Comedy Central Edition
Posts Tagged ‘Economic Fragments’
Bonus points to anyone who can find me the source of this quote I read, which I know I read in the last two days, but cannot find. According to google, some person who reviewed a book on Amazon saw it too, so I’m not making it up. Please help.
Basically, the article was talking about hedge fund managers and their confidence amidst the financial crisis. A bunch of them were in a room, and one said something like, “the invisible hand will make it OK”. To which someone else, another hedge fund manager I presume, replied, “Don’t you realize, we are the invisible hand!”
When good times go south, Americans typically either have turned for relief to defiant gallows humor or, conversely, sought comfort in idealized visions of a purer, resilient, close-knit Heartland, far from the scoundrels on Wall Street and their political enablers in Washington.
So now that unhappy days are here again, some commentators are predictably predicting a coming “culture of restraint,” a resurgence of thriftiness, self-reliance and homespun values, as if Americans were going to ditch their flat-screen TVs and gas-guzzling vehicles and take up quilting and reading Emerson by candlelight.
A two-year investigation conducted in five major cities has exposed a widespread campaign by the formidable Rest and Fluids industry to infiltrate thousands of doctors’ offices and dictate how they treat minor illnesses.
The investigation—the full details of which will be disclosed in this newspaper over the coming months—documented thousands of instances in which sick patients were repeatedly instructed, often verbatim, to “lie down and drink plenty of liquids.” This treatment, recommended a staggering 4 out of 5 times on average, was in each case prescribed by a physician known to have recently enjoyed a golf vacation courtesy of Big Rest and Fluids.
“You have no idea how deep this goes,” said Dr. X, a physician who wished to remain anonymous. “They’ve got everyone, from the pediatricians and family doctors, right on down to the school nurses. We’ve had the cure for the common cold for nearly 40 years, but it’s still ‘rest and fluids, rest and fluids.’ Why? Because these guys are getting paid through the nose, that’s why.”
It would be reasonable to identify, investigate, and publicly discuss every possible cause of such instability. The goals would be to offset, moderate, or eliminate its effects or, better yet, the instability itself. But a taboo blocks consideration of one such cause, namely capitalism’s class structure. For the last half-century, analyses and policies debated by most business, political, academic, and even labor leaders avoided connecting economic instability to capitalism’s class structure.
Capitalism’s instability is systemic. To address it without considering systemic change is to continue the history of failure to “solve” that instability.
Beyond brand-hungry strivers, masses of free laborers continue to toil without ever seeing a payday, or even angling for one. Many find compensation in currencies that predate the market economy. These include winning praise from peers, earning an exalted place within a community, scoring thrills from winning, and finding satisfaction in helping others.
I certainly hope poor people don’t take what they don’t have for granted…
Even after adjusting for inflation, that’s four times more than America spent fighting World War I, and more than 10 times the cost of 1991’s Persian Gulf War (90% of which was paid for by U.S. allies). The war on terrorism looks set to surpass the costs the Korean and Vietnam wars combined, topped only by World War II’s price tag of $3.5 trillion.
When she arrived back at university in 1996, she discovered that everything had changed. During her previous stint as an undergraduate, she had spent all her time protesting the underrepresentation of women and minorities in the curriculum and the media; campus politics in 1989 had mostly meant identity politics. But students in 1996 weren’t interested in identity; what they talked about was economics. At the time, corporations were starting to make inroads into schools: soft-drink companies were negotiating exclusive deals; advertisements were appearing in bathrooms. There was a feeling in the air that corporations were getting too powerful—more powerful than governments, but not accountable to anyone except their shareholders.
“The crash on Wall Street should be for Friedmanism what the fall of the Berlin Wall was for authoritarian Communism, an indictment of an ideology”
As the economy has weakened, shoplifting has increased, and retail security experts say the problem has grown worse this holiday season. Shoplifters are taking everything from compact discs and baby formula to gift cards and designer clothing.
Police departments across the country say that shoplifting arrests are 10 percent to 20 percent higher this year than last. The problem is probably even greater than arrest records indicate since shoplifters are often banned from stores rather than arrested.
Much of the increase has come from first-time offenders…making rash decisions in a pinch, the authorities say. But the ease with which stolen goods can be sold on the Internet has meant a bigger role for organized crime rings, which also engage in receipt fraud, fake price tagging and gift card schemes, the police and security experts say.
Nearly three out of four plastic surgeons who responded to a survey this fall reported that demand has increased or held steady for minimally invasive procedures, includingInc.’s Botox antiwrinkle drug.
Increasingly, many aesthetic patients view their treatments as professional self-preservation rather than as a personal indulgence. Appearances make a difference, says Kathleen Hudson, a 57-year-old marketing consultant in Falls Church, Va. “If you’re in the business world and you want to be competitive with the younger people, you need to stay on top of your game,” she says.
From The Onion…
Amid the bleak backdrop of imminent economic collapse, worried observers got some good news last October when executives from the nation’s top 10 failing companies celebrated the historic $700 billion government bailout with an ultra- extravagant $800 billion party aimed at restoring confidence and bolstering their resolve.
“I’m glad we were all humble enough to recognize that we couldn’t do this on our own,” said AIG CEO Edward Liddy, sitting in a hot tub filled with Cristal and seven dozen endangered-quail eggs. “Having come so close to disaster, it is crucial that I eat these 24-karat-gold-leaf-wrapped chocolate truffles to boost stockholder morale and show all the critics and naysayers that we are carrying on just as we always have.”
Sorry to be a Cindy Cynic, but I think those of us who buy lots of stuff, including many things we don’t need, are the unsung heroes that kept the wheels of prosperity rolling for so long, and we deserve to be treated accordingly!
The Onion…the truths we never want to hear…
The cereal business had one major drawback—there was little substantive difference between brands. To stand out from the crowd, manufacturers realized that they had to focus more on the outside of the box than on what was inside. Some tried decorating their products with adjectives, creating names like University Brand Daintily Crisped Flaked Corn. Others competed to appear the healthiest. Tryabita, for example, was infused with celery flavor because, well, it sounded healthy.
Many ministers have for the moment jettisoned standard sermons on marriage and the Beatitudes to preach instead about the theological meaning of the downturn.
A recent spot check of some large Roman Catholic parishes and mainline Protestant churches around the nation indicated attendance increases there, too. But they were nowhere near as striking as those reported by congregations describing themselves as evangelical, a term generally applied to churches that stress the literal authority of Scripture and the importance of personal conversion, or being “born again.”
If the economy continues to deteriorate, the poor won’t just be with us, they’ll be us. And they’ll be much harder to ignore.