There are some things that I know about but other things are as distant from my way of thinking as the planet Pluto. One of those things is "The Economy". It figures a lot in national and international news and gradually it has seeped its way into ordinary people's perceptions of life in the early years of this twenty first century.
"The Economy" makes my eyes glaze over - my mind goes walkabout. Wall Street? The Bank of England? The Hang Seng Index? I look at the television and see traders waving papers or beavering away at computers. Every day the BBC tells us about share prices and currency fluctuations. But all of this means nothing to me.
Greece to me is its rich classical legacy, the moussaka and retsina, a bouzouki playing evocatively across the harbour in Mykonos, a sunlit beach and clear azure waters. But now it seems we are meant to fret about whether or not Greece will "default". Are the Greeks playing tennis? Who initially lent Greece the money and if the country's structures were so damned suspect, who the hell allowed them into the Eurozone in the first place? Why did they have the Olympics as recently as 2004? I just don't get it.
"The Economy" is the monstrous child of human society. Men made it and gave it succour. If it rises and falls like a Frankenstein beast then that is surely down to the men (and a few women) who ride upon its back and the highly paid politicians we all elected to deal with the damned thing. It is their job to tame the beast and make it serve us better. I don't know. As I say, "The Economy" is a mystery to me. I never learnt about it in school and those who claim to know about it seem to speak an entirely different language.
The world appears significantly different from how it looked five years ago. Then "The Economy" was well-tethered. It ate its oats and responded to our commands but now it's bucking and there's horse-shit everywhere. Protesters marching on Brooklyn Bridge. Riots in the streets of London. Greece squeezed like an empty tube of toothpaste. Millions unemployed. Pension pots squandered. Bankers' bonus culture booming. Where's it all going to end? I wish I understood. I wish I knew what "The Economy" really means.