Elites vs. Trust

November 29, 2018

I considered changing the title to Elites vs. Humanity, but leaving it as is seems to highlight the root of The Problem. Consider the following paragraph from today’s Gaurdian article Why We Stopped Trusting Elites, by William Davies:

>> The biggest scandal of 2012 was a different beast altogether, involving unknown men manipulating a number that very few people had even heard of. The number in question, the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, is meant to represent the rate (of interest) at which banks are willing to loan to each other. What was surreal, in an age of complex derivatives and high-frequency trading algorithms, was that this number was calculated on the basis of estimates declared by each bank on a daily basis, and accepted purely on trust. The revelation that a handful of brokers had conspired to alter Libor for private gain (with possible costs to around 250,000 UK mortgage-holders, among others) may have been difficult to fully comprehend, but it gave the not unreasonable impression of an industry enriching itself in a criminal fashion at the public’s expense. Bob Diamond, the CEO of Barclays, the bank at the centre of the conspiracy, resigned in July 2012 (as a result). <<

I italicized portions of Davies’ text and my parenthetical addenda to highlight what the author acknowledges as being surreally mystifying to him and a vast majority of us. First, the mention of unknown men means men and women who know how to manipulate the world’s totally irrational financialist bubble economy without being prosecuted or punished. The trick hidden in plain sight is the assumption that the top executives and shareholders really meant to represent the notional rate of interest at which banks have a desire to loan money of unknowable current value to each other, as if banks are rational human decision-makers. That is surreal mainly because the daily estimates declared are simply estimates based on unpredictably fluctuating arbitrary values of all currencies and assets determined by speculators (gamblers) and major manipulators. Accepting all that is not a result of trust, but of ignorance, denial and normalized bamboozlement. That a handful of brokers could and would conspire against everyone else is hard to fully comprehend proves my previous statement.

Verily, verily I say to you, quoting the late Carl Sagan, “one of our worst problems is that a majority of us are too easily bamboozled; and, the longer and worse we’re bamboozled, the less we want to know about it.”

The very worst mass-bamboozlement, that fuels and funds all the others, is the subversion and perversion of the meaning of ethics, goodness, honesty, virtue, value, credit, money, wealth and success. Until we restore the ethical essence of our cultural paradigm, modern civilization will keep declining into worse kleptocracy and ecocidal mania. Results have causes, and causes always create outcomes, inevitably. After all, trust depends on belief based on knowledge of good and evil, what has life-enhancing value and what may decrease our quality of life. Being confused about value and ethics prevents wise decisions.

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