Archive - Jan 29, 2014

Rich Dicks

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Memo to Kevin O'Leary, Tom Perkins, and Sergio Ermotti: LINE UP FOR YOUR PITCHFORKINGS.

Murder is wrong. People shouldn't do it. That said, there's no escaping the fact that some people are, on a strictly objective fact-based evaluation, less sympathetic if, say, an angry mob were to stab them in the face, take all their stuff, and burn down what's left. This is obviously not a recommendation that people should do this, just a simple recognition that, were it to happen to, say, some rich fucking IDIOTS who SAY THE DAMNDEST THINGS, the volume of tears I would shed would be drastically reduced.

"This is a great thing because it inspires everybody, and gets them the motivation to look up to the 1 percent and say, 'I want to become one of those people. I’m going to fight hard and get up to the top.'” - Canadian businessman Kevin O'Leary, reacting to the news that the 85 richest people in the world have as much money as the 3.5 billion poorest people.

You know, it's one type of insanity for, say, a Donald Trump to suffer under the delusion that he provides the 'inspiration' for, say, a poor New York child to work hard and become rich. I mean, yes, the underlying assumption, that ambition and hard work are the sole factors leading to success, but if you somehow accept the initial assumption, there's some kind of mechanism for the kid to learn who Trump is and aspire to emulate him.

But what we're talking about here is HALF THE PLANET. Eighty five dudes with as much money as HALF THE FUCKING PLANET. Even assuming inspiration was in play, a big chunk of those people aren't even in a position to know just how fucked they really are. And even if that somehow were a thing, you think three and a half billion people can somehow generate enough money to match the top 85? Where do those resources come from? They'd have to come from Kevin O'Leary's entitled fucking hide.

"I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its 'one percent,' namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the 'rich.'... This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent "progressive" radicalism unthinkable now?" - Venture capitalist Tom Perkins, in a letter to the editor to the Wall Street Journal.

Let's get one thing straight right off the fucking bat. Wealth is not an ethnicity. So even in Perkins' hyperbolic worst case scenario, a Nazi-style Kristallnacht wouldn't be genocide or ethnic cleansing. It would be based entirely on the behavior of the people targeted, or at the very least, the fact that they have all the stuff.

But nothing like that is going to happen because frankly, that's not how power dynamics work. The Nazis didn't somehow overcome the vast power and wealth of German and Eastern European Jews in order to pull off the Holocaust. They were already in charge of things. That's how they got away with it for as long as they did. Until better people stopped them. There may be a flimsy World War II analogy here somewhere, but it's not where Tom Perkins thinks it is.

Tom Perkins, by the way, spent $130 million just so he could be the man with the world's biggest yacht. I don't think I'm going to take lessons on civility from a cartoonish Thurston Howell wannabe with a fraction of the charm.

"Life is hard enough, and I think this constant lecturing on ethics and on integrity by many stakeholders is probably the most frustrating part of the equation. Because I don't think there are many people who are perfect. We are far from being perfect…but it's not going to be very helpful to be constantly bashing banks." - Sergio Ermotti, who runs UBS, a shitty bank everyone's been bashing for, shall we say, not being perfect.

I am, in what may come as a shock to some, sure of very few things in life. But I guaran-fucking-tee you that Sergio Ermotti's life is not hard enough.

UBS' crimes range from rank incompetence (lax controls that caused a
"rogue trader" to lose billions of dollars) to outright evil. UBS was a key player in the Libor scandal, which is complicated and banky and I'm not going to summarize it in detail, but the traditional "rats in human suits fucking you over to make themselves richer" is perfectly apt.

I mean, if I committed global fraud, got to keep my job, and only suffered an occasional public scolding, I'd keep my goddamn mouth shut, take my microscopic lumps, and try not to get caught again. But I guess that's why I'm not in the world of high finance.