Tuesday, September 30, 2008

driving my ducks to a mighty poor pond...

the current financial crisis has me thinking of the good old days of business school sitting in those finance and marketing classes learning how to price derivatives and develop ads to sell coca-cola and fast food to people who didn't need it all in the name of profits.

what stood out and ultimately led to a shift to cultural anthropology (and marketing) was the lack of humanity in money. think of the game of monopoly, the object is to acquire the most and gradually bankrupt your opponents after taking everything they have.

this is the central tenet of modern capitalist business, which is based upon an Anglo-protestant ethic. earthly success is seen as a a direct consequences of god's favor. the objective is to acquire the most, more than necessary just to maintain alive on this planet. business is not about people, it is about non-stop acquisition and the drive for eternal profit. oil companies do not need 44bn usd a quarter they need 54bn. business is simply a non-sustainable cycle of "more". now it does not matter as much if mcdonalds is driving to make more profits to the detriment as much as banks and mortgage houses approving ARM mortgage for people who could not afford houses, leading to foreclosures and flooding the rent market, allowing landlords to increase rent due to the increased demand.

lastly, nothing in business is left to chance. as a finance student we calculated every conceivable aspect of companies was analyzed and re-analyzed (acct. receivables, debt ratios, etc.,) and even customers (actuaries would estimate the life expectancies of people and risk management would estimate the expected debt that would never be repaid) in order to determine the viability of their current and future operations, so it seems unlikely to me that "geniuses" on wall st. could not foresee the fact that if people could not afford a house the day they bought it, when their mortgage adjusted a few years later they would be in the street. there needs to be more humanity on the bottom lines of balance sheets.

"money often costs too much"
~ralph waldo emerson

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