News & Analysis
Springsteen Unsprung ...
Springsteen lashes out at bankers in Berlin show ... Rocker Bruce Springsteen touched on a nerve of widespread discontent with the financiers and bankers at a Berlin concert on Wednesday, railing against them as "greedy thieves" and "robber barons." Springsteen, a singer-songwriter dubbed "The Boss" who has long championed populist causes, played to a sold-out crowd at Berlin's Olympic Stadium, singing from his album "Wrecking Ball" and speaking about tough economic times that have put people out of work worldwide and led to debt crises in Greece and other countries. "Jack of All Trades", [is] a withering attack on bankers that includes the lyrics: "The banker man grows fat, working man grows thin." – Reuters
Dominant Social Theme: What a singer! He plumbs the depth of heart and soul.
Free-Market Analysis: Bruce Springsteen is probably one of the most successful musicians in the world. He is also one of the most ambitious. But his ambition, as displayed in this Reuters article above, provokes a bottom-line question: Is he dumb or playing dumb?
We Googled "Springsteen" and "central banks" and came up empty. Springsteen is willing to rail at banks, but not at Money Power. And that's why we ask the question.
In the 1930s it was perfectly fine for Woody Guthrie to write socialist anthems. Nobody could blame ole Woody for not understanding the banking system. But Springsteen has no such excuse. If he wants to understand how money works, all he has to do is sit down at a computer and peruse the Internet.
If he does this with an open mind, he will soon find that the REAL problems of this world are caused by monopoly-fiat central banking, the distortions that it causes in the larger economy, along with those dynastic families and their enablers and associates that run the modern system.
The boom/bust cycles created by central banks are entirely ruinous. They are ruining the US and Europe as well. Soon they will ruin the BRICs.
The ruin is purveyed on purpose, apparently, to create global governance. Out of chaos, order.
But not a word of this is mentioned by Springsteen. Here's more from the article:
"In America, a lot of people have lost their jobs," said Springsteen, 62, who performed for three hours to some 58,000 fans in the packed stadium that hosted the 1936 Olympics and the 2006 World Cup final. "But also in Europe and in Berlin, times are tough," he added, speaking in fluent German. "This song is for all those who are struggling."
Europe has been especially hard hit since 2008's financial meltdown that sparked an enduring sovereign debt crisis. Unemployment on the continent has risen to levels not seen since the 1990s. Springsteen's "Wrecking Ball" tour began on May 13 in Spain, which is struggling with its crushing debt load, and it runs for 2-1/2 months with 33 stops in 15 countries before concluding on July 31 in Helsinki.
In "Shackled and Drawn", Springsteen sings about "Gambling man rolls the dice, working man pays the bill. It's still fat and easy up on banker's hill. Up on banker's hill the party's going strong, down here below we're shackled and drawn."
With "Easy Money", Springsteen rips into the "fat cats" who will "just think it's funny ... when you're whole world comes tumbling down." In "Death to My hometown", Springsteen assails the "greedy thieves and robber barons" who "destroyed our families, factories and they took our homes." In the song "Wrecking Ball", he sings: "Hold tight to your anger."
So what do we learn from Springsteen? We learn that the problems with the world reside with "greedy thieves" ... "robber barons" and "fat cats."
Is Springsteen doing anyone a favor with this analysis? He is, of course, mimicking Woody Guthrie and using Guthrie's vocabulary. But in taking such poetic license he does no one any favors.
Presumably, it would not be so easy to write a poetic song about central banking and the power elite that apparently controls central banking. But this is where the problem resides.
It is not a problem that can be solved by trimming or removing interest rates.
It is not a problem that can be solved by socializing commercial banks.
It is not a problem that can be solved by redistributing wealth.
All of this has been tried; inevitably all of it fails. Every legal adjustment – especially of the current complex system – is a price fix that further distorts the market.
No, human beings cannot improve on markets. Human beings cannot create utopias.
Beware of anyone who sells you this "snake oil."
Competition is what works – for money or anything else. Only market competition purifies the product and hones the honesty of service.
Every scheme to create a "fair" system inevitably falls afoul of the basic illogic that suggest human beings are wiser than the market's Invisible Hand. Human beings are corrupt. Their schemes are inevitably corrupt. Competition ameliorates the corruption.
Springsteen could use his vast platform to educate people about Money Power and how it works. He could sing about freedom and free-markets. Instead he has chosen to mimic the language and stance of 1930's troubadours.
Because of his politics and vocabulary – amply expressed in his concerts – he has lost the claim to be a visionary, popular musician. In fact, popular music itself is increasingly out-of-date or out-of-touch. It would be hard, today, to celebrate Bob Dylan or Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young as more than musicians, though once they were looked upon by their generation as poet-philosophers.
Of course, in hindsight, we would tend to believe that the entire rock 'n roll/folk episode of the 20th century (continuing today) was an excrescence of Money Power, intended to destabilize the larger culture for purposes of malleability and to provide fertile soil for what may be the coming world government. It is a manipulation carried on today by such "artists" as Lady Gaga and various rap and pop music stars.
Bruce Springsteen does not give one the feeling, necessarily, of being part of a larger purposeful agenda. Perhaps he has made his compromises on his own, and for his own purposes.
He is, in fact, no different than so many of us in this regard. He has looked – inevitably he has – at the face of evil and turned away. He has a musical and financial empire to protect. Perhaps it is unfair to blame him ...
Nonetheless, the Internet – what we call the Internet Reformation – has given us the great gift of comprehension. Today, if we choose to look, we can see the way the world really works.
It is also true that when we refuse to properly verbalize our analysis, we only contribute to the problem. This is the tragedy of Bruce Springsteen, such as it is. It is not actually a "musical" tragedy in the scheme of things, as Springsteen is merely a tiny blip on the historical horizon.
It is actually a human tragedy, repeated over and over again in the 21st century by those who have ceased for one reason or another to strive for an authentic life.
Conclusion: Springsteen and too many others are provoking confusion rather than clarity.