Monday, March 31, 2008

The Economy Imitating Art

In May, The Vulture by Francis Bacon could be auctioned at Sotheby’s for as much as $70 million, which would be a record. The Vulture is a triptych based on the tragic trilogy of Orestes.
Suffice it to say that a curse figures in the myth and it seems as if we all are in dire need of placating the Furies.
May--where we all be, economically speaking—in May? The Lusty Month of Camelot may prove to be tepid, if we are lucky, and devastating if we are not. How low will interest rates be by then? (A double-edged sword, low interest rates—good for spenders but bad for savers—and aren’t we always told we don’t save enough? Why bother?) How high will the price of a gallon of gas or a loaf of bread be? How many people will be out of their homes—their real homes—not “investments to live in” as one realty company was so proud to proclaim during the boom. How many people will be out of work and how many of us will be even more discouraged about our futures? How big a chunk of the U.S. will Sovereign Funds claim?
A record price for “The Vulture” will be very nice for the collector selling it. But the vultures waiting around to pick up the pieces of the U.S. economy, while serving a practical purpose, will leave it forever changed.

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