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Friday, September 16, 2011

Shunning The Money Changers

I Disapprove
[Updates 9/17: Citizens Aim to Occupy Wall Street today. Count on a complete media blackout. (Image) (Image) (Image) (Image) (This site is providing ongoing images and updates.) (Liveblog courtesy Kevin Gosztola at FDL.) (Rumors of cell phone service being cut off at Bowling Green. Fools.) (New Gosztola liveblog up.)]
You always hurt the one you love.
- Allan Roberts/Doris Fisher
That old pop standard, made popular by The Mills Brothers, reveals an interesting aspect of human behavior. It's true - because we are generally on our best behavior when alone amongst strangers.

Think about it. The easy - if insincere - smiles and sidewalk courtesies. Something falls from a passing stranger's bag, and most of us are eager to pick it up and return it. In public, we are strangely desperate of the approval of complete strangers. Contrast that with a typical holiday dinner with the extended family. The same person who enthusiastically excuses and reassures the stranger who has inadvertently trod on his foot while mounting the bus will often display unconscionable contempt towards his brother, his wife, his sister-in-law.
Familiarity breeds contempt.
- Aesop
People are strange when you're a stranger
Faces look ugly when you're alone
Women seem wicked when you're unwanted
Streets are uneven when you're down
- The Doors
What is that? It's simple, really - our acceptance as a member of the social order is assured with friends and family. When alone with strangers, we're still fishing for it (the dynamic changes when we are "out" with a group of friends amongst strangers, of course.) Healthy human beings fear being shunned, and nothing can guarantee a terrible time in town more than sneering and scoffing at passers-by.

There are few things more powerful than shunning that will dissuade undesirable behavior. When it comes to the money changers, we have made a terrible mistake.
He was a very nice guy, very polite. He would speak to anyone. I don't have a bad word to say about him.
- Philip Octave, landlord for Kweku Adeboli
Nice guy. Really? Now that he has fallen from grace, the "Rogue Trader" is getting a bit less love than he no doubt was getting used after pulling himself up with his bootstraps. But why was he getting any love in the first place?

There are few more soulless endeavors in the world than making money from money. While I certainly have problems with capitalism in general, I am not talking about the bankers who provide capital to kick-start or expand businesses - I am talking about the Masters Of The Universe who frenetically shift money from one place to the next, their eyes only upon maximum profit, even if that profit comes at the expense of others.

Yet, when we meet these devils socially, we gaze admiringly at the fine cloth of their suits, at their cars, at their platinum and ebony credit cards. We laud their "accomplishment" by imitating their clothing and ostentatious spending. In this way we give approval to their greedy behavior, and this is why they dare display this plumage.

We have, as individuals and as a society, have really let this go on for far too long. Listen to this naked-faced apologist:
...it's impossible for any trading firm's systems to be full [sic] proof.

The only times when problems arise are when traders hide their true intentions from [the risk manager].

This is always going to be an uphill battle for risk managers. If your systems are too invasive, if your risk management practices are too timid, it creates a tough environment to make money. That's what this business is all about-making money. In that kind of environment, fraud will happen...

The shame the fraud that has transpired at UBS is not the loss of money; it's the loss of jobs that may result in response to this crime if UBS scales back its investment banking operations.
"Fraud will happen." There is no reflection among these people about what it is they do - this "gentleman" expresses concern that some of his kind might "lose jobs." Especially in these times, when the favored "solution" to the global financial crisis is clearly austerity - which means a willful deprivation of standards of living for the people who actually make things - it is time that we help make them aware of what soul-sucking leeches they actually are.

Shun them. On the street, in the nightclubs, in the home. Make them turn increasingly to their own kind for succor. They are already gating themselves from the poor and working class - others who make an honest living of any kind, regardless of their success and aspiration, should begin to make them feel strange with our sneers and contempt. Make them less eager to peacock us with their plumage, make them hide in public and try to pretend they are one of us, instead of the other way around. Change their thinking, make it a profession that only sociopaths can tolerate.

Do you know any money-changers? Are there any in your family? Show some compassion, and let them know that it is not an honest endeavor, that it is only for scoundrels.

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