Mar 072014

— I guess I’ve been a bit quiet lately…

— What?

— Oh. Yes, every day. Here, too. And fog. But, no, it’s not the weather. It’s …

— What? … yes, very depressing. Anyway: this guy Mirowski…

— Sixty days? Well, that’s something. Even Mirowski would be impressed, I’m sure.

— Philip.

— No, Philip Mirowski. He’s an economist.

— E-co-no-mist.

— Yes, that’s what I said. No, of course I haven’t started studying…

— Yes, I know it’s raining, but you know, this is what they predicted for our corner of the world.

— I’m not gloating. I’m just saying that it was to be expected. Anyway, this Mirowski…

— Of course I grieve about the demise of …

— Philip. Yes, Philip Mirowski. And just wait till you hear the book’s title.

— Hello?

— Oh, you’re there. The title is: Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste.

— Well? … Isn’t that a rather neat title?

— You don’t? Well let me remind you that you were very cocksure, after the Leman bros triggered an avalanche of disasters for home owners, that politicians and bankers would see the errors of their ways….

— No, I’m not trying to ruin your mood – allow me to point out, there wasn’t much of a mood to ruin – on the contrary. Point is: Mirowski, Philip Mirowski, that is, explains why they haven’t.

—… seen the errors of their ways.

— Well, for one thing, it’s easier to do something about something, if you understand the reason for that something.

— For another? What other? Ah, you’re hoping I’ll tell you something that’ll cheer you up? Well, how about a new word for you, since you’re a linguist – I learnt it from Mirowski.

— Agnotology

— You knew it?

— I’ll be… But I’m sure even a linguist will find plenty of words to learn from Mirowski. More importantly, though, what he writes will strike you as heady stuff – if you manage to get through the first chapter, which I found very arcane.

— Ah, so you’re listening now! Well, all I can say is that as you read, you get the sense that you’re finding pieces to a gigantic puzzle you’ve been staring helplessly at for years. And, mind you, he has a great sense of humour!

— No, I don’t have the solution to anything whatsoever. Of course not. But there are a whole lot of clues in the book as to why things are not getting better – on the whole, I mean – in spite of humanity’s collective knowledge. After all, we know that the Big Bang occurred 13.7 billion years ago, and we how to build practically anything, including (soon) habitats on Mars, but we don’t know how to build sustainable and equitable societies on this planet. But we should know, you know. So there’s a stumbling block somewhere. Right?

— Are you with me?

— Hello?