The Power Of Selling Out: Your Customers As Political Capital

And now for something completely different:

Talk about corruption! I’m sure this young man has a long career ahead of him, not merely as a “serial entrepreneur” but as a campaign contributor and perhaps, one day, an office seeker!

I do think he’s not quite the right demographic for the Republicans, however…

NOTE TED has so been cruising for a take-down. I’m very pleased with this series from The Onion.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. OMF

    This is not satire. It is the inevitable destination of all MBA run businesses, and business cultures.

    By the way, this has actually aready happened. I have little doubt some young amoral executive has already given a talk justing the decision in real life somewhere(Not that the board needed much convincing).

  2. John F. Opie

    I stopped watching TED because of the discordance between speakers there and reality: it’s an echo chamber for academics and those who think they belong to an elite that should be running things.

    And you’re right, it’s not the Republican demographic.

  3. Maureen

    Here’s another from the Onion: ‘Using Social Media To Cover For Lack Of Original Thought”:

    This one isn’t as ‘on the nose’ as the Ted-like video embedded in NC today. The difference is that “Your Customers as Political Capital” rings so true that it makes us uncomfortable, while “Using Social Media” is broadly humorous, not as subtle.

    Who would have thought that among our best news and opinion sources would become The Onion and Rolling Stone (Taibbi)?

      1. Valissa

        Jon Stewart has become an establishment hack… the establishment jester who doesn’t challenge the duopoly but provides a “safe” and liberal/progressive sanctioned outlet for venting (and he has become quite wealthy doing this, a 1%-er). Sadly, I can’t stand watching his show any more. Same old political jokes and commentary, same shtick, boring boring boring. Every time I try and give him a chance again the first thing he does is show clips from Fox news and then mock them. WOW, that’s original, fresh, insightful, witty… NOT. here is a reason I don’t watch Fox News, and I don’t want to watch it second hand either… it’s pretty much like second hand smoke. /end rant

        1. skippy

          John is just a more humorous Oprah aka the skirt to hide behind, see Armstrong’s mea culpa, whence his back pocket was at mortal risk.

          Skippy… charity’s these day are just an altruistic cover for social malfeasance… easy bake recipe for the well healed…. al la he/she giveth and takeith away.

        2. Pepe

          Jon Stewart’s brother is the COO of the NYSE. Stewart isn’t about challenging the status quo; Stewart’s role is to provide a steam valve for disaffected young people and keep them in the boat.

      2. rotter

        Righty. Is this the same John Stewart that has had Ari Fliescher and bill kristol on his show about 2 dozen times? The same asshat who staged that “centrist” “rally for sanity” in support of staus quo economic and foreign policy?

  4. JEHR

    I could not help but think that those ideas describe the work of Goldman Sachs precisely. And when I see other market types praising all the good work and sound practices of Goldman, I think of that audience clapping when they don’t have a clue, or don’t care, what they were clapping for.

    Great piece!

  5. Rems

    Oh come on you guys, TED isn’t the devil. The Onion parodies are funny and comic relief takes the tension out of rough times, but we need more free and engaging brain stimulation in this world. Just because you don’t agree with every talk doesn’t mean TED is cruising for a bruising. Disagreement is just part of intelligent debate, and if it’s done right both sides are better for it.

  6. Gil Gamesh

    Brilliant. Funny because it is largely true, and only slightly satire. Is there a bigger prick than Zuckerberg? The assholes that run Google? The vampire squid resides in the Valley and the Street.

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