An unfolding drama in which the answer to be found may be in not what is said. The Anglo-American financial system as Marcel Marceau mime.How else to explain the world apart, the disjunct between words and action , or lack thereof. Madoff, now through swindling and swinging brother Peter, is back in the news, indicating a search for easy to blame scapegoats is an ongoing sport, when in reality, the problem is not with isolated bad actors, but elements intrinsic to the system, inherent in its functioning, that allow and even coerce Madoff’s to engage in criminal activity. The latest news on interest rate price fixing, LIBOR, again focuses on the financial crisis being the work of isolated acts rather than a coherent modus operandi generalized over the financial sector.
At the bottom tier, those stuck in the middle, there is a kind of paradox at work, this idea that a big pay day is also in store. Just around the corner. The system, the American dream if you like, is greatly supported by this ideology whereby the potential for satisfaction serves to function as if the actual satisfaction has already been attained.It is brilliant in that it gives the signal that you don’t really need to resist or protest, since you have already attained “comfort” or it is just around the corner.
The priestly invocation of Work Hard, a basic foundation of capitalist values, is the heart of the consumer society. Everyone can get rich. Even you. By hard work you win.Luck is always just around the corner. Sounds a bit to close to “works makes freedom” that adorned the gate of Auschwitz. The Left view, their whack and hack at authenticity posits that this is only an illusion, since the vast majority will not get rich, in fact, probably poorer. But, perhaps they fall into a trap, since identifying with the Reagan type discourse, at an absurd level with Romney, is not that you would become rich, but the ideological framework places the individual within the context, the opportunity of identifying yourself as someone who could be the next one to become rich. That manna was just around the corner. Perhaps.
So, identification, for the little people, may be enough to engage in working hard, being competitive etc. , but not enough to succeed, which may ultimately not be that important; the loser diatribe on its not if you win or lose, but how you play…its the journey not the destination… It seems to be enough for people to live with the consciousness that maybe, despite all the evidence to the contrary, if they work hard, next year will be better. That is, identifying with the possibility is enough to strike the rich gold vein, to succeed. The possibility itself brings its own gratification.
Artistically, Marcel Duchamps saw this quite clearly, the off-balance moment, prolonged indefinitely, aesthetically seen in the ready made. A pattern here, where they were found at random, but predetermined times, the readymades, the “chosen” so to speak were not so much chosen as stumbled upon, an achievement based on the chance character of the readymade. They were often just things found scattered in Duchamp’s studio. A Bernie Madoff as an incarnation of the off balance moment.
But what had determined his choice of the readymades? Many were called but few were chosen, and Duchamp said it depended on the object; which presented difficulties, since at the end of a couple weeks, you are stuck in a love-hate polarity with it, very much like the hot button issues of our current grist mill: “You have to approach something with an indifference, as if you had no aesthetic emotion. The choice of readymades is always based on visual indifference and, at the same time, on the total absence of good or bad taste.” …
( see link at end)…Are you kidding me? After the revelations we have had the past ten years, including the long term and cavalier fixing of LIBOR, one of the cornerstones of the western financial system? How many shots do you wish to give these jokers at destroyi
he real economy?
Most traders’ empathy, outlook, and interests end around their belly buttons. and their attention spans and planning horizons are shorter than that. Sociopaths are considered insufficiently ruthless for the more sophisticated firms, who ripen them over time into utterly self absorbed narcissim, if not borderline psychosis….
…This is why I always laugh when ‘serious people’ in the media and the Congress turn to traders and speculators for public policy advice when it comes to financial regulation. Why not ask a grifter or a loan shark what they think?
…Peter Madoff, brother to infamous Bernie and long time ‘chief compliance officer’ for the Madoff fund, is pleading guilty to the charge of ‘falsifying documents.’ As you may recall Harry Markopolos had attempted to call the fraudulent nature of the Madoff investment model to the attention of the regulators for years and was ignored, ridiculed, and threatened.
The bigger news of the day was the settlement with Barclays in the absolutely egregious fraud of fixing the LIBOR market rate. The Bank will pay a $450 million fine and incur no criminal penalties or trading sanctions. The American CEO Bob Diamond says he will forgo his personal bonus as well.
Other banks were involved, but Barclays has settled. Barclays Pays 450m to End LIBOR Prove
Bart Chilton of the CFTC was on the news claiming victory for the regulators.
A read of the some of the emails discovered in the case shows that the manipulation was almost as blatant and obvious as placing food orders at a takeaway restaurant.
Ah hey old boy, our positions are up against it, so would you be a good chap and knock 50 basis points off LIBOR for us tomorrow morning please.
Anything for your my good man. Consider it done.
The Bloomberg TV crowd had fun with this story about Barclay’s, with Matt Miller chuckling that the fine is ‘only six weeks profits’ for the Bank, and the market obviously doesn’t take it seriously because ‘look at the stock price.’ Barclay’s stock finished the day down 3 cents.
Manipulating LIBOR is a BIG deal, one of the worst and most pervasive frauds to actually come to light since the widespread fraud in the CDO market.
That the firm faces no criminal charges, will not be barred from any markets, and is taking what the financial commentators dare to taunt openly as a minor fine is a disgrace.
And those who say that the markets should be without regulatory oversight and set the key interest rates without outside interference are living a romantic or ideological fantasy.
Do governments manage rates? Of course they do. That is a role of the Fed. They do it for policy decisions, and spend some time announcing and discussing those actions.
But this is not the same thing as private firms manipulating rates secretly for their private profit at the sake of other’s losses. People who say they are equivalent are serial self-deceivers, and probably blinded by ideology.
Have no illusions. The fix is in, and often, in these markets. Those who scoff at such assertions as ‘conspiracies’ might bear both Madoff and Barclays in mind, not to mention Enron.
There will be more revelations of criminal conspiracies to defraud the public and the markets in the coming months. But LIBOR is very significant. It is a market touchstone. And it was foul for a long time. Read More:http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.ca/