08 January 2009

Ponzi schemes and legitimizing the State

In this mad rush to "save" the markets, the implicit assumption underlying the entire process is that the "vital heart" of capitalism - to wit, the hi-finanz shenanigans that are orchestrated by the dickheads in suits on tony Wall Street - is so essential to the nation's economic viability that it must be preserved at all costs. And this is a dangerous and ultimately ignorant and criminal assumption.

For Wall Street is a Ponzi scheme, as criminal and complex as any Tom, Dick, or Madoff could concoct, where guarantees of higher payoffs are supported only if an ever widening circle of hapless folks are tricked into the scam, based on the exhortions of retirement "planners" ("The best time to prepare for retirement is now!!") and other hustlers in paper and digits. 

The average Joe the Plumber places his cash on the table of the stock market, hoping to obtain something for nothing (as most Amerikans consistently fantasize about), and usually losing out in the end. For what does he, or anyone else, really know about the market? NOTHING. Investment is gambling, plain and simple. Even a great and shrewd market player such as J.P. Morgan understood this. If the House of Morgan's money was too valuable to play with, what of the little nest egg of Joe and Jane Sixpack, trailer denizens of the heartland? 

Oh, but they're just little people. They don't count. Of course.

"Oh, but the market must always go up!" Bullshit. As people have gotten wise to the scam and billions have been removed from Wall Street's tentacles, the price of stocks logically must fall with collapsing demand - as is happening as we sit. So the Ponzi scheme is exposed and the remaining traders' shirts evaporate.

But of course we mustn't allow the dickhead class to suffer much. After all, if privilege were demonstrated to be such a tenuous thing, then the dickheadery might be exposed as the quackery and fraud that they are: a group of overcredentialed, highly overpaid people who make big bucks in the paper pushing, financial fleecing, and other productive labor-avoiding trades.

And instead of building and growing our industrial capacity, this is how we have decided to deploy "the best and the brightest" minds in the country. Such a waste.


Another bastion of the dickheadery is real estate. And with the fortunes of that insipid arena, too, sinking (as so much else is to-day), the dickheadery is entering a bit of a credibility crisis. 

That king of the dickheads, GWB, is on his way out (finally). More than anyone he has exposed the dickheadery's fundamental moral, intellectual, and spiritual bankruptcy - in fact maybe aired these things a little too openly, which goes a long way toward explaining why he's not so popular right now. But that's another post.

Back to real estate. Like stocks, this is the proverbial land of something for nothing, a Ponzi scheme where values increase so long as more suckers are scammed into the system, suckered without compunction into loans which even the lenders know can't, and won't, be repaid. But when wallets clasp shut and demand drops, look out! Some dickheads and their trailer class victims are now getting hosed.

Don't buy property. The rate of overall average appreciation for the long term only matches inflation. Those higher property values are illusory as your fantasy girlfriend and your pretend office job that actually doesn't exist (for all you losers out there who were such obvious easy walking targets of the real estate jihadists).

And remember that in the end, you don't actually own the land. The State does.

What's that? Come again?

You know that annual bill that you receive at the end of the year called property taxes, the only household bill which you must pay on pain of imprisonment and death?

Yeah, that's right. How does the State get away with extorting a cut of your land value each year? Simple. The implicit assumption among all parties is that all land belongs to the State, and owners in "fee simple" arrangements are simply leasing the land.

But it's my land, you say! Oh really? Ever heard of eminent domain?

I once knew someone who owned a house that was later razed for a highway extension. (All in the "public interest" as our comfortable espresso sipping yuppie friends like to say.) He paid a substantial sum (by his modest standards) to become a homeowner for the first time in his life, after years of hard work and savings toward that glorious day when he, too, could join the ranks of tract home drones. Not to criticize here; it was his dream and his money to spend, and that's to be respected no matter what.

But lo! the State's minions came to the neighborhood and took his property away from him, for literally pennies on the dollar. (Dat's what happens when you lack dickhead clout.) In the end he had to declare bankruptcy, his life spiralled out of control, his wife and children deserted him, and then he ended it all by placing a revolver in his mouth.

Don't you love the "public interest"?

To own property, and thus acquiesce in this scheme, is to legitimize the workings of the State.

The final resolution to take from this is not to engage in activities, so far as you can, that lend credence to the legitimacy and moral righteousness of the State. For the State can only survive, long term, if its victims provide it the moral sanction to continue in its depraved murderousness, by bovine cooperation, doing nothing to arrest the machine, permitting its bloody, lethal rampage all over the face of the globe.

Regrettably, that's what most folks do today.

And in particular, the dickheadery, the bane of the social pyramid who made a deal with the Devil and cut all the right moves for a life of comfort by playing the game right, but in the end shed their souls, their consciences, and their independent thought. (And they call the dickheadery "the creative class." Sheesh.)

So go ahead and sip all the lattes you want. Nothing to see here. Land of the free, eh?

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