Sunday, February 09, 2014

wall st. is and has always been a dirty extractive parasite...,

theatlantic |  I was a senior in high school, and I was staring at NBA legend Red Auerbach. He'd coached the Boston Celtics to nine championships in 10 years, won seven more as an executive, and, a bit less notably, gotten his first coaching job at our school way back when. He was 85 years old, but he lived nearby and had finally agreed to come back to be feted.
We piled into the gym and buzzed as Auerbach ascended the make-shift stage at center court. There were introductions and congratulations and then it was his turn to talk. He was old, but still sharp. He regaled us with an embellished, if not apocryphal, story about how his proudest coaching victory had come at our school. That was back in 1941, and the score had been something like 10 to 8. There was also something about yelling at the son of a senator—this was a preppy, all-boys school in Washington D.C.—for trying an around-the-back pass.

Then Auerbach turned to life lessons. "Everybody always asks me how to gain a competitive edge," he said, "and I'm always surprised because the answer is so obvious." Eighteen-year old me knew where this was going. He was going to tell us to work hard, that successful people prepare for their luck, yada, yada, yada.

"You cheat."

Our teachers looked confused, then horrified. They kept waiting for Auerbach to say he was just kidding, that of course there's no substitute for hard work. He didn't. Instead, he calmly explained that if you're playing a better fast-breaking team, you should install nets so tight that the ball gets stuck. Or if you're playing a faster baseball team, you should water the basepaths till they turn into muddy quagmires that nobody can run on. But most of all, he wanted to make sure we didn't misunderstand him. He cleared his throat, and said, "So, if you want a competitive edge, just cheat." Then he walked off stage, and the mayor's mother, who was inexplicably there, led us in a solemn rendition of America the Beautiful

That brings us to high-frequency trading (HFT) hedge funds. These funds use computer algorithms—a.k.a.: algobots—to buy and sell stocks at incredible speeds. We're talking milliseconds. The idea is to react to any market news or inefficiencies before actual humans can process them. And it's any idea that has taken over stock trading: algobots make up about half of all stock transactions in 2012 (which is actually down from its peak of 61 percent).


umbrarchist said...

The Economic Wargame is a continuation of the Military Wargame by other means.

BigDonOne said...

Should not get carried away with establishing wealth and connections, might never be satisfied. A "high-value relationship" is not necessarily a happy one. High achievers tend to be hard to get along with perfectionists.

The important thing is to be happy/content. All it requires is a certain level sufficient for security and stability. (how sweet it is...!! ) Why so many celebrities with broken marriages and on drugs...??

Constructive_Feedback said...

The problem that I have with David Simon is, not even from his vantage point in Baltimore - is he able to (not at least publicly) assign any culpability upon the PREFERENCES and CHOICES of the LOCAL VOTING POPULATION of the dysfunctional city of Baltimore for the culture/accepted norms/ discipline problems within the Public Schools - all of which operates as a THIEF of the UPWARD THRUST of "The Least Of These" within.

What are the "BOTH SIDES" inside of Baltimore and other 'Mission Accomplished Zones"?

It seems to me that ONE SIDE WON - and now they reserve the right to practice "Establishment Power Repudiation" - denying the notion that their present seats of POWER - are not, in fact, able to SUPPRESS PEOPLE'S DEVELOPMENT, as was the case with the previous occupants of these same seats.

Uglyblackjohn said...

Don. Apparently you've never seen ABDC. Jabbawackees straight killin' em in Vegas.

umbrarchist said...

They could live without that yield. But they get richer off of it.

CNu said...

With all the talk about the destabilizing effects of inequality, and the Godwin's Law excesses of just a couple weeks ago - what do you suppose their motivation is for the superfluous hoarding?

umbrarchist said...

It is pathological power gaming. During the Depression didn't the already rich get even richer? If prices drop faster than your wealth drops then the net effects is increased wealth.

Where would the ego gratification come from of being rich if there were no poor people? Imagine world where everyone was effectively a millionaire and all work was done by robots. Could your 1000 personal robots convince you that you were Really GREAT if everybody else had at least 10 robots.

I say that is why we need junk to depreciate. The peons have to run on a treadmill just to stay in the same place. The rich profit on the labor and the consumption. It is just the high tech version of slavery. So what is so great about Occupy Wall Street if they don't see that and explain it?

I have more respect for elephant poachers than economists.

CNu said...

One of the priorities and prerogatives of power gaming is sustainability, no? Doesn't the wise ruler(s) get to live long and prosper and see his great, great, grandson eating curds and honey from a golden bowl from the penthouse of his palatial manor? While the pathological power gamer makes the whole game go tilt and winds up with his head atop a pole axe.

So let's go back to the Great Depression again. How was that zero growth, peak capitalist monopoly blind alley resolved? Didn't it require the extermination of 15% of the able-bodied work force and vast and deep destruction of the infrastructural asset base of the developed world in order to kick start new development? Didn't it further require opening up the oceans of sweet light crude oil in Saudi Arabia to global development and consumption, yielding a cheap energy boom that lasted for decades and was unprecedented in all prior human history?

umbrarchist said...

{{{ So let's go back to the Great Depression again. How was that zero growth, peak capitalist monopoly blind alley resolved? }}}

I don't think the idiots that triggered the Depression predicted the Depression, much lees the results of World War II.

Who predicted that computers would come from the need to produce ballistic tables for artillery? I mostly suspect most of the power gamers try to extrapolate beyond 5 years. They just expect to stay on top however the destabilization plays out.