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Artist Statement:

Bankers Broke the World…again

There is a cycle that our financial markets goes through, up and then down, since its very beginning.  The first crash was back in 1637 in the Netherlands, which was called Tulip Mania.  Ever since that first bubble market crash the market has continued to bounce up and down on a fairly regular basis.    But after the 1929 crash and the ensuing deep depression Governments around the world put very well thought-out regulations in place that protected the Bankers from themselves and protected everyone else from the Bankers.

The assault on those regulations, that provided one of the most stable financial times since the idea of the market came into being, began in the 1980’s.  It had been a long while and people were forgetting, we humans are good at “forgetting”, what happens if a market is self-regulating.  It made no difference who was in power- liberal or conservative – the notion of market fundamentalism grew to be widely accepted and thought to be the way “real” markets “should” function and that the regulations were stifling growth.

By the end of the 1990’s the last of the major regulations were crushed in the US and elsewhere, but thankfully not in Canada.  We moved into a time of extraordinary growth.  The markets leaped up and up and up.  People were happily greedy.  But at the same time there was another disturbing trend happening, the rate of difference between the rich and the poor began to spread and grow.  So that by 2007 there were regular press reports on this phenomenon, which I think is one of the indicators that things are actually not going to go very well for the middle class and the poor.  The money was being gathered into fewer and fewer hands as the rich “earned” a greater and greater share of money.

Houses are where this market bubble began this time around.  Oh boy what amazing profits one could make from their house. Then as the deregulation deepened, and interest rates were kept at unnaturally low rates for so long the creative Bankers, and don’t think those boys and girls are not highly motivated to help you part with your money by helping you buy more than you can own, helped to change a whole generations way of interpreting debt.  It was alright to keep a certain amount of debt if you got to do what you wanted to do – right now!  That was the real sea-change that happened.    House prices went up, people began to want to own far to large houses, or to own luxury items that were previously out of reach when one had to save.  Saving rates plummeted from the early 2000’s before settling down at nearly 0% for many people, even in our own country.   Between 2001 and 2007 even the rate of what people actually owned in their mortgages went from nearly 70% to nearly 30%.

I chose the American dollar for one reason only; it is the monetary comparison that the whole world measures their own currency against.  I chose a 1 dollar bill because I had one in our house, but also because we got into this mess one dollar at a time!

The lighter green number sequences are actually dates, the start of the crash (or at least when they understood more fully what was going on) and two years later.  The numbers around the piece is the internet debt clock readings for Canada, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, USA, Ireland, and Iceland just 2 years after the market crashed.  The numbers are in each countries own currency.

Artist Statement:

Consequences

As our planet warms there are going to be so many unimagined consequences, but one that is on our radar is the increasing damage that mosquito borne deceases do to populations, mostly in poor regions of the world.  In 1902 Dr. Ronald Ross finally was able to prove that malaria was a parasite.  He really thought it wouldn’t take long to find a cure for malaria.  Well I don’t know if we are much closer but at least there is research being funded by the Gates foundation.  Until the Gates Foundation took this on there was more money going to fund male pattern balding research in the west than into malaria that was killing so many children and adults in Africa and Asia.

The damage that malaria does is far more than early deaths of children and others. This infection is often reoccurring and can leave permanent damage.  It affects the economic health of these nations that are so affected by malaria.  This means that the whole society is harmed by repeated and long-term health problems.   Chronically sick people can’t be properly educated; they miss so much time at school that they finally drop out.  This means that the low education base translates to an inability to become more prosperous.

The malaria parasite is now on the move into areas that have historically have been too cold for the malaria parasite mosquito to survive.  These populations that have never had malaria are being decimated.  Malaria may move into richer countries as time passes.  That could create some very interesting challenges.

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