Not surprisingly, I awoke the next morning with a nasty Leisure Class hangover. I had one about The Big Short. It is utterly unfair to criticize a magnificent attempt to explain in a little over two hours something as complex as the 2007-8 financial meltdown for what is left out, but I really wish the movie had addressed a few obvious issues. Such as:
- The movie's heroes are the folks who discover that the hottest investment instrument is constructed on bullshit assumptions. While this was an interesting bit of sleuthing, the really interesting folks are the ones who dreamed this scam up and managed to get most of the world to believe that garbage mortgages could be packaged in a AAA investment.
- There was no discussion of what causes otherwise intelligent people to believe that such magic as compound interest over a long term is possible. Our heroes merely confirmed that math works. That such a tiny sample of the financial business community was actually able to count is scary as hell.
- There was no discussion of what happens when finance grows from 6% to 24%. Just imagine what could have been done with that money spent on useful projects. I keep beating the drum around here that this money should all go towards building the zero-carbon society but in truth, almost anything that would have shut down the party the banksters threw for themselves would have been a major improvement.
This Leisure Class hangover proved mostly beneficial, however. Yes it annoys me that anyone with a realistic agenda for addressing the greatest threat the human race has concocted for itself has to operate in the cultural sewage created by an obviously entrenched Leisure Class. The Vatican high theater is a harmless amusement compared the rituals surrounding the awarding of the Riksbank Prize (Nobel) to some of history's biggest economic charlatans, conmen, and fools in Stockholm. When you are glorifying an economics of plunder, it helps if you know how to pull the cultural levers. These people may in fact be ridiculous but ridiculous people are also extremely dangerous. As the Pops used to say, "Any jackass can kick down a barn!" So in the coming year, I will attempt to better understand their crazy.
Of course, leading the fool's procession are the folks who deny climate change is even happening. This is possible in USA because the vast majority slept through their 7th-grade science classes so they have no tools to separate valid claims from BS.