Friday, 6 January 2012

Richard and The Money Tree


Richard straightened his papers, placed his pen back in its case and checked that the paper clip part of his desk tidy was properly stocked.

“There’s work to be done,” he muttered to himself, “and I am the man to do it.”

Rising quietly from his desk, Richard turned to the office and said in a loud, firm voice,

“The King’s Men are hiding the truth!”

Bemused looks washed over the office, mumblings were heard: “what’s he on about, now” and “he’s off on one again”.

But Richard wasn’t deterred, indeed such cynicism from his colleagues was inspiring. He’d show them!

“There is a money tree that means everyone can have everything they want. And I shall find it!”

Richard strode to the door, descended the steps and onto the street – the first stop would be the Guild of Economists. Such men would understand and aid his quest.

On arriving at the Guild – an imposing, portico’d building – Richard spoke to the robed doorman.

“Show me to the debating chamber of your masters,” demanded Richard, “I must tell them of my quest for the money tree!”

The doorman arched an eyebrow and smiled quietly,

“Come this way.”

Richard followed the robed figure through the Guild’s halls. As he walked past the great paintings of past Guildmasters, Richard choked back his disdain for those men who had conspired with the King’s Men to cover up the truth. Adam, David, Friedrich, Milton –all of them bar the sainted John had hidden the truth about the money tree so as to serve their selfish, greedy purposes.

Richard would show them.

Entering the vast debating chamber, Richard was almost flattened by the cacophony of the place. Arguments were layered over discourse, all conducted loudly and in a language that Richard knew to be part of the great conspiracy that concealed the money tree.

Occult terms flew round the room, “marginal propensity to consume”, "partial equilibrium cost-benefit analyses”, “globalisation”, “government stimulus”, “predictive simulation capabilities” – a veritable cornucopia of the terms of economic magic.

But Richard could handle this!

“Enough of your neo-liberalism, enough of your conspiracy, begone with your spell-making,” cried Richard above the babble of the Guildsmen, “I am here to require your help in my quest for the money tree – a tree you know of but keep hidden at the behest of the King’s Men and the Keeper’s of the Hoard.”

A hush fell on the chamber. Save for one voice.

“Not again! How many times do we have to prove there isn’t a money tree before people like you believe us?”

Richard turned to the voice. It came from what looked like a miner.

“Who’s that?” asked Richard of the nearest Economist.

“That’s Tim,” came the reply, “he lives at The Margins but comes here sometimes for debate.”

“You should silence him, “ said Richard and began his lecture about the money tree. He told how it grew, how the King ordered his men to hide it so the people would suffer while the King’s Men, the Barons and the Keeper’s of the Hoard grew fat on the back of that suffering.

“There is no money tree – it’s a myth,” shouted Tim from The Margins.

Richard ignored the interruption explaining how Robin Hood was now riding against those growing fat on the backs of people’s suffering and how he  - The Courageous One – was now tasked with revealing the location of the money tree.

“There is no money tree and Robin Hood is just a thief!”

Tim from The Margins again but this time his outburst was accompanied by tittering and a few voices repeating Tim’s false claim.

Richard continued, explaining how his researches revealed that the money tree had been taken to a Haven – perhaps on a desert island or maybe in the  mountains. Some of his research suggested there may be more than one Haven of the Money Tree.

“And you, members of the Guild of Economists, must help in this quest. You must reveal your occult secrets. Tell me where this Haven is! Reveal the money tree!”

If it had been cacophony before, the chamber now became chaotic. Some wanted to search again for the money tree – “it may be mythical but who’s to say myths aren’t true”. Others entered into loud debate about Robin Hood and whether he was helping the people or just another thief. And throughout this Tim from The Margins continued mocking Richard.

Turning back to the robed doorman, Richard said,

“Lead me from here. These men are not interested in anything but their neoliberalism and their greed. They will not aid my quest. I shall go to the place of tents where dwell the long-haired ones. The Students of Uncut.”


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