hedge funds and the whale
don't we take the ferry over to Manly and see if we can spot the whale?"
was 1.00 am on Saturday and Old Possum, Joadja, and I were tucking into
a few ciders and some leftover pasta with basil pesto at the cafe, which
had closed at midnight.
a great idea!" said Joadja "They reckon it's a female, and
likely to calve at any moment. Wouldn't it be exciting if we were there
to see it happen!"
we could do lunch at the Blue Water Cafe", I said hopefully. Old
Possum snorted derisively.
"Nice try, Possum, but not on your spendthrift life", Jo replied,
"I'll pack a nice picnic lunch in the morning."
We bedded Old Possum down on the camp bed in the office before Jo and
I retired to the ceiling.
all rose late and caught the 9.30 ferry. The whale was lolling about
off the Yacht Club wharf with a couple of National Parks and Wildlife
Service launches in attendance to chase away over-enthusiastic boaties.
By the time we'd disembarked it had reappeared further up North Harbour.
We walked around from the wharf and set up camp on the low cliff above
Fairlight Beach. Hundreds of Sydneysiders were streaming in, loaded
down with binoculars, cameras, kiddies and folding chairs.
seems to humans like a visitor from another planet because it might
as well be one", Old Possum remarked. I could see I was in for
a heavy dose of insight.
are slaves to an ecosystem called 'The World Economy' and the whale
lives in a parallel but distinct ecosystem called 'Nature'. The ecosystem
called The Economy is totally blind towards the health of the ecosystem
called Nature. It's not that the economy is immoral it's just amoral,
just a thing. It's the sum of billions of conflicting daily acts of
self-interest. Even the acts of self-interest of the biggest multi-national
corporations or hedge funds or banks or the IMF are puny in relation
to the totality of the world economy", he said.
saying that humans don't mould the world capitalist economy to their
will or their needs -- they adapt themselves and their society to the
dictates of the economy in the same way that animals and plants very
slowly adapt to the changes in their ecosystems", I said.
not quite as simple as that" He replied, "Nature doesn't only
change at a slow majestic rate of evolution like Darwin thought it did.
His mechanisms -- natural and sexual selection -- were right, but the
picture of slow, constant, evolution was wrong. There are tens of millions
of years when bugger-all happens except incremental change, but then
there are catastrophes which wipe out thousands of species in a geological
instant. The accidental survivors go on to repopulate a new continent,
or the whole world, blossoming from a few species to many, in a spurt
of rapid change".
Possum went on: "The problem is that on the one hand humans are
incredibly inventive and enterprising but on the other, they've got
no control over their economy. It wasn't so bad when there were only
a few of the bastards and they had spears and bows and arrows and canoes,
but now there are billions of them and they've got chainsaws and nuclear
weapons, feedlots, irrigation, freeways, 747s, instantaneous capital
transfers, battery hens, Ross Gittins and day trading. One way or another
it's a catastrophe in the making."
whales was Australia's first export industry and the only reason they're
coming back from near-extinction is that the bastards found some other
resource it was cheaper to rape", Jo muttered.
Jo, you're an honorary possum", I said. But it was an ugly point,
and I took another suck from the cider bottle. "What's the answer?"
I asked, in a way you can only manage in a pleasantly light-headed state.
ecosystem is all very well for Nature, but we're all doomed if humans
don't develop an economy that isn't an ecosystem", Old Possum said.
whale surfaced, blew, and slipped below the surface again.