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Morgan Sandquist: Finance in Denial – An Intervention

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Yves here. While I applaud the general thrust of this series, I have to take issue with one notion that this essay takes as a given that finance as currently constituted is “core to our economy” and is cautious about the costs and risks of intervention (even though it argues for that course of action).

The case for decisive action is far stronger. The largest financial services firms have perpetrated the biggest transfer of wealth in history via the bailouts. They have gone unpunished for perpetrating the greatest consumer fraud in history, namely, the predatory lending in the subprime phase, the destruction of the integrity of title, and continuing abuses of court procedures. As we wrote in 2010:

More support comes from Andrew Haldane of the Bank of England, who in a March 2010 paper compared the banking industry to the auto industry, in that they both produced pollutants: for cars, exhaust fumes; for bank, systemic risk. While economists were claiming that the losses to the US government on various rescues would be $100 billion (ahem, must have left out Freddie and Fannie in that tally), it ignores the broader costs (unemployment, business failures, reduced government services, particularly at the state and municipal level). His calculation of the world wide costs:

….these losses are multiples of the static costs, lying anywhere between one and five times annual GDP. Put in money terms, that is an output loss equivalent to between $60 trillion and $200 trillion for the world economy and between £1.8 trillion and £7.4 trillion for the UK. As Nobel-prize winning physicist Richard Feynman observed, to call these numbers “astronomical” would be to do astronomy a disservice: there are only hundreds of billions of stars in the galaxy. “Economical” might be a better description.

It is clear that banks would not have deep enough pockets to foot this bill. Assuming that a crisis occurs every 20 years, the systemic levy needed to recoup these crisis costs would be in excess of $1.5 trillion per year. The total market capitalisation of the largest global banks is currently only around $1.2 trillion. Fully internalising the output costs of financial crises would risk putting banks on the same trajectory as the dinosaurs, with the levy playing the role of the meteorite.

Yves here. So a banking industry that creates global crises is negative value added from a societal standpoint. It is purely extractive. Even though we have described its activities as looting (as in paying themselves so much that they bankrupt the business), the wider consequences are vastly worse than in textbook looting.

Yet its incumbents tout their ‘talent” and insist on their right to mind-numbing pay because their services are allegedly so valuable to the economy.

This means the case for intervention is even more clear cut than this essay suggests.

This is the third part in a four-part essay by Morgan Sandquist, a member of the Occupy Wall Street Alternative Banking Group. The previous post are In Denial and The Addiction. Cross posted from mathbabe

What are we to do with our banking industry, sitting there at the kitchen table in its underwear, drumming on the table with one hand and scratching its increasingly coarse chin with the other in an impossibly syncopated rhythm, letting fly a dizzying stream of assurances, justifications, and accusations, and generally spoiling for a fight that can only be avoided by complete and enthusiastic agreement with a narrative that can be very difficult to follow, let alone make sense of?

Because this is our kitchen too, we have our legal and moral rights. We would be well within those rights to respond to its nonsense with far more coherent and sweeping condemnations of our own. Throwing the bum out in its underwear without so much as a cup of coffee, taking the children, and keeping our share of whatever might be left could certainly be justified.

Though the sense of release offered by those responses is tempting, they’re not likely to be of any practical use. We can’t win an argument with an irrational person, and our share of an insolvent industry is likely to be very little–certainly not enough to feed the children. We have to recognize the hard truth of our implication in the banking industry and its addiction.

This doesn’t mean that we’re responsible for the addiction and its consequences, or that we can make the choice not to continue that addiction on our own, but it does mean that the problem won’t be constructively resolved without our efforts. To the extent that denial is about obscuring the connection between decisions and results, the most effective means of undermining denial is to clarify that connection, and the process of doing that is intervention.

Whether or not its participants are thinking in these terms, Occupy Wall Street, to the extent that it can coherently be referred to as an entity, is in many respects functioning as an intervention into the banking industry’s increasingly untenable addiction to money and debt.

The movement’s core values of transparency, sustainability, and nonviolence reflect the clarity, patience, and compassion needed for an effective intervention.

This is not to say that all of the efforts directed at banks by the movement have been magnanimous or constructive. We have to remember the terrible suffering that has been inflicted upon so many and offer that clarity, patience, and compassion not just to the addict, but also to ourselves as intervenors and to everyone who has been affected by the banking industry.

On the whole, I have been deeply heartened by how this movement has evolved over the last seven months, and though intervention isn’t the easiest or most promising process, it’s one I recognize and know can work (in stark contrast to political revolution). From the beginning, the Occupiers have shown a fearless, poignant spontaneity that’s available only beyond the addiction-centered dynamic of denial, and the banking industry, its enablers, and others still within that dynamic of denial (which, to be fair, has included most of us at one point or another) have responded as would be expected.

The determination and wisdom granted to those who see more clearly is profoundly threatening to those seeking to maintain denial, though of course they wouldn’t be able to say quite why.

The initial objections from the press that Occupy Wall Street was making no demands could be seen as an enabler’s yearning for symptoms that can be isolated and addressed, without admitting to or addressing the addiction from which they arise. To keep calmly and patiently pointing to that underlying cause is simultaneously incomprehensible and maddening to those trapped within denial, and their responses have run the gamut from smug certainty that nothing could possibly be wrong to whistling past the graveyard to ill-conceived and unjustified violence. And the Occupiers’ patience, diligence, and good nature in the face of that decidedly ill will is as textbook an illustration of the process of intervention as we’re likely to see.

It would be all too easy to remain passive in the face of our increasingly delusional, erratic, and combative banking industry. Surely there must be a more palatable alternative to undermining the continued functioning of the complex and highly evolved process that is the core of our economy.

If we force it to rehabilitate, what will happen during that process? Will our economy collapse? When its rehabilitation is complete, will the banking industry be able to function as well as it once did? Or as the banking industry’s enablers would have it: Any attempts to regulate the banking industry will only harm it, making it less effective to all of our detriment; these banks are too important a part of our economy to be allowed to fail; and bankers must continue to receive bonuses for banks to remain competitive.

It’s true that the banking industry has seized upon the process that’s the basis of our economic survival, and that attempts to address the problems of the banking industry cannot be undertaken lightly. But it’s also true that the banking industry has perverted that process, and that attempts to address that won’t prevent our return to some fantasy of efficiency and plenty, though they might prevent the otherwise inevitable, tragic end of the current trajectory left unchecked.

Whatever happens while the banking industry is rehabilitated is unlikely to be worse than what will happen as it continues to indulge in its addiction unaddressed, and it’s unlikely to function any worse upon the completion of its rehabilitation than it is now. As Charles Eisenstein puts it, “any efforts we make today to ‘raise bottom’ for our collectively addicted civilization–any efforts we make to protect or reclaim social, natural, or spiritual capital–will both hasten and ameliorate the crisis.”

Once an addict has reached the point in his or her descent where an intervention is necessary, there’s no realistic possibility of a return to some pre-addiction Golden Age. The apparent paradox that an addict’s life must be destroyed to save it is, stated in those terms, false. The addict’s life only appears to be as yet undestroyed through the lens of denial, and a future life without substance abuse or consequences is an illusion.

But the more gently stated paradox that intervention will cause the addict suffering in the short term to help him or her in the long term is accurate. There are, however, deeper, more intractable paradoxes, and they are those of the psychology of addiction. The process of intervention is often crucial to an addict’s entering rehab and beginning recovery, yet only the addict can decide to enter rehab.

The addict must understand the damage he or she has done in order to stop using but mustn’t succumb to shame, which would simply cause a retreat to the substance. The addict must admit that he or she is powerless over the substance and that life has become unmanageable, but mustn’t surrender to hopelessness and despair, which would sap the considerable motivation needed in the process of recovery. An intervenor must do something, but there’s nothing that can be done. There is no single act, no grand gesture or magic bullet, that can accomplish anything meaningful or lasting. Intervention is a long, unpredictable process requiring superhuman compassion and patience of everyone involved. Prior training or practice in commitment to a process without regard to the outcome of that process is invaluable.

Yes, we can answer the banking industry’s petulant invective in kind, but that won’t fix the problem; the industry will become more defensive and reckless, and we probably wouldn’t end up feeling any better anyway. Our encyclopedic harangue would be cogent, compelling, and convince our friends in the retelling, but no matter how loud we shout it over the banking industry’s coffee cup into that sullen, bloodshot face, it will simply be brushed aside with the wave of a shaky hand and a hoarse grumble, or, worse, it will hit home, and rattled, the banking industry will glare at us and we’ll know that tonight will bring another nihilistic binge of leverage and derivatives, and maybe this time there will be no tomorrow morning. The industry will tell us that we don’t understand, that the pressure it’s under is unimaginable, that life is grim, and that even though it can’t fix that, it should be thanked for what it has accomplished, and that that’s the best it can do. What more could we want? What more could it do? And we can only sigh and shake our head, because we know the simple, honest answer would just fall on deaf ears, and even if it were understood and accepted, the broken soul sitting across the table is in no shape to do anything constructive.

The confrontations shown on television or in the movies, or that you have perhaps participated in yourself, are just part of the larger process of intervention, but they illustrate the themes that inform that larger process. Those themes can best be summarized as connection: the connection between the addict’s choices and the suffering of the addict and those who are around him or her; the connection between addiction and the addict’s choices; and the unbreakable, always available connection between the addict and the intervenors.

Where denial seeks to divide and conquer, intervention seeks to unify and transcend. Intervention doesn’t respond to denial on denial’s terms, but rather reflects reality as it is. It doesn’t engage in the petty distractions of accusations and recriminations, nor does it seek escape from the addict and his or her problems. Intervention shows the addict his or her choices as they’re made, how those choices are determined by addiction, and the consequences that follow from those choices, but it also shows the redemption that’s always available despite those choices and their consequences.

Where denial is deceptive, impulsive, and selfish, intervention is clear, patient, and compassionate. Intervention finally presents the addict with an unavoidable choice between continued deluded suffering and real, sustainable sanity. The addict may or may not respond positively to that choice, but it must continually be presented on the same terms until the addict surrenders his or her denial.

And to induce that surrender, it’s crucial that the addict be offered an alternative to his or her addiction, whether it’s formal rehab, a twelve-step program, methadone, or a recovery dog. It’s important to recognize that even before the addict became physically or emotionally dependent on the substance, that substance met an otherwise unmet need, and leaving it unmet will lead only to relapse.

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55 comments

  1. psychohistorian

    NATIONALIZE THE FED!!!!

    Powerful and straightforward.

    It is way past time to address the dysfunctional historic class structure of “Western style countries”.

    The best and brightest, which are neither, are treating the rest of us like pond scum. Whocouldanode the backlash coming?

    1. InternationalMonetary

      Two imbalances in the system are:
      1. Banks create money therefore they have an advantage over the other players in the system that cant create money.
      2. The central bank doesn’t deal directly with the people and relies on banks to do monetary policy.

      To solve these just make the CB deal directly with the public in a non debt based manner and disallow private banks from creating money.

      1. chitown2020

        ABOLISH THE FED…WE DONT NEED THEM. WE CAN ISSUE OUR OWN CURRENCY ….U.S. BANK NOTES…… BACKED BY OUR OWN NATURAL RESOURCE REVENUES.

          1. chitown2020

            How about Natural Gas and Electricity revenues? What about the Water they are stealing from our lakes and bottling and selling for profit..?

          2. chitown2020

            Robert 157…you are ignorant. The Globalist pigs hijacked our natural resource revenues.

  2. Gerard Pierce

    I almost hate to disagree with such a compelling metaphor, but the intervention story is very poetic and completely useless – except as a way of saying that banksters are junkies.

    The metaphor breaks down when the junkies own the government. The best that can come from an “intervention” is the junkies steal whatever is still un-stolen take the loot overseas and reinvent themselves.

    Kind of a financial emulation of Ziggy Stardust. But what the hell, it’s a message of hope

  3. craazyman

    I see something so I’ll say something.

    That photo is so painfully underexposed it hurts the brain to gaze at it, so I saved it to my computer and tweaked it in Photoshop to bring up the levels and I lightened some of the darks, then sent it to Yves in case she wants to repost it.

    It took about 3 minutes, like arts & crafts! It looks much better.

  4. PaulArt

    We need to break up the Banks plain and simple. Obama should have done this FIRST and then tried to tackle financial reform. Breaking the banks up would have silenced the paid howling and whining from K-Street. When something becomes too big and starts squashing everything around it then its time to put it on a diet and shrink it so that you can drown it in a bathtub as the great man said.

  5. F. Beard

    We can’t win an argument with an irrational person, and our share of an insolvent industry Morgan Sandquist

    A universal bailout ala Steve Keen would fix everyone, including the banks, from the ground up. Where is OWS on this?

    is likely to be very little–certainly not enough to feed the children. Morgan Sandquist

    That’s gold standard thinking at its worse. The children might starve because of mere accounting entries?!

    We have to recognize the hard truth of our implication in the banking industry and its addiction. Morgan Sandquist

    Our implication is that we are VICTIMS! Credit-creation is essentially legal counterfeiting. Think that might be socially destructive? Hmmm?

    But come to think of it many intellectuals are implicated -for not denouncing banking itself. But blaming a few bankers is a lot easier than admitting one’s own complicity, eh?

    “The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is The People vs. The Banks.” – Lord Acton, Historian, 1834 – 1902

    1. F. Beard

      There is no need for any form of credit. Honest borrowing of existing money plus the use of common stock as money should be adequate for all investment needs.

      Plus, a universal bailout till all credit debt is paid off would leave a debt-free population (except for honest borrowing of existing money) and savers with plenty of new money to honestly lend or invest.

      We don’t need counterfeiting for investment purposes.

      Talk about addiction. It’s not just the bankers; our entire society is addicted to counterfeit money.

      The irony is that many here are opposed to private gun ownership because we shouldn’t be killing each other. Well, credit-creation is a form of stealing from each other. Why aren’t you in favor of eliminating that?

      1. Dan Kervick

        Honest borrowing of existing money plus the use of common stock as money should be adequate for all investment needs.

        Isn’t borrowing credit.

        1. F. Beard

          Isn’t borrowing credit. Dan Kervick

          No it isn’t. If I borrow $20 from you, that’s $20 you don’t have until I pay you back. If I borrow $20 from a bank, the bank essentially creates new money (so-called “credit”) as it lends it.

          “Loans create deposits” is the essence of credit creation. It is the equivalent of a counterfeiter that lends its money into existence.

      2. Defiant

        The irony is not the credit, it is the fed’s and the government intervention that has gotten us here, yet, we think that more control is the answer. The destruction of Cuba, Russia, fork, etc has failed to make it clear that socialism is a dream, and all the failures by the fed has failed to show that whether on the right or left intervention does not work and destroys societies, the opposite of what they preach.

        1. ambrit

          Dear Sir;
          My, my, to what depths have we sunk? Besides being inchoate, you make some unverifiable claims. In what way does the collapse of a large multi-ethnic authoritarian empire prove that Socialism is a failure? Cuba? Looks to me as if they have done fairly well being that they have been openly and clandestinely opposed by the biggest country on Earth for fifty years. And fork? Heavens man! fork has been doing well since at least 1150AD! I challenge anyone to find another philosophical or governmental system that has done as well!
          As the (very) old joke goes: “One of these days, we’re going to get it right!”

          1. Defiant

            At least I can blame fork (meant to to type DPRK), but can you defend Cuba withe US argument? Well, does that not on itself destroy your argument, wasn’t Russia, another former socialist state supporting Cuba? There is no way to argue that socialism is a failure is there?

          2. ambrit

            Dear Defiant;
            Sorry to turn the argument on its’ head but, as many commenters here and abroad have observed, the bank bailouts constitute a very successful, for them, form of Socialism.

          3. Defiant

            You have made my case. We come from the light and are headed into the socialist/Communist/totalitarian darkness. Be afraid of those promising free programs. It works until the REAL labor, not to confuse with unions and government free loaders, decide it’s over. When this happens the excusses and pretty words don’t work.

  6. Defiant

    Very interesting how the article conviniently misses mentioning the fed and the government. We need torefocus the movement correctly. Remove the root of the issue, the fed and fraction lending, let the free market pick the winners and losers. Having a group decide who gets what and who pays is not only worst, its a proven failure by the current system. Politicians and the fed are more at fault than the banks, these banks would not exist if it were not for them.

    Defiant

    1. ambrit

      Dear John;
      It has more cachet to say: The criminal banks are mortgaging our countries future.

  7. Susan the other

    Sandquist said intervention is better than revolution in that it solves the problem at the core of dysfunction. True enough when you have policies, laws and enforcement. This, of course, is the job that our politicians should have been addressing all along, but intentionally failed to do. Intervention is the same thing as governing, governing rationally. So clearly we are in dire need of political intervention as well. But we are dealing with so many varieties of political nonsense … where to start? It will be a revolution because the situation demands it. Hopefully a peaceful one. The real need for “intervention” is for us to intervene so that the people who have been most severely damaged by the great financial crash are not further harmed and can be helped, more or less immediately.

    He also says that western culture indulged in financial abuse because it had an unmet underlying need and, again, this is what we must address through soul searching. Money has become symbolic for everyday living. Has, in fact, replaced it. We really aren’t citizens, we are all lunatics made craven by our financial cowardice.

    Instead of being too nostalgic about the ruins of American Finance, maybe we should state the truth: The banks are not too big to fail because they already failed. Disastrously so, taking down the very fabric of our “civilized” society with them. Enough. Pass some good laws and enforce them.

    1. Defiant

      You hit the nail in the head describing the issues. In terms of solution, note that weather the control is given to fed/banks or to the government we end up with the same net result, too much credit, too much currency and a group deciding who wins and as it knpwho loses (banks, unions, government class), ewhile the tax payer pays. Let the market pick winners and losers – it knows best.

      Note that the socialist approach asks for more of what got us here – intervention.

      To the others on the board please Don use the word labor to describe the 99%. You are the government entitled class and are as bad as the banks.

      Defiant

      1. ambrit

        Dear Defiant;
        Allow me to differ with you here. The (I think,) underlying argument you make is the old “Hidden Hand” Free Market one. I must suggest that there is no such thing as a “Free Market.” The concept smacks of Magical Thinking. Something along the lines of the Ancient Greek idea of Ideals. So, you fall into the trap of the Perfect being the Enemy of the Good. All the systems this blog focuses on are Human Constructs, and hence, liable to all of Humanities foibles.

        1. Defiant

          Ambrit,

          Free markets would be of human construct
          It would require geniuses like the fed to remove their hands and let the market award banks that are responsible and well run to thrive and the irresponsible to fail. It will require the to remove its hand and let the market decide whether the value of money should be 5% or 15%. Couple this with a sound, non fiat currency like gold, and politicians wont be tripping over themselves to get into office because currency debasement is out in the open for all to see. The government projects for the sake of my friend of my political career or friend are quickly over. My agenda isfor the benefit of all Americans NOT for the benefit of the rich nor that of the free loader.

        2. Managing Director, Capitalist Collections, Ltd.

          “The (I think,) underlying argument you make is the old “Hidden Hand” Free Market one. I must suggest that there is no such thing as a “Free Market.””

          Oh no. There’s a free market for the hidden hand alright. You can trust me on that one! :)

      2. Managing Director, Capitalist Collections, Ltd.

        “To the others on the board please Don use the word labor to describe the 99%. You are the government entitled class and are as bad as the banks.”

        I don’t know much about the laboring class, but one thing I do know is that YOU are definitely in it.

        And as for used up toilet tissue retired labor, it is indeed entitled, as its government bennies don’t come to the top of my to do list for a few more months.

        I confess I do find this little reprieve an utter outrage. On principle, inactive labor should be cut off the public dole at 5pm on the day of dismissal, but I just can’t make the government dole the high priority I really want it to be until I have legally iron-clad rehypothecations plans up and running at all the major 401K brokerages.

        I am happy to report that these are on schedule, coterminous with electronic banking collections. I don’t know what uppity white collar and small business labor was thinking– but whatever it was, it’s the kind of entitlement that needs to be remedied *pronto.*

    2. John

      I couldn’t agree more with you Susan. But I would like to also add to it that as soon as Government intervenes and provides bailout for banks, it is doing more harm than good. Capitalism was made for the survival of the finest and it should stay that way.

      1. Defiant

        Alleluia common sense – I thought I would never see it on these board. Capitalism has proven to be more efficient yet some look for failed models, like socialism and communsim as solutions. It’s amazing.

        1. chitown2020

          @Defiant…the truth is they snuck in socialism by not calling it socialism….they call it taxes and debt and the FED. This is now going commie and they are sneaking in a totalitarian tyranny under the guise of debt that is their debt and National Security…. The globalists hijacked everything including Capitalism long ago. They accomplished that by robbing us under the guise of taxes, money lending which is really credit lending …..and their fraudulent monetary system. That is how they hijacked America and they hijacked and used Capitalism as a tool to monopolize everything and now they are going to blame the mess they created on Capitalism…they are criminals.

      2. chitown2020

        Problem is the Globalist crooks who are robbing us out of our Freedom, independence, wealth, prosperity and National Sovereignty fraudulently induced socialism and hijacked our Government, Constitution and our currency/monetary system and Capitalism long ago. That is why the Government is becoming more and more fascist. The U.S. GOVERNMENT are running a protection racket for themselves and their criminal friends under the guise of National Security and the Color of Law. It is all a giant fraud and they are a criminal enterprise…they are criminal racketeering….!

        1. chitown2020

          I forgot to add they are becoming fascist to protect their racket from failing because the people are waking up.

          1. Defiant

            Chitown,

            Because we let them. Not only that, we let them fool us with these social programs, bailouts, homeowner “help”, etc. We want all these things but don’t want to pay for it
            We now have a society that thinks that stealing is ok if you are rich. We have a society that thinks the government can create money and that we can all live free. Who cares as long as I’m not paying is the mentality. The free loaders and the rich have their lobby, the majority lives the live of a donkey, carrying both the rich and the free loader on top. They’ve stupified the tax payer so much that instead of organizing we rather watch American idol.

          2. chitown2020

            The American people already funded and paid for everything at the Origination Fraud… The globalists want us to pay for a quadrillion dollars in unsustainable debt fraud that they committed in our names. That is what the people don’t know and is precisely how they are bankrupting us. Under the guise of debt that they owe and can never repay. That is what is behind the big lies that people bought homes they couldn’t afford and America is broke. LETS TALK ABOUT THE HOME EQUITY/REFI “SECOND LIEN” FRAUD…! THAT IS HUGE…..!!!!! Even very educated people spout this stuff as if it is fact. It is true that so many millions of people are believing lies. THE TRUTH IS…THEY NEVER LENT US ANY MONEY…WE LENT OUR SIGNATURES AND OUR MONEY TO THEM..AND THEY PLUNDERED IT..!

  8. Defiant

    I try ignoring but its impossible. In one post you talk about how bad counterfeit is yet on a separate post minutes apart accounting entries are needed. Sounds just like the union/bank argument. Its ok when unions steal.

  9. Doug Terpstra

    The “love conquers all” and “can’t we all just get along” themes are the usual warm and (very) fuzzy liberal approach of truth and reconciliation. Shift the metaphor a little to see the inadequacy of loving intervention and rehabilitation, free of debilitating shame or judgment. A more apt metaphor would be that of sociopathic rapist, pedophile, or serial killer which makes the kitchen table intervention look silly. Rehab is not an option in some cases.

    The addiction of course is not to debt or money, but to power — power over others, in which inequality is not a bug but a feature. (See the article in Links: “Power Really Does Corrupt … as Addictive as Cocaine”) Let’s also not forget that this financial-military-industrial fuels aggressive wars and mass-slaughter — why we are waging multiple wars and planning new ones. Gang-banksters are not problem drinkers or coke-heads.

    Another issue here is the ever-present either/or choice of saving banks (and banksters, part-and-parcel) or letting them and the entire financial system fail. Does saving the financial system mean we have to save Jamie Dimon, Bernanke, and Blankfein with loving grace and turn them into decent people? The banking system does not have to fail; it can be taken over, resolved and rehabilitated for productive public purpose, under new management (finally), even while the sociopaths who ran them into the ground can rot in prison. These are not indispensable men. It’s time to disown them and excommunicate them from the family.

    And about the “patient and compassionate” conclusion: “It’s important to recognize that even before the addict became physically or emotionally dependent on the substance, that substance met an otherwise unmet need, and leaving it unmet will lead only to relapse.”

    What alternative do you offer the pedophile or rapist, but chemical castration; what substitute do you offer the serial killer but a lethal injection?

    1. Defiant

      I think the answer is rather simple.

      Don’t give more money to the addict nor the rapist.
      Throw both in jail.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      DT, right. Actually, the psychos are addicted to power and HOT money, fast money, cheap money, “Funny Money” (Mark Singer). ENRON lives in every form, and Wars profit BigOil the most. Bush Dynasty has fingers in every pie in sky.

  10. patricia

    I think this is nonsense, including most of the comments.

    1. I agree with Doug. If we need a metaphor, we are not dealing with merely an addiction, nasty as that is, but a family member who has been chronically violent, who has trashed the house, and recently stabbed several in the family. In this context, intervention is just cute and ridiculously dangerous. A few of the members need to be brought to hospital at the same time the violent one needs to be imprisoned and brought to trial. A memorial service needs to be held for those who have died, and the rest need some serious therapy while the house is repaired, top to bottom.
    2. People who equate all government programming with socialism/ communism are ignorant of both.
    3. People who equate socialism/communism with fascism are also ignorant of both.
    4. FWIW, from what I have read, chemical castration is not a cure but a punishment, functioning in the same way that humans used to cut the hands off a thief.

    1. Defiant

      Patricia,

      Its intriguing how these comments defend socialism and communism, if I used the same strategy, not only would it be easier to defend capitalism, I can say its total success.. I mean the US is the lone super power..

      Perhaps Guevara and Castro canblame it onlack of precedence, but we would be insane – doing the same and expecting different results. History is there for a reason, some learn, others ignore and run into the fate of Russia, Cuba, Argentina, DPRK, France, UK, and so many other that have tried.. you see, when you have a few deciding what is best for the populist, greed and personal gain corrupts those few. Perhaps Castro meant well in his own perfect little world, but this is definately not the experience of the Cubans. Hunger and fear is more likely. But at least, Castro got his wish, Cuba became a socialist state, stopped in 1960. So it seems some of us fall in love with thealoryand would easily hand over what we know for not only what we don’t but what has been a proven failure. Hopely many of the posters are in another country, we surely don’t need more socialists in the US.

      1. Managing Director, Capitalist Collections, Ltd.

        “you see, when you have a few deciding what is best for the populist, greed and personal gain corrupts those few”

        Exactly right. I am laboring my way up– literally pulling myself up the capitalist foodchain by my bootstraps– looking forward to the day when *I* decide what is best for the populist in this great Capitalist country.

        My Secretary is doing a study on “Friendly Bridges with Wide Embankments (*Downwind* from Andrew Schiff’s Place in Cobble Hill!!!)” and I’ll let you know soon.

      2. patricia

        Def:

        I defended neither socialism or communism and your presumption merely further exposes your shabby thinking processes.

        You show some wisdom here: …”when you have a few deciding what is best for the populist, greed and personal gain corrupts those few.” Maybe you can build from there but I suggest first a perusal of a book or two on logic.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      patricia, sounds like someone addicted to power and violence, badly in need of a fix.

      1. Defiant

        Neither wealthy nor free loader. When the time comes I will be walking with real 99%, the tax bailing out wall street, bailing out free loaders. Saying words like end the fed and wall street is bad may confuse some, but the government, the free loaders and unions are part of the problem. We will make sure that the socialists don’t take this crisis not only to push their junk, but to benefit from it in the process. We, the American tax payers, are done wit bailing out wall street, unions, and all other free loaders out there.

      2. patricia

        Hi, Leonova. Nice to see you around again!

        Sure, addiction is an element, but isn’t the center of this issue. Would one also say that the mafia was merely in need of an intervention? Mussolini?

        Interventions work when there have been strong family/friend bonds and when the addicted person has some shame when not stoned. But the money thugs have been coldly methodically destroying the members of their family (society), on their way out the door to China.

        The metaphor also collapses because these thugs’ addiction is not to a drug-induced alteration of reality but to a malicious world-view, which isn’t changed by mere compassionate confrontation. Ask Bill Black about how that would’ve worked during the SandL scandal.

        One would need to differentiate between the structure of capitalism and those who are working currently within it. Metaphors could then be applied separately, if needed.

        But even in the context of addiction, whenever violence is added, the situation shifts to crime, and secondarily to addiction. And we have had mass violence here. If we must continue the addiction metaphor, they need to be first jailed, and then we can help them with their addiction.

  11. chitown2020

    Anyone hear the report that the Russian Stock Market has been shut down indefinitely? The Russian Govt. Is considering this a state of emergency.

  12. Fiver

    I’m sorry, but this piece is to me an embarrassment coming out of Occupy. It disowns even the idea of a “political revolution”, though anyone who has followed events closely for any length of time realizes that it is precisely a “political revolution” of some sort that must occur, else we are utterly fucked. The degree of denial exhibited here with respect to the nature of those who wield and propagate the power of the Wall Street/Washington complex is just stunning.

    First remove several thousand and these abominable elite sociopaths from positions of power, then ply the rehab route with them. Devote all the money saved by releasing a million of the people in prison because they’re poor to the cause – a mere peanut relative to the gains for the public with these vermin finally out of the way.

    If you wish to claim the entire society is “addicted” to a steady bombardment of “novel” stimulus (the instant satisfaction of which has been trained into us now for several generations and forms the basis of our Waste economy), you can put together an account that, quite properly, rips our butts off for being so blind to it as a first step towards “recovery” (I believe I’m engaged in just such “project” wherever I write). But when you are talking about people who knew the very first time they betrayed a social/public trust, that it was wrong, but went ahead and did so anyhow, and kept on doing it no matter how bad the consequences for others, it’s a different thing entirely. These people are not addicted. They have a fundamentally anti-social (properly understood) character we cannot allow anywhere near power.

  13. Virginia Deoccupy Homelessness Simson

    In a dysfunctional family, when you have addiction present AND “domestic” violence, you do not have one plus one equals two.

    You have quadruple or WORSE to deal with. It is a spiral!

    And thus, we have a country which is paying its “debts” with (1) an armaments manufacturing base – (2) along with Hollyweird enter- and info-tainment. Plus, (3) there is a HUGE amount of playing fast and furious w/the Almighty Dollar and other “commercial instruments”.

    We export addictive culture of DELUSION and often just plain paranoia – movies, makeup, fashion, STYLE. We have these addictive wares sold by public diplomats (read: propogandists, lobbyists, $chills, rit$o$, Ivy Leaguers, alphabet soupers) – a sort of vegetative corporate culture that has become an addictive identity.

    At least in an intervention, people STICK TO THE SCRIPT. In #Occupy everyone seems to think that improv will do the trick against an enemy that is cunning, baffling and POWERFUL to the MAX.

    It’s as if the bank$ter$ get a salary of $100 per week, BUT manage to spend $1 million per day on CRACK/Crystal meth/the drug$ of WAR, opium). Unless, the resisters to the imperial, violent system get a whiff of just HOW BIG THIS IS, how BAD the addict has been – nobody’s gonna get the intervention pulled off. And WHO pray tell, does the actual rehab? Who takes their Fifth Steps? Surely not our judicial system. And that is because .. the Bank$ter$ made themSelves into GAWD and the Higher Power in our MINDS. They have turned REDEMPTION and RECOVERY into DEATH itself in the past few years.

    Intervene them? Sure, but why not put them on a one-way ticket to the Bermuda Triangle. It seems to me that medical TRIAGE just ain’t gonna cut it. Not yet anyway ..

    I don’t think this “model” is “wrong” .. just that we are limited in our very ability to articulate just how painful they have made life for the bulk of humanity. Thank the G**d*mn IMF, the World Bank, the Rothschild Central Banks, the Chinese/Japanese pensioners, the credit addicts and the rest of the cast of BILLIONS who enable and feed The Monster.

    This is going to be a roller coaster ride for a very very very very long time to come, imho. Remember this: No human power could have restored sanity to this mess.

    WE ARE NOT TO BLAME FOR THAT.

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