Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Schapiro, Kotz and Madoff



I published this post earlier this year. But given the fact that things are always changing in our United States of America today, I thought that it would be apropriate to update and publish it again.

I guess I'm a slow learner.

There is a remarkably shallow measure of success that enables us as Americans to validate our sensibilities. That measure is anchored in the belief that we as Americans are always right and in being always right, there is no need whatsoever to accept the fact that we might or could possibly be wrong.

Bernard Madoff capitalized on that assumption completely. He was able to see in such clear and focused terms that Americans would do absolutely anything to make a fast buck. Realizing just how easy it was to persuade people to trust in his wisdom, his knowledge of outdated economic investment strategies, the very strategies that have brought our nation to the brink of economic collapse, enabled him to see in others, the hope so many had that if they would only invest their financial resources into a scheme he was much more aware of than they themselves.

Now that this man is on trial, now that the powers that be have figured out that he was wiser than they, the pregnant pause of our nation’s collective economic redundancy is coming home to roost within the context of the essay Bernard Madoff wrote and of course made off with. As it does so, and, as we remain still entirely oblivious to his scheme, the man that stole 56 billion dollars from others remains the essayist of our collectively inept ability to produce a sustainable national economy, laughing all the way to the bank and now of course, the jail cell he will undoubtedly spend the rest of his extraordinarily unique life with a bemused smile of contentment.

As bits and pieces of his life story may or may not unfold immediately today, the remnants of his conniving brilliance will remain as financial benchmarks from which historians will, over the course of time, clearly be able to discern Mr. Madoff’s motives. As selfish as they appeared to be at one time in the history of America’s 21st century, they were nothing but his entirely accurate assumption and observation of the fact that America at the time of his capture and imprisonment, should have been focusing on its economic future as opposed to being obsessed with the immediate gratification of its economic present.

While Mr. Madoff made off with billions of greenbacks, the ultimate question becomes, what were those who entrusted their fortunes to this supposed fortune maker going to do with those fortunes if and when they had actually made them? Given the overall poor state of our collective national economy, it seems that very few of these investors, if indeed any would have become any wealthier. As these people seem to have had the financial wherewithal to seek Mr. Madoff out in the first place, it strikes me that, their entire motivation was most likely to further advance their own financial wealth and their own financial wealth alone. As opposed to investing their greenbacks in something that would benefit others, these folks simply wanted to fatten their 20th century piggy banks with virtually no intention of investing in the 21st century piggy banks of others.

As America is most certainly going through the most remarkable industrial transition it has ever faced and in spite of the fact that an awful lot of people who have money seem to be oblivious to anything other than the sustainability of their ancient 20th century financial nest egg, the fact of the matter remains, nobody in America will be making anymore money until the industrial foundation of our 21st century economy is properly blueprinted, organized and financed. Mr. Madoff’s obsession with acquiring the greenbacks of others therefore, was nothing more than a collective essay on the shortsighted investment strategies of many who thought and still think greenbacks and greenbacks alone are crucial to economic momentum.

The reason Americans are not spending money today however, is due entirely to the fact that common sense has enabled most to realize that money cannot buy us out of a jobless economy. While there are those who still insist that money can, the vast majority of these folks are loosing money hand over fist to either people like Madoff, the overall failure of financial institutions to invest in our nation’s industrial future and the general belief that hoarding financial assets will at some point in time enable those who do so to experience a windfall profit in much the same manner as a child who found a dollar on the street and quickly turned his or her new found wealth into an investment in penny candy in 1962.

With virtually no comprehension of how the candy was made and knowing only that they had a lot of it, the windfall profit of that found dollar enabled them to become overseers and overeaters of their instant candy empire. As time went by and the contents of their candy jar diminished, because they found the initial dollar as opposed to earning it, they searched for more lost dollars to feed their candy addiction without ever taking the time to learn how the candy was actually made or realizing the actual price of labor that went into making the candy in the first place.

As 1962 was a long time ago and the dollar then bought a lot more than a dollar today does, the facts remain the same. As there is virtually nothing of any value gained in finding a lost dollar on main street and investing it in candy, there is as well nothing of any value in finding a lost dollar on Wall street and investing it in fantasy. As fantasy seems to have become the new gold standard in America, the greenback wholly attached to fantasy has become valueless. While the irony of this whole self centered addiction to eye candy here in our America can be seen in the overall lack of performance in every industrial sector, the greater irony is the fact that we have failed to invest our greenbacks in green industries.

As defining, shaping and growing green industries is clearly at the core of reinvigorating our nation’s greenback, one has to wonder why the quest for eye candy has entirely overshadowed the greater quest and responsibility we should have to anchor the value of that greenback to the growth of these industries. As the old adage of “no reward for bad behavior” once anchored children to a fundamental morality that in 1962 compelled many of them to search for the owner of that found dollar bill before investing it in meaningless self gratification and as that search was anchored by the larger morality of parents who insisted that not only was eating too much candy bad but adhering to the even larger principle of “an apple a day kept the doctor away” was wiser, common sense was ultimately the foundation of not only personal honesty but a much broader and extraordinarily honest essay on our nation’s collective understanding of what true social health implied.

When you think about this and you think about the fact that our nation’s natural food supply has become a victim of eye candy food manufacturers who have placed candy profits above apple nutrition, again Mr. Madoff’s name comes to the surface as a startling omen warning us collectively of the dark side of yet another national economic tragedy. Selfish nutritional economics, the fine art of corporate profit at the expense of regional health and nutrition simply states that as long as investors can see themselves as beneficiaries of the growth of national food manufacturing empires, they do not even for a moment have to consider the fact that America has become a nation of over weight neurotics who simply cannot afford either the time to cook well or the foods that enable them to eat well, behave rationally or think creatively.

Within the constraints of this frenzied food for profit logic, organic food anger grows and within the constraints of this organic food anger, an army of truly conscious organic food entrepreneurs is growing. Yet because the Madoff’s of the world still seek fast food profits, the organic farmers of America’s 21st century are left to fend for themselves within a food and agricultural industry that remains determined to destroy the underlying truth of an apple a day.

As our nation’s food industry holds virtually every American family hostage in its packaged food utopia, in doing so it is clearly serving as an overwhelming impediment to the sustained growth of a number of remarkably advanced green American agricultural based industries that with the proper technological and economic interface in place would wholly redefine our nation’s food industry as well as our greater humanitarian position on feeding through comprehensive education the populations of the world that have come to rely upon us for precisely what we can’t at the moment seem to provide for ourselves.

In the great redundancy of squandered candy cane billions, our nation remains devoid of a comprehensive network of solar and geothermal powered and heated regional food producing greenhouses that should clearly be numbered in the tens of thousands and clearly be built within every geographical sector of our country. Within the void of sugar coated dreams, our nations network of neighborhood grocers that clearly could become the centers of proactive community agricultural and nutritional education sit as insolvent reminders of green potential just waiting to be actualized. Between the greenhouse and the grocery store, fleets of hybrid food delivery vehicles remain on the drawing boards of lollipop licking, nutritionally starved and financially unemployed automotive engineers. As the highways linking greenhouses and grocery stores do not today serve any conceivable functional purpose other than to carry a nation of wandering job seekers madly rushing from one temporary candy company position to another, the non-repairable potholes created by a society that has lost its agrarian roots fill with the rain and ground waters that flow unrestrained and un-harnessed. While such waters today are as crucial to our economic livelihood as they were and have been throughout the history of mankind, keeping the car that holds the unemployed, overweight and overly sedated motorist safely constrained and perfectly clean belies the fact that the underlying filth of our nations economy is chronicled by the sediment that splashes up and disfigures the factory finish of over priced autos and under financed efforts to address the development of green rain and groundwater technologies.

In the grand oddity of Madoff styled prosperity, the greenback has been pitted against the very industrial mechanism that actually produces the greenback. In the grand oddity of unregulated, undisciplined and wholly self-centered profit for the self-involved aspiring only personal enlightenment, our nation operates beneath a financial canopy falsely illuminated by socially dysfunctional light bulb gurus. As we sit patiently awaiting some form of leadership to emerge, as we patiently await discipline and structure to once again become the benchmark of our industrial momentum, tangible solutions to our collective dysfunction are in abundance as are they are clearly visible and virtually everywhere around us.

Discipline anchored in common sense should suggest the overwhelming need to define common cause, unfortunately common cause in our nation today has been hidden behind hopelessly isolated and insular common goals. As Americas corporations have more or less evolved themselves into secular hierarchies focused exclusively on self-survival, the capacity to share, the capacity to realize true industrial cross training has been relegated to the realm of hard work which unfortunately in our nation today has been considered to be pointless. With self-survival or self-preservation as the foundation of corporate logic, America has simply failed for far too long to realize the true potential of dynamic industrial cross training. Thus, the American auto and truck industry within it secularist survival mode has virtually refused to understand the transportation needs of the American food industry. Focusing exclusively on the simple minded logic of developing a new line of luxury Cadillac’s that are competitive with a new line of BMWs that are competitive with a new line of Lincoln’s, the auto industry has not for a moment focused its engineering brilliance on a new line local grocery store delivery trucks nor the sheer volume of aftermarket technologies that if produced would support the 21st century advanced industrial needs of American agriculture.

Regardless of the industry, regardless of the secular plight of indivudual industries, until we as a nation look at our desire to own a sustainable investment portfolio for non-secular reasons we will have no choice other than to suffer the consequences of Madoff minded investment scams. As the greenbacks we collectively hold so precious to our singular retirement goals were never designed to create self-centered dynasties, as the greenbacks we earned were earned with the realization that constant reinvestment of those greenbacks was essential to the greater good of a nation that allows dynasties, the ultimate good of a nation must come from our capacity to constantly reshape and reconstitute the formula that made the dynasty strong and dynamic to begin with.

Bernie Madoff in essence, is not a criminal. Although he made off with the fortunes of many, the ancient principles of our nation’s ancient economic and political dynasties allowed this to happen. As the principles that allowed this man to pave his own highway to heaven are still very much in place in our nation today, the greater principles of true 21st century industrial reinvention are also in place. The question therefore, is one of conscious communication. I have an idea that is directly related to your idea. I cannot execute my idea unless I also help you execute your idea. While this type of socio-economic dialogue is viewed by many as a form of socialism, this author chooses to characterize the changes that must be made in our America today as a celebration of the fact that we have finally and collectively as a nation moved beyond our social dysfunctionalisms.

Welcome to Candy Land.

M. Patrick Dahlke

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