The Bandit Economy

There is an old parable about business ethics, where a young ambitious man is hired to run a pickle factory. Being ambitious, he comes up with a brilliant idea to increase productivity. He reduces the number of pickles in each jar by one. The result is the cost per jar falls and the number of jars produced goes up. His bosses are suitably impressed and he is quickly promoted. The firm hires another young hotshot to take his place, he quickly figures out the scheme and repeats the process.

The lesson of the story is that such an approach is not really about increasing efficiency or cutting costs. It is about fraud and the limits of fraud. If this process is carried out a few more times, customers will notice that the jars have a lot less product. Taken to its logic end, the company will eventually be sending empty jars to the market. Of course, once the public catches onto the fraud, the good name of the company is ruined and all of those savings they gained on the front end are lost on the back end, plus interest.

It is a useful parable when trying to understand what has happened to America over the last three decades. Free of the threat of nuclear annihilation, the ruling class has abandoned ethics and morality. One result is we live in a bandit economy, where things like shrinkflation are features rather than exceptions. This post over at Zero Hedge details how the gas you put in your car has been systematically watered down over the last quarter century, coincidentally starting at the end of the Cold War.

Of course, a trip through the supermarket will find plenty of examples of this phenomenon, some of which border on the absurd. The classic pint of ice cream is now fourteen ounces and shrinking. It won’t be long before they will quietly change the definition of quarter to be 2.5 pints. Only conspiracy theorists will notice the change. It used to be that a pint was a pound the world around, but you can’t even buy a pint of beer without a heroic capitalist pulling shenanigans on you. It’s becoming a game with them.

The libertarian line about the market simply being a place where buyers meets sellers sounds good in the hothouse, but in the real world, left unattended, it becomes a grifters alley, where the honest are preyed upon by the unscrupulous. Just as there is never a cop around when you need one, there is no longer anyone policing the practices of our capitalist overlords. If you want to know why people at the end of the Industrial Revolution were open to the call of communism, stand in the chip aisle of your market.

If you are the sort who likes a sandwich and some chips for his lunch, the one thing you can’t help but notice is the bags of chips have grown larger and more expensive. What used to be fifty cents is now a buck-fifty. The bag is also twice the old size, but inside are fewer chips than in the past. It’s already reached the point where the bag is 80% air and 20% product. If this continues on much longer, the lunch time snack will be a dirigible sent to your office containing one chip. That will be your drone delivery.

What the West is experiencing is something people figured out at the end of the industrial revolution. That is, market capitalism is great, except for the market capitalists. Left unsupervised, they quickly turn into bandits in business attire, coming up with clever ways to rob the public. Another feature of this age is the declining number of independent suppliers. It turns out that a feature of unrestrained market capitalism is the strangling of the market by a handful of powerful suppliers, who exercise hegemonic power.

Of course, what is happening here, in a million little daily transactions, is the monetization of public trust. The office workers grabbing lunch trusted that the participants at their local deli were playing fair. Meanwhile, those clever MBA-toting business men and their brilliant ideas about removing just one more pickle from the jar, are exploiting this trust and skimming a few more pennies from the unwitting customer. This sort of practice is modern coin-clipping, which used to be a capital offense.

At some point, when the rubes notice their sandwich can fit in the palm of their hand and the bag of chips is the size of a hot-air balloon, they lose their naiveté and privately realize they are being scammed. We live in a cynical age, because privately, people are coming to believe nothing is on the level and no grift is too small. That has the effect of codifying deceit as a feature of the market and of society. We are rapidly reaching a point where only a sucker trusts anyone other than his friends and family.

This is why unfettered market capitalism is a cancer on society. It turns morality on its head, justifying the unwillingness of the elite to enforce public morality. It’s why your kid’s phone is full of hardcore pornography. The market has spoken and you’re not against the market, are you? Eventually, there is the “A-HA!” moment, when people discover that their private loathing of the daily grift is shared by a large portion of the population. The preference cascade sets the world on fire and morality returns with a vengeance.

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Carl B.
Carl B.
1 year ago

As with everything else in this life, Caveat Emptor. The “elites” and the merchant class have been screwing the people for thousands of years. Eventually the rot crumbles another civilization.

Same as it ever was.

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  Carl B.
1 year ago

Egads. An awareness campaign.

Ursula
Ursula
Reply to  Carl B.
1 year ago

They used to have periodic jubilees to release everyone from debt. Another decent act that has been purposefully forgotten in order to financially enslave people. Now they just keep everyone in debt, life-long debt being a feature and not a bug.

Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Reply to  Ursula
1 year ago

I’m tellin’ ya … the candidate who offers a debt jubilee on student loans will take the White House and both houses of Congress. But nobody’s doin’ it. Yet.

Chim Ritchalds
Chim Ritchalds
Reply to  Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
1 year ago

The dems are on it now. Elizabeth Warren is flailing around like a drunken injun trying to gain support from anyone, and debt forgiveness for college debt is one of her new “positions”. I hate her, and democrats, but Republicans need to start getting on this, or they will lose even faster than the demographic slide has them on track to lose now.

John Hume
John Hume
Reply to  Chim Ritchalds
1 year ago

The problem is, the way student loans are currently structured, a jubilee just means the government socializes the costs to the taxpayers and we all get soaked.

Private lenders are complicit in all this, but the real culprits are the feds themselves. Hell, the government takes advantage of the lower interest rate it offers to itself compared to student borrowers and uses the difference as arbitrage to generate revenue. The Dept. of Education has made billions with this tactic.

A debt jubilee might temporarily get rid of the racket, but it doesn’t do anything to eliminate the rackateers.

Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Reply to  John Hume
1 year ago

You’re right, of course, but … ??

You surely do not mean to suggest that seekers of public office give a damn about anything other than votes? And a debt jubilee is a great way to buy votes–with other people’s money. It’s fail-safe. Foolproof. I’ve just been told (Above) that That Schoolgirl, as I call Eliz Warren, is going to make it one of her “positions.”

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  John Hume
1 year ago

The perps will bail themselves out again with our money, like Fannie Mae and the mortgage meltdown.

The students will get a rollover with ropy strings attached- nobody’s mortgage got paid down last time, remember?

A.B Prosper
A.B Prosper
Reply to  John Hume
1 year ago

A debt jubilee with a restructuring of Federal debt would just buy time and maybe prevent a violent attempt by Socialists or populists to take over Getting out of the debt racket for good though would require the entire economy be restructured to something basically unrecognizable, still market based but radically redesigned The closest analogy would be a populist steady state economy with a precious metal standard and heavy use of distributism Ignoring the vast amount of money and power that would be arrayed against it, think literal WW3 here and even if the elected and appointed want to, its… Read more »

Ursula
Ursula
Reply to  John Hume
1 year ago

There is no jubilee unless the usurers get a haircut.

Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Reply to  Chim Ritchalds
1 year ago

LOL! Well, I don’t hate her. I find it hard even to dislike her. I refer to her as “that schoolgirl.” She is every inch a schoolgirl. That’s all she is. A schoolgirl. Just LOOK at her. LISTEN to her. If that ain’t a schoolgirl, I’ll eat my hat. Can you even *imagine* that schoolgirl “negotiating” with Putin? Or Kim?

Anyway, you are right. This is a winning issue. I’m surprised it’s taken anybody this long to get around to it.

Ivar
Ivar
Reply to  Chim Ritchalds
1 year ago

I presume such a plan would include return of sums paid to all the chumps who actually repaid all or part of their student debt? And, of course, Debt Forgiveness would have to be paired with the complete elimination of government backed student loans.

Member
1 year ago

We really do need to turn this corrupt scamming on it’s head. Maybe normie-cons can be wakened, not sure about anyone else. These grifters know how to use the code words when needed. Now democrats are talking about things that are not constitutional. Indeed! My brother was in retail management at a high level and told me many of the “improvements” that consultants instituted. Every asset of the store got worse and of less quality. Initially the price was welcomed but then your average shopper caught on. Then where do they go, happens everywhere. Is coffee even sold by the… Read more »

Exile
Exile
Member
Reply to  David_Wright
1 year ago

Romney and his fellow vulture capitalists were perfecting this move decades ago. Recall the elder Sheen’s speech in “Wall Street.” Buying distressed firms, cannibalizing their assets for pennies on the dollar & firing their “overpriced labor” was not Adam Smith’s idea of capitalism. That said, absent wholly external forces like government intervention and socially-enforced moral codes, capitalism will always descend to the lowest common ethical denominators in a society. It’s a set of tools at best, not a world-view or moral code.

Sextus Empiricus
Sextus Empiricus
Reply to  Exile
1 year ago

Most libertarians like to invoke Adam Smith, but they haven’t read anymore than your typical Bernie Bro has read “Das Kapital”. And definitely no one reads Smith’s “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”, the moral foundation underlying his economic theories – that also no one has really read. The short version is the market economy cannot work if the players have no moral restraints and common fellow feeling (sympathy) with the other players. It’s also fairly easy to infer that an economy of the type Smith puts forward can only work in high trust, homogenous, high IQ, low violence environments –… Read more »

Exile
Exile
Member
Reply to  Sextus Empiricus
1 year ago

Exactly. As with the real Founders vs. the Second Founding version, it always pays to check the source material.

Vizzini
Member
Reply to  Sextus Empiricus
1 year ago

basically whites and East Asians

The Chinese are notoriously crooks and grifters. They will gladly poison your dog to save a few yen on the dog food they sell you.

Frank
Frank
Reply to  Sextus Empiricus
1 year ago

Unfortunately it is now so easy to buy government interference I cannot say that the government is a fair or unbiased arbiter against monopoly or corporate malfeasance (if it ever was). Think where we would be if AT&T had not been broken up, or where we are now with Twitter, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, etc. No action is being taken against any of these entities aside from occasionally fining them, which is like fining a football player $10k for ending someones career with a dirty, deliberate hit.

Johnny55
Johnny55
Reply to  Exile
1 year ago

I suggest you read Taibbi’s piece on Bain Capital. A fantastic expose, according due deference to his inherent biases.

AltitudeZero
AltitudeZero
Reply to  Johnny55
1 year ago

Taibbi is a human pustule, but even a stopped clock is right once a day I guess…

casaJB
casaJB
Reply to  AltitudeZero
1 year ago

Too clever by half.

Ursula
Ursula
Reply to  David_Wright
1 year ago

Profit explains why we went from giving our children 3 vaccinations in the 60’s to now a list of more than 70 vaccines they urge parents to give their children during the course of their first 18 years. It’s insane injecting all this potent garbage into our children, but it’s allowed because it makes money. If our government had not bestowed zero liability on vaccine makers in the late 80’s, do you really think the list of vaccines would need to be more than the 3 we gave to kids decades ago? We really have ruined our people, physically with… Read more »

Hoagie
Hoagie
1 year ago

Capitalism is an economic policy not a moral philosophy. Capitalism does exactly what it says it will do and no more. The people who have systematically tossed out God who is a moral philosophy from every facet of life for the last 100 years to prep us for communism are the culprits. No system to my knowledge is perfect but capitalism with Christian morality came as close as man is apt to come. Remove God, remove accountability. That’s the commie way.

Calsdad
Calsdad
Reply to  Hoagie
1 year ago

Excellent point.

Another piece of the puzzle is that people simply can’t seem to get it thru their head WHO rules the market – is it producers – or is it consumers?

I bet most of the people on this forum won’t be able to answer this simple question. And it’s because their minds are corrupted by that 100 years of preparation for Communism you referred to.

Everybody who loves slavery – wants a slave who has convinced himself he is not a slave.

Normie
Reply to  Hoagie
1 year ago

? I’d think lack of regulation and the rush to deregulate everything has had more of an effect than anything… But I guess “communism” is always the culprit.

Calsdad
Calsdad
Reply to  Normie
1 year ago

Seriously.

Some of the stuff I read here is just comical.

Where is this “rush to deregulate everything” you’re alluding to?

The Federal government register has done nothing but grow by leaps and bounds for decades now.

There isn’t single goddam thing in this country that isn’t regulated down to the last detail.

Cerulean
Cerulean
Reply to  Calsdad
1 year ago

But it’s not regulated in favor of ordinary working people.

Calsdad
Calsdad
Reply to  Cerulean
1 year ago

Exactly why I want smaller – much smaller – government. And why I completely do not trust people who say stupid shit like ” the government is always honest and the private sector is a bunch of crooks” … or …. ” if we only elect honest people things will be better”. One of the funniest ones is ” we need a benevolent king ! ” It’s laughable the kind of BS I hear coming out some people’s mouths – and always makes me suspect they’ve made their way thru life by being another cog in the belly of the… Read more »

Normie
Reply to  Calsdad
1 year ago

You must not remember the mortgage crisis and the derivatives trading that set us back 10 years… Financial regulations were almost non existent to favor big banks and Wall Street.

Environmental regulations have taken a serious beating since the Orange Clown took over as well.

Seriously. Some of the stuff I read here is just comical.

AltitudeZero
AltitudeZero
Reply to  Normie
1 year ago

“Some of the stuff I read here is just comical.”

Glad that you’re entertained. And no, Communism isn’t always the culprit, but it is chronically under-blamed for a good many problems, at least as a contributing factor. For instance, the Chinese have always been a bunch of chiselers, but thirty years of trying to survive under the most insane regime imaginable didn’t improve their moral fiber any.

Educated.Redneck
Educated.Redneck
Reply to  Normie
1 year ago

I disagree with Normie’s tone, but does no one remember the S&L crises, Enron and energy deregulation, the mortgage deregulation and the 07 crash, etc etc. This isn’t hard, people. These people keep ramming the clown car of our financial market into the ground every decade after they manage to buy some congresscritter into deregulating some financial instrument, but none of you noticed?

Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Reply to  Educated.Redneck
1 year ago

Don’t be difficult. Everybody “noticed,” as you put it. Look up “anarcho-tyranny.” THAT is what some of the wise men of Indostan are calling a “tree” and others call a “wall.”

Rod1963
Rod1963
Reply to  Educated.Redneck
1 year ago

I sure did, I remember all those you mention. All due to deregulation, In fact I can’t think of any financial crisis in the last 30 years that wasn’t due to deregulation various markets and getting rid of oversight.

Ungullible
Ungullible
Reply to  Rod1963
1 year ago

There was plenty of regulation and oversight. Unfortunately, it was and is always over those who do not pay the government bureaucrats in charge with bundled “donations” and half-million dollar speaking fees, not over those who need to be held in check. When we allow the government power to “regulate,” do you not think they will use that power against the common citizen, if it means money for themselves? That’s very trusting.

So no matter how many times Lucy pulls the football away, some will keep insisting that it’s the only way to protect Charlie Brown. Uh-huh.

Calsdad
Calsdad
Reply to  Educated.Redneck
1 year ago

I noticed – and knew damn well somewhere around 1999 that the housing market was NOT going to keep going up forever into infinity – as a good many people apparently did. I didn’t use a home equity line to buy myself an SUV and a boat – nor did I take out a massive mortgage. I’ll admit to being surprised that it went up as long as it did – but not surprised at all when it all went down the crapper in 2007. You’re right – this isn’t hard people: pay attention to the history of the real… Read more »

Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Reply to  Normie
1 year ago

Well, then that’s because you are looking in a mirror.

Calsdad
Calsdad
Reply to  Normie
1 year ago

Set who back 10 years? It didn’t set me back 10 years – because I knew damn well – LONG before it all blew up – that it was going to blow up. “Environment regulations have taken a serious beating since the Orange Clown took over as well”. The EPA has been used a a bludgeon to smack the dirt people around for a LONG time. Vin Suprynowicz has written extensively about this for decades – and this story was in the news recently – and typical of what the EPA does to people especially west of the Mississippi: https://www.dailysignal.com/2019/03/28/clean-water/… Read more »

Ungullible
Ungullible
Reply to  Calsdad
1 year ago

No matter what evidence we provide, those who refuse to see what government has done over and over, will not believe. Why, you can actually claim government has the right to “regulate” rainwater collecting in your ditch, if you trust government enough. And I do believe that has been tried, under Big Government Dim “regulations.” (It was esp clever when o-bama and his friends told us what kind of light bulbs to buy.)

None so blind as he who will not see.

Educated.Redneck
Educated.Redneck
Reply to  Calsdad
1 year ago

Carlsdad: Reagan and Thatcher were famous for their successful and sweeping deregulation reforms.

Ivar
Ivar
Reply to  Educated.Redneck
1 year ago

Reagan managed to get rid of one, and only one, Federal agency, the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Reply to  Calsdad
1 year ago

Well, yes and no. The “right people” are not regulated AT ALL. They do whatever they please, and make little attempt to hide it. If they get caught, they skate. That’s what Hillary Clinton and Christine Blasey Ford are all about.

You and I, on the other hand, are buried alive with zillions of petty rules and regulations. And, we are told, “ignorance” of these millions of “laws” is “no excuse.”

It’s what the late Sam Francis quite properly called “anarcho-tyranny.” Anarchy for Herself; tyranny for us.

Rod1963
Rod1963
Reply to  Calsdad
1 year ago

Oh really? You mean Microsoft, Wal-Mart, FB, Google , Boeing and all the other giants are regulated? That’s a joke. You wanna go back earlier when Rockefeller and others hired Pinkerton men and goons to beat and murder workers with impunity? That was considered acceptable in the good old days. Take Boeing, management played games to put out a plane the 737 Max knowing full well it had serious engineering flaws which has killed hundreds of people. Nothing will happen to them because they are Boeing. Not the old Boeing that actually cared about what they produced, The people who… Read more »

dad29
Reply to  Normie
1 year ago

Not “communism.”

Immoral people are always the culprit. There are plenty of systemic problems with communism/socialism–far more than in capitalism.

But laws and regulations are there, ostensibly, for purposes of keeping or restoring morality and ethics in the system.

Those laws and regs fail, of course, but the fail because immoral and unethical people make it so.

Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Reply to  dad29
1 year ago

Laws and regulations do not enforce themselves. The law is nothing more than whatever the enforcers of the law say it is at any given time and in any given case. That’s why Hillary Clinton and company are walking around free right now. But YOU do anything even remotely like what they did, and YOU will PAY. That is called “anarcho-tyranny.”

https://en.metapedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-tyranny

dad29
Reply to  Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
1 year ago

Back to the top of my argument: Immoral people are ALWAYS the culprit, whether the perps or the ‘enforcers’ who choose against whom to ‘enforce.’ This is strictly a question of morals, no more, no less. Note that American society measures all on ‘earnings’ or ‘wealth.’ Well, with that as the god, the culture (such as it is) follows. And–not on topic–there is also a concurrent measuring by ‘sex’–whether appeal, promiscuity, or perversion. Once again, with that as god, the culture follows. IOW, cult precedes culture. We have de-throned the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph–the God who is Redeemer–and… Read more »

c matt
c matt
Reply to  Normie
1 year ago

Deregulate?!? Yes, that’s why the code of federal regulations would take up a full floor of a college library – because we have been “de-regulated”. In what world do you live son?

Normie
Reply to  c matt
1 year ago

A world where the whole economic system can fail and put us on the brink of total collapse because Wall Street makes sure it own’s both parties and deregulates the financial system…

We need way more regulation of banks and the environment.

Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Reply to  Normie
1 year ago

Being handicapped as you are, you won’t grasp the only important factor, which is that these regulations and laws you want do not enforce themselves. If all that was necessary to control human behavior was to pass laws, then there wouldn’t be murder, now, would there? Try to get this through your head: Laws and regulations do NOT enforce themselves. Enforcement is an act of human volition. Therefore, the law is nothing more than what the enforcers of the law SAY it is at any given time and in any given case. That is why Hillary Clinton and Company are… Read more »

Normie
Reply to  Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
1 year ago

So…. we shouldn’t have laws? We shouldn’t have regulated the financial industry?
Handi capped? Please. I make more than you do in a year in 6 months brah…
You keep hoping to lock her up with your Clown Prez and I”ll keep laughing…
Nothing will change the fact that until we control the financial system and regulate oligarchs even having a 72 year old retard draining the swamp wont fix anything…

Calsdad
Calsdad
Reply to  Normie
1 year ago

Geezus. You might want to get a brain scan. I’m not going to bother to do the work for you – if you’re too lazy to do it for yourself. Go lookup the size the Federal Register and how it has grown over time. Then try and come back here and tell me that we don’t have enough regulation. That whooshing sound you hear might be Alzheimer’s – or it might be Rooshian’s point flying right over your head. This is very simple: Laws don’t enforce themselves. If the people who are tasked with enforcing the laws refuse to do… Read more »

Normie
Reply to  Calsdad
1 year ago

Not very. You’re long winded ranting is understood buddy… I can tell like all boomer conservatives you hate dem regulations… That bad red tape!!! AHHH!!! Got it. None of that changes the fact that we deregulated the housing market and it broke the economy. You can go on another 400 word rant about them not enforcing the laws on Hillary and blah blah blah… The fact is, if we would have had regulations on the Big Banks they would have broke the law. Period. Right, they still wouldn’t have been punished… I get it. But at least they couldn’t have… Read more »

Ungullible
Ungullible
Reply to  Calsdad
1 year ago

I admire your persistence. Maybe if you directed him to one of those clips of congressmen standing next to 5 foot high stacks of government regulations. But since he knows how much you make (and that he makes more, hehe), I’m sure he could not be ignorant of the facts that you are trying to wake him up to. I think he’s just bought into the AOC school of government, so hope is next to nil.

Educated.Redneck
Educated.Redneck
Reply to  c matt
1 year ago

Cmatt- that’s anarchotyranny again. Fedgov will tell me how many ounces of water I can use to flush my poop, but lets traders (traitors?) at Lehman Brothers rob people blind on mortgage backed securities. The fact that the screws are tightening on the little guy doesn’t mean the banksters aren’t being set free to run amok.

Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Reply to  c matt
1 year ago

ALL “liberals” have one immutable characteristic in common: a total and utter lack of self-awareness. So the answer to your question is that he lives where all of his kind live :inside their own heads. In a world of shadows and abstractions. Completely unrelated to the real world of flesh-and-blood human beings. That is why leftists are always willing to kill millions of flesh-and-blood human beings: because their ideals MUST take precedence over anything REAL. So this guy can say the stuff he says because, like all of them, he is utterly lacking in self-knowledge or self-awareness. These are not… Read more »

Normie
Reply to  Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
1 year ago

Yet you go on a site to complain about these people who constantly beat your ass and take over “your society.” Weird how people as intelligent as you keep losing isn’t it.
Keep complaining. Ill keep beating your ass. In 20 years you wont even be able to post what you beileve while people like me will run this country.

Bam

Ungullible
Ungullible
Reply to  Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
1 year ago

Bless you for stating exactly what I was awkwardly trying to express myself (without using the “trigger” word “derangement.”) Well-done.

There’s always that 23-24% of the population that wants to make everything political instead of logical and mistakes name-calling for argument. Maybe you got through to one tonight, a nearly impossible feat. (Ooops–I see it was 8 days ago. Well-done anyway.)

the ungullible
the ungullible
Reply to  Normie
1 year ago

One of the problems with “regulation” is that those who are doing the “regulating” are taking what amounts to bribes to be sure the right people are “regulated” in the right way. An easy instance to pick out of the air is “regulating” insurance coverage by making citizens pay a fee (or was it a tax?) to the government if one cannot afford to buy insurance….and for those who can, the “regulations” stating “complete” coverage is necessary means that the premiums take all the money citizens might have used to pay medical bills with (as, of course, the “insurance” only… Read more »

wxtwxtr
wxtwxtr
Reply to  Hoagie
1 year ago

I’m still waiting for the all-powerful all-knowing to smite them! To express justice. To overturn the tables at the Empire’s Bank.

MemeWarVet
MemeWarVet
Reply to  Hoagie
1 year ago

“The people who have systematically tossed out God who is a moral philosophy from every facet of life for the last 100 years to prep us for communism are the culprits. “

Agreed. What do they all have in common that we can have our lives destroyed for publicly noticing?

Glenfilthie
Glenfilthie
Member
Reply to  Hoagie
1 year ago

This is sloppy thinking on the part of our blog host. If your approach to the market is shorting your customer – you’re dead meat, especially in America. How about this: “Buy Filthie pickles! Pay the same price as you do for Z pickles and receive one extra pickle for free!” The venture capitalist can always compete, even against entrenched monopolies. The ball is still very much in play, gents. The mass media is learning to code as we speak, Zuckerface and Google are watching their stocks tumble; even liberals are getting fed up. The market always reasserts itself, as… Read more »

Fabian_Forge
Member
Reply to  Glenfilthie
1 year ago

Yet another market worshiper who has clearly never seen an actual market in action, just the Cloud CuckooLand of capitalist ideology. Anyone who thinks that good market practices drive out bad makes the most committed academic Marxist seem a hard headed realist.

Markets reward the exploitation of information asymmetry. Given the ease with which such asymmetry can be created, regulation is required. Unregulated markets always fail.

Glenfilthie
Glenfilthie
Reply to  Fabian_Forge
1 year ago

Really? CNN just laid off 200 people. Not to keep picking on him, but our gracious blog host provides superior commentary for free. In fact, he’s making noises about monetizing and if he does, he’ll probably be successful. The success of market principles are operating right under your noses and you still can’t see them. There is a market for non-pozzed, intelligent conservative content and the only competition he has are fags like Vox Day or Milo – and he stands to clean up. If you were correct he would not be able to do any of that. Markets move… Read more »

Exile
Exile
Member
1 year ago

This kind of Grifter Capitalism is ironically making Americans more Soviet. We’re developing the same cynical sensibilities that non-apparatchik USSR normies felt toward their entire system – economic, governmental and otherwise. That’s very good for Our Thing, albeit bad for Empire economics & civil society. A buddy of mine in the forgotten 90’s referred to the “sap line” in modern transactions, “sap” being sucker, what Israelis call a “freier.” My buddy was describing a process where each party tries to anticipate the degree to which the other is grifting them and adjust their position accordingly – to find their “sap… Read more »

Mike_C
Mike_C
Reply to  Exile
1 year ago

Overall excellent and well said, but I’ll quibble that finding the “sap line” is NOT “a huge stress factor for all involved”. There are those who enjoy the process, and at more than one level. First, it’s a chance to demonstrate how much more clever you are than the other guy. Second, it’s righteous retribution. Never mind what the actual history may have been, it is an absolute certainty I or my people have been unfairly victimized (needless to say, probably out of envy), and I’m just getting some of our own back. Finally there is the actual material gain,… Read more »

Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Reply to  Exile
1 year ago

Christianity is not dead. Statements like that do not do your credibility any good.

Citizen of a Silly Country
Citizen of a Silly Country
Reply to  Exile
1 year ago

Low-trust societies spend a huge amount of time and energy on avoiding getting screwed or trying to screw the other guy. It’s one of the reasons high-trust NE Europe excelled.

Unfortunately, we didn’t understand that letting low-trust people into our society would undermine the whole game.

TomA
TomA
1 year ago

The reason big business can get away with more grift and fraud is because the average shopper is becoming more stupid as time goes on. If more shoppers were intelligent and frugal in their buying decisions, then you would have a feedback cycle that forced Big Business to exhibit more integrity.

Now ask . . . why is the US population becoming more stupid? The answer to that question is far, far more serious than escalating corporate fraud.

Calsdad
Calsdad
Reply to  thezman
1 year ago

Who is the responsible party when somebody is taken advantage of – the person who was deceived – or the person doing the deceiving?

Hoyos
Hoyos
Reply to  Calsdad
1 year ago

The person doing the deceiving. -Nearly every Western moral philosopher since the dawn of history and most of the eastern ones too

Hoagie
Hoagie
Reply to  Hoyos
1 year ago

A person may or may not be aware he is being deceived but the deceiver knows full well he’s cheating and stealing from the other guy. He is wrong in all societies but Islam where deception is allowed in many cases. (Which is but one of the many reasons Mohammadans must GO!)

Compsci
Compsci
Reply to  Hoagie
1 year ago

Correct. I would also add that in today’s highly technological world, it is pretty much impossible for any given individual to be the wise consumer who can avoid the fraudulent corporation. Hell, before today I never even heard that the energy content of gasoline had been deteriorating since ‘93! Yeah, in winter we got ethanol added and mileage went down a bit, but the article in Zero Hedge is much more than that.

Calsdad
Calsdad
Reply to  Hoyos
1 year ago

Then abject stupidity and repeated willingness to be deceived count for nothing? There is a “which came first” problem here. What’s that old line ? … ” fool me once – shame on you” (that’s the moral part you’re referring to) – “fool me twice shame on me” ? We’re well advanced into the “fool me twice” part of this whole game. In fact I think a good part of the population is probably on their fifth or sixth round of being fooled and is constantly clamoring for a few more rounds of being fooled. In my lifetime this country… Read more »

Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Reply to  Calsdad
1 year ago

What’s with you today?

First of all, our country has NOT been in 3 major wars during your life time.

Second, what–exactly–do you recommend that ordinary people do when they SEE and KNOW that they have lost control of the state? When they KNOW that NOTHING they can do (that won’t land them in prison or get them killed, or both) will change a thing?

Be specific. WHAT should these stupid people you refer to be doing in the present circumstances? Exactly. Be exact.

Calsdad
Calsdad
Reply to  Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
1 year ago

Vietnam, Iraq – and Afghanistan – were/are major wars. And I forgot about Desert Storm. So that’s four.

There’s probably been at least a dozen or so other incidents like Grenada and Mogadishu – where the US military was heavily involved but they barely qualify for the status of a “war”.

Every war doesn’t have to be WW2 to qualify as “major”.

A.B Prosper
A.B Prosper
Reply to  Calsdad
1 year ago

Frankly this trickle down, personal responsibility crap was an odious lie during the Reagan administration and its aged poorly . The regular people are being lied to, kept in the dark and screwed over by “capital” on a routine basis and lack the sophistication to keep up with fraud As such our leaders are fully responsible for letting happen. The S&L crisis is a perfect example. We lock up tons of people for long periods and the rich instead of going “wow, maybe society was pissed and we should behave better” lobbied to make the crimes legal which they did… Read more »

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  Calsdad
1 year ago

One word: intent

Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Reply to  Calsdad
1 year ago

That’s unworthy of you. I’m somewhat surprised at you.

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
1 year ago

Not me, I hope. The victim isn’t aiming to harm anyone.

Exile
Exile
Member
Reply to  thezman
1 year ago

Randian Libertarianism removed the stigma of taking advantage of each other in general – take it from a recovering Randroid.

You’re onto something with democracy being a root cause of leadership decay. The selection pressures on leaders today are giving us criminals and imbeciles (Kushner’s a two-fer). We need an aristocratic tradition, complete with noblesse oblige, in our re-booted White society.

AltitudeZero
AltitudeZero
Reply to  Exile
1 year ago

And as a result of all this, our leadership and CEO class has done something that I would not have thought possible – revitalized old-fashioned, actual red-flag, hammer and sickle Communism. When the USSR collapsed back in 1991, and the full extent of Communist crimes was revealed, I thought, “Well, no one will fall for that BS again for at least a hundred years”. And yet, only a few decades later…

Heck of a job, elites, heck of a job!

Rogeru
Rogeru
Reply to  AltitudeZero
1 year ago

Communism is great! [If you’re in the ruling class]

Educated.Redneck
Educated.Redneck
Reply to  Rogeru
1 year ago

When you have a boot on your neck, you tend to not be particular about who it is that manages to remove said boot, nor question what they want (at that moment) in the long term.

AltitudeZero
AltitudeZero
Reply to  Educated.Redneck
1 year ago

As the poor Russians, Cambodians and Chinese found out, there are worse things to have on your neck than a boot.

Al from da Nort
Al from da Nort
Reply to  thezman
1 year ago

Z Man;
Not only was taking advantage of the stupid once considered immoral, it was also illegal. Laws against usury (payday loans), gambling (numbers rackets), prostitution, drug use, etc. had protection of the stupid as part of their rational.

But then the stupid acquired ‘advocates’, largely from the civil rights apparatus’ NGO’s who needed new causes to fill the coffers. They eventually prevailed partially on account of the collapse of Christian morality, which was another major rationale.

TomA
TomA
Reply to  thezman
1 year ago

Which problem is easier to solve? Taking down a relatively small number of fraudsters who act as predatory deceivers, or dealing with a majority of the population who can no longer tie their shoes?

Compsci
Compsci
Reply to  TomA
1 year ago

As I commented before. You need to take down the grifters, the consumers can all be Einstein-like geniuses, they will still be defrauded. No one can spend the time and effort to check the myriad of products in the market before consuming.

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  Compsci
1 year ago

Can’t keep up with the lies, when they cost so little to produce.
The ROI is incredible.

Compsci
Compsci
Reply to  thezman
1 year ago

It’s more than excuse making. It’s the lax enforcement of the rules in place when they are broken or ignored—which I suppose is laid at the foot of the ruling class in the end. Lots of examples over the years of corporate shenanigans that got consumers/workers killed, but much less wrt examples of corporate CEOs gong to jail. Current conviction of that family firm manufacturing/marketing Fentanyl being a noticeable exception. Say what you will about the Chinese, but every once in a while when a big shot gets in a scandal that get Chinese consumers killed or produces a black… Read more »

Drake
Drake
Reply to  TomA
1 year ago

But dividing the price by the volume is so hard! Maybe the grocery stores should post the cost per volume on the shelf – or people could carry around computers in their pockets capable of doing the calculation.

Hoagie
Hoagie
Reply to  Drake
1 year ago

We do. It’s called a cell phone. I use it all the time.

Drake
Drake
Reply to  Hoagie
1 year ago

That was sarcasm – I do it too but sounds like most people don’t.

Joe H
Joe H
Reply to  Drake
1 year ago

I do it, too, but most people don’t want to take the time. They would much rather be able to eyeball a package of chips and know how much is there and a few decades ago that would have worked fine. A few decades ago American workers knew if they worked hard they would be paid the market rate for their labor. Now it’s common for them to have to train their foreign replacements, who are obviously less competent and if they protest too loudly, they don’t even get their severance pay. There was a report by CIS recently that… Read more »

Vizzini
Member
Reply to  Joe H
1 year ago

VDare tracks this. Most of the current job creation the government is touting is going to foreign workers.

c matt
c matt
Reply to  Joe H
1 year ago

To be fair about the chip bag thing – part of the reason it is 80% air is to help protect the chips from becoming dust.

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  c matt
1 year ago

c matt, you’re right, Frito Lay drivers have to avoid certain mountain routes because the lower air pressure will pop the bags.

The stuff ya learn, huh?

Btp
Member
Reply to  Drake
1 year ago

Yes. The issue is that a society where I have to do a calculation before I buy a goddamn bag of chips is one where every last possible interaction is subject to fraud, all the way down to the most insignificant. That’s not a society, really, it’s a jungle. To hell with it.

Educated.Redneck
Educated.Redneck
Reply to  Btp
1 year ago

When you have to read the label on the baby formula to make sure they didn’t put rat feces in it, it’s time to burn it all down and start over.

Rod1963
Rod1963
Reply to  Btp
1 year ago

Eventually enough people will get sick of it and will rather watch the whole rotten thing burn because there is no other recourse.

Hoagie
Hoagie
Reply to  Drake
1 year ago

Mine was sarcasm too but they didn’t take it that way.

Stina
Stina
Reply to  Drake
1 year ago

My grocery story posts cost / unit on the shelf label. My kid likes to decide which package to get based on it when he plays grocery gopher.

wxtwxtr
wxtwxtr
Reply to  Stina
1 year ago

Budding numeracy! Get him to “running total” the cart and see how well he does at the register. Helps chase away the boredom. 🙂

Cerulean
Cerulean
Reply to  Drake
1 year ago

Dividing the price by the volume or weight may save you a bit of money, but the bargain brands have undergone their own shrinkflation.

dad29
Reply to  Drake
1 year ago

Actually, that’s done regularly here in Wisconsin. But bringing a microscope to read the label is required, along with the ability to read.

wxtwxtr
wxtwxtr
Reply to  TomA
1 year ago

Aren’t all of us, including “big business” trying to cope with an elegant counterfeiting scheme created by Rothschild Banking and enforced by their Rent-a-Cops called the USGuv? The first receivers of that newly printed debt can “pay” more for everything, forcing the rest of us to too.

CAPT S
CAPT S
1 year ago

Yep, I hear you on the grift-ocracy. Three potential responses: 1) bitch, moan & complain, 2) work harder and make more money to turn over to the grift-mill, or 3) acquire some land, seeds, livestock, and tools (along with healthy grasp of agrarian know-how) and set to work insulating yourself (as much as possible) from the swindle. OK – I know that’s not the answer for everyone, but I took option 3 after two decades of options 1 & 2, and it’s made all the difference in personal health and financial welfare. I used to save/invest thousands and hope for… Read more »

Exile
Exile
Member
Reply to  CAPT S
1 year ago

For those stuck in the rat-race, get anti-fragile. Spread your client base/paymasters, get out of the single employer, nine-to-five, tax withholding direct-deposit rut. Have side gigs if you can’t totally self-employ. Good for your security and your sanity.

Yves Vannes
Yves Vannes
Member
Reply to  CAPT S
1 year ago

Within living memory ritualized communal life revolved around church with its associated social clubs, the children’s school and family dinners.

Work is now the sacred space,
Shopping is the community sacrament and reward for conformity,
Dining is now epicurean and no longer communal.

Changed the form get the function good and hard.

williamwilliams
williamwilliams
Reply to  Yves Vannes
1 year ago

The sacred space of today’s USA is the stadium, arena and ballpark where our culture-heroes may be viewed.

Dutch
Dutch
Reply to  CAPT S
1 year ago

Same as it ever was. Go back and look at how things were a century ago. Food was poisonous, car accidents killed you if they were moving any faster than a brisk walk, “medicine” was often a bottle of alcohol or opium, and workplace conditions would often maim or kill you. This stuff is not new, it has always been out there. Local culture and community was the defense against it, where you learned which of your neighbors you could trust to give you a fair deal. There is one huge advantage of the information culture. This stuff isn’t hidden… Read more »

dad29
Reply to  Dutch
1 year ago

“medicine” was often a bottle of alcohol or opium

Is that a feature or a bug?

wxtwxtr
wxtwxtr
Reply to  CAPT S
1 year ago

I got pissed long ago when 1/2″ “…4×8 sheet of plywood…” turned into 0.451″ thick, and the “…bag of fertilizer…” concentrations changed. Even 16ga steel tubing got thinner, although the psi increased enough to keep the strength.

But the bigger point is that although I’m emotionally inclined to option #3, how do we calculate the time cost of the loss of everything I could be doing and buying and enjoying with moderate money in the “big city”, compared to the joy of living in isolation on the Wind River Reservation?

CAPT S
CAPT S
Reply to  wxtwxtr
1 year ago

Buddy, the Titanic is going down. You can hang out and enjoy listening to the band or you can get your lifeboat ready. The opportunity cost of doing nothing will be cataclysmic.

the Russians
the Russians
Member
1 year ago

Maybe this fits in and maybe it doesn’t but what I noticed was these business majors came in and only filled essential positions after they had been vacated… Nobody shadowed the job and gleened the knowledge before it walked out the door. Saved that year of double wages for the same amount of work though.

Grumpy
Grumpy
1 year ago

I am starting to worry wonder about you, Zman. While I agree with your assessment of the current state of ethics in big business, I do NOT want more big government regulation. I can make my own decisions about what I will buy or not. If you think there is too much power vested in big business and that it’s being abused, just think how awful/ugly/dangerous that power would be in the hands of unethical government stooges with guns and nukes ;-). Oh wait, we already have that and its awful/ugly/dangerous and you rail against it all the time. I’m… Read more »

Exile
Exile
Member
Reply to  Grumpy
1 year ago

I blame libertarians for the persistent fiction that government and the private sector are opposites on a spectrum, public coercion by gun is evil while private coercion by cartel, collusion & service denial is good. Shills and libertarian spergs want you lost in process questions while you ignore the results.

Lorenzo
Lorenzo
Reply to  Exile
1 year ago

, spot on about the libertarian fiction. Their position usually reduces to: Whatever government does is bad; whatever businesses do is good. Their “hold a gun to my head” trope always cracks me up. Big business can wreck someone’s life completely without using a gun. That’s one reason the statists are happy to outsource censorship to Google, Facebook and Twitter. Even banks are getting in on the business of quashing dissenters. They can shut down opposition quietly without recourse to physical violence. And libertarians and old line conservatives are happy to let them do it.

wxtwxtr
wxtwxtr
Reply to  Lorenzo
1 year ago

Could big.gang.biz have even gotten big without buying big.gang.guv? Once upon a time, yes. Am reading “Titan” and just got to the point when JDRockefeller had to buy into a couple newspapers (Jeff and Slim – nothing new here!) to “protect his company” against politicians pandering to the mob.

Ungullible
Ungullible
Reply to  wxtwxtr
1 year ago

That’s the third book of Dreisser’s trilogy, right? It’s been awhile, but I recall being enthralled by that series. Beat out Fitzgerald in writing about and during that time period in American history.

Hoyos
Hoyos
Reply to  Grumpy
1 year ago

It’s not big brother regulation, it’s the standard brakes that have been on there since Moses banned usury.

There is no “the government” and there is no “big business”; it’s just people and there’s no real defense against rat bastards once they reach a certain turning point except for social shame and legal sanction. But you do need a good enough reason why.

Da Booby
1 year ago

” Just as there is never a cop around when you need one, there is no longer anyone policing the practices of our capitalist overlords.” The Booby disagrees. It’s worse than that. It’s not that there’s no one policing the “capitalists”, it’s that the authorities are actively engaged in shielding the capitalists from accountability, whether by the market or the state. How many people went to jail after the financial crisis? How well do gov’t statistics, like CPI, capture the “coin clipping” inflation you spoke of? Has the revolving door between Wall Street and the regulatory agencies stopped, regardless of… Read more »

Da Booby
Reply to  Da Booby
1 year ago

Oh yeah, and go into any corporate boardroom in the country and the Booby challenges you find even one that isn’t faithfully promoting political correctness, and imposing the PC reign of terror upon its employees, or pushing it upon the public. Just look at the feminist ad Gillette put out earlier this year. Socially and politically these people are servants of the far-left, and apparently the far-left is content to allow them to keep getting rich. Obama didn’t do a damn thing to upset the applecart, and neither will any Republican candidate, including the present one, despite his constant Tweets… Read more »

wxtwxtr
wxtwxtr
Reply to  Da Booby
1 year ago

World Corporate Communist Empire. Been around for a while, just changes stripes occasionally. Currently prepping for a ChiCom style Cultural Revolution. Gird your loins.

Hoagie
Hoagie
Reply to  Da Booby
1 year ago

Co-conspirators if you will. I agree.

Teapartydoc
Member
1 year ago

One other feature of market convergence is that when things go bad there are a few identifiable people who are most obviously to blame, and folks don’t mind at all seeing them, ahem, cut down to size.

SpartanDan
SpartanDan
1 year ago

Every day all around the world the sinful nature of humanity is on full display. Cheating customers in a capitalist society is just one more way humans are constantly taking advantage of one another. I know there are systems in society that can reduce things like capitalist grifting but ultimately it comes down to the human heart. A man’s heart that is upright and moral and fears the Lord will abhor such things. We need to fill our society with folks like this. Then, whatever system we choose will be much better than the one we currently have…

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  SpartanDan
1 year ago

That’s a chicken-or-egg question, innit?

I think I just got the answer on a Kansas farm show. They said “building something to pass on to the next generation”.

The Babe
The Babe
Member
1 year ago

That’s what’s so infuriating about the virtue signalling of Woke Capital. The people in Big Business have never been more scummy and sociopathic, but at the same time never more sanctimonious.

But I’m telling you, normie don’t get it yet. I was at the supermarket with my morbidly obese aunt. She saw some kind of ghastly junk food with a new rainbow box & LGBT blurb, and said, well isn’t that nice! We’ve got a long way to go, guys.

Exile
Exile
Member
Reply to  The Babe
1 year ago

I hate to rely on Freud-style psychology, but there’s projection and compensation involved in virtue-signalling by rotters. We have a pre-rational desire to be seen as a good person and we’re good at compartmentalizing.

Compsci
Compsci
Reply to  Exile
1 year ago

“We have a pre-rational desire to be seen as a good person and we’re good at compartmentalizing.‘

Agreed—with the exception of most commenter here. 😉

Member
1 year ago

>where the honest are preyed upon by the unscrupulous. I believe you meant to say “where the lazy are preyed upon by the unscrupulous.” The part I don’t get is why I have to change my whole life and philosophical base for the purposes of protecting the lazy and the don’t-cares? >but in the real world, left unattended, it becomes a grifters alley, where the honest are preyed upon by the unscrupulous Other posters have persuasively made the point that eBay renders this whole argument utterly moot. On eBay, you can’t even keep an anti-fraud service going because without politicians… Read more »

Exile
Exile
Member
Reply to  Sunspot
1 year ago

If your “philosophical base” is toxic to those who aren’t John Galt, but you think it’s based on human happiness, check your premises. One of them is false.

Educated.Redneck
Educated.Redneck
Reply to  Exile
1 year ago

The Piekoff is strong with this one, Exile. I’m sure he’ll be the New World Man instead of just another body in the ditch. I mean sure, society will burn down around him, but HE will be the exception that makes it to the Gulch (and I’m 100% sure it’s a he).

Hoyos
Hoyos
Reply to  Sunspot
1 year ago

Cause you don’t know who the lazy and the don’t cares are. Not every guy who loses in the economy should be told to go fuck himself because it’s his own fault.Those of us who don’t have asperger’s see that there are actual social and economic goods that can only be achieved through some general unity and care for other members of the “tribe” and don’t view the existence of courts and the military as an unconscionable assault on our rights. I also find it hard to believe that the only reason fraud exists is because the state is making… Read more »

Drake
Drake
1 year ago

It’s a sign of… the ridiculous prosperity of our late empire period, which will end soon enough…

…and the intellectual laziness / poor education, and general lack of common sense in our decadent population.

The problem will correct itself eventually. No government oversight will do it.

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  Drake
1 year ago

Why should prosperity be a problem, though?

The Woke. They turn every damn thing upside down.

Educated.Redneck
Educated.Redneck
Reply to  Alzaebo
1 year ago

Alzaebo, that’s one of Zmans points. This isn’t productive prosperity, but the internalization of profits and externalization of costs. This isn’t the productivity of a healthy society, but the estate sale of our culture. The auctioneer is getting us amazing income per minute! Sure, there will be nothing left at sundown, but that’s a problem for later.

Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman
Reply to  Educated.Redneck
1 year ago

A problem for later and for somebody else–not them.

Drake
Drake
Reply to  Educated.Redneck
1 year ago

Yes – it’s not prosperity earned but inherited by spoiled children.

Member
1 year ago

>This is why unfettered market capitalism is a cancer on society

Says unfettered market capitalism…

…means a completely socialist system with tiers and tiers of barriers to entry.

I wonder how many fraudsters could prosper if honest people could jump into the game and compete with them without having to be a friend of a congressman? It’d probably look something like the video game industry… with prices either staying the same, or falling, while more and more features are offered up.

At some point, we can all collectively “fetter” and put a stop to all these consumer benefits.

Exile
Exile
Member
Reply to  Sunspot
1 year ago

No true Scotsman. I used this cope back in the day, “we’ve never had real capitalism, we’re a mixed economy.” Check out Z’s recent “Right Wing Economics” podcast, and a number of other past podcasts where he discusses Big Tech & monopoly. MIcrosoft achieved its market share before it started playing lobbyist games in D.C. Nature of the unfettered beast. Humans are not angels. Unfettered human activity always results in abuses.

wxtwxtr
wxtwxtr
Reply to  Exile
1 year ago

A good podcast. And economies have never not been mixed.

“…Unfettered human activity always results in abuses…”
Fettered human activity always results in abuses.

Dutch
Dutch
Reply to  wxtwxtr
1 year ago

In unfettered human activity, you generally can track down your abusers, should you want to. In fettered human activity, you have no agency to do do, you are royally and truly screwed.

A.B Prosper
A.B Prosper
Reply to  wxtwxtr
1 year ago

True. However if you look at US history, workers in the US did better economically with trade and immigration control. In fact the entire edifice of our modern prosperity was mainly do to government actions, roads, most infrastructure, Internet, clean water, clean air . You name it, brought to you by Uncle Sam The private sector used it to make goods which is good and Right but the State laid the foundation On a human note, the only reason you aren’t competing with say Rwanda on the wage front and working 80+ hours a week to eat is the State… Read more »

Sackerson
1 year ago

Yes. I think of Mondelez and chocolate: deteething Toblerone, changing the fruit in Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut to a cheaper ingredient etc – in products that are essentially quality, luxury items. Weaker fuel was new to me, though.

Andy Texan
1 year ago

Markets are neutral. People are not good. Left on their own, most people are venal, in every aspect of life including business.

ChrisZ
ChrisZ
1 year ago

I like “bandit economy” as a way of envisioning certain features of a capitalism unmoored from morality. I’ve lately been trying out a coinage of my own: “the whore economy.” It describes a different aspect of our present system, which encourages people to exploit and draw attention to themselves for little tokens of recognition or approval. It’s one thing to create a deliver useful content—essentially to be a publisher. It’s another to cynically misrepresent or carelessly humiliate yourself in pursuit of all those coveted “hits” or “likes.” To me, these would be analogous to the dollar bills stuck into a… Read more »

Citizen of a Silly Country
Citizen of a Silly Country
1 year ago

Capitalism is a tool, not a god.

Coolidge famously said: The business of America is business.

But I heard a Japanese guy put their twist on that: The business of Japan is the Japanese. I’m with the Japanese on that.

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  Citizen of a Silly Country
1 year ago

Outrageously excellent.
Cucking that “the only purpose of a business is a profit!” neglects to ask “what is that profit’s purpose, then?”

Citizen of a Silly Country
Citizen of a Silly Country
Reply to  Alzaebo
1 year ago

I’m all for open markets and capitalism, but corporate leaders need to know their place in society and that they need to conduct business with an eye on the larger picture if they want to keep the people and the government off their back.

dhill
dhill
1 year ago

The Zero Hedge post you referred had graph with scales setup in such way that 12500 => 12000 (a minute difference) looked like 90%. This is just embarrassing manipulation, it defeats the point to start a discussion in such way.

Nunnya Bidnez, jr.
Nunnya Bidnez, jr.
Reply to  dhill
1 year ago

an excellent book which exposes this type of graphical manipulation to deceive is:
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.
http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/books_vdqi

wxtwxtr
wxtwxtr
Reply to  dhill
1 year ago

I had a laugh at that too. An author complaining about deceptive pricing and mixing has to use a deceptive graph to make his point. To start the graph at zero would have made his argument look like a rounding error. 🙂

Felix_Krull
Member
Reply to  dhill
1 year ago

True, although he does say in the text that the energy loss is about 4%

Yves Vannes
Yves Vannes
Member
Reply to  dhill
1 year ago

It’s due to the ethanol additive which began about the same time. Ethanol has a btu output of 76k. Some add butane which also has a lower btu. This is done to create a cleaner burning fuel.

cornbeef
cornbeef
1 year ago

This modern reality raises interesting implications for child rearing. The natural instinct is to shelter children far from the maddening crowd in the Midwest somewhere. But then they grow up naive to the evils of modern society.

What to do?

Hoyos
Hoyos
Reply to  cornbeef
1 year ago

Classical education! History teaches you about humanity, the Plutarch wasn’t writing about his health.Plus street smarts can be gotten in any community big enough to give you the primary colors of human nature. Any community of a few thousand adults and you’re going to have all the basic personality types and a few sociopaths to teach them not to trust everyone, but it’s safe enough that they can’t do too much harm hopefully. Also my father had me read a book by a former con man when I was 14, not so that I would be a con man, but… Read more »

Mysyteerious Rooshian Vooman
Mysyteerious Rooshian Vooman
Reply to  Hoyos
1 year ago

Author’s name? Of the Art of Manipulation?>

DLS
DLS
1 year ago

The watering down of gasoline with ethanol captures our disgusting government perfectly. Everyone now agrees that ethanol actually does more harm to the environment, while simultaneously driving up food prices and harming your car. There is absolutely no reason to continue it, except as a kickback to farmers. But it’s a government program, so 1000 years from now our teleportation machines will require ethanol.

Al from da Nort
Al from da Nort
Reply to  DLS
1 year ago

DLS; Agreed. Ethanol in motor fuel is a perfect example of crony capitalism in action: Cynical grifters coming together using the power of government under cover of mindless idealism about ‘global warming’ to line their own pockets. No regional fuel distributer or refiner could get away with this on their own. So Libertarians are half-right that big government capture is a big problem for markets. But they are wrong that ‘free markets’ could fix this situation. To begin with, one can’t measure fuel quality without a chem lab or fuel pump honest measure without calibration equipment: And also inspectors, BTW.… Read more »

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  Al from da Nort
1 year ago

So when the question is, “but who watches the watchers?”-

And the answer is, “the good Lord above, of course”-

Well, all kinds of wonderful things begin to happen.

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  Alzaebo
1 year ago

(For Silly and Krull- and persons like me- this works fine if that Lord is the Face of my People. A kind of shorthand, if you will.)

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  Alzaebo
1 year ago

Universalism is to Faith what democracy is to society. The franchise and tribe must be inflated to increase one’s own transitory ambitions within it.

What is real Faith?
Faith in the ancestors that brought you here, faith in the future prepared for your descendents. The long chain of one’s People.

Wolves, birds, all Nature maintain territories, not seek universal empires. We should listen to our instincts and do the same.

A.B Prosper
A.B Prosper
Reply to  Alzaebo
1 year ago

Or you take power and do it. It is possible with a great deal of effort to control corruption. Its not easy though The real damage corruption does is economies become unable to work without graft as India and other nations have noted. That’s why it requires a very tough determined system And note too, the corrupt never learn . The arch example being the S&L crisis Honest men would have learned from all that locking up that that behavior is frowned on and to not do it, Instead they lobbied to make their crimes legal and learned nothing. In… Read more »

dad29
Reply to  DLS
1 year ago

The Kickback here is Grassley-Archer-Daniels-Midland. Yes, Grassley SHOULD be part of the name. He’s corn-holed the country for 20 years and earned it!

Yves Vannes
Yves Vannes
Member
Reply to  DLS
1 year ago

The harm comes largely from the increased demand for more farmland and more fertilizer to meet the demands for more biofuels. The tech is changing on this, from feedstock crops to cellulosic biomass(plant waste). This is a very good thing. MTBE was a mistake, ethanol is not. Cleaner burning fuels have made a big difference in the air quality of large urban areas and in the health of the people who live there. Mechanically it’s a mixed bag for automotive tech: more heat (problem), less heavy residue (benefit). Engine efficiency will make up for some of the loss in fuel… Read more »

Al from da Nort
Al from da Nort
Reply to  DLS
1 year ago

Field Report re Ethanol in Motor Fuel; In my part of the world it is possible to buy ethanol-free gasoline for chainsaws, snowmobiles, outboard motors and the like at some local gas stations. It is usually the top octane available, ordinarily 91 or 92 (and obviously the top price/gal.). I started putting any residual left at the end of summer into my planet-destroying SUV because otherwise it would go bad over the winter and create a disposal problem. I noticed that my gas mileage went up. So I ran an experiment by filling up completely with it a couple of… Read more »

Fabian_Forge
Member
Reply to  Al from da Nort
1 year ago

Thanks. I’m more familiar with regulatory capture in the financial services context but I appreciate confirmation that the phenomenon is ubiquitous. It’d be interesting to know how much various subsidies contributed to keeping the price delta against switching away from ethanol. I wouldn’t mind my tax dollars supporting that study, but I’m not holding my breath.

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  Al from da Nort
1 year ago

Whew! Most impressive.
Since it’s lawn season, all I can add is a tip from a pro lawn guy in Mass (where they’ve got green stuff up the wazoo)-

Want that mower to start on the first pull? Use 93, not 85.

miforest
miforest
1 year ago

here is an excellent article on how the banksters destroyed Remington co. and a small town economy, got tax credits and incentives to cover all their cost and walked away from the destruction with pockets full. every American should read this .
http://www.captainsjournal.com/2019/05/05/how-cerberus-drove-remington-out-of-business/ the country will be completely looted and destroyed unless this kind of thing is stopped.

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  miforest
1 year ago

A British craftsman would build a brass foundry that would still be there 200 years later, with the workers, neighborhood, and locally-sourced buildings all pretty much the same.

Not so with nomadic kapital and values, not at all.

Felix_Krull
Member
Reply to  miforest
1 year ago

Thanks for the link, but that’s an excerpt. Here’s the full text:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/05/01/magazine/remington-guns-jobs-huntsville.html

miforest
miforest
Reply to  Felix_Krull
1 year ago

Thanks felix . If you read the entire NYT piece it is even more maddening . it has more details of how the hedge fund made risk free return by loading up Remington with debt , them welched on all the deals with the local governments , mistreated their employees , and destroyed the economy of ilion NY . everyone lost, Remington’s former employees lost their livelihoods and the new ones were underpaid and abused temp workers. this is state sanctions looting and theft. GOP sponsored and protected Too. larry kudlow and ben shipario would say it’s all good ,… Read more »

Chris_Lutz
Member
Reply to  Felix_Krull
1 year ago

That is absolutely horrible. Those people are simply locusts.

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  Chris_Lutz
1 year ago

We’re gonna need a LOT more rope. And our pensions are riding on this? Stealing from ourselves into secure retirement?

A.B Prosper
A.B Prosper
Reply to  Alzaebo
1 year ago

The US is all about short term thinking and has been for decades, nearly half a century as reflected in our low fertility rate. Democracy and the Republic can’t fix that kind of thing if we don’t get a yeomanry, the longest term trends mean social extinction and Amish Paradise In the end , assuming we make it through, to get there we’ll end up with profoundly less economic liberty and if we are smart things like wealth caps and a profound distaste for larger enterprise. We may even control where businesses can build to prevent clustering Our “Money Right”… Read more »

Frank
Frank
Reply to  miforest
1 year ago

I read that article. Owning a number of Remington products I was very interested in what happened to them. Most of the stuff I read over time seemed to indicate that somehow they got into trouble trying to branch out into other things, but your article shows a completely different picture. It kind of reminds me of the demise of MCI, which was destroyed by the WorldCom people. A shame that a bunch of sell outs allowed it to happen.

wxtwxtr
wxtwxtr
1 year ago

“… unfettered market capitalism …”
If it’s so free, unregulated and uncontrolled, why do those large companies lobby so hard (paying off the controllers) to restrict the upstart competition that would expose their fraud?

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  wxtwxtr
1 year ago

The billions, the hundreds of billions, spent on bullshit. Unaffordability could’ve gone the way of smallpox a long time ago. What a fricking waste.

Frank
Frank
1 year ago

I am a aficionado of fine “snowballs”, those marshmallow covered chocolate cake and creamed filled delights. I have been eating them for decades, mostly from Hostess. Mrs. Freshly’s came out with an incredible version of these a couple of years ago. There were big, moist, and ….. fresh. So, I dropped Hostess and only bought Mrs. Freshly’s. Then suddenly Mrs. Freshly’s disappeared (perhaps bought out by Hostess?) and not only was the only choice Hostess, but their snowballs were so freaking small, flat, and hard that it was not even worth eating them. They were even smaller than they had… Read more »

miforest
miforest
Reply to  Frank
1 year ago

I loved snowballs too. this has happened to a lot of food . the 3 way they charge you more is smaller packaging , lower quality , and raising prices . our economy is full of all 3 . since I live near Detroit, I can go to Canada and buy snacks too. theirs still taste like ours used to . also , If you are in Canada for any reason , eat at their McDonalds. The burgers are fantastic. good fresh meat , and decent vegetables. even the buns are better. I won’t eat their stuff here anymore. It’s… Read more »

ChrisZ
ChrisZ
Reply to  Frank
1 year ago

Frank, this is a charming post, as is the reply from miforest. Thanks.

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  ChrisZ
1 year ago

I heard the same complaint, years ago, from tanker drivers for a national bakery brand.

The tankers they brought in used to be real butter and cream. Now it was just cheap chemicals.

Real bakers and apprenticeship used to run that shop floor, now corporate called the shots.

All for a few pennies more, thanks MBAs. The drivers were disgusted.

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  ChrisZ
1 year ago

ChrisZ, “Mrs. Freshly’s”!

Felix_Krull
Member
1 year ago

Slightly off topic, but a few years back, they started making reading glasses made of plastic, their strengths at set intervals. In Britain, these were marketed as simply cheaper glasses and sold in optometrist shops for about £30-40. In Denmark, they were seen as not-real-glasses since the lens wasn’t ground to your fit. They were sold in supermarkets for about £3.

3g4me
3g4me
Reply to  Felix_Krull
1 year ago

It’s the same here in the US. After I needed cataract surgery at the ripe old age of 41 (and right before the market release of automatically adjusting artificial lenses like Crystalens) I needed magnifying reading glasses for reading or any close work (drives me nuts, because I used to be the person who could find someone’s dropped contact lens or read the tiniest print). I buy them by the bunch, at the drugstore or grocery store, when they’re buy one-get one free. I’m always losing them or breaking them, so I keep a pair in my purse, in the… Read more »

Cloudswrest
Cloudswrest
1 year ago

“The preference cascade sets the world on fire and morality returns with a vengeance.”

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

pimpkin\'s nephew
pimpkin\'s nephew
Reply to  Cloudswrest
1 year ago

Not quite that. A preference cascade means that the bullshit and lies are exposed and public life gets a fresh start; it happened in the old Eastern Bloc and it can happen here too. A few hundred devotees wise up to the regime and begin to laugh at the ridiculous people in charge.

Laughter is to these bastards what water was to the Wicked Witch of the West.

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
1 year ago

A hate tweet gem:

Diversity…lowers workforce cohesion, job security AND wage growth. People work harder for less.

dad29
1 year ago

So …..you mean that it’s not just “smaller cars for larger dollars”?

My heart!!

Cloudswrest
Cloudswrest
1 year ago

It’s not just the consumer market either. The government has been fudging the consumer price index with substitutions for a long time now. For example substituting cheaper meats for steak, inflating the value of cars with the imputed value of their modern non-transportational features …

miforest
miforest
Reply to  Cloudswrest
1 year ago

you are correct Cloudswrest, the real rate of inflation has been running about 11% for the last 5 years . http://www.chapwoodindex.com/ most Americans don’t know that the buying power of their savings and 401K have almost been cut in half in the last 5 years. ..

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  miforest
1 year ago

A whole frigate of more rope…

Cloudswrest
Cloudswrest
1 year ago

Regarding “coin clipping” of packaged food, the “paleo” right has been admonishing people for a LONG time to stop buying packaged/process food! They’re cancer/obesity in a box. Buy whole foods only, meet, fish, eggs, produce. All of these are bought by weight with regulated scales.

Member
1 year ago

I recently stopped at Dollar Tree to get a four-pack of AA batteries for my camera. What do you know, they changed it to a three-pack. Walked right out and got an eight-pack at Aldi for $2.29, which is now a better deal.

Spud Boy
Spud Boy
1 year ago

Free market capitalism is the worst form of economic system, except for every other system ever devised. I’ll take my chances in the chip aisle thanks; no one is holding a gun to my head saying I have to buy the chips if the bag is 90% empty. Those things have a way of correcting themselves over time. Been to Burger King lately? You can get a triple cheeseburger for $6. No one is taking your portions away.

A.B Prosper
A.B Prosper
Reply to  Spud Boy
1 year ago

Neither Regulations or Social Democracy are bad or lead automatically to Communism

Everyone knows that many goods are best served by the market system and everyone knows that sometimes you need regulation as well.

Ungullibl
Ungullibl
Reply to  A.B Prosper
1 year ago

Hey, I just gave this a plus, and it took away a point instead of giving you one. Sorry ’bout that.

miforest
miforest
1 year ago

This has happened to a lot of food . the 3 way they charge you more are; smaller packaging , lower quality , and raising prices . our economy is full of all 3 . since I live near Detroit, I can go to Canada and buy snacks too. theirs still taste like ours used to . also , If you are in Canada for any reason , eat at their McDonalds. The burgers are fantastic. good fresh meat , and decent vegetables. even the buns are better. they do cost more , but not a lot more. I won’t… Read more »

Karl Horst (Germany)
Karl Horst (Germany)
1 year ago

Everyone screams about how the Chinese are cheating us, but at least the Chinese are honest about cheating us. While Americans complained about jobs going to China, they weren’t so upset that they stopped going to Walmart knowing almost nothing Walmart sells is American made. Here in Europe, it’s the same. Major producers like Siemens, Audi, Mercedes, Bayer, etc., have been quietly moving production out of Germany and into LCC (Low Cost Countries) like Poland, Czech, Hungary, Turkey and more and more to China and India. The latest scam here are product labels that say; “Designed in Germany” or “Built… Read more »

Educated.Redneck
Educated.Redneck
Reply to  Karl Horst (Germany)
1 year ago

Most Behr parts I see are heche en chinois.

Johnny55
Johnny55
1 year ago

Ah, the old “capitalism” vs “communism” debate. Folks, it’s a red herring. A false dichotomy. A classic Hegelian dialectic meant to confuse the debate. They are two sides of THE SAME COIN!! Who were the biggest supporters of the Bolsheviks, etc. Wall Street. Whether it’s unencumbered capitalism or 1984-style communism, the point is that the ELITE, the rentiers, the asset owners, don’t really care. The ancient Greeks were quite correct that the philosopher-king style of government is the best. Or the enlightened monarch. Or the popularly supported fascist. Each such leader retaining a racial and cultural bond and direct blood… Read more »

Johnny55
Johnny55
1 year ago

One more anecdote, in my postgraduate work I studied in a class entitled Corporations. It was in this class, taught by one of the most famous nationwide scholars in this area, that I realized that Michael Eisner’s compensation package was structured in a way to give him a financial incentive to get fired for cause (and thus receive a significantly larger payout) than it did to do his job well. I asked how the Board of Directors could approve of such an absurd structure. There were no answers. But who could hold them accountable?? Our laws are structured in such… Read more »

Felix_Krull
Member
Reply to  Johnny55
1 year ago

Yes. The median life span in Russia dropped TEN YEARS after the country got gang raped by the Chicago Boys.

Juri
Juri
Reply to  Johnny55
1 year ago

If anybody tell you free market, then Russian aviation is good example. Back in the 1990s nobody did not follow the regulations nor paid taxes. Because of low tax free market…did Russians got the best airlines in the world. Or did they got lot of air crashes ? About isms, capitalism is condiotining people for communism and other way around. Madness changing with over regulations and back again,.

Fabian_Forge
Member
Reply to  Johnny55
1 year ago

There really is an argument that the fall of the USSR was the worst thing that ever happened to the USA, at least in the latter part of the 20th century. As long as the Workers State was still a player, our rulers had to not entirely ignore the interests of workers here and leave something on the table for the rest of us. And the existence of a powerful enemy imposed a certain seriousness on our government. That seriousness is now long gone, and the rulers have stopped even pretending to care about the middle and working classes. They… Read more »

Lance E
Member
1 year ago

And you blame capitalism for this phenomenon, rather than the importation of a hundred million individuals from countries where corruption and banditry has always been far more common than the USA throughout most of its history?

This despite the fact that economic freedom is at its lowest level ever, and that industrialized cheating was almost non-existent before the 1960s.

Educated.Redneck
Educated.Redneck
Reply to  Lance E
1 year ago

Industrialized cheating was”almost non-existent before the 1960’s.” You have to be historically illiterate to think that. Shay’s rebellion, Tamney hall, the Gray Men of Chicago, San Francisco’s government in the 1840’s, Ulysses Grant’s administration, etc etc.
Our People are not immune to greed. OTOH, the “capitalism” we are experiencing today is calculated to encourage, protect, and abet civilization-destroying cutthroat greed.

pimpkin\'s nephew
pimpkin\'s nephew
Reply to  Educated.Redneck
1 year ago

“Our people are not immune to greed”…

As understatement goes, that’s good,

pimpkin\'s nephew
pimpkin\'s nephew
Reply to  Lance E
1 year ago

industrialized cheating was almost non-existent before the 1960s.

You are joking, of course.

DFCtomm
Member
1 year ago

“The problem with socialism is socialism, and the problem with capitalism is capitalists.”

I guess he said that before he sold out.

pimpkin\'s nephew
pimpkin\'s nephew
Reply to  DFCtomm
1 year ago

If one were to pose the alternative, that the problem with socialism is socialists, and the problem with capitalism is capitalism, then I think we are in for something worth talking about. Look, Marx was a dick, we all agree about that. He didn’t make any effort to support his family, he lacked a sense of humor, he probably did not shower enough, ate bad food and farted too much. That said, he wasn’t wrong about everything. It’s why we still talk about him. He understood that the Left/Right paradigm was useless as a tool for understanding the political divides… Read more »

walt reed
walt reed
Member
1 year ago

Perusing the aisles of an independent grocery chain: Chip aisle. Exciting notation on front of bag: LOOK!!!! New Bigger Bag!!!!!! I believe the new bag was bigger. Much more air at the top. It seems to be selling well.

Steve
Steve
Member
1 year ago

I imagine that British have felt cheated in America forever, since the pints of beer they order here are about 3.5 ounces smaller than the ones they order had home. Serves ’em right though, for being British. And being here…

Vegetius
Vegetius
1 year ago

It appears that regulating the stupidity of boomertarians is going to be an ongoing exercise around here…

Judge Smails
Judge Smails
1 year ago

12 ounces is the new pound. A few years ago I used to get 16 oz of medium frozen shrimp for five bucks. Now I get 12 oz of extra small shrimp for the same price.

pimpkin\'s nephew
pimpkin\'s nephew
1 year ago

It’s weird that the anti-capitalist right is now verboten. Makes sense, though; the “Left” is now a handmaiden to global billionaires. In some schiizophrenic way we are – in the Jacobin sense – to the left of the “Leftists”. Lenin would condemn us as ‘Left-deviationists”…

I’m proud of that, though not sure why.

Mike Walsh
Mike Walsh
1 year ago

See Rudyard Kipling “The Gods of the Copy-Book Headings”

Notruecatholic
Notruecatholic
1 year ago

And the “enlightment” made fun of all the many local measures. Which I heard were often the result of similar scam by Lords and bureaucrats or way to make the tax levy smaller but officially the same. So much for progress.

Mencken Libertarian
Mencken Libertarian
1 year ago

Clearly we need a commisar to set in stone for perpetuity the size of potato chip bags, the number of chips therein, and the number of salt grains per chip. Then we’ll need lots of inspectors to test various bags of chips to be sure they are in compliance. Then we’ll need lots of investigators to make sure the inspectors aren’t being paid off by the evil capitalist purveyors of potato chips. We’ll also need a court system just for potato chip fraud trials of the evil purveyors of fraudulent bags of chips. We’ll also have lawyers specializing in potato… Read more »

hmk
hmk
1 year ago

This is why more and more people are turning to socialism. They can sense that something is amiss, their income purchases less and less and their standard of living is slowly circling the drain. They for some reason don’t realize the govt is deliberately lying about inflation while the price of housing , food, education and healthcare are rising faster than their incomes. It is no wonder the socialist ideology is becoming more and more acceptable. That is why communism happens. The people are tying of being screwed by the elitists and mistakenly cling to this false solution instead of… Read more »

Ungullible
Ungullible
Reply to  hmk
1 year ago

Don’t know if it’s a positive or a negative, but many of those who believe they are for socialism don’t know what it is, shown by those “man on campus” interviews. A lot of uninformed and not really clear-thinking kids think it has to do with “social justice.” Seriously.