Here's the good news: Someone got a gripload of good financial news recently. The bad news is that it isn't you, unless you're either totally loaded or an employee or investment partner with Goldman Sachs.
That's right, the
Of course, the NY Times report clickable above has you covered on that
count, if this news is bringing you down. They take great pains to
remind the hoi polloi that all
that money will be injected back into the American economy, especially
for the holidays. Good news, right? Yeah right:
"The bonuses at Goldman, the leading merger advisor in the industry,
and elsewhere on Wall Street are expected to give the New York area's
economy a substantial boost, particularly in sales of high-end
residential real estate, luxury cars and other pricey goods....Spouses
and the high-end retailers that cater to them feel the effect of the
bonus payment, said Faith H. Consolo, vice chair of Prudential Douglas
Elliman, a commercial brokerage. 'The luxury market is very
dramatically affected by bonuses,' Ms. Consolo said. 'We are talking
furs, jewelry, apparel and beauty items like $250 jars of face cream.
Anything that makes them look good or feel good.'"
In other words, if you're in the luxury market, this news just made
your life a lot better. If you're anyone else, it didn't do anything
for you but remind you how little the machinations of the global
market have to do with your own bottom line, which is plunging by the
minute in an economy full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.
Take the Goldman Sachs bonus news, for example, and only on its face
if you like: The rich just got richer, which means whatever they buy
will help improve their own bottom line at the expense of a global
majority that may never see a penny of it. A NYC-based investment
powerhouse is about to unload millions into New York alone, which
means that people who already own property there -- no small chunk of
change -- are about to buy more, leaving others across the world, to
say nothing of the Big Apple itself, out in the cold. And then there
are the luxury items that power up our hyperreal consumer culture,
whether they're Hummers, yachts or blood diamonds. Uh, I mean jewelry.
Throw in the fact that, href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bal-bz.wealth06dec06,0,1185375.story?"
target="blank">according to a recent Baltimore Sun report, "the
richest two percent of adults own more than half of the world's
household wealth," and it seems clear that the average American, to
say nothing of the average world citizen, has little to no influence
in exchanges this size. Once you add the reality that the top one
percent of Americans take 16 percent of the nation's income and hold
32 percent of its wealth, and the argument for middle-class and
blue-collar America's solvency seems like the lunacy that it is.
And some will tell you that Goldman Sachs' windfall is good news for
the American economy. Others, like the always readable doom prophet
James Kunstler, href="http://jameshowardkunstler.typepad.com/clusterfuck_nation/2006/12/wretched_excess.html"
target="blank">will not only tell you that "the financial
'industry' decoupled from the US economy sometime in the past decade,"
but also that "Goldman Sachs was rumored to have driven the price of
oil down for the election season by applying huge sums of money to
twiddle the futures market." All of this while reminding us all that
"the Secretary of the Treasury, Hank Paulson, was CEO of Goldman Sachs
until the middle of last summer."
So who's zooming who? To answer that, you need to understand href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futures_contract"
target="blank">the hyperreal futures market, in which Rush
Limbaugh-sized bags of cash change hands for things yet to come. As
the wiki puts it, "the social utility of futures markets is considered
to be mainly in the transfer of risk," and risk, well, we have a
shitload of that today. Wars, famines, genocides, and other ugly sides
of global transactions definitely have an upside to them, especially
if you're into, as are most of Goldman Sachs clients, mergers and
acqusitions. Naomi Klein href="http://www.morphizm.com/observations/klein/klein_disaster.html">calls
it disaster capitalism. I call it one of the only valuable exports
America has left since it let its manufacturing base go the way of the
Which is why I always find it hilarious that average Americans
continue to venture forth into the world trumpeting their citizenship
-- in wars, in biz, in dick contests, in whatever -- while the very
economic foundations of citizenship's success over the last century
deteriorate more and more each day. What's in a word, indeed. Try this
one: Multinational. Where in that term do you see a loyalty to the
United States, an unshakeable preference for the dollar, a firmly
entrenched citizenship? Nowhere, that's where. Multinationals, like
Goldman Sachs which hosts offices everywhere from Bangalore to Paris,
have their money invested across the world, not solely in your hood,
school, or church. And as such, they're interested in making sure
their bottom line is more important than any one country's. Including
Where's the beef, you ask? Chew on this: While corporate earnings are
off the charts ever since the Bush administration got into office,
destroyed the country's surplus and mired us in Iraq, the dollar is
sucking wind. After the fed's recent decision to leave interest rates
intact, target="blank">it fell even farther, and is now worth about half a
London pound. And according to Alan Greenspan, target="blank">it's going to only get worse, mostly because
Greenspan thinks that the decline will come because of "growing signs
that OPEC nations are shifting their assets out of the US dollar
towards the euro and yen." Meanwhile, analysts cite a reality-check in
the housing boom that's possessed everyone here over the last few
years. Guess who manages all that housing boom cash, as rendered in
mortgage loans that similarly skirt reality? You guessed it: Banks
like Goldman Sachs.
But no matter how you slice it, it is painfully obvious that the
United States are going to wake up and realize that their economy is
in serious trouble, and that America is at the mercy of a world market
that is quickly tiring of its currency, its poor education scores, its
dumbshit foreign policy and pretty much everything else -- including,
yes, its tolerance. Sure, our currency keeps the machine running for
now, but that's just because we're the big dog with the big guns. Iran
and China should take care of that within the next century, if global
warming and its own particular economic scenarios don't do it first.
And then where will we be?
Screwed, that's where. So swallow hard, average American. That giant
sucking sound you hear is your own future, trading lower every day and
running out of air while you sleep. Better wake up now and lessen the
pain somehow. Or suffer the fate best described by Roy Batty in style="font-style:italic;">href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_runner" target="blank">Blade
Runner: "Wake up. Time to die."