“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Friday, June 06, 2008

a reckoning

Bubble bubble toil and trouble.
Let’s do a small reckoning, shall we?
Let's reckon up outlay in one column, and cosmic stupidity in the other column.
In the one column, we have a government outlay of 164 billion dollars. Was this money spent on a crash industrial program to develop better, fuel efficient or fuel alternative technologies? Did we decide to use the power of research represented by the public financing of education, the vast array of state universities, to create and then license said technology? Or did we decide that the credit card companies needed some bloodsugar?
Ah, what are the markers of cosmic stupidity? We need a lot of them to put in the other column. So many! All festooning our low, dirty, dishonest and lobotomized time.

Then, we have the Fed making loans to the financial sector for some as yet indefinite amount – perhaps as much as 400 billion. With the financial sector awash in cash, of course, money went zipping over to where return on non-investment would do the most good – commodities! And so we said hello to various mysterious spikes in oil prices.

Cosmic stupidity, and ramping up the carbon based suicide of the planet. Excellent. The cosmic stupidity spirits are surely rubbing their hands with glee.

And then, of course, we have Wall Street dinosaurs, who can’t remember the last time they actually had to pay for a meal, or their taxes, or any service whatsoever, deciding that this was the best of times – as indeed people do decide when they are loaned money at below par rates. Of course, much of the financial sector now consists of complicated bets on shifts in equities and commodities markets, so in essence, the Fed – never as smart as Br’er Rabbit – was taking collateral that will plummet in value if the stock market plummets in value. This massive bet on the market going up, and the market going up because the Fed was making the massive bet, seemed an excellent thing, so excellent that the fact that the economy depends on the consumption of all those people who’d maxed out their credit cards and weren’t getting wage increases seemed petty to even contemplate. Surely we were going to continue on course as we sailed through another episode of the great moderation – which is what the servitors of the wealthy, the economists, call our present phase of exacerbating wealth inequality, cutting public investment, and relying on the power that lies in consumer debt, linked to asset inflation.

To explain how Wall Street thinks, the best source, at the moment, is Jezbel.

“Oh. My. God. Okay: Henry T. Nicholas III is the former CEO of Broadcom. Broadcom makes chips that run your cable boxes and cell phones and modems and crap, but that is so beside the point here. (Well, there is this theory that porn drives all communications and media innovation, but let's cut to the chase.) In the midst of investigating Broadcom on a run-of-the-mill options backdating scandal, the Feds learned something interesting about how Henry T. Nicholas III would close a deal with a cable box manufacturer or a modem maker or whatever: he'd slip drugs into their drinks. Generally Ecstasy. Sometimes meth or coke. No seriously. The indictment is here. He'd do this, among other places, at concerts, the Super Bowl, Rome, and in an underground room and tunnel he'd built under his Rodeo Drive apartment. Seriously, check it out.”

Ah, the successful.

And this is from the NYT story: “Shares [of Broadcom] rose 65 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $28.75 on Thursday, amid a general upswing in the stock market. Its 52-week trading range was between $16.38 and $43.07.”

1 comment:

JCD said...

That's really choice: "Not sure yet, about the new contract eh? Well, don't rush the decision. Hey, can I get you anything? Howbout a drink? A Lemonade? Grrrreat."