What does it say about the western world when it’s outsmarted by a chimpanzee? Sure, we wear pants, drive cars and lewdly groom ourselves in private, but just how much superior are we to our simian pals? Santino, a 31 year-old chimp in Sweden, is now heralded as exhibiting the first instance of adaptively planning ahead, something normally believed to be particular to people. Santino’s plan involved collecting stones and breaking apart the concrete floor of his pen, hiding them close to where visitors typically view him and then hurling these rocks at said visitors.
Sure, there’s definitely some scientific interest to be had here, as well as some safety issues (if this chimp upgraded his projectiles from poo to rocks, what’s next?), but the most important lesson that Santino has taught us is that chimps should handle the economy.
This admittedly hearkens back to the idiotic cartoon in the New York Post that indirectly referred to President Obama as a monkey, but this has nothing to do with executive branches. It’s all about the financial advisers, the stock brokers, business media and bankers. For years, everyone involved in the economic system urged the country to spend until they were completely in debt, and then to spend some more. Houses were bargains even at escalating prices, stocks were destined to soar upward until the sun engulfed the Earth…what purpose was there in keeping a nest egg when there were plenty of chickens in the pen?
Had we paid attention to Santino, in all of his irate wisdom, we could have learned that one must have a sound basis for future actions. Santino had a clear goal (to destroy Swedes), a resource to obtain in order to achieve this goal (hard objects) and a plan to reasonably allocate his resources so that he always had enough rocks to chuck at onlookers. He didn’t run around his pen tossing whatever he could at his audience, recklessly using up his ammo. Instead, he carefully stockpiled his weaponry, and once he felt his reserves were sufficient, he started his daily routine at hurling rocks at terrified children clutching balloons.
Achieving one’s goals, whether they be the bludgeoning of zoo patrons or fiscal success, is about moderation and precaution, making sure the ice is thick enough to support us before we step out onto the lake. If the entire economy hadn’t been focused upon deficit spending from consumers, we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in today, with everyone already having spent beyond their means and now unable to spend enough to keep the rest of the economy afloat. With savings rates in America at almost nonexistent percentages, every single rock that came our way was immediately hurled.
In fact, imagine the ridiculousness of Santino throwing rocks he didn’t have. Would anyone be intimidated if a chimp was throwing imaginary objects, its arm just flopping about in a hurling motion? Not in the least, and an economy can’t be built upon spending cash that isn’t there. Now there is a minor break from this logic with the stimulus plan, which is based upon stabilizing parts of the economy in the hope that consumer spending will be able to use that period to recover and by the time the stimulus runs its course, the rest of the economy will be revitalized and the stimulus will be paid for out of the increased tax revenue from said rejuvenation (what Santino thinks about this I’m not sure, my interview ended with him smashing my notepad with a rock).
The moral is, in a roundabout way, is that it’s simply not wise to act impulsively, there always has to be a plan and a backup in case failure seeps in through the cracks. Just think of Santino, the human-hating chimp the next time you think of whipping out the credit card. Also, keep in mind that Santino was castrated as a result of his actions, so be sure that your plans don’t involve anything involving the assault of zoo attendees.