When Pat and I were raising our three kids we attended at least 12 graduations that I can remember.
The first round of matriculations came after each one completed kindergarten. Those first three ceremonies were joyous events for us young parents.
The next round was celebrated after each child finished 8th grade. With educational goals moving right along, we were again so very happy, as were the emerging adolescents.
The high school ceremonies were, of course, a biggie, in all three instances. Each young scholar’s participation signified, within those symbolic processions, certifiable progress toward educational and life goals.
The crown jewels for our young adults and for us proud parents were the three college graduations, with one at Duke and two at University of North Carolina.
What a grand preparation for our offspring in their proficiencies to go forth in technified 21st-century world!
In every one of those symbolic processions through which our young ones paraded with their classmates up to a podium where they received diplomas, very graduate had a flat item mounted on their head. Hanging from that flat item was a tassel.
The mortar board.
Each young person sauntered forth into our world of work, information and progress, with a mortar board upon their head.
What is a mortar board?
In the oldest sense of this phrase, a mortar board is a flat, hand-held board; it is used to carry a small amount of mixed “mud” (mortar). The actual mortar board, in the real world of constructing walls and buildings, has, attached to it on its underside, a hand-sized vertical handle that enables the bricklayer to carry the board and its mortar payload easily. The worker can then move from one position to the next while carrying an amount of mortar suitable for efficient work in joining masonry blocks and/or bricks together as a constructed wall.
In the symbolic universe of education, however, a “mortar board” upon the graduate’s head signifies that the person is equipped to build structures of a different kind.
With the competencies acquired through education, the graduate can, metaphorically, build progress, prosperity, businesses profitable or non-profit,, institutions, knowledge bases, etc.
I was thinking about the mortar board this morning. I was considering its meaning as a symbol, as I have just explained to you. . . but also as an actual implement of constructive work in the real world of building houses. My thirty+ years in construction provided many occasions in which I literally carried a mortar board for hours at a time, while constructing house foundations.
Then this morning, while reading about some new developments in the world of finance and investments, I thought about mortar boards of the metaphorical meaning, which is why I write to you now. There is something interesting going on in the world now, pertaining to mortar boards.
What I read that is so fascinating is an article that I came across in an online news source, Deutsche Welle, that I had never seen before today:
I gather from reading it that the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) are gathering resources to fund an investment bank for purposes of financing infrastructure in their countries and also in the “emerging” countries.
If this banking alliance is successful, there will be in the future at least a certain amount–if not a huge amount–of divergence from those countries’ heretofore dependence on the West’s (USA, German, British, French) banking powerhouses, not to mention their central banks and international largesse like IMF and so forth.
I mean, there it is right there in the pic on the Deutsche Welle site: Putin of Russia, Modi of India, Xi of China, Rousseff of Brazil, gathered with many other national leaders in Ufa, Russia to lay foundations for the BRICs to get new “mortar” supplies for laying their necessary infrastructures in days to come.
Watch out, WallStreet!
Watch out, City!
Your days of hegemony in world finance and dollar dominance may be numbered.
These (formerly-called) Developing nations are now in the forefront of development and they need tools for constructing their infrastructure-deficient economies.
Wall Street’s obsession with high-frequency trading and risk-averse bubbly speculation is becoming more and more irrelevant in a bold new world of expanding overseas financial needs– Markets that are populated by young people–far more young people demographically than we have here in the good ole US of A.
Millions of young people with mortar boards in their hands and on their heads, applying for money mortar to construct sturdy infrastructural walls in which their own institutions will supply credit and new opportunities to initiate and develop new wealth.
Not old Western wealth recycled.
King Dollar, step aside! The handwriting for national developments across the world is on the wall. You are being challenged by the 4 R’s: rubles, rupees, reáls, renminbi and probably eventually SDRs.
Better read what those hands are writing on their freshly-mortared walls!