the butler guards the gold

Are all these gains at the top of the pyramid illegal, immoral or frankly criminal riches the result of gaming the financial system, the large unearned increments as economist Frank Genovese has called them due to monopoly theories and barriers to entry an impediment to health and social stability?  To some degree it can be argued that excessive inequality is inefficient, a misallocation of wealth and a slap in the face, a fish slapping of sorts to those who believe in efficient markets. Evidently, the anti-capitalist critique can run into deep and uncharted waters; why should a loft in downtown Chicago cost twenty something times one in Newport Vermont? Henry George be damned, most people are willing to tolerate the “creative destructions” that capitalism brings instead of sharing out of necessity, with income disparity being the price of modern society…

---Bank of America's lawyers were aware that AIG was prepared to file a $10 billion lawsuit against the institution as early as 7 months before its filing, Reuters reports. Bank of America made no mention of the suit in its quarterly SEC filing, which was released on August 4th. It didn't say anything of a potential suit on conference calls, either. Read more:

But, what if we woke up one fine morning to find there were no more corporations, globalization, rogue nations and dishonest politicians? Would we be over the hump of the contentious issue of income distribution?  Unlikely, certain given structures might vanish, only to be replaced by more ingenious designs on oppressive control. And, secondly, if we don’t decide to crash and burn what we have, is a steeply progressive luxury tax beyond a certain point feasible, or will it just scare the wealthy “patriots” to pick up and move their tents?

---January 14th 1967 – The First Human Be-In---Read More:

At the bottom of Western culture, there  is still  the myth of rugged individuals stubbornly clinging to a personal code of ethics that, despite influences like media and social fashions, will survive in new forms acting to create new and innovative associations somehow making it through a labyrinth of problems and challenges. Somehow that spirit can’t be killed off. Updated, evolved and transformed versions of old archetypes like John Wayne and even vaguer peripheral figures of history who prevent the world from collapsing; it seems stupid to white liberal elite college types, but it rings true. They didn’t hack their way out of Germany’s Death Forest or land at Normandy. There is something in America, that despite all the flaws and mistakes, the greatest, grandest culture in human history. Get used to it. It’s not going away.  The confrontation with Occupy Wall Street is ultimately healthy. There’s almost nothing more anathema than the status quo, like the Bruce Cockburn song, “the trouble with normal is that it always gets worse.”. Democracy IS the worst form of government, except the rest of the crap. As unsavory as it can be,  We have to work with it. The road to hell is said to be paved with good intentions; my own feeling is that the far left is a fifth column; remember state socialism imploded. It was inevitable. Our still flickering pioneer spirit can push the global oligarchy into the same stinking cesspool that Communists dived into under their own volition.  Hopefully then,  we can get back to business as usual…

Read More: ---The only way, then, Cowen’s quietism can be justified is if the banking and finance sector provided such a vital public service that the public benefits outweigh the costs of the occasional crash. But there is no evidence that is the case. Even Cowen doesn’t try to make that case – as he puts it, these people aren’t providing a vital service, they are “gaming the system”. ---

( see link at end) …The situation appears even more stark when we look at the United States. When Forbes magazine produced the first of its now-annual ranking of the 400 richest people in America in 1982, there were 14 billionaires on the list. By 2007, every single member of the list was a billionaire, with the price of admission to this most exclusive of clubs pegged at US$1.3 billion. There is no doubt that we live in an increasingly unequal society. Since the late 1970s, income inequality in the United States has steadily increased, to the point where the top quintile of Americans now own 84% of the country’s total wealth. The picture is similar in Canada, where the top 20% of households control 70% of the wealth.

Read More: ---SFist drove by this billboard near the Cala in Nob Hill on Saturday and mused about how the original phrase, "use them all," could so easily be riffed on by flocks of sarcastic San Franciscans. (We will admit we used to have a fondness for McMuffins before we started caring about what went into our mouths, but we disagree that they delight all 10,000 taste buds.) Then, yesterday, the geniuses at the Billboard Liberation Front came to our rescue. The billboard is part of BLF's and McDonald's bold new "advertising improvement campaign," “I’m Sick of It.”---

…But carving the population into quintiles masks the true nature of what is going on. Over the past few decades, virtually all of the increase in wealth has gone to the relative handful of individuals in the top 1% of the income distribution. In the United States, that 1% of the population wields about 35% of the nation’s wealth. In Canada, the situation is similar if slightly less compressed: the top 1% of the population possesses 14% of total wealth. Read More:–why-the-growing-wealth-inequality-matters


A windfall luxury tax is not that radical, An old curmudgeon sport like baseball has it. Maybe that cash  can then be used to fund an adequate employment insurance and other social benefit monies  for those who appear to be headed for p

nent vacation; remember also that technology and automated trading systems are also putting growing numbers of the financial class into the same morass. The question remains. Who will pay? The state or private sector?  And who is to really blame? And, are our notions of charity obsolete, or simply rusty from lack of use, a hangover from the Great Depression?

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