“Goldman Sachs rules the world”

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While the protesters occupying Wall Street are beaten by the cops and sprayed with gas for nothing, those who incarnate the ideals of neoliberal society – the traders – admit they dream of a great crash where they can make tons of money while millions of people lose their savings and an entire continent plunges into chaos. Apparently this is not our friends the Yes Men (inquiries have been made – proving nothing at all) but as my brother says, maybe this guy had his own little strategy to move the markets. The thing is, everything he says conforms to well-known mentalities and established patterns of financial history. So exactly like the Yes Men it rings true. Felix Stalder, who sent me this, gets the final word: we live in astonishing times.

5 Responses to ““Goldman Sachs rules the world””

  1. Graham Joncas Says:

    One could just as easily interpret this trader’s mentality (including his ‘dreams’) as being hopeful that a new recession will be able to disrupt ossified inequalities of wealth, for example the 34.6% of wealth in the United States which is held by the richest 1% of households (at least as of 2007, according to here). Does he not make it clear in 1:33-1:43 that the reason that stratification of wealth remained intact throughout the Depression was because the elites were the only ones who were prepared to deal with it, and that in our contemporary society in which the opportunity to learn about financial markets is open to all (via the internet, if by no other means), anybody is now capable of making money from a financial crash, not only the ‘elites’? (I’m filling in a few of his premises, or course, but this doesn’t at all distort what he is saying.)

    This fellow in no way attempts to justify plutocracy (whether by persons or by corporations…oh wait…), thus I’m inclined to take his plea to the little people to prepare for financial turmoil as genuinely intended. If we take it as given that Greece will default (which, from what I gather, is the consensus among experts), then financially bracing oneself for catastrophe (or at least significant turbulence) is the logical action to take. This fellow isn’t justifying the system, but doing realpolitik: if the Japanese stock market was still operational the day after Hiroshima and Nagasaki (which is, incidentally, how the economist Piero Sraffa became wealthy; see here at the very bottom), then I think it’s clear that financial markets & trading are indispensable for society as we know it, and no amount of Laputan idealism on the part of protestors will be able to alter that. If anything, leftists should praise this fellow for being even more Left than the legions of people protesting, as you say (though this is may or may not be what you mean), “for nothing.”

    • Brian Holmes Says:

      Hey, I like a good clear debate, but what I meant is that the cops beat these protesters for nothing! or for sheer sadism.
      I think the trader is like hundreds of thousands of people whose personality has been reduced by capitalism to basic greed. Yes, he is warning everyone of what that greed may produce, but he also wants to jump on their jugular and profit from it. The financial system which you consider essential to our way of living looks dead set on destructing itself and the rest of us with it. Hopefully some humanity will prevail among the ruins, but if everyone still wants to extract a profit from their neighbor then it doesn’t look good.

  2. Graham Joncas Says:

    Just to clarify:

    From what I make of the opinion of the fellow in the video, he is saying that in the first recession, just as in the Great Depression, the elites were the only ones prepared to react to the financial crisis in a swift enough manner to make money from it. However, with a new crisis (namely, Greece defaulting, and the resultant domino effect with Italy, Spain, Portugal, and then most likely the rest of the world) looming for all to see, everyone is capable of taking preparatory action, rather than just the J.D. Rockefellers of the world who are endowed with the ability to profitably maneuver through the worst of financial maelstroms at a moment’s notice. Because people have time to prepare for the coming crisis, the ruling class are at an acute disadvantage as compared with similar crashes of the past. If this is true, then any lack of wealth distribution from the Depression or the last recession cannot be used as ground for dismissing the possibility of wealth distribution this time, provided that people actually prepare for the crisis via hedge funds, etc. I find this to be a fascinating argument, one which might be expected to come from a seasoned leftist (I want to say David Harvey, but I don’t know his corpus very well, so the comparison may be inaccurate). In this way, I think that the opinion expressed by the fellow in the video is infinitely more left-wing than the nebulous ideals of the Wall Street protesters.

    • Brian Holmes Says:

      Well, the thing is, on the left we have this idea that solidarity is more important than an individual solution. So we ask, how can people help each other in a way that doesn’t involve slitting someone else’s throat? The problem with the financial markets is one person’s gain is another’s loss. Oh, and there’s another problem too – every study I have ever seen (which is dozens upon dozens) shows that the big sharks eat the small ones in a crisis. So anyway, I beg to disagree with you. The kids out protesting are young and their ideas are less important than their hearts which are in the right place as far as I am concerned. However, in all events I wish everyone luck with whatever may come out of all this.

  3. Jake Davis (@thatisnotthis) Says:

    Monstrous. The trader’s like a walking embodiment of capital. If he’s in fact not a Yes Man type, that’s staggering.

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