WMD: cook the books

Leveraged exchange traded funds or ETF’s….These financiers. Morbidly earthbound figures, weighed down by the heavy change in their pockets. Without that primitive anchor of coin rooting them to the soil, they would float away into a void, a kind of mystic farewell, eventually dissolving like a cloud.

But, are they evanescent figures or simply indestructible individualists, the sacred genes of a subculture. They appear marked by death, but somehow intact and indomitable on the thrones of their annual meetings. Disintegrating looking and simultaneously, majestic, self-assured and integrated. Despite all the ambiguity,the Soros’s and Paulson’s are authentically who they are: self-identified wheeler-dealers rather than role-playing hacks. They do recall D. W. Winnicott’s True Self,being rooted in spontaneous gestures and personal ideas, in what they perceive as a false world that has abandoned them to stoke the mythology of the lonesome individualist working outside the boundaries of history.

Molinari Antonio. ---Spectacularization by way of reproduction and commodification also do the work of art unexpected good—more unexpected yet consistent good than they do the spectator. For only by becoming a spectacular commodity is the work of art likely to—in fact will--survive in capitalist society, and with that into posterity, for the capitalists who own, sponsor, and celebrate it as a spectacular achievement—who are the powerful elite in the society of the capitalist spectacle—have the power to give it a post-commodity future. The only way for art to become unconditionally elite—immortal--is to become a spectacular commodity and thus appeal to the spectacular capitalist elite. The artist becomes what Erich Fromm calls a marketing personality publicizing himself in order to sell his art as an enduring and indispensable commodity—first and foremost as a socially unique commodity, and secondarily as eternal art able to afford a transcendental aesthetic and intimate emotional experience—even though the more it is presented as a commodity the less likely it is to function aesthetically and existentially.--- Read More:http://www.percontra.net/19kuspit2.htm image:http://www.artclon.com/paintings/adoration-of-the-golden-calf-early-1700s_13049.html

Yes, these men, the Bloomberg types; they confront in their physicality and penetrate us with their eyes,the eyes of the occupier. As figures, they are symbols of endurance in what seems an unbearable world. Static, with an ambiguous aura of abandonment, nobility and even detachment; emptiness and emancipated: connected together to the fact they are devoid of empathy and incapable of relating to the other. Ultimately their form undoes themselves, shriveling into little more than specks crawling in a profound, bottomless, dark void…

Did you watch the markets on Monday? In the last 18 minutes of trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index jumped more than 10 points with no news to account for the rally. If you were left scratching your head, you were not alone. Almost every day there is an article in the newspaper trying to explain the stock market’s wild swings, or volatility, and often the explanation is inconclusive, involving everything from Europe’s banking problems to new fears of recessions….

---These funds, which allow investors to bet on a certain basket of stocks, commodities or an index, are perhaps the hottest rage in investing, with some $1 trillion invested. E.T.F.’s are particularly attractive to some investors because you can bet long or short — and you can leverage your bet. And you can hop in and out within the trading day to lock in gains, just as with stocks.--- Read More:http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/10/10/volatility-thy-name-is-e-t-f/ image:http://www.library.gsu.edu/spcoll/collections/av/19cLabor/19clabor01.htm

Through the summer and into the fall, I, too, have been pondering the gyrations in trading, especially the late-day sell-offs and rallies that seem always timed perfectly to coincide with the closing bell. Rarely do the rallies or sell-offs, which invariably start after 3 p.m., justify 3 to 4 percent moves in the indexes. The swings have a deleterious effect on the markets because they undermine confidence and investors start sitting on the sidelines.Read More:http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/10/10/volatility-thy-name-is-e-t-f/

…To Mr. Kass, these E.T.F.’s are the “new weapons of mass destruction.” (His description is an homage to Warren Buffett’s widely quoted line that derivatives are “weapons of mass destruction.”) “They’ve have turned the market into a casino on steroids,” Mr. Kass said. “They accentuate the moves in every direction — the upside and the downside.”

---Back in 2009, Barclays Global’s research department studied the growing leveraged E.T.F. market — before the flash crash — and concluded that the funds created systemic risk because they “amplify the market impact of all flows, irrespective of source.”---Read More:http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/10/10/volatility-thy-name-is-e-t-f/ image:http://www.library.gsu.edu/spcoll/collections/av/19cLabor/19clabor03.htm

Mr. Kass, who has written about this topic for TheStreet.com, may be right: at the end of every day, leveraged E.T.F.’s have to re-balance themselves by buying and selling millions of shares within minutes to remain properly weighted. If the E.T.F. made

ey that day, to remain balanced it has to reinvest the proceeds and leverage them again. In many cases, leveraged E.T.F.’s use options, swaps and index futures to keep themselves in balance.

You might consider the E.T.F. the new derivative.Read More:http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/10/10/volatility-thy-name-is-e-t-f/

---Kuspit:The society of the capitalist spectacle is a society of collectibles, and everything is collectible in a capitalist society—from automobiles to matchboxes, from so-called primitive artifacts to the archeological relics of sophisticated antiquity—and as such museum-worthy, and with that immortalizable, which makes it all the more marketable. In the Communist Manifesto Marx celebrated bourgeois capitalism for its liberation of work, and the remarkable technological achievements that made it possible—including mechanical and eventually digital reproduction--but he neglected to note that bourgeois capitalism liberated objects from banality (which is what Duchamp’s assisted readymades may be about) by making them spectacular commodities.Image:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2016284/The-perfectly-preserved-pooches-Castle-Bitov-looks-like-Bitov-chew.html Read More:http://www.percontra.net/19kuspit2.htm


I took an informal poll of a half dozen brand-name fund managers and virtually all of them agreed with Mr. Kass. But some of them said that high-frequency traders, which themselves trade E.T.F.’s, could be magnifying the problem. “We know E.T.F.’s are the dominant factor in the marketplace,” Mr. Kass said. “In the ’70s and ’80s it was the mutual funds, in early 2000s it was the hedge funds. Now it’s the algorithms running the E.T.F.’s.” Read More:http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/10/10/volatility-thy-name-is-e-t-f/

---For Benjamin the arcades of Paris were a microcosm of capitalism. They ­represented both historical potential and disappointment - a promise of abundance and betrayal of that promise. An international architectural form, they were crammed with colonial plunder, the raided booty of wealthy nations. The empire aided commodity production, providing sources of raw materials which could be worked over and sold off in newly established markets. Imperialism unified the world through trade, but equally it divided peoples, setting them against one another as workers and as soldiers. The world exhibitions, another 19th century architectural form devoted to commodity display, were similarly contradictory. Victor Hugo’s introduction to the 1867 Paris World Exposition catalogue is a call for the unification of peoples - he talks of “the world as neighbours” who come together to “compare ideals”. But in reality, the displays were organised along the dividing lines of nation. And commodities were placed on pedestals, erasing the labour of the workers who had made them.--- Read More:http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=9150 image:http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/artdesign/story/2008/09/08/damien-hirst.html


Jonathan McIntosh: The mashup adds a new layer of text to re-re-contextualize the commercial’s message turning it (back) into a rallying cry for youth revolt. I say “turning it back” because the Levi’s ad, called Levi’s Legacy shamelessly co-opts Charles Bukowski’s anti-establishment poem The Laughing Heart and re-purposes it to sell their brand….

…Ironically Levi’s was recently forced to pull the ad in the UK after public outcry when thousands of disenfranchised youth (who are being crushed by social cuts and austerity measures) decided to “go forth” and riot, for real. Levi’s might want to reconsider their marking strategy on this side of the Atlantic too in light of the Occupy Wall Street inspired protests sweeping the nation. Read More:http://www.politicalremixvideo.com/

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