Pandas, Sex, and Stock Markets

A panda gives birth to twin cubs and we obsess.

What is it about pandas and sex? We scour the globe for mates for lone pandas. We strive to create matching pairs. We salivate, like porn-junkies, waiting for them to mate. Their coitus is a world spectacle, as fraught as a moon-landing.

Why don’t we just let them get on with it?

They’re endangered, of course. But so are black-footed ferrets and bonobos and we don’t pore over their sexual gropings. Is it because pandas are big and bulky and we’re intrigued – as a form of perverse Attenborough-voyeurism in our obesity-damned age – about how they actually do it?

Or is it simply that pandas are, broadly-speaking, Chinese, and we’re all obsessed with China now? Consider the hysteria at recent falls in prices on the Chinese stock market. It is more inflamed than the hysteria around the advance of Jeremy Corbyn’s temerity. TV pundits, low-rent economists, fiscal fixers and dodgy dealers tell us these are matters of huge importance.

An endangered woman sits in the waiting area of clinic 4 at Altnagelvin Hospital, the pain of illness evident on her lined face. She stares blankly at two economists acting out on the BBC TV news. It’s not clear if the story is the panda births or the China stock-market collapse. She waits her turn.

Pundits tell us the Chinese economy is changing from one of production to one of consumption. The year-on-year (dread phrase) rise in economic growth is slowing, maybe even stalling. Of course it is. There is only so much natural resource and human labour you can burn up before its done.

Pandas - HeadStuff.orgThe Chinese won’t get it together. Corporations want to sell them technologies, values and practices. And then get consumers to buy their tat. Corporate shareholders don’t care that millions of people have moved from rural areas to half-built cities in order to produce the over-priced digital tat their corporations flog. Now, like the pandas, the corporations, their banks and hedge-funds are playing hard to get.

There’s shrinking demand, the currency is cheapened, the country people – peasants, if you don’t mind – can’t go back to the country to grow food, make love, have children and leisure. It’s worse than the pandas. They lost the bamboo forests. The country people have lost the whole eco-caboodle; fields, rivers, lakes, mountains, ways of life and social relations. That’s progress. And the great continent of Africa is next.

So what’s to be done? Straight up? Stop gambling on currencies and stocks as if they were chips in a vain casino… Which is actually mostly what they are these days. If investments are only to make a bigger bang for the bucks of shareholders, without any thought for the products or the producers involved, it’s like obsessing about panda sex without any consideration for their well-being or their world.

Leave the pandas alone. If they want to get into it, they will. Stop feeding them viagra-laced bamboo love-shoots. Let them feel safe and happy and they’ll get it on. Wouldn’t we all?

Save the quiet, safe places of the panda boudoir.

Spare us the videos and images of glum-faced stock-market floor-traders.

Can the casino. Make love not cash.

She still waits her turn.


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