Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Great American Bubble Machine

I meant to put this up on Friday. Some of you have probably already read Matt Taibbi's piece from this month's Rollingstone. Can I say "must read" ? It's a must read. There's this episode of 30 Rock where Tina Fey asks Alec Baldwin, "Can you teach me to do that thing where people with lots of money turn it into even more money?" This is that thing. Sometimes I feel like I am on the plywood porch I built for my trailer wearing a "Put a Yankee on a Bus" hat when I decree that most institutions and the people in charge of them are just leeches sucking on the system, but it does appear that that is largely how things work. I think the Rosetta Stone of all of this was Moneyball. Which, ostensibly was about baseball but pointed to so much more. Where scouts glommed onto baseball and then convinced everyone that the game couldn't function without them while doing everything they could to make sure the game wouldn't function without them. Their benefit to the sport itself, their knowledge of it, was somewhere south of statistically probable. Can we refer to these kind of systems as too big to fail; meaning totally dysfunctional but with no idea how to, or no inclination to solve their problems.

In the end, the people in charge of things are geniuses in the way the media refers to Karl Rove; they are bad people who are willing to throw out and ideas of mutual sacrifice and brotherhood. They are willing to roll around in their own shit and then tell us all how great they smell.

On a similar note: If you haven't been listening, This American Life has been doing excellent work on the state of the economy. Their archives can be found here.

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attempting to silence the voices in my head.