The friction of corruption inside an economic value chain – the diminishing of ethics, dispersion of hope, and dilution in humanity – these things, and not simply economics, are the reasons why economies fail under the weight of their ‘inflation’.
I had just completed an early morning flight, the regular and insufferable ride from LaGuardia to Midtown via the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, worked my way into the high-rise offices of my client and sat down. The meeting convened immediately, as the CEO and executive committee had offered only 15 minutes to outline our intended scope. “TES, we want you to find the business-impacting error in our systems. We believe that the cause behind our quarterly hit in sales resides somewhere in our information technology stack, its function, data handling, or procedures. We would prefer that you find the direct evidence for us in time for our next quarterly earnings meeting. Of course we will tender credit for the find, to your firm.” Bittersweet was moment, as this species of unpleasant-in-nature scope ironically made for a pleasantly short meeting. There would come a day in my career where I could just stand up in these types of situations, smile and shake everyone’s hand, politely decline, and leave. These were not matters typically conducted over the phone mind you. Acting as corporate hit-man for an a priori conclusion en blâme was not ultimately conducive to an effective strategy career; each new project discovery-team member terrified to meet, regarding you as an erstwhile ‘Bob’ from the movie Office Space.
But our mission at the time involved aggressive brand building and smart competition. These were the days of constructing the ‘good will’ of intimidation which eventually surrounded my company’s image. The client was a top-drawer Manhattan firm, and we were providing services to persons who were regularly in the news. Simmering legends of the industry if you will. Retiring back to my hotel room, I ordered delivery, and set my mind to crafting an approach and methodology for the entailed effort.
This was a highly verticalized electrical component business, which is to say that it either owned outright or constituted the primary business volume for each of its key suppliers, and as well self-operated its entire value chain from sourcing, agency, and factory clout, through to markets and customer experience closure. Like a Walmart or General Electric, the client considered this vertical prowess to constitute its main competitive advantage. Indeed, with many of my clients this ended up becoming a linchpin inside a viable and competitive strategy. The span of information gathering for this client consequently however, bore the potential to be rather extensive.
Two weeks later my team began the interview process. I decided to meet with the Chief Information and Technology Officer alone, having found it of course curious that he had been excluded from the original scope definition meeting. This was after all, ostensibly an information technology project. He was a professorial type, sporting black and wire rimmed glasses, greyed and scruffy beard, mismatched gig-line, a 1990’s shirt collar with too many buttons open and well past its service life, a 1980’s poorly cinched tie, along with a tomato sauce stain curiously up toward his left shoulder. This meant he was likely left handed, and had consumed his lunch while immersed deep in thought. Such were not the traits of a (Park Avenue) New Yorker, but rather indeed those of an old-world CIO. Long since having learned to not judge competence on such facile factors, I bore a liking for the CIO. However, there was no denying the fact that he resided firmly outside of the culture club.
Before uttering the first word, the landscape had come into focus. The executive committee both needed a very credible and hard-to-disprove (see Omega Hypothesis) excuse as to why sales were flagging, and as well required the set of justifications behind their termination of the CIO for cause. He was an outsider of circumstance, and not simply culture itself. We have met the enemy and they is us; my firm inserted in medias res within a classic corporate drama. Without dragging the reader through the entire sordid tale, suffice to say, my team eventually found that the CEO’s family owned one of the key suppliers to the company, and that supplier had been abusing inventory and ordering to their advantage for quite a while. The entailed shortage, mistiming and mismatch in supply, and not some hapless IT feature, had precipitated a fall in sales well below what the presiding economic downturn could serve to conceal. The evidence was not only exclusively deductive, but the history was rather extensive as well; masked by a past robust economy and now emerging like a stump from beneath the waters of a draining lake.
The CIO had either already found the dead bodies, or bore the unfortunate circumstance of being the only individual with the span of vision (compartmentalization had hidden this problem from the managerial and lower level) who could potentially find the dead bodies. From the CEO’s perspective, an ally was required in the position now. One who could keep quiet, tidy things up inside quick order – and finally sustain the aura of blame upon his predecessor. Nine months after our project completed and we were fired for issuing a final report in disagreement with the project charter, the CEO and the entire executive team were released for cause (reasons were not disclosed).
Through being threatened by information which could not be allowed to exist, a cabal of protectors was therefore necessitated. That cabal had to not only survive, but maintain exclusive power by any means necessary, including ruthless elimination of any possibility of dissent.
Sadly, this is how the world works in many places. Innocent others must lose completely in order for me to win. It is how things work in shit-hole nations. Such a condition is a warning flag of a problem at play. My win in the story related above (was not really a win) had to come at their loss yes, but it was preexisting corruption which had created the circumstance. The ensuing cage match was not a matter of my choosing. They had already crafted the ‘ye or me’ scenario from the start, precisely as a means to conceal forbidden information. The dead bodies had to be hidden at all costs. The extraction from a value chain (inflationary friction) had to be preserved and it did not matter what harm was necessary in sustaining this. In order to see this, it helps to have done extensive corporate strategy in other regions of the Globe; places where one can spot how corrupt parties work to eliminate competition or dis-empower unwanted citizenry. Unfortunately, most of our economists have not done this.
When a society at large succumbs past a given threshold to this type of Royalty as the basis for business operations, no longer serving the sound objectives of delivering ethics, value, brand, and alleviation of suffering, then inflation ensues and society collapses. This as much as anything is the fruit of unbridled Clayton Act progressivism. Therein, power and virtue become the only necessary brand value the corporation need serve – granted tacit permission to shirk on its responsibility of ethics and the alleviation of human suffering thereafter.
Royalty pays off the fainéant to betray the enterprise and working classes, all in the name of virtue. Celebrity beats the drum and provides the comedic color commentary.
I fear that we are now past this threshold as a nation. The compromised, incompetent, and ethically bankrupt now hold a critical mass of power and brand value in the US. They assuage their guilty conscience through tendering appearances of virtue, science, and social justice. Human suffering will be the natural outcome of such a condition.
The United States as a nation has thrived in comparison to others precisely because, while it always exists, this type of corruption was below a given quotient. Pervasive levels of failing integrity of this species end up manifesting as economic inflation, derived from its impact to value, confidence, and good will. Extraction-minded cronies (syndicates) get richer surfing the wave of dishonesty-fueled price increases passed on to consumers. We suffer, they thrive, they purchase more power to enact more of the same. One can observe this cycle begin to manifest as the overriding trend in the chart above and to the right, starting around 1976. The wealth-spread between the rich and the worker consequently dilates, until a breaking point is surpassed – wherein large-scale war is typically then fought between competing uber-powerful syndicates. Moreover, this friction inside the value chain, stems not in reality from price increases, but rather a dilution in value. The incumbent diminishing of ethics, dispersion of hope, and divestment in humanity – these things, and not economics, are the reasons why wealth systems fail under the weight of their ‘inflation’. It is the same old Royalty, seeking absolute dominance and power all over again.
The Mental Disorder of Viewing Success as a Mutually-Constrained Resource
I don’t mind a different team winning political elections. I am a moderate. A Republican who has voted 40% Democrat in the past. I sometimes irritate friends by being pro-choice, pro legalization of marijuana, for an increase in the minimum wage and against the abuse of wage-earners, and generally for robust healthcare options for all citizens. But the 2020 election has served to raise my hackles a bit. This ‘you must be utterly destroyed in order for me to win’ political vitriol, a species of zero sum game, right now is unparalleled in American history. It’s origins reside solidly in this resurgence of Royalty and its corruption-protective cabal.
The extraordinary lack of election transparency, exploitation of a virus to accomplish political goals, complete shut-down of dissenting speech, emergence of Big Tech/Financial Clayton Trusts directed from offshore money, maniacal desperation to impeach as fast as is possible, fabrication of FBI warrant evidence and intelligence reports, claiming people are racist by means of their appearance alone, and insane level of retribution against anyone who does not spout their Schapiro propaganda – all has me drawing pause. I am not a big Trump fan, but this is not focused simply upon ‘Trump’. The Left is highly mistaken if it thinks that only the alt-right or Q-anon is concerned right now.
From my experience, there are several reasons why a ‘For Me to Win You Must Lose Everything’ scenario is unilaterally introduced:
I. Inexperience on the part of an overly aggressive player
II. Opportunities/resources are constrained or are presumed to be constrained too tightly
III. An ambitious player who is attempting to conceal their own perceived or real weaknesses
IV. Out of control jealousy
V. The influence of power-hungry or greedy outside agency
VI. A person who suffers from emotional damage, drug abuse, or an innate character flaw
VII. Out of control greed, lust, power
VIII. Presence of a Royalty syndicate: mafia, cabal, or cartel
IX. A condition of extreme national security or in extremis for war
X. Personal vendetta, racial or gender hatred
XI. There are concealed dead bodies, horrendous events, or existential secrets, which must stay concealed at all costs – even death
XII. An alliance among the above factors.
The astute and regular reader of The Ethical Skeptic will note three things:
1. Social Skeptics employ these same tactics in deciding what is included into the plurality of that which science is allowed to research. Fully exercising a ‘no idea but my idea’ embargo philosophy in their fake form of skepticism. You will notice that they exercise a ‘destroy at all costs’ form of deliberation with opponents and with differing/dissenting ideas,
2. When a social skeptic begins with, or resorts early to personal attacks or humorous derision – know that this formula is at play, and
3. The same people who practice the above form of fake skepticism, also tend to practice the style of politics outlined in the twelve points above as well. They will shroud themselves in virtue (opposite of ethics). Observe these fakers for a while. While not an exclusive principle, you will note a very skewed set of habits/people in common.
This is precisely because, even though we do not pose it this way colloquially, a pervasive failure in skepticism and promotion of the weaponized version thereof, resides at the heart of both corrupt science and governance. This is the reason for the existence of The Ethical Skeptic in the first place.
The type of avarice implicated in the twelve points above rarely if ever stems from a pure desire to enact sound policy, science, or protect national security. Not one of these stands as legitimate basis from which to form, nor exercise, a sound government for the United States of America. Inflation and large-scale war, are the inevitable outcome of such incompetencies.
The Ethical Skeptic, “For Me to Win You Must Lose Everything”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 13 Jan 2021; Web, https://theethicalskeptic.com/?p=47610