“Fraud is the new business model”


I don’t like watching politics on television, even when I agree with the people I’m watching. It gives me a funny uncomfortable feeling in my stomach, and what with my whole kidney-stone situation, one more abdominal complaint is not what I need.

 

But Partner and I happened upon a good interview the other day: Bill Moyers (whom I respect immensely) interviewing Bernie Sanders, the Independent Senator from Vermont. (I capitalize “Independent” on purpose; that’s his political affiliation. He generally caucuses with the Democrats, but he’s very much his own person. He identifies himself with the Scandinavian Socialists, believing with them that the purpose of a government is to ensure quality of life for its citizens, including essential human services like health care and education.)

 

Bernie was passionate and brilliant in the interview, as he generally is. Along the way, he spoke of Wall Street and the various feeble attempts that have been made to regulate it, and said this: “Fraud is the new business model.”

 

Both Partner and I nearly leapt out of our chairs when he said this. It’s such a perfect description of the current situation in the business world. In a word: the wealthy are using every means necessary to maintain and increase their wealth. Taxes are not for them.  (They’re “job creators,” so we mustn’t rile them up.) They don’t like government regulation either, which naturally drives up their expenses. They are not keen on paying benefits for their employees either, nor are they in love with the minimum wage.

 

It’s the regulation thing that drives me wild. Before the Bill Moyers program, we’d been watching a program about derivatives. These are elaborate exchanges of packages of debt, currencies, etc., so cunningly crafted and marketed that the buyers often don’t really know what they’re buying (and often the sellers aren’t quite sure what they’re selling.) The buying and selling of derivatives was one of the bombs that blew up in 2008, torpedoing the world economy.

 

One of the experts interviewed was a little defensive about this, however. I can’t quote him exactly, but I can paraphrase him: “I don’t think the sellers were entirely to blame for this. I blame the purchasers too. They needed to be more careful about what they bought. It’s an open market, after all; you can buy and sell what you want.”

 

So evidently you can sell fraudulent securities, so long as you can find a buyer. Or tainted meat, or poison baby formula. No one is forcing the buyers to purchase them, after all.

 

And that’s why government needs to be a policeman: because a significant number of businesspeople will not hesitate to use fraudulent means to make money. And that’s all kinds of business.

 

Sadly, Bernie Sanders is only a voice in the wilderness now.

 

I hope more and more people come to this realization.

 

Otherwise: well, go to Netflix and watch “Rollerball.” Because, America, that’s your bleak ol’ future right there.

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About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

2 Responses to “Fraud is the new business model”

  1. starproms says:

    Nobody likes being ripped off or lied to. However there are many people who will try to do that, to my amazement. I recently bought and paid for some books on Ebay. After a month, no books. I queried with the seller – no reply. I asked for a refund – no reply. Finally put the situation in the hands of Ebay and got my refund. I hope they block the seller but I doubt if they will. She will get a warning, probably. It just goes on and on. Same with politics. They will continue to make their open promises until someone physically stops them doing it. I think they truly believe what they say even though there is no way they can carry it out!

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