Monday, October 19, 2020

Will the Stock Market Be Dragged to the Guillotine?

The Fed's rigged-casino stock market will be dragged to the guillotine by one route or another.

The belief that the Federal Reserve and its rigged-casino stock market are permanent and forever is touchingly naive. Never mind the existential crises just ahead; the financial "industry" (heh) projects unending returns of 7% per year, or is it 14% per year? Never mind the details, the Fed has our back and since the Fed is forever, so too will be the gains for everyone playing the rigged games in the Fed's casino.

What makes this presumption so childishly naive is the tides of history are about to sweep away the era of central banks, their fiat currencies and their rigged casino markets. That the global citizenry might realize these are all forms of financial tyranny doesn't occur to to the Financial Aristocracy, which has luxuriated in the neofeudal dominance of finance--the modern-era equivalent of Monarchy and the rights of royalty.

Under the guidance of the Financial Aristocracy, so-called democratic governance has mutated into totalitarian democracy, that is, a "democracy" in name only, a carefully managed simulacrum that props up a facade of "democracy" that is pure PR.

The Fed is busy planning a pivot to becoming "the people's source of free money forever" to save itself from oblivion. The pivot is called FedNow, an instant-payment system which bypasses both the traditional private banking sector and Congressional control of distributing money.

With FedNow, the Fed will be able to create trillions of dollars out of thin air and distribute the trillions directly into household accounts at the Fed. The idea here is that an economy that is no longer financially viable can be propped up indefinitely by Fed free money; all we need to do is bypass the obsolete private banking sector (sorry about that, buckos) and the equally obsolete shards of totalitarian democracy (Congress, the presidency, etc.) and stave off the revolt with endless free money.

That endless free money stripped of the last vestiges of discipline will stoke an inflationary death spiral--well, we'll worry about that tomorrow. The irony here is the Fed is only accelerating the demise of central banking, fiat currency and its rigged-casino stock market with its FedNow scheme to maintain its financial tyranny.

Alas, tyranny is still tyranny, feudalism is still feudalism, and history remains unkind to totalitarian regimes--even those which have morphed into a clever totalitarian democracy.

The Fed's rigged-casino stock market will be dragged to the guillotine by one route or another: either a populist reform that dismantles the neofeudal financial tyranny of central banks and their soon-to-be-worthless fiat currencies, or the implosion of the entire corrupt neofeudal financial system of central banking, fiat currencies and rigged casino markets, all of which are nothing more than engines of inequality.



My new book is available! A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts (Kindle $7, print $17)

Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

AxisOfEasy Salon #26: Ben Hunt vs The Industrially Necessary Narratives (1 hr)

FRA Roundtable: Richard and I discuss Inflation (37 min)

Obsoleted Engineered Economic Relapse (with Chuck Ochelli, 1 hr)

What Could Go Wrong? (43 minutes, with Gordon Long)


My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook coming soon) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.




NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, Robert M. ($5/month), for your marvelously generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.   Thank you, Anthony H. ($100), for your outrageously generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

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Friday, October 16, 2020

The "Titanic" Analogy You Haven't Heard: Passively Accepting Oblivion

Whether we realize it or not, we're responding with passive acceptance of oblivion.

You've undoubtedly heard rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic as an analogy for the futility of approving policy tweaks to address systemic crises. I've used the Titanic as an anology to explain the fragility of our financial system and the "glancing blow" of the pandemic:

Why Our Financial System Is Like the Titanic (March 15, 2016)

Coronavirus and the "Unsinkable" Titanic Analogy (January 29, 2020)

But there's a powerful analogy you haven't heard before. To understand the analogy, we first need to recap the tragedy's basic set-up.

On April 14, 1912, the liner Titanic, considered unsinkable due to its watertight compartments, struck a glancing blow against a massive iceberg on that moonless, weirdly calm night. In the early hours of April 15, the great ship broke in half and sank, ending the lives of the majority of its passengers and crew.

Of the 2,208 passengers and crew onboard, 1,503 perished and 705 survived. The lifeboats had a maximum capacity of 1,178, so some 475 people died unnecessarily. Passengers of the Titanic (wikipedia)

The initial complacency of the passengers and crew after the collision is another source of analogies relating to humanity's near-infinite capacity for denial.

The class structure of the era was enforced by the authorities--the ship's officers. As the situation grew visibly threatening, the First Class passengers were herded into the remaining lifeboats while the steerage/Third Class passengers--many of them immigrants--were mostly kept below decks. Officers were instructed to enforce this class hierarchy with their revolvers.

Two-thirds of all passengers died, but the losses were not evenly distributed: 39% of First Class passengers perished, 58% of Second Class passengers lost their lives and 76% of Third Class passengers did not survive.

Rudimentary calculations by the ship's designer, who was on board to oversee the maiden voyage, revealed the truth to the officers: the ship would sink and there was no way to stop it. The ship was designed to survive four watertight compartments being compromised, and could likely stay afloat if five were opened to the sea, but not if six compartments were flooded. Water would inevitably spill over into adjacent compartments in a domino-like fashion until the ship sank.

What did the authorities do with this knowledge? Stripped of niceties, they passively accepted oblivion as the outcome and devoted their resources to enforcing the class hierarchy and the era's gender chivalry: 80% of male passengers perished, 25% of female passengers lost their lives.

The loading of passengers into lifeboats was so poorly managed that only 60% of the lifeboat capacity was filled.

What if the officers had boldly accepted the inevitability of the ship sinking early on and devised a plan to minimize the loss of life? It would not have taken any extraordinary leap of creativity to organize the crew and passenger volunteers to strip the ship of everything that floated--wooden deck chairs, etc.--and lash them together into rafts. Given the calm seas that night and the freezing water, just keeping people above water would have been enough.

Rather than promote the absurd charade that the ship was fine, just fine, when time was of the essence, the authorities could have rounded up the women and children and filled every seat on lifeboats.

Of the 1,030 people who could not be placed in a lifeboat, 890 were crew members, including about 25 women. The crew members were almost all in the prime of life. If anyone could survive several hours on a partially-submerged raft, it would have been the crew. (The first rescue ship arrived about two hours after the Titanic sank.)

Would this hurried effort to save everyone on board have succeeded? At a minimum, it would have saved an additional 475 souls via a careful loading of the lifeboats to capacity, and if the makeshift rafts had offered any meaningful flotation at all, many more lives would have been saved.

Rather than devote resources to maintaining the pretense of safety and order, what if the ship's leaders had focused their response around answering a simple question: what was needed for people to survive a freezing night once the lifeboats were filled and the ship sank?

I think you see the analogy to the present. Our leadership, such as it is, is devoting resources to maintaining the absurd pretense that everything will magically re-set to September 2019 if we just print enough money and bail out the financial Aristocracy.

Whether we realize it or not, we're responding with passive acceptance of oblivion. The economy and social order were precariously fragile before the pandemic, and now the fragilities are unraveling. We need to start thinking beyond pretense and PR.



My new book is available! A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts (Kindle $7, print $17)

Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

AxisOfEasy Salon #26: Ben Hunt vs The Industrially Necessary Narratives (1 hr)

FRA Roundtable: Richard and I discuss Inflation (37 min)

Obsoleted Engineered Economic Relapse (with Chuck Ochelli, 1 hr)

What Could Go Wrong? (43 minutes, with Gordon Long)


My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook coming soon) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.




NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, Niels L. ($5/month), for your marvelously generous subscription to this site -- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.   Thank you, Dan T. ($50), for your magnificently generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Why We're Doomed: Our Delusional Faith in Incremental Change

Better not to risk any radical evolution that might fail, and so failure is thus assured.

When times are good, modest reforms are all that's needed to maintain the ship's course. By "good times," I mean eras of rising prosperity which generate bigger budgets, profits, tax revenues, paychecks, etc., eras characterized by high levels of stability and predictability.

Since stability has been the norm for 75 years, institutions and conventional thinking have both been optimized for incremental change. This is an analog of natural selection in Nature: when the organism's environment is stable, there's little pressure to favor random mutations, as these can be risky.

Why risk big changes when everything's working fine as is?

Absent any big changes in their environment, organisms' genetic programming remains stable. Unlike natural selection's process of generating random mutations and testing their efficacy and advantages over the existing programming, human organizations quickly habituate to stable eras by institutionalizing incremental changes as the only available process for reform / change.

Radical reforms are not just frowned on as 1) unneccesary and 2) needlessly risky, there is no institutionalized process to propose, test and adopt radical changes because there is no need for such a process.

Nature has such a process: punctuated equilibirium. When faced with a rapidly changing environment, organisms face intense evolutionary pressure to adapt or die. Mutations which confer a significant advantage in the new environment become part of the species' genetic programming as those with the adaptation bear offspring who carry the advantageous adaptation. Those without the advantageous adaptation die and those with the adaptation thrive and multiply.

Once the environment stabilizes in "the new normal," the evolutionary pressure lets up and the species returns to the stability of relatively few changes in its genetic programming.

Organisms which have lost the ability to adapt to rapid change die off once they encounter instability. Species that constantly face instability and rapid change will selectively favor genetic traits which optimize rapid evolution.

Nature tends to retain a basement closet full of fast-evolution tricks just in case the organism faces novel challenges.

Alas, human organizations and conventional thinking have no such closet of fast-evolution tricks. Rather, human organizations and conventional thinking marshal formidable forces to suppress anything which threatens the status quo, because why risk upsetting the feeding trough unless it's absolutely necessary?

Therein lies the fatal problem: radical adaptation is never absolutely necessary in human organizations and conventional thinking until it's too late--and even then, the leadership and conventional thinking will fatalistically accept oblivion rather than opt for a risky strategy of testing every mutation and fast-tracking whatever has promise, even though the odds of failure are high since 1) the challenge is novel and therefore unpredictable and 2) most mutations will fail to provide the radical advantages needed to meet the challenge.

In other words, what's absolutely necessary to human organizations and conventional thinking is the suppression of potentially dangerous novel ideas because the worst-case scenario is that the novel ideas upset the feeding trough all the insiders have come to depend on.

Unfortunately for human organizations and conventional thinking, novel challenges demand precisely what they're incapable of: risky rapid evolution. The risks will never seem worth it because some insiders might lose their spot at the feeding trough.

Since this loss is viewed as catastrophic by those at risk, they will fight with everything they have to stymie any radical reforms. Ironically, their resistance to rapid evolution only guarantees the demise of the entire organization / status quo, including the spot at the trough they were so eager to defend at all costs.

As the crisis deepens, the default setting in organizations and conventional thinking is that incremental changes and reforms will be enough, because they've been enough for four generations. I call this entirely natural default setting the delusional faith in incremental change because this faith isn't guided by history or the logic of causality; it's simply convenient and easy.

Nobody gets fired or demoted for agreeing to do more of what's failed spectacularly.

I've prepared a chart of the delusional faith in incremental change showing how each new crisis is met by incremental institutionalized defaults that are completely inadequate to the novel challenges that have arisen. The blindness to the need for radical adaption has been institutionalized as well: this is what worked in the past, so it will work now. Why risk everything when we have procedures that have worked well?

Each stage of the crisis draws whatever conventional response causes the least pain. First, the "rainy day fund" is drained to keep everyone at the feeding trough. Studies of options are funded, and so on.

The recommendations are either too timid and clearly inadequate or they're too bold and risky. So incremental policy and budget tweaks are adopted as acceptable institutional defaults.

But rifts open in the leadership as the farsighted few demand rapid, radical adaptations and the conventional risk-averse crowd digs in their heels. The farsighted few are pushed out or quit / retire, eliminating the only people who had the ability and experience to actually pull off a radical change of course.

A reshuffling of leadership evokes hope that the modest reforms will work magic. Alas, incremental tweaks only work in eras of stability. They fail miserably in unstable eras of rapidly-evolving challenges.

As everything runs to failure, the only acceptable path is to do more of what's failed spectacularly, a default to low-risk incrementalism that only accelerates the final inevitable collapse.

The delusional faith in incremental change guarantees systemic failure. Better not to risk any radical evolution that might fail, and so failure is thus assured.

This is why our status quo is doomed:



My new book is available! A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts (Kindle $7, print $17)

Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

FRA Roundtable: Richard and I discuss Inflation (37 min)

AxisOfEasy Salon #25: Tired: Anti-Copyright Wired: Post-Copyright (1 hr)

Demystifying Four D Reality (with Chuck Ochelli, 1 hr)

What Could Go Wrong? (43 minutes, with Gordon Long)


My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook coming soon) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.




NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, Jim B. ($5/month), for your marvelously generous subscription to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.   Thank you, Bill S. ($5/month), for your magnificently generous subscription to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Read more...

Monday, October 12, 2020

Our Simulacrum Economy

In the hyper-real casino, everyone has access to the terrors of losing, but only a few know the joys of the rigged games that guarantee a few big winners by design.

Readers once routinely chastised me for over-using simulacrum to describe our economy and society. The problem is this word perfectly describes the hollowed-out, rigged economy and social order we inhabit and so synonyms don't quite cut it: it's not the same as simulation or imitation or counterfeit.

My use (or over-use) dates back to the 2009 publication of my book Survival+, which included a chapter titled Simulacrum and the Politics of Experience. I use simulacrum to describe a carefully constructed representation of a once-authentic system that is intended to shape our behavior to suit the interests of those constructing the simulacrum.

The simulacrum has the look and feel of the once-authentic system but it's rigged to benefit the few whose interests are better served by the simulacrum than they could ever be served by an authentic system.

As I wrote in Survival+: A simulacrum is used to distort a reality that, once revealed, would cause the target audience to act in ways that would not serve the interests of those deploying the simulacrum.

The point of a simulacrum is to mimic an authentic system realistically enough so nobody notices it's rigged to benefit the few at the expense of the many. This is different from a simulation--for example, a flight simulator--that models the actual experience.

It's also not a faux copy or counterfeit of the authentic system; it is a replacement that's real in every way.

French Postmodernist Jean Baudrillard's 1981 book Simulacra and Simulation attempts to differentiate Simulacra and Simulation by noting that a simulacrum is not a copy of an original (i.e. a counterfeit) because the original is no longer accessible. As a result, the simulacrum becomes not just real but hyper-real.

For an example, consider capitalism which in its classical form is the risking of capital to generate financial and social gains that were not possible in a pre-capital economy.

The labor and materials needed to construct a major canal, for example, were beyond the reach of villages or even towns, and so their economies remained localized and poor due to the inability to reach distant, more lucrative markets.

Once capital could be assembled in sufficient size, the localized, fragmented economies were unified by the canal, and commerce expanded exponentially as a result, benefiting everyone with access to the canal: laborers, farmers, craftspeople, traders and those who risked the money to construct the canal.

Contrast this authentic form of capitalism with the monopoly-finance-state version we inhabit, a simulacrum of authentic capitalism that retains enough superficial similarities to the original that the vast majority of participants don't even realize that their experience of this simulacrum is entirely different from an experience of authentic capitalism.

Rather than draw benefits from this hyper-real monopoly-finance-state version, the vast majority of participants are exploited, as the value of their labor and capital is extracted by the simulacrum version of "capitalism" which divvies up the extracted value between the monopolies / cartels who control most of the valuable economic activity, the financial sector that parasitically feeds on the real economy and the state, which extracts wealth to feed its vast network of dependents, enforcers and minders of the entire system.

In this hyper-real simulacrum, a vast fortune is never more than a couple of stock gambles, TikTok clips or YouTube videos away. Or for those wary of the casino, the enormous mortgage taken on for life promises access to the riches of the Everything Bubble.

In the hyper-real casino, everyone has access to the terrors of losing, but only a few know the joys of the rigged games that guarantee a few big winners by design and a fortunate few who stumbled into the game at a propitious moment.

As Baudrillard anticipated, the authentic original version of capitalism is no longer accessible. The simulacrum that we call capitalism is rigged, and the mechanisms are so cleverly obscured that the vast majority of participants willingly allow themselves to be exploited, disempowered or marginalized because they have no experience or even reference point to the authentic original version, as it no longer exists.

Everything they know and experience--the economic models, symbols, signifiers, narratives, adverts, etc., and their own conceptions of value and agency, have all been so thoroughly debauched that they have no idea that the authentic original has been lost.

The problem is our system only survives by cannibalizing its weakest parts, and once they've been consumed, the system can no longer sustain itself and it expires.

Simulacra are not fake, but they are profoundly unstable and prone to collapse. Everything gluing the monopoly-finance-state system together is unraveling due to the excesses of extraction and exploitation the system has perfected.

Once the rigged system collapses, we'll have an opportunity to assemble an authentic economy, a new original that isn't rigged to benefit the few at the expense of the many. This is what I discuss in my new book A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet, (free excerpt (PDF).



My new book is available! A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts (Kindle $7, print $17)

Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

AxisOfEasy Salon #25: Tired: Anti-Copyright Wired: Post-Copyright (1 hr)

Demystifying Four D Reality (with Chuck Ochelli, 1 hr)

What Could Go Wrong? (43 minutes, with Gordon Long)


My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook coming soon) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.




NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, Susan M. ($10/month), for your outrageously generous subscription to this site -- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.   Thank you, Alan T. ($5/month), for your magnificently generous subscription to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Read more...

Sunday, October 11, 2020

How We Institutionalized Incompetence

And so we face the ultimate irony: 'bailing-out-everything' destroys the entire rotten system.

You've probably noticed things no longer work as well as they once did. For example, the store's online inventory says something is in stock and when you get to the store, it's not on the shelf. A small issue, but telling nonetheless.

Or you might call a local government agency to get an explanation of how a new fee is calculated, and nobody's ever available to explain it--or sort out your punitive late fee even though you paid on time.

You've probably noticed services cost a lot more now, but the quality has eroded. Sure, it's easy to blame it all on the pandemic, but quality has been eroding as costs have risen for years.

You've probably noticed massive cost overruns in public projects. That $1 billion bridge is now $3 billion--oh, sorry, make that $4 billion. If we ever get it finished, better estimate $5 billion.

You've probably noticed that enormous investments in infrastructure, education, reducing homelessness, etc. don't actually improve the situation or fix what's broken. Even the most basic projects take years or decades, congestion and homelessness increase, and education that's not aligned with the real economy flounders on.

You've probably noticed that all the highly paid analysts, academics, think-tank gurus, private-sector hotshots, etc. are either clueless, incoherent or delusional. All their "solutions" boil down to one recommendation: keep the feeding trough filled to the brim, no matter how many hogs are gorging themselves.

Incompetence is now so ubiquitous, so embedded, so obvious and so intractable that we finally have to recognize that America has institutionalized incompetence. Why? That's an interesting question with no one answer.

Broadly speaking, self-interest is all that matters. Every decision is made to maximize self-interest while cloaking the predation with sickly-sweet propaganda of the most transparent type.

Institutions protect insiders because every insider must mask their self-interest and the general failure of the institution. Insiders protect other insiders lest transparency reveal the insiders' skims and scams and the failure of the institution to fulfill its purpose.

Risk is to be avoided at all costs because any failure might reveal the systemic failure of the entire organization. So as Louis-Vincent Gave recently explained, CYA Is the Guiding Principle Of Our Time. If insiders just maintain the status quo and don't rock the boat with any risky innovations or policies, no one will look too deeply at the systemic failures or the rising risks of the whole rotten mess collapsing.

This is how we've devolved to doing more of what's failed spectacularly. Indeed, spectacular failure is the excuse for bigger budgets, more staffing, more studies, etc.

America's core businesses are monopoly and corruption. In either case, the customer / end-user can be ignored because they have no real choice. Or the choice is false: your choice of healthcare insurance provider, Internet provider, etc. is between two equally predatory companies.

As a result of the network effect, quasi-monopolies abound in Big Tech. Yes, there are alternative platforms for posting videos other than YouTube, but few will see your content because "everybody goes to YouTube." So content providers have to not just promote their content, they have to promote the alternative platform in a system that's rigged to favor the monopoly-platforms.

Corruption also limits transparency and competition just like monopolies and cartels. Insiders rig the hiring process so cronies and relatives get the jobs, and so on. Those tasked with oversight look the other way because their cushy post-retirement position awaits them if they just keep their mouth shut.

Then there are the incompetent elites at the top. They've punched all the right cards--elite university, multiple diplomas, internship with the right judges, investment bank, etc.--but they've learned absolutely nothing other than how to navigate a corrupt system that protects or even rewards incompetence.

What the ruling elites learn in America is somebody will bail me out. The government will fund the financial bailout, the fines will be wrist-slaps, the university will slip me into a highly paid position out of the limelight, and so on.

And always, always, always, the feeding trough will be filled to the brim, no matter what the cost or the incompetence. Sacrifice and discipline have been reduced to platitudes in America's elites, whose core competence is issuing mea culpas when caught.

An enormous percentage of well-paid "work" is compliance-related. As the pursuit of self-interest has decayed competence, we've become obsessed with monitoring and ticking endless boxes to conform to accepted practices, whether they make sense or not.

This is the essence of BS work: all the compliance busy-work has nothing to do with the actual production of goods and services or innovation or excellence; as the late David Graeber said of BS work: everyone doing it knows it's worthless.

Compliance is the perfect cover for institutionalized incompetence. The irony is rather rich: systemic incompetence is papered over by incompetent compliance measures, all of which drain the feeding trough.

There's only one way left to fill the feeding trough being drained by systemic incompetence: trillions in "free money" forever. That this extravaganza of endless "free money" debauches the currency is ignored, because all the ruling incompetents have been trained to be utterly confident that somebody will bail me out.

And so we face the ultimate irony: bailing-out-everything destroys the entire rotten system. Competence now means successfully navigating incompetent systems corrupted by self-interest. This means avoiding all risk and leaving everything as it is, lest someone notice the systemic failure.

What we've institutionalized is run to failure: we'll just keep doing more of what's failed spectacularly until the entire status quo collapses in a fetid heap of greed, self-interest and gross incompetence.



My new book is available! A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts (Kindle $7, print $17)

Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

AxisOfEasy Salon #25: Tired: Anti-Copyright Wired: Post-Copyright (1 hr)

Demystifying Four D Reality (with Chuck Ochelli, 1 hr)

What Could Go Wrong? (43 minutes, with Gordon Long)


My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook coming soon) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.




NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, Donald C. ($50), for your marvelously generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.   Thank you, Thomas G. ($50), for your magnificently generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Read more...

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Correspondents' email is strictly confidential. This site does not collect digital data from visitors or distribute cookies. Advertisements served by a third-party advertising network (Investing Channel) may use cookies or collect information from visitors for the purpose of Interest-Based Advertising; if you wish to opt out of Interest-Based Advertising, please go to Opt out of interest-based advertising (The Network Advertising Initiative). If you have other privacy concerns relating to advertisements, please contact advertisers directly. Websites and blog links on the site's blog roll are posted at my discretion.


PRIVACY NOTICE FOR EEA INDIVIDUALS


This section covers disclosures on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for users residing within EEA only. GDPR replaces the existing Directive 95/46/ec, and aims at harmonizing data protection laws in the EU that are fit for purpose in the digital age. The primary objective of the GDPR is to give citizens back control of their personal data. Please follow the link below to access InvestingChannel’s General Data Protection Notice. https://stg.media.investingchannel.com/gdpr-notice/


Notice of Compliance with The California Consumer Protection Act


This site does not collect digital data from visitors or distribute cookies. Advertisements served by a third-party advertising network (Investing Channel) may use cookies or collect information from visitors for the purpose of Interest-Based Advertising. If you do not want any personal information that may be collected by third-party advertising to be sold, please follow the instructions on this page: Do Not Sell My Personal Information


Regarding Cookies:


This site does not collect digital data from visitors or distribute cookies. Advertisements served by third-party advertising networks such as Investing Channel may use cookies or collect information from visitors for the purpose of Interest-Based Advertising; if you wish to opt out of Interest-Based Advertising, please go to Opt out of interest-based advertising (The Network Advertising Initiative) If you have other privacy concerns relating to advertisements, please contact advertisers directly.


Our Commission Policy:

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I also earn a commission on purchases of precious metals via BullionVault. I receive no fees or compensation for any other non-advertising links or content posted on my site.

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