Author Topic: money for nothing


money for nothing
« on: July 04, 2008 »

Duirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite
Cassandra Spike Milligan


shareholder value
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2009 »
My wife was examining the nice, reasonably priced wool sweater she'd bought at Marks & Spencer some years ago and happened to notice that it was made in Britain. RIP St. Michael. Pity how most clothes at a similar price range these days don't make it through many washings without looking sorry.

Shareholder value: every little hurts.


we already tried that
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2010 »
In case you're still buying books:

With real jobs disappearing, the positive thinkers counseled people to work ever harder on themselves -- monitoring their thoughts, adjusting their emotions, focusing more intently on their desires. All the usual nostrums were invoked: Banish negative people and steer clear of "office water-cooler whinefests." Limit your consumption of negative news. Even on the liberal news site the Huffington Post, a blogger advised, "Studies show that you will sleep better with less news intake late at night. Focus your mind on what is upbeat and positive." Above all, it was important to be vigilant and learn how "to spot when negativity is sneaking up on you personally," according to an advertisement for a positive-thinking seminar directed both at managers and at "individuals who are experiencing a personal loss of drive and feeling of futility." Bear in mind that even in the worst catastrophe someone usually comes out on top, Tony Robbins assured viewers of the Today show, citing Sir John Templeton, "the greatest investor of all time," who "made most of his money when markets were crashing." If just one person can get rich during a crash or economic downturn, then no one has an excuse for whining.

Some recommended positive thinking not only for the individual's plight but for the entire economic mess. What is a recession, anyway, but a mass outbreak of pessimism? An op-ed in the
Chicago Tribune asserted that "the constant badmouthing, beyond what reality requires, got us to where we are now, turning a limp economy into a poor one, threatening to turn a recession into a depression." The solution? "Knock off the badmouthing. Brush off the accusation of being Pollyannaish, naive, or worse.... Exult in the prospects, understand that we can pour whatever trillions we can get our hands on into the economy, but it won't do any good unless we, ourselves, look forward with trust and confidence." Similarly, the broker who handles my dwindling retirement account suggested wistfully that "if only people would get out and buy things again..." But at the time of this writing, Adam Smith's idea that the self-seeking behavior of individuals would add up to the general welfare of all no longer seems to apply. As individuals, we know that it would be suicidal to get deeper in debt to indulge our acquisitiveness, even if doing so could jump-start the economy, so we each hunker down and try to make do with less. Or not. The easy credit is gone; the reckless spending looks more self-destructive by the moment. Besides, we already tried that.

From the chapter 'How positive thinking destroyed the economy'. Of course, the US is hardly alone in its bright-sidedness

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is that all there is?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2010 »

The belief that we do not have choices is a fantasy, an unfortunate indulgence in abdication. And so the curious thing about inevitability is that it tends not to last very long. The more the true believers in a reigning theory of truth insist that its growth is inevitable and therefore eternal, the faster the rest of us, who have a bit of distance, tend to decide that we do have the power of choice. And all things considered, we would rather choose some other approach.

The true believers and sophisticated managers go on riding their great wave ever more relentlessly and with remarkable but increasingly meaningless skill, while a growing percentage of the citizenry draw ever further back on the shore in a precautionary manner. To those up on the crest, so intent upon manoeuvring their surfboards, we must appear an unsympathetic lot, uninterested in their efforts, disengaged, strangely irritable, annoyed, alienated, dispirited, cynical.

Some of us even have our backs turned, too busy cashing in to watch, having convinced ourselves that humans unleashed at a global level with only their self-interest in play will produce a dynamic that spreads wealth and strengthens democracy. More and more I meet people who have followed the rules, have done well for themselves and now seem adrift, asking,
Is that all there is?

But most of us just seem to be disconnected, waiting for the wave to crash. We are waiting with the cruel, experienced eye of a citizenry that has lost respect for its leadership in general, yet hasn't quite worked out what to do about it and so waits for them to self-destruct.

Looking back, we see it has been a neat trick, presenting an economic truism as the prism through which civilization must be approached. But it doesn't change how reality works. The believers believe, but the world moves on.