What do dragons and the frozen credit market have in common? A lot. Maybe. Just tag along with the analogy for the moment, I think it ends up revealing interesting qualities of capitalism and the standing reserve.
The deal is this. Dragons don’t like to spend money. What do dragons like? Pillaging, burning villages; eating toasty, roasted knights in shining armor; amassing large piles of gold, jewels, crowns, your basic treasure collection. Now, Reaganomics suggests that this treasure is like clouds. Once the dragon’s horde is big enough, coins start to form like moisture and rain down on the poor, disenfranchised villagers.
Here’s the rub. The purpose of a dragon’s treasure (aka standing reserve) is most certainly not market liquidity. The dragon has no interest in spending the mass of capital. This is the unconscious neuroticism of Western Capitalism: capital is not a means to an end, it is an end in itself. Capitalism (big “C” Capitalism, note I am not talking about the simple fact that human beings work and consume) is a posture of transformation. The often unspoken point of it all is to transform resource to capital. It is worth noting that this posture is preceded by a way of seeing: the world as resource.
That’s the analogy–the gaints of capitalism are like dragons. It is not their nature to liquidate their resources. In fact, because Capital is an end in itself, these giants have no resources, only standing reserve. Standing reserve is not for spending, it is for having. There is no economic purpose to the standing reserve. It is a neurotic posture that stems from our antagonistic relationship toward the world. In short, it is a misappropriated fear of death.