Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

What’s Your Problem Here, Dingbat?

Horrors, just horrors. People who aid us out of coronavirus induced problems make money. Ain’t that just such an immense problem?

While millions of Americans were being thrown out of work by the coronavirus, the super rich saw their wealth increase 10%

Well, markets are forward looking. So, as the coronavirus appeared over the horizon all those billionaires lost a lot of money, didn’t they?

The capitalists lost money when there was just a chance that it was going to be a disaster – that’s how markets work. Then, we find that sure, it is a disaster. But we can also see an nd to it, we’re not talking about the end of the economy here we’re talking about a slump in it to be followed by a recovery. The net present value of future income streams is higher than we had, in our funk, thought. So, markets rise again – because markets are forward looking, see?

Between 18 March and 10 April 2020, over 22 million Americans lost their jobs. Over the same three weeks, my co-authors and I find in a new study for the Institute for Policy Studies, US billionaire wealth increased by $282bn – an almost 10% gain.

Ah, we’re in the school for scumbags here then. Let’s obscure with propaganda rather than create any illumination then by limiting our time period to the after the billionaires have lost the money and during the real economic events that led them to do so.

Let’s also ignore another rather important point. The S&P 500 was at 2,398 on Match 18. 9 April (closed on 10th, Good Friday) it was 2,789. So the market as a whole (S&P isn’t quite the whole market, that’s the Wilshire 5,000 but still, close enough) has beaten that rise in the billionaire’s wealth, hasn’t it? All those 401(k)s that are invested where they should be, in no load index funds, have beaten the plutocrats.

But we’re trying to stir up the pitchforked mob here, not illuminate, aren’t we?

And then we get to the really important point here:

Eight of these billionaires — the “pandemic profiteers” — have seen their net worth surge by over $ 1 billion. They are: Jeff Bezos (Amazon), MacKenzie Bezos (Amazon), Eric Yuan (Zoom), Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), John Albert Sobrato (Silicon Valley real estate), Elon Musk (Tesla and SpaceX), Joshua Harris (Apollo Global Management), and Rocco Commisso (Mediacom).

Let’s take just those first three. Amazon and Zoom are companies that have enabled us to carry on having at least a bit of this civilisation thing as we’re struck by a once in a century pandemic. We like this, we think it’s a good thing. We’d even like to encourage people to do this, build systems, companies, organisations, that allow us to continue to enjoy this civilisation thing whatever that outside environment decides to throw at us.

Note that this is not about just rewards, righteous collection of prizes nor the sanctity of personal property. It’s entirely pragmatic. The reason that Jeff Bezos gets to enjoy such wealth that even Discarded Wife V 1.0 is plutocratically wealthy for the next n generations is so that the next person with an idea that might enable us to continue to enjoy civilisation whatever the outside environment decides to throw at us does the two decades of work to enact that idea and enable us to do so.

It’s the same reason the Walton family get that $150 billion. It’s not because we give a shit for their property rights. It’s because the existence of Walmart benefits the average consumer by around $250 billion a year. Capitalise that over a couple of decades – about what stock values do for income from a stock – and we’ve a net present value to consumers of $5 trillion. We get $5 trillion, they get $150 billion, this is one of the best deals ever offered to anyone. It’s also why capitalism/free marketry works – we consumers are the people who make out like bandits from the system.

We allow today’s capitalists to keep the cash so that the next generation will do the work to make all of us that much richer. And that’s it.

But far better to ignore all of that and create some propaganda, eh? But then that’s what scumbags do, isn’t it?

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4 years ago

No, not just “so that the next generation will do the work”. We actually do also “give a shit for their property rights.” That morality is so efficacious is merely a nice bonus.

Okay, some don’t. And the raw data for that article was obtained as a result of a political campaign chanting, “We don’t want what’s yours; we just want full disclosure.” With which we can beat the drum to shame you out of what’s yours.

4 years ago

I care for their property rights, if only for my own self interest. Any government powerful enough to take money from the likes of Bezos will have no difficulty taking mine. So I stand with Bezos & co. Because that is my best option for keeping my modest pile.

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