John Colson: Hit and Run | AspenTimes.com
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John Colson: Hit and Run

John Colson
Aspen Times Weekly
Aspen, CO Colorado

The sharks have moved closer, the water is bloody and the feast has already begun.

Hmmm, is there some more apt metaphor, one that is actually in keeping with local phenomena?

How about, the eagle has landed in the high branches, and is feasting on the nest-eggs while erstwhile occupants watch in impotent despair?

Yeah, that works.

The “eagle,” in this case, is not the one munching on heron eggs near Rock Bottom Ranch in the midvalley. It is real estate investors across this great land of ours, feeding on failed business dreams and lost homes.

For some time we have been reading tales from around the nation about unlucky businesses hit hard by the Great Recession, either going under or being snapped up at bargain prices in what are so glibly called “distress sales.”

The most recent revelation is that the WIN Institute building in Basalt has sold for the paltry sum of $4 million. The story made it sound as though the lucky buyer was beside himself with glee.

We’re back to the jungle, folks. Well-heeled predators, lucky enough to still have money left over from the recent financial upheaval, are poised to leap onto the back of any unfortunate straggler that comes into sight.

We, those of us not in the predator class, are the prey, or at least the fruit of our labors is the prey. Actually, we, the laborers, wouldn’t matter much more than a gob of spit on a hot sidewalk if the rulers of our world could figure out how to get their goodies without our labor.

I mean, getting more production out of fewer producers has been the reasoning behind the mechanization of the world, starting with the industrial revolution, and the inventors of new ways to do it have never stopped long enough to take a breath ever since. Sooner or later, we’ll be deemed superfluous, and then there will be hell to pay.

But for now, the elite are content to gather in their bazillions and watch the rest of us starve. A type of spectator sport, isn’t it?

“Nice day for a match, don’t you think, dear?”

“Why, yes, dahling, and I do believe there are a pair of homeless barbarians down there, a couple of alleyways over, about to do battle over the contents of that garbage can. Could you do me a huuuuge favor and bring over the binoculars? I’d love to get a closer look!”

And the machine that keeps it all running smoothly, the Wall Street/Washington legislative-industrial complex, is humming right along, making sure not to pass any laws that might upset the balance of things. And making sure the world of high finance is able to do its dirty work unmolested by nitpicking rules about ethics or anything like that.

I’m sure there already are speculators gathering in the gloom along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, feverishly working out schemes to make money off the debacle known as the BP oil-rig disaster.

Hell, now that I think of it, I’m sure somebody, somehow, made money off the leavings of the 9/11 terror attacks.

And, through it all, we can do little but watch in morbid fascination as the carrion-eaters go to work, wondering how it all came to this and how long it will be before the madness ends.

Well, the bad news is, it won’t end anytime soon.

Oh, our elected representatives keep up appearances as best they can, spouting this platitude or that hackneyed cliche about working on behalf of The People, but they’re sure as hell not fooling all of us all the time.

The only real question is, will we get fed up and do something about it before we become irrelevant, and thereby expendable?

jcolson@aspentimes.com


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