"Again, quite simple: American workers would go to work, work their shifts, eight hours, steadily, have a nice system for it, play softball, drink a beer, have a family life and a modest vacation that was sweet, fun and memorable. And they knew that they would be working for years and years, just like the mortgages on their reasonable humble homes, just like the reasonable humble restaurants in places like Utica, New York, so they worked on, because there was a job and steadiness.
"But then, things changed. And the height, the crowning flower and fruition of the changes was the the bankers who took the steady nuts the workers had squirreled away, and the bankers took all this solid fruit, that of honest labor and an honest society, with hospitals, schools and playgrounds and parks, such as any decent even minor city must be about, and guess what... they gambled all that, well, not really gambled, but figured out a way to get their hands into that solid steady created value and figured out a way to disperse all that, to break it into many pieces, each of such ambiguous value that they themselves now would be the arbiter, through their clever world wide trades, trades that seemed to make sense by the old model, the model of decent investments, but that now were substantially shifted to serving the profit-minded speculators, who now would take the invested money, go to small towns around the world, each where people worked decently and hard and with a good morale, and sell some kind of ambiguous system of infallible profit, growth itself, even inventing the word, growth, twisting the word to suit their needs.
"Yes, the bankers were very clever, and even protected, as if they were the saviors! The saviors of everything, the people to be trusted. And so did they shove in the face, through all the mortgage derivative what ever they could get their greedy hands on so that they could have beach houses, all the hard work that people had, out of basic human cooperation, done, year in, year out. And because of the bankers greed, because of their indecency, now everyone looked like an asshole, everything, every job meaningless now, devalued, like currency. So now, yes, now that the Wall Street guys have gotten their million dollar bonuses, so many of them, paid out for slitting the throat of American labor business potential factory industry optimism whatever you want to call it, yes, guess what, they don't want to live here anymore, and if they do, only by twisting the once free and reasonably beautiful American legislative process to their own greedy slander of it."
"For their stock market, taking the honest savings of the workers who put in their lives, their talents, their GI era parental baby boom industry, a generation suddenly appeared, quite willing to take away into their own personal speculative slush fund all that decent workers had made, to suddenly lose all morality... Why, because suddenly, under the Reagan era, making the maximum profit had become the moral thing to do, sanctified in church.
"And even my own father's retirement income, the GI Bill professor, who had done so much for society, who had worked away like a monk and been given a reasonable salary, enough, despite a lot, Bank of America gutted quite significantly, and even when he died, they had the temerity to ask if I would like to help pay off the supposed $9000 and change of debt he left behind. 'No, I don't think so,' I said to them in that time of grief, and they kept calling for a while.
"Maybe it wasn't so much out of a greedy intention, although that would be hard to really believe, but that they all became enchanted, through their own perceived cleverness, with the god of ones and zeros, the new machine that could make anything happen, make all investments, even--think of this--promise profit, infallibly, risk free, believing in this. Spreading risk, making everything connected, thereby implanting a mortal cancer into their whole system. And then their greed did take over, finding gullible pensioners, small towns in Italy, whomever they could get their hands on physically...
"And what do we have to confront them by, when they could hide in the language of an incomprehensible system that they had created? What else had we but the human soul, our own gut instincts, our own basic sense of appropriateness? Even the legal system failed, trying to understand the created beast on its own terms... Almost like Nazi Germany, no one able to really question the basic logic of building tanks, planes and warships, taking over land, liquidating all the undesirables of society, reinforcing the breeding of the Aryan Race, as the latter steps somehow made the logic air tight... And who to fight it all but the novelist, the poet, voices from the clerics and studious people like Bonnhoeffer... the few people left with a moral center, a ground underneath them. The professional politicians, the system set up by its own logic, the great need of money to run campaigns, guess what, Wall Street had and continues to have them all by the testicles, indeed they have everyone so, if you want to make money, so that you can buy real estate, etc., etc.