Category Archives: Capitalism

“Market Democracy’s” Secret Side

photo of money under mattress

In a new book about Wall Street, Walter Mattli explains that the major banks and investment firms call the shots, but do so in the least transparent way possible. In short, the markets are not driven by supply and demand, nor by equitable forces, but by subterfuge:

“Dark pools” is a term used to describe a venue where trades are made without displaying “price order or order size information.” The volume of dark trading “tripled in less than a decade to about 37 percent of all trading in 2017.” Mattli hastens to point out their potential usefulness since dark pools are intended primarily for institutional investors, whose bids might otherwise overly disrupt the market. The spread of dark pools points to two facts: first, the increasing size of investment firms large enough to handle enormous transactions internally, and two, our collective participation in the very world that Mattli is describing.

Visions of Sugar Plums and Evictions

graphic of news story from London Times about rich wanting to evict people
Twitter item about Christmas Carol

Helping Those Who Help You

Do what you can to expand other people’s vision about what is going on with the pandemic. We don’t see enough images from the emergency rooms and morgues to convince everyone in the U.S. that the pandemic is worsening.

“Once the numbers are this large, it’s very easy for them to get much larger, very quickly — and they will. When we start with half a million confirmed cases a week, as we had in mid-October, it’s like a runaway train. Only a few weeks later, we are already at about 1 million cases a week, with no sign of slowing down.”

Imagine a world in which you cannot get immediate medical help. That’s already the case in a few states. Here’s a report from a doctor who grows frustrated, a doctor you might need to treat you or a family member for Covid or a broken limb or a heart attack.

Beheadings are Fine on Facebook

“We have specific rules around how many times you need to violate certain policies before we will deactivate your account completely,” Zuckerberg said. “While the offenses here [talk of beheadings], I think, came close to crossing that line, they clearly did not cross the line.”

graphic of guillotine

Trump’s Lawyers Deny Voter Fraud

Court documents show that, under questioning by a judge, the President’s own lawyers refuse to say that they have evidence for fraud. Instead, they confess that everything has been done in “good faith.”

graphic of court case at Old Bailey

THE COURT: I am asking you a specific question, and I am looking for a specific answer. Are you claiming that there is any fraud in connection with these 592 disputed ballots?

MR. GOLDSTEIN: To my knowledge at present, no.

Auction with Literary Bent

Books to Nourish is holding an auction. Many interesting items up for bid, though for those who aren’t residents of the UK, you might want to verify that non-UK bids will be honored. Signed copies of books are on the block as are offers from literary agents to provide commentary on your writing.

image of Books to Nourish

Outsiders Look for “Stealing”

The London Times is not an anti-Trump newspaper. Be careful out there.

Revisiting Molly Ivins

One of the memorable Texas writers is Molly Ivins. She participated in politics and learned a few things. Many of her quotations still resonate, such as:

“When politicians start talking about large groups of their fellow Americans as ‘enemies,’ it’s time for a quiet stir of alertness. Polarizing people is a good way to win an election, and also a good way to wreck a country.”

photo of Molly Ivins

Quotation of the Day

“A lot of things are unknowable if you make no effort to know anything about them.” Dr. Michael Worobey, University of Arizona

image of blind leading the blind

Return of “The Thursday Murder Club”

Having made my way through the novel, I want to point out a passage in the acknowledgments: “I first had the idea for this book a few years ago, when I was fortunate enough to visit a retirement community full of extraordinary people with extraordinary stories.” Richard Osman’s book is a fictional tribute to those colorful grey folks who have been verbally euthanized by the government. Instead of depicting seniors in care facilities as proto-corpses, Osman conveys the energy, cleverness, tenacity, and improvisational skills of adults over 50. Osman focuses on his characters’ attunement with justice, revealing the paucity of mystery novels that dwell mainly on puzzle solving.

Osman’s characters know that at any moment one of their actions could be interpreted as an indication of decline, deterioration, foolishness. The police officer Chris feels the need to remind Elizabeth, one of the adults over 50, of her place: “You didn’t think Donna and me might have been interested at this point?” asks Chris. Elizabeth: “Firstly, Chris, it’s ‘Donna and I.’ And secondly, who knew what the bones were? We didn’t want to waste your time until we knew for sure what we were dealing with. What if we’d called you out and they were nothing but cow bones? Wouldn’t we have looked silly old fools then?” (231)

cover of Spanish version of The Thursday Murder Club book