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02/10/20 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: Bread

This foot does not exist

02/10/20 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: Bread

Link: https://thisfootdoesnotexist.com/

Because foot pics* can operate in two discrete modes of content consumption simultaneously (i.e. they can be memes and nudes simultaneously, in the same public sphere), their perception depends entirely upon the viewer and the context in which the image appears. Thus the foot pic is both highly valuable and almost worthless at the same time - and this creates a highly intriguing supply & demand dynamic when creators/consumers fall on different ends of this valuation scale. The foot pic, then, becomes a commodity which the consumer is willing to pay for on its basis as an intimate, revealing, and/or pornographic (and perhaps power-granting, when provided on request) asset, while the producer may** see it as a meme, a dupe, a way to trick the horny-credible out of their ill-spent cash.

Facts don't change our minds.

12/22/19 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/02/27/why-facts-dont-change-our-minds

And here our dependence on other minds reinforces the problem. If your position on, say, the Affordable Care Act is baseless and I rely on it, then my opinion is also baseless. When I talk to Tom and he decides he agrees with me, his opinion is also baseless, but now that the three of us concur we feel that much more smug about our views. If we all now dismiss as unconvincing any information that contradicts our opinion, you get, well, the Trump Administration.

The Distinctly American Ethos of the Grifter

09/23/19 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/12/t-magazine/the-distinctly-american-ethos-of-the-grifter.html

GRIFTING IS ARGUABLY a natural, even inevitable byproduct of American democracy. The French diplomat Alexis de Tocqueville, casting a gimlet eye on the brash young nation in “Democracy in America” (1835-40), wrote, “When all the prerogatives of birth and fortune have been abolished, when all professions are open to all and a man’s own energies may bring him to the top of any of them, an ambitious man may think it easy to launch on a great career and feel that he has been called to no common destiny.” But this is a delusion; with the expansion of opportunity comes a corresponding flattening of hopes, as ever more people compete for the same limited number of spots. And because nothing appears to stand in the way of success in this brave new world (at least the utopian vision of it), no acknowledged social or systemic bias, we are expected — nay, mandated — to rise, our worth measured not only by the height but the speed of our ascent. Failure is wholly individual; we are allowed to blame no one but ourselves if we fumble. No wonder de Tocqueville sensed despair in even the wealthiest Americans he met: “It is odd to watch with what feverish ardor the Americans pursue prosperity and how they are ever tormented by the shadowy suspicion that they may not have chosen the shortest route to get it.”
Failure is built into grift; after all, if you get away with it, you’re no longer on the outside — you’re part of the system. What is the ultimate grift but to make good on your unlawful rewards and prove that you deserved them all along? We call that an American success story. We call that leaning in.

 

Starting in 1970

08/10/19 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General

Jensen agreed with Berle’s starting point: Corporate managers were unaccountable because shareholders could not restrain them. But rather than seeing a remedy in checks exerted by regulators and organized labor, Jensen proposed to overhaul the firm so that ownership and control were reunited. Executives should be rewarded more with stock and less with salary, so that they would think like shareholders and focus on the profits that shareholders wanted. Managers who failed to generate a good return would see their stock prices languish, which would create tempting takeover targets. A market for corporate control would redouble the pressure on bosses to behave like owners. Successful takeovers, in turn, would shift corporations into the hands of single, all-powerful proprietors, capable of overseeing management more effectively than scattered stockholders could. In sum, Jensen’s prescriptions inverted Berle’s. The market could be made to solve the problem of the firm. Government could pull back from regulation.

 

Yet a large cost eluded Jensen’s calculations. The social contract of the Berle era was gone: the unstated assumption of lifetime employment, the promise of retirement benefits, the sense of community and stability and shared purpose that gave millions of lives their meaning. Berle had viewed the corporation as a social and political institution as much as an economic one, and the dismembering of corporations on purely economic grounds was bound to generate fallout that had not been accounted for. Meanwhile, Jensen’s market-centric mind-set permeated finance, enabling opaque risks to build up in banks and other trading houses. As the collapse of Enron and other corporate darlings revealed, a good deal of non-market-related accounting fraud compounded the fragility. Even before the 2008 crash, Jensen disavowed the transactional culture he had helped to legitimize. Holy shit, Jensen remembers saying to himself. Anything can be corrupted.

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