Monday, March 08, 2010

Quick and dirty guide to the other economy

First- there is the real economy. You go to work in this economy, you get a paycheck, you buy your groceries, put gas in your car, buy shoes for the kids in this economy. This is where real goods and services are exchanged.

Then there is the other economy, the one of wall street and banks and insurance companies. This economy doesn't produce anything. No actual good or service is made or traded. It is the speculation economy. It is Vegas, but in way more expensive suits. It is all, entirely and completely, gambling.

And every dollar that goes into the speculation economy is a dollar that ain't buying groceries.

But it's worse than just being a resource sucking drain on those of us who live in the real world.

Imagine, if you will, that the book makers in Vegas, while setting the odds for the Super Bowl, were capable of changing the outcome of the real, actual game. Not by illegally fixing the game, but by legally changing the odds. This is what the speculation economy does. Insurance companies do this by constantly changing what it they cover, who they cover, how much they cover, this is hedging their bets. Mortgage companies do it with rate changes and slice and dice mortgage backed securities. Economists call this "interest in exchange for risk assumption" but as we all know, banksters don't take any risks. They hava government bailouts. Wall Street is at least slightly more upfront about its gambling habits, but companies that treat their workers well don't make nearly the same gains on Wall Street that companies that shit on their workers do (see the difference between Costco and Wall Mart for a very very clear example). This is called "minimizing overhead to increase profit", and Wall Street loves some minimized overhead.

Maybe some of you all remember the go go 90's. I do, I was middle class. And every time a new, historically low unemployment number came out, the stock market fell. Yeppers. Gains in the real economy make the speculators pee their pants in fear. Now, every time one more thing gets between us real folks and say health care reform, health insurance and pharm stocks rise. Because the speculation economy needs every dollar it can suck out of our sick, tired hands.

The speculation economy produces NOTHING.

And I think we should put an end to it.

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