Consumption, creative writing, Poetry, Politics, Social change

Economics Lesson

They taught me in Economics that money was infinite

So why do hands curse and bodies curl, in boxes overhanging the highway.

If money was infinite it would find them, would it not?

It would flow downstream, flushing the 

land with riches – fish, fowl, flowers, fancy 

Did it get stuck along the way?

Did some devious fox damn the current?

Is there a pool so deep, carved by neverfull mouths, lying still

Turbid, rotted; a stagnant oily sluice

Supped by everthirsty lips?


Or is it, finite. Like our emerald world.

Some for me, none for you.

Not tumbling down from the mountains

Slicking palms and tickling toes

But handed out like buttons.

Shiny, brassy coins of deference, 

divvied up, coveted and stroked,

by those who seized the pot.


The common scheme here is greed 

Grabbing greed that stems and squeezes,

that halts

the gushing waters, 

and shared treasures, 

placed here for us all.


October has been kicking my backside health-wise so I’ve been spending most of my time reading. First up was a non-fiction book How to Fight Inequality by Ben Philips, an activist and thought-leader in this arena. It was a powerful book full of examples and insights into how we ended up in such an imbalance of resources and need, as well as practical advice on what we all can do to take part in changing things for the better.

I’ve have a strange relationship with money – our main conduit for exchanging resources and fulfilling needs; I’ve always seen it as something that if you have a lot of it means someone else does not, an assumption some have took time to try and question, ie the argument that money, and our ability to make it, is infinite. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, that argument has never washed with me.

We have some interesting terms for and around money – currency, cashflow, circulation, trickle down, all related to water and the movement from a smaller source to a larger one, all giving the impression of a constantly renewing source. This gave me the idea for this poem which asks questions about what happens with this ‘current’ as it moves, which in our current capitalist state, does not flow where it is most needed.

But what if money is infinite? The illusion of water disappears and becomes cold and hard. Piece of silver, nuggets of gold. Hoarded and stored.

It could be that it doesn’t matter where the source comes from or what it looks like rather what we do with it that counts. Sadly, right now, far too many, choose to keep what is enough for everyone for themselves. And by doing so, they could be damning us all.

Love and light


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