Saturday, September 11, 2021

9/11: Remembering the truly forgotten

Remembering the Truly Forgotten, Twenty Years Later | American Institute for Economic Research - Peter C. Earle:

September 11, 2021 - "Today, a feeling that has simmered for years will rise to a fever pitch. The nation will honor New York City firefighters, police officers, Port Authority employees, medical personnel and first responders, and military servicemen killed in the Pentagon. There will be some mention of ... the passengers who died.... There will be no shortage of salutes to the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines killed in the global war on terror which, launched in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11, also came to involve action in Iraq, Syria, the Philippines, Mali, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and other nations....

"I write this to celebrate the truly forgotten. There are no elegies for them; no concerts, flags, or bumper stickers. The closest thing they have to monuments are the random sections of beams from the Twin Towers that were distributed to town and county parks nationwide after the attacks. Those beams, twisted and deformed, once supported floors. And 20 years ago today, at about the time that this article is published (8 a.m. Eastern), those floors were already alive with the footsteps of traders, brokers, portfolio managers, accountants, tech workers, customer service representatives, and administrative personnel engaged in the lifeblood of global commerce: finance. 

"It can be easy to forget the people who were actually targeted in the World Trade Center attacks. It’s increasingly customary to do so, in fact.... Individuals dealing in financial markets, negotiating transactions, and managing great amounts of capital are often assumed to be wealthy, corrupt, or engaged in elaborate and ultimately unproductive activity, or some combination of the three. None of those labels invite much sympathy –– even considering the horrors that so many people in these scrutinized fields faced on that day. Nationwide, on this 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001, more will be said about military service dogs than the thousands of hardworking, productive people killed in downtown Manhattan that day....

"What tens of thousands of men and women in the North and South towers of the World Trade Center did all day, every day, was not simply 'pushing pieces of paper around'. What they did was nothing less than lay the foundation upon which the modern world sits and functions. 

"For time immemorial, human beings have struggled to determine the best means of producing goods and services.... Among competing means of production, regardless of the proposed output, there is some combination of inputs and processes that is the most economically efficient. Only prices, generated in market exchange, fulfill that calculation function adequately. Those prices, by reflecting the current consensus valuation of producers and consumers, allow planning. They send signals to all other market participants regarding scarcity, abundance, and shifts in the overall appraisal of countless resources.... [T]here are no other means of adequately determining where and how resources are being combined into the most customer-satisfying goods or services.... 

"William N. Goetzmann, professor and director of the International Center for Finance at Yale University, puts the birth of financial concepts at the root of civilization itself.... Financial practices, building off of the social technology of money and private property rights, forged and continue to govern virtually our entire world. But those practices are not automated, which is why financial professionals ranging from asset managers and speculators to algorithmic developers, accountants, and clerical personnel are so critical.... 

"And so, 20 years after one of the most awful days of my and countless others’ lives, I honor and praise the memory of the people who worked in the World Trade Center. I honor those who were slaughtered that sunny, blue, and virtually cloudless Tuesday morning. When they perished, most of them were still at their desks, donning headsets or handling phones, squawking our arcane language of growth and prosperity.... To the 12 or 13 dealers, traders, brokers, and other individuals based in the towers with whom I transacted and developed a rapport for years, who were gone in a flash: I remain grateful for your service, skills, and friendship. To my friend B, killed 20 years ago today, enduring esteem.... None of you are forgotten, nor will I let you be."

Read more: https://www.aier.org/article/remembering-the-truly-forgotten-twenty-years-later/

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