One of the most powerful men on Wall Street ignited a professional firestorm yesterday, by essentially calling for an end to class warfare and suggesting corporations should be good citizens as well as profit growth machines
BlackRock Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink, whose New York investment firm has $6.3 trillion in assets under management, was immediately pilloried by his peers for the compassionate tone of his annual letter to CEOs. Much like the Jerry Maguire character in the fictional film of the same name, who called for his fellow sports agents to treat their clients as human beings as well as meal tickets.
Fink is famous for being "out in front" of the crowd with his financial forecasting abilities, but the potential revolution he apparently sees on the horizon is not a call The Predatory 1 Percent are intellectually prepared to accept. Even when it means saving the very society which has enriched them and been so badly damaged by their "greed is good" mantra.
Unlike most of his critics, Fink is a self-made man from humble roots. The son of a California shoe salesman, he's now one of the most influential men in the U.S. financial sector with a $340 million personal fortune.
Fink still seems to views himself as a U.S. citizen. Unlike those attacking him, many of whom have led far more sheltered lives and view themselves as citizens of the world with little or no loyalty to the nation where they were born.
The Predatory 1 Percent's knowledge of the world outside the Country Club fishbowl is limited by their own isolation within our nation's remaining privilege bubbles. Just as it was for former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan, who infamously said markets could do a better job of policing housing fraud than government regulators prior to 2006.
Greenspan's indifference to the millions of families losing their homes to predatory lending and foreclosure fraud precipitated both the collapse of the U.S. housing market and the The Great Recession. The working families whose jobs have been off-shored to low-wage nations like China and India have never recovered from those twin economic setbacks.
However, the two events also proved Greenspan right in a kind of Machiavellian way. Turns out markets really do start to police fraud once there's a big enough pile of ruined working class families. Just as a line of motorists being ticketed on a highway shoulder changes traffic patterns.
Market regulation happens when the so-called "masses" turn their collective back on exploitative industries and businesses. As many Americans have done or are doing with our nation's discredited mortgage lenders, and with companies like Enron, Comcast, McDonalds, Verizon, Blackwater Security, News Corp, and Bridgepoint Education.
Revolutions are the same dynamic, writ large. So much so that you could accurately describe them as a form of market regulation.
One that occurs when the masses turn their collective back on a discredited government which has betrayed their trust. Like say a House of Lords Congress with a 16 percent approval rating, a Silver Spoon President with a 38 percent approval rating, and a generation of toxic elites who think they can make painful truths go away by ignoring them.
Unlike much of Wall Street, Fink seems to understand that while the neglected masses are as powerless as raindrops individually they move with the force of a tsunami when they clamor collectively for change. As they've been doing since The Great Recession began in December of 2007.
That's when the rich and powerful die.
The Founding Fathers saw free and fair elections as a way to facilitate peaceful revolution, but the current generation of toxic elites has dismantled that safety valve. Very much at their own peril.
Peaceful revolution at the polls only works when voters have real choices between representative candidates. Instead of the dueling Wall Street champions of the past four presidential races, and the millionaires who have transformed the U.S. Congress into a veritable House of Lords.
The current crop of toxic elites seems to have no idea how bitter and desperate America's exploited workers have become since The Great Recession, despite the success of independent presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in 2016.
They have no sense of just how badly many poor and middle class Americans now want to see the country club set go down. Preferably as hard as possible.
This murderous mindset is being exposed for all to see by the incredible popularity of the executive take downs of the #MeToo Movement. It revealed an enormous public appetite for attacks on toxic elites, like film mogul Harvey Weinstein and President Donald Trump.
The painful truth is that most members of the Predatory 1 Percent will support anything that makes them wealthier in the short term, no matter how much it hurts the greater good in the long term. They proudly embrace the "Greed is Good" mantra which underpins savage capitalism and has transformed the federal government into a political protection racket.
They also erroneously assume financial success is indicative of some kind of inherent superiority in every other area of human endeavor.
That's just not true, especially for those who have been blinded and coddled by the gated communities, doorman buildings, private schools and rich enclaves in which they live. Staring out at the real world around them like goldfish in a fishbowl as fawning lackeys and opportunistic gold-diggers compete to flatter their fragile egos.
They seem blissfully unaware of the painful truth that the rest of America is saturated with their bullshit and - to paraphrase former First Lady Barbara Bush - they're "about to get back some of their own." In a big way.
Because these sheltered elites are unable to comprehend the world around them in anything but financial terms, The Cynical Times has recast Fink's comments in terms understandable to even the most obtuse financial professional:
1. Violent revolution in the streets is "the market" policing financial misconduct in the absence of effective government regulation.
2. When your servants spit in your drink, take pleasure in your suffering, and sue you for sexual harassment, that's the market policing fraud in the absence of effective government regulation.
3. When the crooked politicians on your payroll live in fear of their own constituents, that's the market policing fraud in the absence of effective government regulation.
4. When you cannot venture outside your privilege bubbles without a security team, that's the market policing fraud in the absence of effective government regulation.
5. When crooked cops start kidnapping your kids and shaking you down for ransom, that's the market policing fraud in the absence of effective government regulation.
6. When decent working people with no jobs, no medical care and no homes start dreaming about murdering you and your family in cold blood, that's the market policing fraud in the absence of effective government regulation.
7. When you cannot fly commercial without being harangued by complete strangers, that's the market policing fraud in the absence of effective government regulation.
8. When your spoiled kids start yapping about the "evils of the patriarchy" and condemning you to outsiders, that's the market policing fraud in the absence of effective government regulation.
9. When you cannot send your kids to public school because the others kids will bully them just for carrying your surname, that's the market policing fraud in the absence of effective government regulation.
10. When members of traditional victim groups start praying for a revolution just so they can see you strung up in the street, even though they may be next, that's the market policing fraud in the absence of effective government regulation.
11. When your own security guards put a shotgun in your mouth and blow the back of your head all over your pricey furniture, that's the market policing fraud in the absence of effective government regulation.
12. When you have to be buried in an unmarked grave to prevent commoners from desecrating your remains, that's the market policing fraud in the absence of effective government regulation.
13. When former mainstream financial journalists start nonprofit websites filled with stories about how the rich have gone too far, that's an indication the time for worshiping yourselves is just about up.
What Larry was suggesting in his letter was that by being good Americans again the rich could prevent the masses from repaying them for decades of treasonous class warfare. The rich could achieve this by embracing effective government regulation again, putting people ahead of short-term profits again, and reforming the very political parties they have so thoroughly corrupted.
The proper term for this form of good citizenship is "self preservation."
It is either an instinct our toxic elites possess, or it's not.
Either way, change is in the wind.