There are two requirements for leadership: moral nihilism and the ability to keep from collapsing in laughter when announcing a new policy.
Writer Chris Hedges points out that, “Corporatism is about crushing the capacity for moral choice.”
The moral nihilism that fires corporatism is born of a bored prosperity that has never known hardship or suffering. A bored man whose every need is meant and who has never learned how cast a critical eye on anything craves the amusement that can only come from the creation of a suffering that is totally foreign to him. It is boredom, not bile that creates the greatest evils.
A monster, such as Hitler or Stalin, may have been born in hardship, but it the functionaries, who give evil its breadth and scope that are the children of boredom.
When a functionary initiates a policy, he usually knows just enough to know that it’s bullshit, but not enough to understand why. That’s why the second quality of leadership is so important. Breaking into giggles while introducing a policy that is going to screw the public to the wall just doesn’t cut it.
This is why Tim Geithner is such a great leader. He never once giggled while filling out the details of his latest bank bailout plan. As Paul Krugman points out, “The idea, says Mr. Obama’s top economic advisor, is to use ‘the expertise of the market to set the value of toxic assets.’” (Said without cracking a smile.)
By “toxic assets” he means that garbage, which is worth ten to twenty-five cents on the dollar, for which the banks want to get fifty to sixty cents on the dollar.
The “expertise of the market” describes the felonious behavior of a market so encrusted by corruption that it can barely move.
Tim continued to maintain his poker face as he explained that the government would encourage a public-private partnership (partnership, hell! They’re one in the same) by giving private investors “nonrecourse” loans to purchase the toxic assets.
What “nonrecourse” means is that should, by some chance, the value of this shit paper goes up, private investors keep the profits. If the value falls, the taxpayer picks up the bill.
All of this makes sense if you understand exactly what our leaders mean when they say “economy.” It has nothing to do with GDP or unemployment or balance of trade or any of the other phrases they love to bandy about. All “economy” refers to is the well –being of their Wall Street cronies. If they’re happy, the economy is in good shape.
Of course, nobody understands that Wall Street is just an undisciplined mob that scurries hither and yon according to the ever shifting direction of the wind. The Dow takes off; the Dow plummets. The mob scurries here; the mob scurries there.
That is the “expertise of the market” that is going to price the toxic assets that are slowly sinking out economy.