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Bill Bonner has rather an unflattering view of Americans in this piece.
Still, he makes a point worthy of some personal reflection.
We’re sitting in a JetBlue airplane as we write…heading back up to Baltimore. Each seat has a TV screen on the back of it. A few years ago, you could get away from TV by getting on an airplane. Now, there it is right in front to you…
…which is all part of the creeping zombification of the US. Music plays all the time. It’s in cars. It’s in shopping malls. Some people even listen to it when they work. It’s like prison…or the Orwellian future…where noise is blared out 24 hours a day, so you never have a chance to think.
And now there are all the Blackberries, iPhones, iPads…to say nothing of regular cellphones and portable computers.
And then, there’s TV. You go to a bar. In addition to the music, there’s often a TV screen.
With all these sources of distraction people don’t have any time to think. Who has time to wonder how the dollar has any value at all? Who worries that those pieces of paper could go the way of all trash…to the dump? Who thinks about it at all? Not many people…
Instead, most people go through the day like zombies – watching TV…listening to someone else’s music…surfing the Internet…chatting…schmoozing…distracting themselves…
The passengers on the plane act like zombies…watching other zombies on TV…listening to music…reading airport novels….
Then, on the screen in front of us, there’s a fellow selling…gold! He’s the second one we’ve seen. “Should you own gold,” is the caption on the screen. A man named Scott Carter is advising customers to buy the yellow metal. Apparently, his company has been in the business for 50 years…
Hmmm… This is something new. The last time we saw gold on TV was an ad for a fellow who was BUYING gold. “Got gold? You can get CASH” was last year’s ad. The advertiser told viewers that they should take advantage of high gold prices to get rid of their unwanted jewelry…exchanging it for cold, hard cash.
Only the cash wasn’t all that hard, after all. That was about a year ago. And today, the cash is worth about 20% less than the gold.