Dare Call It Larceny

So what is really going on down there on Wall Street? Is it a communist plot, a hippy groove-in, a radical insurrection? Should we send in the National Guard or Pat Robertson, or maybe a plate of cookies?

Look. I haven’t been there, and don’t know. My sense of it, from reading those who admire and those who deplore, is that people with legitimate grievance, or with concern for those who do have such grievance, are trying to make a strong but peaceable statement. Trying to draw attention to institutional — or institutionally-sanctioned — crime.

Crime, do I say? What else to call that which deceptively and at times forcefully deprives so many people of property, welfare, and… even freedom, and does it solely for the financial benefit of a small number of people?

Come on. You don’t need an advanced degree in economics to understand. Much of what goes on down there — literally or symbolically on Wall Street — is needless paper-shuffling, arbitrary re-valuing, secretive or illusory or felonious manipulation. It has nothing to do with the traditional concept of capital generation. No goods are produced, no services are rendered. It’s a con game, and only now do we realize how profoundly it affects even those with little or no direct stake in stocks, bonds, or any of those mysterious contrivances which pretend to be money.

I wouldn’t deny the positive features of the stock market, or of banks, or many other financially-oriented institutions. What has happened, though, is that all that money — or rather, control of all that money, in one small cadre of manipulators — has brought the pirates, not merely into the game, but into control of the game.

And, painful as it is to contemplate, into control of the political system through control of all that money. You might, just for laughs, check the meaning of kleptocracy.

Later today, or this evening, I’ll post links to recent articles by some of the clever people who really do know what is going on, with the 99 percent in the street, or the one percent in the buildings.

After that? I dunno. Anyone up for voter fraud?

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