The illusion of getting rich while producing nothing – (excellent commentary by Charles Hugh Smith)

(Natural NewsBy incentivizing speculation and corruption, reducing the rewards for productive work and sucking wages dry with inflation, America has greased the skids to collapse.

(Article republished from CharlesHughSmith.Blogspot.com)

Of all the mass delusions running rampant in the culture, none is more spectacularly delusional than the conviction that we can all get fabulously rich from speculation while producing nothing. The key characteristic of speculation is that it produces nothing: it doesn’t generate any new goods or services, boost productivity or increase the functionality of real-world essentials.

Like all mass delusions, the greater the disconnect from reality, the greater the appeal. Mass delusions gain their escape velocity by leaving any ties to real-world limitations behind, and by igniting the most powerful booster to human euphoric confidence known, greed.

Lost in the mania of easy wealth from speculative trading is the absence of any value creation in the rotation-churn of moving bets from one table to the latest hot game: in flipping houses sight unseen, no functionality was added to the house. In transferring bets on one cryptocurrency to another or from one meme stock to another, no value to the economy or society was created.

In the mass delusion that near-infinite wealth can be generated without producing anything, creating value has no value: the delusion is that I can get rich producing nothing but speculative gains, and then I can buy all the stuff somebody else is making.

The fantasy powering the speculative frenzy is once I get rich, I’ll stop working and live off my wealth. It’s interesting, isn’t it, how everyone can get rich via unproductive speculation, quit their jobs and then live off the productive work of somebody else who failed to get rich off speculation.

Maybe that’s why all the container ships are lined up at Long Beach, waiting to unload the goodies made in China for American speculators to buy. This is what happens when the incentive structure of the economy decays so that being productive has little upside (i.e., working is for chumps) while speculating is all upside (get rich quickly and easily).

Everyone knows great empires became great by transferring their critical supply chains to competing nations, living it up on borrowed/printed money, exploiting the highest bidder wins regulatory/governance system and incentivizing speculation while pushing wage earners into debt-and-tax servitude. Bone up on your history, Bucko; all great nations got there by quitting boring, tiresome productive work to speculate on illusions of value with borrowed money.

Read More

redditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail