gratuitous greed
 cretinous competition
  recipe for downright disaster

.. a crime ...

  .. is a crime ...

    .. is a crime, ad infinitum


Preamble; Balzac: Le secret des grandes fortunes sans cause apparente est un crime oublié, parce qu'il a été proprement fait.

wikiquote: The secret of great fortunes without apparent cause is a crime forgotten, for it was properly done.

Me: The secret of great fortunes without apparent cause is some cunning, undiscovered crimes.

Discussion: Although "oublié" translates as "forgotten," it can't be correct since that contradicts "secret." Same with "proprement," a properly-done crime is an *initially* successful execution; the cunning[1] comes in with the undiscovered = permanent invisibility of the exploit. Also, one could replace "is" with "may be," conceding some (tiny) allowance for luck (since 'good management' would contradict "without apparent cause").

Note: Whatever; but a crime is a crime, discovered or not. End preamble.
[update 1, update 2]


Background: When I 1st heard 'greed is good,' I nearly had an attack of the vapours: How dare they?!! Then I heard that it came from an Hollywood film, as if that might be some sort of excuse. Well, we do know that Hollywood + TV portray all possible perversions over time, and here is a quote:

  «I am not a destroyer of companies. I am a liberator of them! The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms: greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much.» 

Comment: That worked out well, didn't it? The USA bit, I mean.


Trigger article:

Aug 17, 2011
Ben's promises are empty
By Martin Hutchinson
  «There are two opposing positions on government spending stimulus: the Keynesian position that it stimulates economic growth generally and the Austrian position that by crowding out the private sector it substitutes less efficient for more efficient use of resources and hence retards growth.» 

Comment: A nice, illustrative summary. Another extract is needed:

  «The Keynesian theory of fiscal stimulus, under which random government spending stimulates the economy, is bolstered by one enormous hidden advantage: Keynesians designed the principal measure of economic output, gross domestic product - or GDP.
Unlike private-sector output, which is measured by what markets are actually prepared to pay for something, government output is measured purely on a cost basis, with no accounting for that output's value. Thus if a dozy government wastes $1 billion on rubbish of no value, GDP is said to be increased by $1 billion. Naturally, with that kind of "cooking the books", stimulus can appear to stimulate.
It would be grossly unfair to say that no government output had any value. Indeed the most basic functions of government, national security and the preservation of order, often have a value far in excess of their cost, as sufferers from last week's British riots have discovered.»

Comment: Now we start to see bias writ large; "random government spending," ... "if a dozy government wastes $1 billion on rubbish of no value..." There's another error here, namely a purported dollar for dollar GDP increase; this ignores the multiplier. I saw an estimate of 1.5 recently, on the low side (I learnt about 2.5), but possible if spending 'leaks' into imports (from off-shore - exactly where lots of jobs went). One more extract:

  «Nevertheless, many government functions have far less value than their cost; if this were not the case, they would already be provided by the free market, without any government intervention at all. Naturally, those government functions carried out as a result of an unplanned "stimulus" to boost an economy out of recession will tend to be less valuable than average, since if a need for them had been seen earlier they would already have been included in the annual budget.» 

Comment: As usual, fallacious arguments may contain true bits, like the bit starting with: "It would be grossly unfair" - but that is both a debating trick and a method of smuggling in more bias ("most basic;" see 'thuggish' below), then "if a need for them had been seen earlier" is outright misleading; often stimulus program-items have long languished in bottom-drawers, for the lack of budget priority.

Comment: Another attribute of the erring ideology (of the anti-government spending mob), is that they tend to condemn govt. as a whole (apart from their 'pet favourites,' like ever more thuggish police and the Pentagon's ultra-expensive toys and murdering for spoil military 'adventures,' and supporting criminal Zs.) Another also, Obama's 'stimulus' spending went mostly to bail-out the banks who caused the GFC and to supporting otherwise unsupportable entities like GM - rather than on useful infrastructure, say, whereby the hapless workers get jobs + $s they spend 100% of (multiplier), and afterwards, the country has 'something in the hand' - as with TVA, or national highway system, etc..

Backing up a bit, we see this: "crowding out the private sector it substitutes less efficient ..." - a, if not the, key argument; too bad that it too is fallacious. It's a govt. function to provide needed services that the private sector *won't* take on, and the argument is self-destroyed by the private sector's feral lust to privatise govt. entities. See Chicago's parking meters.

Swish! - Occam's razor-time.

If we date neoliberalism to Thatcher(1979+)/Reagan(1981+), she of "TINA!" and "there is no such thing as society," and he of "government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem," we can see not much else but decline; a decline in the people's wages, conditions and service-deliveries, accompanied by the (mostly already) rich getting (ever more obscenely) richer. Recall that we don't do coincidences, and even if we some day might, this poor -> poorer and rich -> richer ain't one, not by a looong chalk. It may be that neoliberalism grew out of Friedman's monetarism, the 'Chicago School,' 'Harvard Boys' or any/all those & more, but wherever (the hell) it came from, what we *do not* hear much of is a) argument against it, let alone b) ways to correct its failures. Because fail it has, most spectacularly. Looks to me like most if not all the economic theories now in vogue are failing. Risk management? Sure, and there goes another stock-exchange crash. (US) house-prices? Crashing. Unemployment? Through the roof, along with medical costs, most other costs (privatised electricity, petrol, say. What was that Rupert? Iraq war = $20,- oil? Bah, and apologist/supporters of crime are considered equally guilty, via the 'accessory' mechanism.)

Another quote from Reagan: "I believe there are legitimate government functions." Bewdy; me too, mate; and those functions have to be properly funded. Problem is that government spending has become an 'easy' target; far too easy, any fool can (promise to) cut taxes, look no further than Abbott.

Swish! - Occam's razor again.

My point; fazit #1: Greed was *never* good (however as a 'driver,' it might work for some). Certainly, it is *not* anywhere near the top of the Darwinian pyramid, recall that human civilisation got its biggest boost with farming = collective, cooperative efforts. Cooperation is clearly preferable to confrontation - the latter being the only neoliberal menu item on offer to us, we the sheople. The ideal, so-called 'free' markets are as good as never free; see the "What's in it for me" voter-seduction/begging, and the myriad exceptions demanded via the lobbyocracy = corrupt political process. Our politicians lie to us, conduited and *actively assisted* by the venal MSM, incl. 'our' AusBC. Doing anything 'for profit' is a virtual guarantee of getting profit ahead of performance, they'll even tell you 'by law;' their task being to produce 'shareholder value' above all else - possibly deadly, if the for profit service is medicine. (No money or credit card? Sorry; and try not to get blood on our carpet on your way out.)

Swish! - Occam's razor, the last for now.

The calls for austerity, heard from almost every corner, are illustrating the bankruptcy of thought 'in power.' Like the old one about crims; Q: Why do they try to rob banks? A: Because that's where the money is. Which, coincidentally, is where lots of rich keep their dough. Wanna 'balanced budget?' - Tax the rich. Hard, but fair[2].

Update 110822, 08:18; PS Ah, yes. The moral aspect ... in the 1st instance, any moral condemnation, however 'well'-deserved, will bring nothing (but must be made, loud & clear), since the shadowy true rulers order mass-slaughters [Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc.] and not only tolerate vile crime, they actually encourage it [Israel, etc.]; they will in turn only respond to force. Speaking of Libya, the rogue-regimes of the US (300mio), France (65mio) & England (50mio) must feel inordinately proud of themselves, having laid waste to Libya (6.5mio) in almost exactly 5 months. Well done US+NATO, a certain Reich would be more than impressed; you have 'well'-earned the next number up (=4th) ...


Update 110822, 15:21; PPS I had to do a bit on Libya this morning, as my entry into mourning on Libya's behalf. Wiki: "Libya had the highest HDI in Africa;" since the UN+NATO destroyed Gaddafi (plus his society) for *nothing but $s*, the 'Libyan in the street' may expect some 'slight' fall in general living standards. Oh! Recall Thatcher: "... there is no such thing as society" - especially after such a "shock'n whore;" could be likened to shooting camels from a helicopter - but here it was hi-tech NATO against relatively peaceful, after the US 120 cruise missile assault, essentially unarmed Arabs.


But I should get back to the greed/crime theme; switching to another atimes article's concluding remarks:

  «Wall Street was the enabler, but Main Street was the addict. Americans stopped saving as long as home prices rose; when home prices started to fall, they started saving again.
That is why the national narrative that Westen proposes is ill-informed, innumerate, vituperous, malicious and false. American households levered a $6 trillion net inflow of foreign savings during the decade 1998 through 2007 into a bubble that benefited them far more than it did Wall Street. The impact of the bubble on the household balance sheet exceeds the growth in real-estate assets, moreover, because most small business expansion followed the housing bubble.
Americans, as I argued on August 2 (The collapse of America's middle class Asia Times Online, August 2) must adapted to a technology-driven global economy, after a decade and a half of riding the crest of the savings tsunami that flooded American markets during the bubble years.»

Comment: Phew! Strong words (repeat; "ill-informed, innumerate, vituperous, malicious and false"); talk about bad manners, then blaming the victim. The theme morphs from the govt. planning (more the lack of, or outright error of) to the sheople, their relationship to business, the economy & and here, house-prices. The people must adapt (as if they had some choice), the people are to be *blamed* for housing inflation, blah, blah. Spengler also blames 'cheap imported $s,' causing another near-attack of the vapours. So-called 'cheap imported $s' are also implicated in Aus, but there is a vast difference; for the US they are printed $s being pushed back (nothing much else to do with them), in Aus they are sought after. In both cases, the interest leaves the country, but single-dwelling purchasers cannot benefit (until the final cash-out, perhaps). In the US 'no-doc' (=toxic) loans were a big factor, in Aus it was primarily Howard/Costello's ½CGT, plus the exhortation to 'create wealth.'

Swish! - Occam's still around.

My point; fazit #2: I've no doubt at all, that the 'Wall St. Wizards' think their greed is justified, even inside the law - or at the very least, know that there are no cops on their tail. Law is a construct anyway, and with the law-makers in Wall St.'s pockets, the law can be anything they want it to be. No one talks about justice or morals (except me'n me mates perhaps); but the simple fact is that the rich, mostly already so, just can't get enough, and what they're grabbing is from us, we the sheople (zero-sum 'game').



[1] cunning  -adj. (-er, -est) 1 deceitful, clever, or crafty. 2 ingenious (cunning device). ... cunningly adv. [Old Norse: related to *can1] [POD]

[2] fair1  -adj. 1 just, equitable; in accordance with the rules. [ibid.] 

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