The Meaning of DOW

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by Hamilton Carnard
Monday, 06 October 2008

Hamilton Carnard []Dow Jones & Co, a financial publishing firm in New York City, provides the world with the average closing prices of representative common stocks of leading industrials, transportation companies, and utilities. When the DOW rises, so does the American spirit, when it falls we invariably experience the opposite effect. Just coincidentally, the word "dow" as used in Scotland and Northern England means: 1. to be able , and 2. to thrive; prosper; do well. Obviously, a definition not widely applicable to the industrial-strength financial meltdown being experienced on this side of the Pond. Unless, of course, you are one of the Fat Crats on Wall Street who will actually benefit from this crash.

The DOW has long embodied a symbolism connoting a rational basis for human financial activity and conduct, a philosophical system which advocates the naturalism of noninterference in respect to market forces and events. A happy and prosperous existence calls on us, both as individuals, and as Americans, to be in harmony with the DOW.

Whatever the original intent, leavened with a heavy dose of Adam Smith, DOWism is today associated with a motley band of mostly self-serving, risk-happy, Wall Street gurus, powered primarily by principles of greed, glut, and gouging. What a difference a day of precipitously falling stock values makes!

The oversight that cleared the way for the market havoc that the world has just witnessed was, at bottom, the almost total lack of oversight. Unless we address the factors underlying this financial abyss, we may be zeroing in on a more famous bridge to nowhere than even the infamous Palin boondoggle.

Because Bush & Co did not keep tabs on what was happening within the banking system, hard-working Americans, already struggling to make ends meet, are being notified that it is they who will be expected to pick up the tab for this totally avoidable calamity. While Wall Street was marching to a different drummer, and the White House was clearly whistling Dixie, the citizens of this wounded nation apparently have no choice but to pay up to the tune of $700,000,000,000. (Speaking of making the 'hit' parade!)

But, unlike Sarah Palin, who is alleged to have said, "Thanks. But no thanks," to the feds regarding earmarks for her Bridge to Nowhere, we are deeply mired in a "doomed if you do," "doomed if you don't" scenario, hoping that this September Surprise does not grow into an October Demise.

A fine kettle of fissures!!

Furl it!