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Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Unspoken Economy.

Corruption plays a larger part in the day to day life of the average person than any overreaching economic theory ever has. In supposedly "free" markets cozy price fixing, the use of economic clout and political dependence on private sources for campaign finance rig the game in favor of the hyper rich elite. Cronyism and bribery cooks the system of resource allocations in all known socialist nations.

The wonder is that no economist I've ever read factors in corruption as a major economic force in their systems analysis. Corruption trumps credit, ownership of property, and banking in most societies, and is a constant threat to those who have more open societies. India could almost double their rate of growth if corruption could be held in check, according to their own research. China could cut their output of pollutants by half if the district cadres were not taking bribes from industrialists to ignore existing environmental laws. Nigeria gets billions of dollars in oil royalties, but their citizens see none of it. Venezuela, after bringing the oil wealth to the poorest classes, has seen fit to close critical news outlets and turn the oil wealth into a tool of crony socialism.

Peruvian Hernando DeSoto is the most visible economist advocating quick legal titling of real property to the poor squatters who occupy the land. Desoto is right in as far as the squatters' ownership would take them out of the bribery cycle that requires kickbacks to local cops, but overestimates the capital that would be unlocked in the form of collateralizable equity. Land reform often means dispersion of property to the well connected. After Somosa fled the country the Sandinistas, with jungle mud still on their boots started dividing the Nicaraguan plantations among their leadership. Such blatant corruption, coupled with tens of millions of dollars of CIA money given to the opposition, cost them the election, and set back the cause of social equity in Nicaragua for thirty years.

Corruption poisons democracy. We have a large number of could be voters who point to the role of big money and lobbyists in government. Libertarianism is worshiped by these folk. Agencies are manned at the top by political hacks, and money is siphoned off to friends of the elected politicians. Corruption is a bigger threat to America than Islamic Nukes, bird flu and "Fox News" combined. Corruption is a soul killing cancer of the body politic. Corruption grabs the innocent and honest and turns them into hacks and toadies.

Gordon Gecco has never been proven more wrong than by a stroll down K street in Washington DC.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Fear Factory Forced To Recall Iran War

The White House Fear Factory was forced to recall their popular "Forever War®" play action set "Iran Gonna Get Yo Momma!" due to a high concentration of cooked intelligence painted on the included atom bomb plant. CEO GWB said in a press conference that Iran still wants to get your momma, and the cooked intelligence is good for you if you swallow it whole. Vice President of Sales, Dick Cheney, authorized the rendition of any intelligence officer thought to have refused to cook the intelligence properly, and was quoted as saying "LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU!! NINE ELEVEN!!! CODE RED!! NUKES! NERVE GAS! NINE ELEVEN!!"

The Fear Factory's refusal to recall the "Forever War®" play action set "Saddam Gonna Get Yo Momma" has caused the companies stock to fall precipitously. Many political users of "Forever War®" products have found their careers irreparably damaged, while some seem to thrive on the poison. Once the sure cure of wrapping in a flag and blood stained tunics of fallen soldiers was enough to ward off the ill effects of "Forever War®" products. Not any more.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Pain Makes People Irrational

I've been repairing and altering people's shoes for thirty five years, and have seen every gimmick at least once. A few work, but most are just effective in separating customers from their cash and nothing else. Magnetic insoles are at the very top of the heap of quackery, and Nikken leads the perfidy parade. If you haven't ever run into a Nikken Wellness Product "consultant" let me tell you what you are missing. If you can imagine an Amway sales person on steroids and crystal meth with a pocket full of testimonials and anecdotes you are getting close. The concept that magnetic fields weaker than refrigerator magnets can somehow effect human physiology is not only proven bogus by peer reviewed research, but Nikken sales people remain deliberately ignorant of these findings in order to market these bits of plastic crap. Their markup is simply amazing.

While Nikken is Japanese in origin, they do not fall into the category of Traditional Asian Medicine. People's feet hurt. People must use their feet on a regular basis. The more people use their feet, the more thy hurt. People want to fix things that hurt. Nothing works fast or reliably. Enter the quacks. For quackery to "work" the product must be sold, and the investment must be substantial, for only then does the victim become a willing part of the scam.

Odd beliefs about medicine are nothing new. In fact Old, obscure and Oriental seem to equate to good and wise. Western, modern, scientific and researched seem to be bad. Medicine has been saving lives for a hundred years or so, before that, not so much. Germ theory seems to be the point of departure that Western medicine takes from other traditional medical practices. From there the gap quickly widened to the point where they can't see each other. The advantage traditional medicine has is that its practitioners will always promise a cure. The disadvantage Western practitioners have is that they sometimes have to tell people they can't be cured.

Living animals, mankind among them are enormously complicated chemical entities, fraught with evolutionary compromises and adaptations that work, but not quite as well as they could. Pain is an alarm that doesn't know when to shut up, sort of like a car alarm. Who pays attention to car alarms anymore? As we age, background pain becomes an everyday companion, and disposable income allocated to turn that superfluous alarm off increases. Enter the quacks.

Stolen Bandwidth.

I shamelessly picked this LOL out of the "LOL Astronomy" Blog's back pocket. What's he gonna do? I mean he's an astronomer fer christ's sake. He's lucky I didn't take his lunch money.