Welcome one, welcome all to December’s video, marking my sixth visual creation from the new album CRUCIBLE. This one is a favourite track of mine, ‘Derivative Calves’. As ever, I am dependent on the kindness of strangers in offering up raw material from which I can mold my creative collage. I actually recorded a raggedly live version of this track a couple of years back, where I also wrote a little about its genesis as follows;
The song itself had a cluster of inspirations (including Matthew Arnold, Bill Shakespeare, Saint Augustine and John the Baptist) but foremost a quotation from John Maynard Keynes that got me thinking about the dogmatic certainty of our prevailing economic orthodoxy. I make no claim to be well versed in theories of economics, but am nonetheless intrigued by the power of fiscal hegemony and its ability to so strongly dictate the Western economies of the 21st Century. The song is pretty much a lament for the absence of such a powerful dissenting voice as JMK’s in today’s world. When it comes to combating the glorious follies that forge our idolatrous calves, the compassionate wisdom and shrewd intelligence of Mr. Keynes is much missed.
“When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals. We shall be able to rid ourselves of many of the pseudo-moral principles which have hag-ridden us for two hundred years, by which we have exalted some of the most distasteful of human qualities into the position of the highest virtues. We shall be able to afford to dare to assess the money-motive at its true value. The love of money as a possession — as distinguished from the love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life — will be recognised for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease … But beware! The time for all this is not yet. For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still.”
“The Future”, Essays in Persuasion (1931) Ch. 5, JMK, CW, IX, pp.329 – 331, Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren (1930)