiated the terms and conditions
The policies and society's cost payments

Without shame we'll never reach herd immunity
Nay, for this policy there's no buyer's remorse
This pandemic is a signal moment of clarity
It's time to invoke the force majeure clause

Aburi mask

Force Majeure, a playlist

soundtrack for this note. (spotify version) See previously: Soul Insurance

This note is part of a series: In a covidious time

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Writing log: April 29, 2021

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