Thursday, September 18, 2014

Don't have a Dow, man

I believe it was Sunday that the latest mandatory round of Windows 7 updates more or less fried my old computer. One of few things I could do with my old machine after that was use it to order a new one.

So I did, and the delivery bloke brang it yesterday. Although Windows 8.1 looks like it was written for people who weren't even born yet when this blog started, I haven't had any major problems with it yet.

But one thing about Windows 8.1 just bakes my gizzard. The default desktop has an assortment of shiny apps built in, which appear automatically - and one of them is, of all things, the latest Dow Jones stock report.

I was 14 when the 1987 stock market crash occurred, and because I was young and foolish, I thought at the time that market crashes were a bad thing. But actually, Reagan had already gutted the economy. The crash was just a correction. As much as we hear that the 1929 crash kicked off the Great Depression, my grandparents were always talking about how poor they were even before the crash. Wikipedia says the 1920s before the crash "was a time of wealth and excess." Not true. They should have asked my grandparents how much wealth there was.

The 1990s and 2000s saw unprecedented growth in the stock market. But where did I fit in on this imaginary economic boom? Why didn't I see any of that prosperity that the right-wing media was always beating its chest about? This was more proof that the market is antithetical to real prosperity.

It was also around 1987 that I overheard 2 men at a Reds game complaining that the scoreboard kept showing the latest Dow Jones numbers instead of something baseball-related. These were hard-working guys who couldn't have cared less about the Dow. That's how I feel about Windows 8.1 automatically showing the Dow numbers. Windows should instead show something more useful like polling data for the upcoming election or how many pounds of shit have been produced today by animals at the zoo.

There might be a way to shut off this feature, but I don't know yet.

In 2014, having stock reports automatically appear on your computer interests very few people besides wealthy investors. In the 1990s and 2000s, Americans were much more likely to vote with their boss. That was a historic aberration. Hopefully we won't return to those bad old days.

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