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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Way of All Flesh

Aristotle once postulated “horror vacui” (Nature Abhors a Vacuum).

Certainly it can be said that human behavior (indeed, animal behavior for most all species) tends to overcompensate the drive to sustain a sense of survivability in the face of vulnerability by open-ended accumulation.  Connie and I once had a pet mouse that had the run of the house.  The mouse has long-since passed on. But the other day we moved a piece of furniture with a significant storage space gap of several inches created by stubby furniture legs and the floor.  (The space was too narrow to be reached or seen during routine vacuuming, etc..)  When we moved the furniture, we uncovered what must have been 15 pounds of stashed snacks for some “rainy day” that sadly subliminally haunted our little pet mouse.

Corporations are very reflective of human animal behavior.  In “pure capitalism” we have depended upon supply and demand to moderate control over mankind’s (in this case corporate) open-ended drive for accumulation.  When the market proves ineffective in exercising a dampening effect, typically government seeks to buttress the commonweal through introducing moderating mechanisms of accountability and review.  A heavily populated area of Florida (including Saint Petersburg) obtains electrical energy through Duke Power.  There is simply no practical way for most of us to find another source of reliable electrical energy except through Duke Power’s electric grids—or at least to use those grids for emergency backup.  Since the source of power supply is significantly limited, a public (government) review board verifies the reasonableness of Duke’s insatiable desire to raise rates.

Connie and I live at Westminster Suncoast.  We had to submit an entrance fee to live here—together well over $100,000.  This fee is refundable by a sliding scale downwards.  After several years, however, the refundable amount becomes minuscule compared to the original amount required.  Thus, we run again into the fanciful fiction of American's abiding delusion of unhindered choice: “If you don’t want to live here” this myth intones “why just move to the apartments the next block over."  As is so often the case, plain facts do not in any way support this mythology.  After handing over a huge part of our life savings, our position after a few years becomes impervious to other options. Connie and I have no more freedom to move from Westminster than to connect to a power grid other than Duke Power.

Westminster thus faces an inflexible demand while being the sole feasible supplier.  Its corporate (and very human behavior) is quite predictable—it like clockwork raises rates annually. And of course these increases compound every year NO MATTER WHAT THE GENERAL ECONOMY IS DOING OR THE COLA’S OF LARGELY FIXED RESIDENT INCOMES (SOCIAL SECRITY/PENSION). This year the Westminster increase is 4%--about $160 per month for Connie and me together.

Thus, the instinctual animal behavioral drive to amass an unassailable supply of resources can take on the shadow of rapacious greed and callus indifference to the largely fixed financial resources of Westminster residents.  One can’t help but conjecture that the Westminster Corporate Financial Conclave of Inner Sanctum High Priests is composed in toto of cum laude genius graduates from the Renown Poison Ivy League Institute of Spaced-Out and Exalted Learning--Trump University.

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