11 December 2010

The Old Stigma: Speculators as Parasites

I plan to fill in a bit here the first chapter as represented in the table of contents of my projected book. See yesterday's post for the context.

This chapter will flesh out the claim in the introduction that "a very old stigma of the speculator as an anti-social parasite has re-emerged."

I. Russia

A. Dostoyevsky's Raskolnikov and the death of a pawn broker
B. To the 20th century: who were the kulaks?
1. their speculations
2. their stigmatization
3. their deaths.

II. "But that was all so long ago!"

III. The CDS Market as our pawn brokers

A. What is a CDS market?
B. Consider a column Ben Stein wrote in The New York Times back when he was writing for them.
C. Or consider Goldman Sachs as "vampire squid" and the barrage of Congressional investigations.
D. Short course: why CDS' should not be scary.

IV. Transition.

If they are not in fact parasites, what function do they serve? That brings us into the next chapter.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.