my paranoid/persecution complex theory about north american economics

welcome to my odd theory about part of what’s happening in north american economics right now.
i ought to say right at the outset that what makes this different from the mad ramblings of a paranoid schizophrenic is that i fully admit this is somewhat of a crackpot theory postulated by someone who has no formal education nor experience in that of which they speak.

there are a few people who control the oil supply in the world. a handful of relatively obscure, mind-bogglingly rich people. add into that milieu a few ridiculously large corporations. this handful of people get to decide the ‘price point’, more or less for oil as a commodity. they also, it is rumoured, more or less kaiboshed or delayed development (or at least promotion of development) of alternate energy sources, particularly in the automobile industry. the big auto corporations didn’t actually put any energy-efficient or alternate fuel source vehicles on their design block because ‘big oil’ didn’t want them to. ‘big oil’ wanted to continue to reap capitol gains hand over fist.

big oil kept raising the price of oil. artificially inflated it. why? because they could. and don’t fault capitalists/consumerists for wanting to exploit the system that reaps them the most benefit. it’s the nature of the model.

eventually, the artificially inflated price of oil began to actually hurt the big auto manufacturers. nobody was buying their big, expensive, inefficient vehicles because nobody could afford to run them. auto companies began laying off its employees. those employees began to not be able to pay their own bills. which added to the already distressing ‘credit crunch’ (or: “in which folks buy things they can’t afford, with money they don’t have, and rack up interest they don’t understand”). when the auto manufacturers realised that nobody wanted to buy their crappy cars, they went to the government for a ‘bailout’. which essentially is giving taxpayers’ money to auto companies to subsidise them for the crappy cars none of the taxpayers wanted in the first place.

have you ever read kafka?

as the realisation sunk in that the artificially inflated price of oil was actually harming folks who could more or less control a large part of the consumption of oil, big oil figured they’d give consumers a break for a while to build false confidence in the market.

the crux of what i’m saying is that this ‘crash’ in commodities and resource markets is entirely manufactured by a handful of extremely wealthy individuals who control massive corporations.

please eat this message as soon as you are finished reading it.

cenobyte is a writer, editor, blogger, and super genius from Saskatchewan, Canada.


  1. I’d say you’re right on the money. I’d add in one more step, that capitalism, due to its inherent ability to manipulate prices based entirely on the subjective whim of those that may have a control over the resources is in essence a dehumanizing system that has continued to fail for decades. Of course, we’re all effectively subdued with the various things we’re misled with and haven’t actually replaced the system with anything that will work. It’s also hard to replace a system when the people running the system have horded all the money and power and have a vested interest in making sure that system can’t be overthrown.(PS, my word verification is mentab. Like a mental pill.)

  2. parmeisan: no, it didn’t damage me to write an entire post with no capital letters. in fact, i once wrote an entire story with no capital letters. it was during a time when i was attempting to slog through “Ulysses”. that didn’t end well.

  3. So, the financial system of the western world, (which actually had one, compared to the rest), came crashing down in 1929, largely because the real estate bubble that all the “liquidity” had been based on, burst. After the horrible carnage — people losing their jobs, people losing their life savings as banks folded, Okies having to hit the road looking for itinerent farm work, giving birth to John Steinbeck’s oeuvre etc., the federal government in its wisdom belatedly put in a substantial structure of checks and balances to make sure this kind of irresponsible abuse could never happen again. Thereupon, the vested interests of the financiers, investors, insurance companies, etc., with the collusion of “business-friendly” governments, spent the next 75 years systematically eroding, exploding and otherwise disappearing these same checks and balances, to allow them to better fleece the suckers that believed the system was there to serve everyone. Until the critical mass of irresponsibility was again achieved, and the whole turkey-shooting match went up in flames once more, leaving it to another Democratic president to instigate another New Deal disgorging of the people’s treasury in a Keynesian orgy of “infrastructure” work to keep the carasses of the fatcats from toppling all the way over and crushing everybody. In other words the ordinary working taxpayer is once again being robbed to pay for corporate greed and government negligence. While we are incited to stupidly point fingers at each other, muttering about the frogs or the unions or the welfare mothers or the Indians. Or all of the above. As I always say “shit happens, and we all know who to blame.”Similarly, in the auto sector, these captains of industry repeatedly used their corrupt influence over public policy to install trade protections that allowed them to keep the foreign competition to a minimum so they could remain inefficient and keep building the overpriced gas guzzlers themselves. So, this market crashes because of the price of oil, and okay, a smidgeon of environmental concern, and guess who has to bail out the fatcats — you guessed it, their friends in government give them your and my money so that everything will appear to be okay. But it never will. Because capitalism is an inhuman and dysfunctional economic system. Notice by its very name that its main focus is “capital”, not “people,” or anything vaguely humanistic. It is structurally designed to suck all the resources in the system up to the narrow top of the pyramid. The only way to keep it from crushing us all the time is to have a countervailing system to redistribute some of the wealth back to the rest of the body so that the sucking mouth of capitalism can continue to pull resources up through all the veins and capillaries of the society, keeping them somewhat alive along the way. We know one version of this countervailing redistribution system as “taxation”. But so many capitalists are so greedy that they continually work to damage this recycling system, believing that it interferes with their inherent meritocratic right to hang onto as many marbles as they can get their hands on. And they are also able to get mass quantities of the pointy-headed lumpen proletariat to obstruct the maintenance of a vital tax system as well. So every once in a while too many of the resources wind up at the top, and the whole thing shuts down. Sort of like what’s going to happen to the Gulf Stream when enough of the polar ice cap melts and changes the water temperature and density differentials that keep ocean currents circulating. It’s called the “crisis of capitalism” and while this “correction” is taking place, the top layers of the pyramid have to fly to the Caribbean in coach rather than first class, and the rest of us endure lost jobs, lost homes, lost opportunities, family displacement, and the devastation of poverty. The system has several times pulled itself out of the muck by militarising the economy, but in our case, that card has already been played, several times, and

  4. So, was it physically harmful to type that without any capitals?I must admit I had a hard time concentrating on the ideas themselves. That post only sounded like you once. Up to that point, I was getting worried that someone had hacked your bournal to make a political statement.

  5. regarding car companies shooting themselves in the foot, see ‘who killed the electric car’. it amazes me that they turned away willing buyers for the cars and scrapped them instead. you can point to a conspiracy, but i think it was just corporate stupidity myself. as for oil oligarchs, the manipulation of the price of oil has been happening since the very first well was drilled. j.p. morgan was just less able to hide his activities. at least he was willing to bail out the u.s. government in his day, rather than the other way around today :(

  6. <>It’s also hard to replace a system when the people running the system have horded all the money and power and have a vested interest in making sure that system can’t be overthrown.<>Infinitely hard when you identify the system as composed of all those who participate in it.

  7. i love capitalesseness :) and made up words. and purposely written sentence fragements. makes me think of Amy and “irregardless”. grin

  8. Oh, so this WAS actually written by the c3nobyte. I wasn’t entirely sure after reading it either, Parmeisan.Now, for the Capitalist point of view! I’m the closest thing here, so I’ll give it a shot.I have a lot of problems with this post. And the biggest one of all? These guys just aren’t that organized, or that smart.Now, of course these guys are greedy. I mean, Warren Buffet is a huge exception in the world of the rich and famous for only taking a salary of $100 000 US. See the “only” in that sentence? Yeah, he is actually, by the views of the capitalist world, practicing huge restraint. You can just imagine what some of these other dudes are raking in.But none of these guys caused the oil crash. No, what caused THAT was Americans finally borrowing more than they could pretend they could pay back, combined with a sudden re-discovery of thrift. In October, for the first time in who even KNOWS how long, gas prices became too high for Americans to fill up their SUVs with. They actually DROVE LESS. I think I need to repeat this, because it is so incredible: the biggest spenders in the entire world, who spend money they don’t have to buy things they don’t need, SPENT LESS.Now, the entire world is re-adjusting to a new world, populated by a United States that can’t be relied upon to buy whatever cheap crap is thrown at them. China is starting to buy their own decent products that meet US standards, instead of selling their citizens cheap and possibly poisoned milk. Cats and dogs, living together!I’ve got more on this if you want.

  9. I don’t believe for one iota of one second that Americans driving less caused the financial crisis in the US. I think that’s a specious and simplistic argument. The financial crisis in the US was caused by a number of things. Consumers being forced to spend less money (which didn’t belong to them in the first place) is a *result*, not a cause.

  10. The credit crisis began because for FAR too long, credit companies have been suckering people by offering them credit they can’t afford, then clamping down and suing the suckers for everything they (the credit companies) can get. I worked for a while as a skip-trace locator for the Capital One credit company. The business model of it all sickened me… the idea is, offer poor Americans lots of no-background-check credit (tiny credit cards with 200-500 dollar limits), let them default, then nail them with 20 bucks a month in missed-payment fees. Most of the people we were tracking down owed THOUSANDS of dollars on a card with only a 200-dollar limit. All of it in missed-payment fees. And we learned during training that the average American has 10-15 such credit cards (and bigger ones), no matter their level of income.There comes a time when this business model MUST fail. If people are suffering hard times, even just moderately hard times, you reach a point where the percentage of credit extended to defaulters that simply CANNOT pay, no matter what legal action you take, exceeds earnings of the company from people they DO manage to fleece. When this happens, the company suddenly has no income, and folds. Now, I’m just talking small potatoes here… the little 500-dollar limit credit cards from Capital One. The parent companies handle a LOT more credit, in the form of major car loans, mortgages, and so forth.The BIG problem is that the above business model was applied to these larger forms of credit as well, in the form of buy-now-pay-later car loan schemes and sub-prime mortgages. It’s the same tactic… offer the loan to someone who can’t afford it, attach ridiculous terms for defaulting, wait for them to default, then sue them for everything they have (or will ever have, or their family has). So, when the business model failed, it took down not only the rag-tag scamming credit card companies, it took down the credit GIANTS.Regulation was supposed to prevent these companies from employing such dirty tricks in the first place. Greed and the lure of the quick buck pushed regulation to the curb (as it always does in Washington), and now we’re ALL paying the price. I can only hope that the so-called Social Conservatives can keep their ugly hate-filled messages to themselves until the Democrats have been in power long enough to pick up the pieces… or at least that the American people will be smart enough to say “fool me once…”

  11. I never said that the financial crisis was the result of Americans buying less; that is indeed an Effect of the crisis, not a Cause.What I SAID is that the oil slump is due to Americans finally responding in an intelligent manner to an overpriced good, i.e. this summer’s gasoline. Thrift when your economy is doing poorly is the uppercut after the gut punch.I overemphasized the degree to which this sudden re-discovery of thrift is the cause, yes. In part the oil was simply being overvalued. But it’s very much a one-two punch: contraction of demand at the same time as a sudden realization of over-supply.Xenophile sounds pretty much on for the mortgage crisis, although the biggest problem of all was the way these worthless mortgages were then sliced up afterwards so they could be mixed in with the other, actually-worth-money mortgages. Too many turd sandwiches being made, ruining perfectly good bread, lettuce and other ingredients.And yes, there are a number of reasons for the current downturn. Turd mortgages, financial weapons of mass distruction, American debt, Japanese/German/Chinese unwillingness to pick up consumption, car manufacturer inefficiency, normal business cycle downturns – take your pick. I can’t think of any others at the moment, but I’m sure they exist.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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