Elite "wealth managers": Renfields to the one percent bloodsuckers

Yes - that particular scumbag’s name is Roger Ver. http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/01/bitcoin-investor-who-renounced-us-citizenship-now-cant-get-back-in/

He renounced his citizenship to avoid tax and then complained when he couldn’t visit the US whenever he wanted.


“One of the most pervasive bad analogies I keep encountering about capital is that - rather than an actual technology devised by people - it is obviously some uncontrollable real-world force like the elements or the weather.”

A constant misunderstanding of fundamental economics is that capital or even wealth is money. Capital is stored productivity (labor or ingenuity). Money is something created by people to store it, but you can no more change the quantity of capital by tinkering with the money than you can increase the pot at a poker table by doubling everyone’s chips. You can drive capital away and you can even destroy it by destroying physical property where capital was stored. Of course you can steal it. But there is only one way to make more of it. You have to engage in productive effort.

If you make it hard for labor or ingenuity to produce excess capital, if you make it hard for stored capital to be employed productively, then it will be employed elsewhere where it can do those things. There’s no clever accounting trick that will make it magically appear because it ought to.

This merely makes it a two-stage process, and compounds the degree of symbolic obfuscation. So work is first symbolized as capital, and then money can be said to symbolize capital. This doesn’t change my point that there isn’t anything inevitable or universal about it.

People often count on the symbolic shenanigans of money. Those who control the money system also tend to rigorously control the capital of others new labor or ingenuity. It aggregates into pools of reputation where one groups reserves of capital make them perceived as more able to undertake someone elses work, such as how venture capital functions. Other people’s “stored work” cannot, in any practical way, help one to develop a new technology. When a minority control the overall supply of money, they also dictate what it can be used for, what work they think is worth money. When they control how it is symbolized, then people basically cease doing much labor and innovation which was useful for its own sake. It induces many to adopt the value systems of those who control the symbol, which increasingly seems to be the whole point. It’s use in practice tends to thus be ideological, rather than the objective exercise it is advertised as being.

This demonstrates why much of economics seems to me to be pure pseudoscience. As mathematics readily shows, not all symbol systems are equally valid. And even those which have validity somewhere can’t be assumed of being applicable elsewhere. My nutshell definition is that economics = mathematics + wishful thinking. It is never meant to be accurate.


We aren’t going to stop water from running downhill or capital from running uphill is what you mean. Did you know about r > g? Capitalism is the walking irony. It’s endgame is serfdom.

More like classical economics is pure pseudoscience. How’s austerity doing to reduce european debt? How did free trade do to reduce poverty? How are corporate tax cuts doing to create jobs? Where is the evidence that any prediction of economics ever came true more often than randomness would create?

I’m tired of classical economics. It’s Adam Smith’s pathetic misunderstandings of human nature - now thorough disproven - generalized. Even the very basic points like the law of supply and demand are wrong (or if true, intentionally misleading). It does a great job of justifying the wealth of those who are presently wealthy, though.


By posting about it, he was advocating for it? In the way that he’s advocating for Elite “wealth managers” here, by posting about it?

I must confess I did not click through to the linked-article; is Cory D one of the “distinguished scientists” in the headline?


I thought this article was going to be about intergalactic trading.

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No. Money is stored labor as is property, but mere money and property are not stored labor. Money can be minted willy-nilly without effecting the amount of capital in existence.

Governments can mandate more money. Every legal intervention into the world or labor and private contracts stands a chance of doing nothing ultimately or creating artificial scarcity. But no law can mandate abundance.

It probably does look like voodoo when you don’t understand it. But it is monetary policy that flim-flammery. Not economics generally or the practice of markets (free negotiation to determine value). “Value” is the real mystery that can never be determined until to people cut a deal. You can’t ever determine it by pasting a denomination on a coin.

My response: The Soviet Union.

If Socialists were in charge of the economics of the Sahara Desert, in five years there would be a shortage of sand.

The Soviet Union wasn’t very socialist (hence Trotsky kicking up a fuss and getting assassinated).
The “social democracies” like Sweden are closer to the ideals of socialism.


to be fair the USSR was about as socialist as the democratic republic of the congo was democratic.


ninja’ed by @phuzz :slight_smile:


That’s your response? Your response to the fact that economics journals publish unreplicable research and that nothing the economists tell countries to do is working? Invoke the Soviet Union and hope everyone looks the other way?

Economics is an dismal failure. Its models do not predict reality. The only people who actually behave in the stupid, short-sighted and selfish way that economists think people behave are people who are trained in economics. The Soviet Union was also a failure. It turns out letting someone who is qualified only as an egomaniacal murderer dictate how to manage your farms is a bad idea. Who knew?

“Classical economics, better than Stalin” It’s a rousing endorsement.


All social systems fail in the long-term.

Lemme sum up:

“Leave the extremely wealthy aloooooooone! Waaaaaaaaaah!”


Well, I think you’ve got @popobawa4u pegged for sure. He’s all for defining economics as “coinage”, right Popo?





People labor and produce things on their own, but by the time you treat the results as property, you have made a legal intervention. You certainly don’t need laws to promise me something in exchange for building a house and writing a book. But you do to excuse keeping someone else from moving in to the same structure or reprinting the same text, or even to decide whether my results actually fulfilled the contract.

You can certainly decentralize such judgments in forms like arbitration, as corporations have been doing with unfair results, but there is no market independent of them. Talking about legal interventions into the world of private contracts is like talking about water intervening in the ocean. It starts from an assumption that is such nonsense, it’s no wonder it leads to conclusions entirely unlike anything that works.

Meanwhile countries like Sweden continue to be nice places to live, even though the USSR wasn’t. It’s almost as if trying to condemn the former by associating it with the latter were some kind of logical fallacy.


Very nice places to live. Six hour work day? Why can’t we have nice things like Sweden does?

Oh right, it’s because the English-speaking world clings dearly to the idea that it is right for “better” people to rule over “worse” people.

All lives end in the long term, but you don’t have to spend yours putting salt in your eye.

Well, sort of. I think economists actually believe it (and that’s why they act that way themselves).




What do you mean “no”? I agree with what you are saying here, but I disagree that it relates to my remarks. Despite being distinctly related concepts, both capital and money are functions of human-applied symbology. There isn’t anything wrong with symbology in itself, it can be quite useful, but being aware of this suggests that humans need to accept more responsibility for how and why they symbolize.

There certainly are arguments for money potentially affecting capital. If somebody successfully lobbies to have my kind of business criminalized, or allows it to be regulated by other interested groups, this affects my capital. Whereas the hegemonic take upon this is that capital = victory by fiat - the capital speaks for itself, so I am beyond criticism. Since symbol systems are tools employed by people to further their agenda, I’d say that it would be quite naive to assume that such activity should be considered as objective and so taken at face value. The suggestion that models of capital (and finance) govern themselves is put forth for the precise purpose of avoiding accountability. Not all work is even worth doing!

Anybody can print more money, one need not be a government to do it. But I think you are on to something when you highlight that manipulating the symbols can create scarcity, but not abundance. It seems that we are constructing a dichotomy here between symbolic scarcity, versus tangible abundance. My argument is that this confusion of orders of abstraction is a feature to some, and a bug to others. It seems obvious that symbolic abundance is just as easy to create as is symbolic scarcity. And either way, it is not hard to argue that this still represents an inefficient schema for resource management. Probably because it is intended to control people, while making resource management impossible.

So, should I take this to mean that if I do understand it, that I must automatically agree? Conversely, if anybody who refutes it can be said to misunderstand frames this as an indoctrinary problem. Suggesting an entrenched group who are unable or unwilling to examine their own values. The flip side of your position is that you suggest that if I am successfully ordained, I will see the sense of it. This is pretty much saying that an open debate is impossible.

Not too far off, I’d say. People often conflate mystery - that which cannot be known, with secret - that which is known only to a select few. If modern use of capital to symbolize value is a mystery, then it is nothing more than irresponsible superstition used to sabotage those who know better. If it a secret, then it is an elitist, deliberately-obscure system which masses of nominally-democratic nominally-citizens are subjected to. We can pick whichever one sounds better for any given discussion! I am not even convinced that a concept such as value has a specific communicable meaning - never mind trying to force the planet to employ it arbitrary social systems.