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Two months ago I published a Diary entitled, "Do you trust these men."In that Diary and in Trenz Pruca's Journal, I posted a photograph of several distinguished executives of the nations principle commercial financial entities taken during their testimony before Congress during that body's investigation into whether or not these distinguished men or their organizations caused or contributed to causing the nation's current financial crisis.

They uniformly denied that either they or their organization bore any responsibility, but assured the Committee they could be trusted with the running of the a major portion of the Nation's economy without the citizens of the country's knowledge, monitoring or supervision. None in the men in the photograph were smiling. I wrote:

Although they are not smiling they are laughing at you and I. They know that your Congress will not do anything serious to limit these men from doing whatever they want to do with your money.

Of course they are confident, intelligent and respectable men who can be trusted to do the right thing with your and the Nation's money. Or can they?

In a study published by the journal Psychology, Crime and Law, Belinda Board and Katarina Fritzon tested 39 senior managers and chief executives from leading British businesses with among other things their psychopathic tendencies. They compared the results to the same tests given patients incarcerated at Broadmoor special hospital, who had been convicted of serious crimes. They found that on certain indicators of psychopathy, the bosses’s scores either matched or exceeded those of the patients. In fact, on these criteria, they beat even the subset of patients who had been diagnosed with psychopathic personality disorders.

This is not a joke.

Lynn Stout who has written on this phenomena points out:

“The problem with the homo economicus theory is that the purely rational, purely selfish person is a functional psychopath. If Economic Man cares nothing for ethics or others’ welfare, he will lie, cheat, steal, even murder, whenever it serves his material interests. Not surprisingly, although homo economicus is alive and well in many economics departments, many experts today prefer to embrace behavioral economics, which relies on data from experiments to see how real people really behave. Behavioral economics confirms something both important and reassuring. Most of us are not conscienceless psychopaths.”
How Investing Turns Nice People into Psychopaths.
Another commentator Andrew Leonard in his article in SALON entitled,  "How Testosterone Poisoning Wrecked the Economy" described the same phenomena when he wrote:
“A few years of big profits from risky derivative bets drove Wall Street traders crazy from testosterone poisoning. So it’s not really alpha males who blew up the global economy, it’s just a bunch of guys who overdosed on naturally produced steroids.”
Many studies have confirmed the psychopathic tendencies of these "Masters of the Universe." A Study entitled, Endogenous Steroids and Financial Risk Taking (Coates and Herbert) reports:

“Testosterone may therefore underlie a financial variant of the ‘winner’ effect, in which a previous win in the markets leads to… increased (and eventually irrational) risk taking in the next round of trading. This effect, even if confined to a small number of people, could cause financial markets to deviate from the predictions of rational choice theory.”
Or as reported in ScienceDirect:
"Testosterone levels change after a wins or a loss. Researchers found that those changes could then predict what a loser would do next. Losers who after competing, had increased levels of testosterone, were more likely to compete again. But those who lost a competition, and had testosterone levels decrease, were less likely to compete again."
As another exasperated reviewer of these studies commented:
"Participation in high-reward, high-stress occupations like derivatives trading warps your brain chemistry. People with unbalanced brain chemistry make bad decisions. Every time Wall Street bubbles over, it becomes a factory for producing hopped-up-on-steroids madmen who think they are chasing woolly mammoths, but are actually stabbing themselves in the kidneys."
Recent psychological studies have shown that threats to ones manhood causes significant anxiety in men. On the other hand these same studies indicate that women couldn’t care less if their gender is threatened.

So what, you may ask. They still are experienced capable experts.  So, they go a little mad during the heat of the moment. That can be a good thing, can't it?

Well for one thing the studies seem to show that it is not simply during periods of great stress that they do things that would get many of the rest of us locked up. For another the myth of competence appears to be as shaky as the myth that these unsmiling men are ethical and cool under pressure.

For example Daniel Kahneman, winner of a Nobel economics prize, discovered that the apparent belief by financial high fliers that their success is earned by talent and hard work is a cognitive illusion. For example, he studied the results achieved by 25 wealth advisers, across eight years. He found that the consistency of their performance was zero. “The results resembled what you would expect from a dice-rolling contest, not a game of skill.” Those who received the biggest bonuses had simply got lucky.

Such results seem to have been widely replicated. They show that traders and fund managers all across Wall Street receive their massive remuneration for doing no better than would a chimpanzee flipping a coin. When Kahneman tried to point this out to the financial industry, they ignored him. “The illusion of skill … is deeply ingrained in their culture,” he observed.

Brad DeLong recognizing this wrote:

“The core competences of high finance are supposed to be (a) assessing risk, and (b) matching people with risks to be carried with people with the risk-bearing capacity to carry them.

Robert Waldmann has a different view:
Limits to Arbitrage Bites Again: I think their core competencies are (a) finding fools for counter-parties and (b) evading regulations/disguising gambling as hedging.

Regulatory arbitrage, and persuading those who do not understand risks that they should bear them–those are not socially-valuable activities.”

Writing specifically about the obvious fraud perpetrated on investors by hedge funds Simon Lack in his new book The Hedge Fund Mirage: The Illusion of Big Money and Why It's Too Good to be True, observes:
“…Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe realize, deep down, how morally indefensible their position is. They’re not John Galt; they’re not even Steve Jobs. They’re people who got rich by peddling complex financial schemes that, far from delivering clear benefits to the American people, helped push us into a crisis whose aftereffects continue to blight the lives of tens of millions of their fellow citizens.

Hedge fund fees are egregious by any measure. The normal 2% management fee and 20% incentive fee have resulted in an enormous transfer of wealth from clients to the hedge fund industry. According to the report pretty much all the profits earned by hedge funds in excess of the risk free rate have been consumed by fees."

Bankers do not believe the neoclassical economists’ baloney about the discipline of the free market, but they sure want you to.
“Lots of bankers knew that things were in trouble, and they went on — they did it anyway…Some of them did it because they could bet against it. Some of them did it because they could make fees by helping clients who were betting against it. And some of them did it just to keep the machine doing it and make huge bonuses.”
ProPublica reporter Jesse Eisenger on the 2008 financial collapse.
Paul Krugman (sometimes also referred to as Obi Wan Kenobi, at other times “the Only Truly Noble Economist”) like Delong in decrying the impact of the  ethical deficiencies rampant in the financial industry on the public  observed:
"Yet they have paid no price. Their institutions were bailed out by taxpayers, with few strings attached. They continue to benefit from explicit and implicit federal guarantees — basically, they’re still in a game of heads they win, tails taxpayers lose. And they benefit from tax loopholes that in many cases have people with multimillion-dollar incomes paying lower rates than middle-class families.

This special treatment can’t bear close scrutiny — and therefore, as they see it, there must be no close scrutiny. Anyone who points out the obvious, no matter how calmly and moderately, must be demonized and driven from the stage. In fact, the more reasonable and moderate a critic sounds, the more urgently he or she must be demonized, hence the frantic sliming of Elizabeth Warren.”

NOTE: Did you know that the so-called Nobel Prize for Economics was not set up by Alfred Noble. It was a later addition to the awards set up and funded by the banking and financing community to provide the cover of intellectual respectability for their favored advisors (They chose economists because they realized a Nobel Prize for Lawyers would never fly).

But, some may argue, obviously they are respected pillars of their community, aggressive behavior in pursuit of their goals would not include conscious wrong doing, would it?

Unfortunately Reuters recently reported that about twenty-five percent of Wall Street executives see wrongdoing actually as a key to their success. According to a report recently released by whistleblower law firm Labaton Sucharow:

"In a survey of 500 senior executives in the United States and the UK, 26 percent of respondents said they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace, while 24 percent said they believed financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct to be successful.

Sixteen percent of respondents said they would commit insider trading if they could get away with it, according to Labaton Sucharow. And 30 percent said their compensation plans created pressure to compromise ethical standards or violate the law."

Scorn for moneymen has a long pedigree. Jesus expelled the money changers from the Temple. Timothy tells us that, “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Muhammad banned usury. The Jews referred to interest as neshek—a bite. The Catholic church banned it in 1311. Dante consigned moneylenders to the seventh circle of hell—the one also populated by the inhabitants of Sodom and “other practisers of unnatural vice.”

An economics book used in some fundamentalist christian private high schools in the US asserts that the Antichrist — a world ruler predicted in the New Testament — will one day control what is bought and sold.

Does this all mean that the CEO of Morgan Stanley, Jamie Dimon (Demon? Spell check says so.), could be the AntiChrist and may practice “unnatural vice?”

So, there we have it; the "Masters of the Universe" to a great extent are, according to science, psychopathic gamblers with gross ego problems and according to many commentators unethical to boot. Not only that but God himself despises them. So what should we do about it?

Well, to risk even more over simplification than I have already, I tend to agree in exasperation with swellsman here on Daily Kos who wrote To Hell With the 1% – The Case for Debt Forgiveness.

“There is absolutely no reason — well, no good reason — why the United States should continue to keep pumping its money, its heart’s blood, into the lifeless corpse that the financial industry has become. These zombie banks have already acknowledged that they need the government to keep bailing them out in order to continue doing business. When someone has so screwed up their company that it can no longer exist without continuous, massive government subsidies, then – I’m sorry — there’s no longer a place for that company in America. (It’s not me, Mr. Bankster . . . it’s the free market. I’m just enforcing the rules.)”
Why is this important? Because we need to do better than this:

a. In 1970, 65 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”. By 2007, only 44 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”.
b. According to a recent report produced by Pew Charitable Trusts, approximately one out of every three Americans that grew up in a middle class household has slipped down the income ladder.
c. In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.
d. The poorest 50 percent of all Americans now collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.
e. The number of Americans that fell into poverty (2.6 million) set a new all-time record last year and extreme poverty (6.7%) is at the highest level ever measured in the United States.
f. According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.
g. America has lost an average of 15 manufacturing facilities a day over the last 10 years. During 2010 it got even worse. Last year, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day shut down in the United States.
h. Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low-income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.
i. Most Americans are scratching and clawing and doing whatever they can to make a living these days. Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

Can anything be done to halt this union between those who would destroy the country to preserve or gain even greater wealth and those so frustrated by their weakening grasp on the few privileges remaining to them they would at the behest of those who actually are undermining them from above surrender their liberty, that I wrote about in a prior Diary? I, for one am pessimistic.

To me, there is a  critical element that is missing in the current debate regarding our political system, the economy and the environment. While economists wax wroth over which theory of financial exchange is real, and conservatives and liberals are engaged in a fight to the death over whether government is the problem or the solution, the institutions that so troubled Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, Justice Brandeis and many many others, have continued their legislative and judicial march, increasing their wealth and power until now they stand on the verge of acquiring all the rights of an individual with a few of the duties. For all extents and purposes there has ceased to be a distinction between very large corporations and especially those in the financial industry (VLCS) and nations except that in many cases the VLCS have greater economic and political power than many if not most countries, as well as greater control of their dependents (worker’s and customers) than most countries have over their citizens.

With the impending collapse of liberal democracies under the influence of these institutions (VLCS) and climate, religious and ideological pressures, I can foresee a time in the not to distant future where in some cases the fiction of Democracy will be done away with and the VLCS will reign again as did the British East India Company in India.

We must never forget that to a great extent it was these types of commercial companies, with much less economic and political power [no one thought they were individuals then] who created colonial America. Also, remember a nation-state originated as a commercial enterprise based upon the exploitation of land and managed by a small group of self perpetuating individuals. Liberal Democracy was an idea borrowed from city-states not nation-states.

There is little to distinguish the current commercial oligarchy with the aristocracy of old except that our modern counterparts to the ancien regime have held on to their wealth for a briefer period and would like to hold on to it much longer no matter its impact on liberty or the welfare of others.

Perhaps it is time for a second American Revolution or even a secong civil war. Hopefully it can be faught at the ballot box and not on fields of dishonor.

(Note: this diary was assembled from notes and personal emails posted over the past year and may contain some unattributed material, like the list, I tried my best to cite everything, if I failed, I apologize and if objection is made I will correct it immediatly.)

Originally posted to Trenz Pruca on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:49 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  They are like addicted gamblers. This addiction (12+ / 0-)

    can leave his family broke and homeless, leave their friends wanting for the money the gambler borrowed. When they gamble,  win or lose, they think of no one. Only difference, the bankers even when they lose, have bookoos of money to gamble with and dependable sources to obtain more money. Even gets bailed out after lying like the addicted gamblers they really are. Regulate them, put them on an allowance.

  •  Very thorough and well written. (10+ / 0-)

    Thank you for your work.

    Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

    by Smoh on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 05:22:03 AM PDT

  •  Great post. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gerard w, ybruti, scarvegas, blue91

    I think we need to focus — as a movement and a country — on truly democratizing our society's institutions. Placing our faith in an unaccountable few has proven disastrous for ourselves and the planet we live on.

    All workplaces should be owned and democratically run by the people who work there. This includes heavy industry — workers are less likely to pollute the air and water their families live near. And it includes the media — imagine what a newspaper run by actual journalists would cover!

    We should also democratize how our government spends money, through tried-and-true mechanisms like participatory budgeting.

    If we only rely on top-down policy reforms enacted by politicians, other politicians who come later can just as easily undo those reforms. Until we structurally change how our government and economy is run, we'll see whatever meager gains we accomplish be gradually picked away at, piece by piece.

    Join the fight for student power on campus: ForStudentPower.org

    by Liberaltarian on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:01:25 AM PDT

    •  Liberaltarian (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA

      I appreciate your comment and generally agree except that I am uncomfortable with giving any self-interested group license to behave irresponsibly. It does not work very well, either in the hands of the plutocrats (the fraud of the invisable hand) or the disposessed.

  •  Bank locally. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EclecticCrafter

    When you are the banker for neighbors and fellow church members and employ the same people you live near and worship with you can not afford to be a sociopath.

    "The opposite of faith is not doubt. It's certainty."

    by Simul Iustus et Peccator on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:37:49 AM PDT

    •  S&L scandal involved primarily local banks. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA, Egalitare, DeminNewJ, profewalt

      They can be bought by crooks quite easily.

    •  Simul (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA, Egalitare

      Thank you. You point out the obvious glaring hole in my argument. Direct personal interactions on a community level mitigate the problem. That is why the level of regulatory restrictions must be stronger on those remote of exceptionally large than those that must respond directly to their neighbor and their community.

    •  That's a short term fix (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WakeUpNeo

      And while it should be taken, the problem is that small bankers will at best continue to be marginalized by their larger, more influential uber-predatory mutations. Eventually the marginalization forces them out of business, no matter how effective, diligent and committed the local bankers are to the local community.

      We've gotten to the point where The Spreadsheet Games have no tangible correlation to the well-being - near term, mid term or long term - of millions of us here in this nation, billions of us on the entire planet. Anything that doesn't feed the existing revenue streams of the "Gaming Center" is dismissed as...well, it really doesn't matter so long as it is effectively dismissed and the next few reporting quarters proceed as rigged.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 05:03:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is the money quote to me (7+ / 0-)

    Research revealed "...the apparent believe that their success is earned by talent and hard work is a cognitive illusion." And "He found that the consistency of their performance was zero."

    This is sort of the Prosperity Gospel or Social Darwinism on hallucinogens. Rich people are not "better" than the rest of us. They are not smarter or more talented than the rest of us. The amount of money or stuff one can tally up is not an indicator of one's achievement or ability.

    But it's going to take a cultural shift I think.

    Warning: That light at the end of the tunnel just might be an oncoming train.

    by history first on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:46:05 AM PDT

    •  History (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA, blue91, history first

      I appreciate your comment. The problem is that the psychopathically inclined tend to always float to the top of any organization (including so-called liberal ones). Sometimes individually one or another of them may do some good, collectively, despite current economic theory, they almost always do bad. That's why Roosevelt, I think it was was right when he said, "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance."

  •  'There's an ass for every seat', that's what (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette

    they told me when worked for a financial advisor...

    "But Brandine, you're supposed to be in Iraq stopping 911!"

    by leftyguitarist on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:13:58 AM PDT

  •  Monetizing everything... Middlemen on all (6+ / 0-)

    the things they can get... finding more ways that they can use to extract wealth, add leveraged extra stages between regular people and goods and services as they can...

    Web pages loaded with advertising is just a small hint of the rapacious madness... more ads per hour on TV than in Europe... more complex fees and penalties on banking transactions... and fiddling everything to arrange for more fees...

    Tax loopholes that served a purpose when the highest rate was near 90% are still around to be abused with far lower taxes...

    Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

    by IreGyre on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:31:49 AM PDT

    •  IreGyre (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA, native, FindingMyVoice, IreGyre

      I appreciate your comment. You have put your finger on one of the central problems. The goal in almost any financial system is to enhance fee opportunities at the expense of service or product.

      •  Not "how can we best serve our customers" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WakeUpNeo

        instead it is "how can we limit choices, establish virtual monopolies, neutralize government refereeing and milk our captive customers for as much as we can as fast as we can for as long as we can to maximize our bonuses before we bail and move on. It is not longer business but blatant organized crime... a bustout of an entire economy... and entire country... no... the world... "Leech" is a weak term for what they have been doing... a pit bull leech or the Vampire Squid label are closer.

        Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

        by IreGyre on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:07:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  IreGyre (0+ / 0-)

          I agree with you. The problem is magnified in fee based systems and  service economies.

          Fee based systems eventually resolve themselves into a system where manipulation of fee income overwhelms consideration of the client's interests.

          Interestingly, social media has the potential to reverse some of these problems. For the users (customers) access should be free or almost free. For those seeking access to the customers the cost becomes ever more dear.

          Most of what I read about the social media industry from the investor and business perspective are their frustration with this. They are searching for ways to restore the toll on the user side.  

  •  Some of these men hold NY Fed Reserve board seats, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FindingMyVoice

    … even though the New York Federal Reserve regulates the banks of which they are CEOs. Add to that the special powers and programs the Fed has to disburse billion-dollar bailout largesse.

    What this amounts to is, the CEOs of the major banks together with the NY Federal Reserve make up an elite club that has access to an unlimited supply of dollars either exacted from taxpayers or created out of thin air, with zero citizen control and zero outside oversight.

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:59:28 PM PDT

  •  And Greenspan was a disciple of Ayn Rand who (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    llywrch


    tried to elevate this kind of psychopathy into some kind of noble philosophy. Clarence Thomas makes his interns read the Fountainhead.

    Here's something from Austin Cline about her admiration for the psychopath William Edward Hickman:

    What did Rand admire so much about Hickman? His sociopathic qualities: "Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should," she wrote, gushing that Hickman had "no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel 'other people."

    This echoes almost word for word Rand's later description of her character Howard Roark, the hero of her novel The Fountainhead: "He was born without the ability to consider others."

    The discussion of testosterone and winners is more evidence that we really are a third species of talking chimpanzee and rising above our hormonal imperatives is a difficult undertaking. But then is this Mother Nature's fault? I am reminded of the behavior of a "winning" lion who defeats the old leader of a pride, kills all his babies and proceeds to mate with the mothers of those babies he's killed.

     

    muddy water can best be cleared by leaving it alone

    by veritas curat on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:13:36 PM PDT

  •  I've started to read your great diary! (4+ / 0-)
    So, there we have it; the "Masters of the Universe" to a great extent are, according to science, psychopathic gamblers with gross ego problems and according to many commentators unethical to boot. Not only that but God himself despises them. So what should we do about it?

    Well, to risk even more over simplification than I have already, I tend to agree in exasperation with swellsman here on Daily Kos who wrote To Hell With the 1% – The Case for Debt Forgiveness.

    The first part is fascinating. Thank you, it all makes so much sense. I could also see how my former husband's early and fast win on shorting the pound, where he made a winfall with very little investment, just encouraged the gambling instinct in him. Later on he lied to get an account on margin, tried to do the same thing again and lost it all, had to go bankrupt.

    So, yes!

    Yes also with the to hell to the 1% whom I've accepted as lacking any ethics or morals for the past several years that I've been paying more attention to financial stuff.

    Thanks for this! I wish more people would read it! I'm going to finish it later.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:55:09 PM PDT

  •  I suppose many here know about the lifeguard who (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WakeUpNeo, FindingMyVoice

    was fired from the corporation that had the contract for services at a Florida county ocean-front park. The young man saw a swimmer in serious trouble and went out and brought the swimmer in. The man in trouble was sent to intensive care in a local hospital and is expected to fully recover.

    The corporation fired the heroic lifeguard because the swimmer who was drowning was outside the part of the ocean they were paid to protect.

    This story says it all about the difference between people and corporations. And it also highlights the difference between corporatists and people with human hearts.  Several other lifeguards were fired by the corporation after they said they would have done the same thing.

    Government of the people, for the people, and by the people, people! We've got to reverse this movement of government for the corporations.

    Great diary, and thanks for it!

    "...it's difficult to imagine what else Republicans can do to drive women away in 2012, unless they decide to bring back witch-hanging. And I wouldn't put it past them." James Wolcott

    by Mayfly on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:45:32 PM PDT

  •  All you wrote so describes Willard Rmoney. n/t. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    417els, FindingMyVoice
  •  Diverting Resources from the REAL Economy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WakeUpNeo

    Every dollar these plutocrats invest in complex financial products, is a dollar that could have been invested in new products or factories. You know, those activities that actually create jobs.

    Democracy - Not Plutocracy!

    by vulcangrrl on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:57:41 AM PDT

    •  vulcangrrl (0+ / 0-)

      Thank you. You are absolutely right. Alas, there is generally a greater ROI on fees than on production of goods and public services. Also, the lottery effect that characterizes much of the financial services industry (e.g., hedge funds and the like) is irresistible to the personality types described in the Diary as well as to the gullible.

      It should be the collective goal of a society (government) to make this type of activity less attractive than productive investments. Alas, it has become just the opposite. If the money generated from the financial casinos does not eventually all go into productive endeavors, what social good does it have?

  •  In my umpteenth month of joblessness (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WakeUpNeo

    (heh, after taking out student loans to get trained for a new career), I remind myself that somebody up the line from me, in terms of political clout, is benefiting directly, personally from my misery and my sense of desperation and the misery and desperation of people just like me. Perhaps it's Sheldon Adelson, with his used car-salesman hair, or Carl Rove, with his doughy double chins. Or maybe it's the Koch brothers, who engage in despicable machinations in the shadows, trying to figure out just how to inject cash to short out the economy completely.

    They're the bad guys, without hearts, without consciences, without the ability to link cause and effect. It IS that black-and-white. You know what worries me? It's a report I heard on NPR about traders who actually take testosterone, as athletes have traditionally done, "to compete better." One guy they interviewed said, "You have to be able to compete with the young guys coming up. You have to have the quick reflexes and the aggression..." What about the wisdom? The compassion? The judgment? The traditional things we develop with age, as our "aggression" wanes? These aren't valued at all? I guess not.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 10:00:55 AM PDT

    •  karmsky (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy

      Thank you. Great comment.

      I am sorry to learn of your difficulty. I am fascinated, however, to hear about the competition drug enhancements. I should have suspected as much. I guess cocaine and alcohol did not do it for them.

      •  In my lifetime, rampant greed (0+ / 0-)

        came into vogue in the 1980s, during the Reagan era. Soulless competition, materialism, conformity, and hyper-individualism were glorified openly then as never before, and regarded as "inevitable." As a personal aside, I had a boyfriend in those days whose mother was very much an 80s-style feminist, i.e.,  believing that women should "become more like men" traditionally were, in order to "get ahead." That was literally the world to her, was "getting ahead in business." Looking back, I'm incredulous that this particular boyfriend wasn't a bigger mess emotionally than he in fact was.

        Those are my memories of the 80s, a time that has sown the seeds, in more ways than one, for some of our worse political problems today.

        Currently, what keeps me going? My hope for my personal circumstances, and my hope for the world, both keep me going. I have noticed the slightest uptick in hiring in my field of late. In the past 2 months or so, I have had twice as many job interviews as I had in all of 2011. So I'm hoping something will come through soon. As far as the world is concerned, I don't pay much attention to the corporate media anymore. But what is happening under the radar of the corporate media is often intensely interesting, for good and for ill. I love the Occupy movement, which hasn't diminished this summer, but has diversified, and continues to influence the rhetoric of politics in this country. I love this venue, for great contributions of all kinds, for true, seditious journalism, by amateurs (no wonder they want so badly to shut the internet down).

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:38:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  karmsey (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          karmsy

          I hope the job situation works out for you. Happily for me I am retired and do not need to look for work. Unhappily for me I live on social security and so I had to move to a low-cost jurisdiction to survive.

          With regards to your mon's comment about becming more like men, you might be amused by a piece I wrote in my own blog a while back. It sure pissed off a lot of men, liberal ones at that. Just click here.

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