The Golden Age

This is everything that is wrong with the global economy, all in one tidy little package. And yes, it comes from the UAE, which along with Dubai, is emblematic of late stage capitalism in all it’s horrific beauty. It’s the perfect mix of traditional values and unregulated commerce that US Conservatives are always going on about but don’t have the balls to act out. There’s a gross pageantry in that part of the world that still finds medieval displays of ostentatious wealth to be just fine and dandy. In Europe, they made sumptuary laws against this sort of thing for a reason. So, if there’s some grandiose manifestation of opulent greed run amok, it will shimmer into existance in that crass little pocket of decadence, like a heat mirage filtered through Donald Trump’s libido. I’m not one to go in for supernatural explanations when human agency is good enough at explaining things but fucking hell, a gold-dispensing vending machine? There is clearly an evil force at work here. Probably a Djinn. Maybe a wizard. An evil, evil wizard.

There’s really only one thing you can pay for with gold. Or rather, one class of thing and none of it wholesome. You can’t drop by the corner market in Abu Dubai and pick up a gallon of milk, paid for with a gold dabloon. An ingot will not buy you a candy bar, or even a meal at a posh restaurant. The staff just doesn’t have the wherewithal to handle that sort of transaction. Where do you stack the bars where the busboys won’t trip over them? Counting out a till full of gold dust at the end of the night brings a fresh hell to the dreams of anyone whose ever worked retail. You just can’t spend gold anywhere, is what I’m getting at. That’s why we have paper money and electronic accounting. Lugging around a purse full of pieces of eight instills one to levels of pomposity we tend to find a bit gouche. A fist full of gold inspires one to dress the part. Before long, you’re wearing poet sleeves unironically, carrying around snuff and whipping out silk hankies. That’s why this shit goes down over in the UAE. They’ve already got the fancy wardrobe for that sort of thing. You see a man in caftan and mirror shades, accompanied by an entourage of thugs in thousand dollar shoes and you expect that man to have on his person a velvet lined bag full of precious metals. Well, not on his person. He has someone who handles the carrying of such things for him. Probably a eunuch.

But why? Why convert a chunk of your walking around cash into a piece of gold?* Just to have something fancy to fondle when you get bored of belittling the peasants?

The sort of man who would want gold from a dispenser at any hour of the day is the sort of man who wouldn’t think twice about buying a person. ” Buying as person what? A fancy watch? A painting?” No. That sentence didn’t end prematurely. You deal in gold when you want to purchase a human life, but don’t want to mess around with the sticky legal contrails paper currency and digital transactions leave behind.

Gold is the perfect currency for human trafficking. Child prostitutes. Slave labor. What have you. And if you’re not into the buying and selling of other people, there’s always good old fashioned money laundering. Gold is untraceable. It’s also a commodity with a proven, intrinsic value and while the price fluctuates, it’s never not going to be in demand. Which of course makes sense why they’d install the first gold vending machine in the UAE. Not exactly a nice neighborhood, even if everyone’s driving Lamborghinis and dressed like CEOs.

And of course, there’s the other end of that queasy supply and demand transaction. That repugnant slave trader you met in some abandoned parking garage at 2am may have some even less savory business ventures he’d like to fund with that gold of yours. There’s always someone else looking to trade you something interesting for your pile of gold bars. And it ain’t a roast beef sandwich with all the trimmings, that’s for certain.

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* Fun fact: Since pissing off so many legit businesses with his cretinous rants, Glenn Beck’s show is heavily sponsored by companies who offer to buy your gold jewelry, for which they will pay you the going market rate. This is part of a growing trend n the Tea Bagger subculture, which has decided to embrace, among many other bad ideas, investing in gold as away to survive the coming socialist/Marxist economic collapse. This has created a small but growing investment bubble in gold. And as we all know, investment bubbles are just keen!