Posts filed under “Philosophy”

The US is Now a Corporate Monarchy

I did an interview with a print reporter yesterday about what has been going on with lack of prosecutions, the banks, and Wall Street in general. We discussed the corrupt exchanges and HFT.

I dropped lots of F-Bombs, called out cowards and crooks and held nothing back. (“That fucker belongs in prison; this son of a bitch should hang“)

Afterwards, she commented that I seemed angry.

I wrote back suggesting that I am a happy dude, and its not Anger — its closer to an ineffable sadness that comes once you realize you have lost something dear. I am old enough to have grown up when this nation was a Democracy, but that era has passed. We now live in a nation no longer run by the citizens — it is a Corporatocracy — and that makes me sadder than angry . . .

She suggests perhaps a better word is outraged.

I wonder: Why have the Europeans figured out they are getting screwed, and we haven’t? Why are they taking to the streets en masse, while we seem to be watching our own control over our own futures slip from our hands almost as if from afar?

In America, we are too busy dropping the kids off at soccer, running around looking for sales and bargains, racing to keep our heads above water. We seem to forget to get outraged. Our control over our once Democracy — the one we had a revolution against a monarchy dictating decisions from afar — slips away from us. Not with a bang, not even with a whimper, but with a 1000s acts of gradual ceding of power to the new Monarch. We have given up hard won rights to a coordinated attack from all three branches of government; Our Congress has become the legislative branch of eBay — Congressmen are auctioned off to the highest bidder; they even have a Buy It Now button to get specific legislation passed. The executive branch has fallen under the sunk cost fallacy, afraid to prosecute banks because we spent so many billions bailing them out. It turns out that even our once venerable Supreme Court is just as corrupted, with lobbyists partying with Justices and backdooring ethics by hiring their wives.

In short, our new overlords are enormously well funded, well connected, relentless and perhaps most of all, patient. This new King was not appointed by primogeniture, or even Divine Right, but by acquiring enough profits in the free market that they can buy control over society, even as they thwart that free market ideal for their own ends. We have become, in short, a Corporate Monarchy.

The right question isn’t why am I angry, sad and outraged. The proper question is, why aren’t you?

Category: Philosophy, Politics, Really, really bad calls

Open Thread: What is Causation?

Last week, I discussed “The Big Lie goes viral” in terms of the causes of the financial crisis. But that commentary begged the issue: What exactly is “Causation“? This is a precise term of art that has a very specific meaning. Many of the world’s greatest thinkers, from Aristotle to Kant to Hume, have examined…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Legal, Philosophy, Really, really bad calls

The World At Seven Billion

The world’s population is expected to hit seven billion in the next few weeks. After growing very slowly for most of human history, the number of people on Earth has more than doubled in the last 50 years. Click below to find out where you fit into this story of human life? Source: The World…Read More

Category: Philosophy, Science

The Little Book of Hindu Deities

The Little Book of Hindu Deities: From the Goddess of Wealth to the Sacred Cow is adorable! Source: The Little Book of Hindu Deities: Pixar Animator Rethinks Myth Brain Pickings, October 27, 2011

Category: Books, Philosophy

QOTD: The Illusion of Skill

Our quote of the day comes from an article in this Sunday’s NYT magazine, Don’t Blink! The Hazards of Confidence by Daniel Kahneman: “The illusion of skill is not only an individual aberration; it is deeply ingrained in the culture of the [financial] industry. Facts that challenge such basic assumptions — and thereby threaten people’s…Read More

Category: Finance, Philosophy, Psychology

QOTD: Two Novels That Can Change Your Life

A fantastic quote bubbled up in comments the other day: “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to…Read More

Category: Philosophy, Really, really bad calls

Nobel Laureates and Economic Prosperity

> The graphic above, via Jon Bruner of Forbes, reflects the enormous American contribution to Arts & Sciences over the past century. What is intriguing is not just that the US has won so many prizes, but that the a third of American Nobels have gone to immigrants to the US: “The United States has…Read More

Category: Philosophy, Research, Science, Technology

QOTD: The next Steve Jobs?

Interesting quote from The New Yorker: “Who will be the next Steve Jobs? I doubt it will be Mark Zuckerberg. He gives every indication of being the next Bill Gates: a smart dude who has one great idea at the right time, builds a monopoly, and then keeps it by releasing stuff that’s good enough…Read More

Category: Philosophy, Technology

QOTD: Cult of Ignorance

Our Quote of the Day is over 30 years old: “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is…Read More

Category: Philosophy

Da Bears . . .

Chart via WSJ > I have no idea where idea that “20%” somehow defines a bear market, or where it came from. In my mind, I prefer to think of this in the context of trends. Is any market moving from lower left to upper right of the chart? That is a bull market. If…Read More

Category: Philosophy, Trading