Such a great title for an article in Slate by the uber smart Charlie Munger . The juicy ending:
Basicland’s investment and commercial bankers were hostile to change. Like the objecting economists, the bankers wanted change exactly opposite to change wanted by the Good Father. Such bankers provided constructive services to Basicland. But they had only moderate earnings, which they deeply resented because Basicland’s casinos—which provided no such constructive services—reported immoderate earnings from their bucket-shop systems. Moreover, foreign investment bankers had also reported immoderate earnings after building their own bucket-shop systems—and carefully obscuring this fact with ingenious twaddle, including claims that rational risk-management systems were in place, supervised by perfect regulators. Naturally, the ambitious Basicland bankers desired to prosper like the foreign bankers. And so they came to believe that the Good Father lacked any understanding of important and eternal causes of human progress that the bankers were trying to serve by creating more bucket shops in Basicland.
Of course, the most effective political opposition to change came from the gambling casinos themselves. This was not surprising, as at least one casino was located in each legislative district. The casinos resented being compared with cancer when they saw themselves as part of a long-established industry that provided harmless pleasure while improving the thinking skills of its customers.
As it worked out, the politicians ignored the Good Father one more time, and the Basicland banks were allowed to open bucket shops and to finance the purchase and carry of real securities with extreme financial leverage. A couple of economic messes followed, during which every constituency tried to avoid hardship by deflecting it to others. Much counterproductive governmental action was taken, and the country’s credit was reduced to tatters. Basicland is now under new management, using a new governmental system. It also has a new nickname: Sorrowland.
Unfortunately, it won’t be widely read and understood.
My pal Cole from Blackstar Funds , a grumpy optimist, who passed me the link had this to say to my reply ‘Maybe, but we have baseball’:
True, but the process of a cancerous death is painful and ugly. It’s a warning story about the choices and priorities of today and how they will effect us going forward. Unleash the human capital and innovation of America to solve the energy problem and fix the massive inefficiency of the government and you can buy us another 200 years, keep the status quo and we croak in 50. The country was badly in need of a bitch slap to get our priorities back in line and stop with the casino sector (finance) nonsense , it’s back to basics, hard work, innovation, production of useful things and lowered expectations.
He is way too young to be that grumpy and mostly right.
Please chime in politely….