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Greed Is Good

Pleonexia is a concept I introduced into a discussion of a similar topic about 2 or so years ago on this board as being at the root for the decline and fall of the Outlaw US Empire. Here's what Wiki says about it at the link:

"Pleonexia, sometimes called pleonexy, originating from the Greek πλεονεξία, is a philosophical concept which roughly corresponds to greed, covetousness, or avarice, and is strictly defined as 'the insatiable desire to have what rightfully belongs to others', suggesting what Ritenbaugh describes as 'ruthless self-seeking and an arrogant assumption that others and things exist for one's own benefit'" [My Emphasis]

That trait's shared by all Imperialist nations all of which arose based on the same Greco-Roman foundations or learned those traits from them as in the case of the Japanese. Indeed, that such traits aren't recognized speaks to the illiteracy of those rising to or placed in leadership positions as they seem to be totally unaware of the numerous lessons within Greek and Roman literature/culture--lessons known by the Founders and others 250 years ago when to be considered educated you had to know Greek, Latin, and their classical literature. As Walter says, it's a Greek Tragedy; but the play began in the last quarter of the 19th Century as has also been written about.

Those running the  US Empire seem oblivious to the wall they're about to run the nation into, or we might say it's a cliff that will take the nation into the abyss. The G-20 determined last year that a new global currency to conduct commerce was required to replace the dollar. A short discussion and linking of articles occurred on that topic yesterday between me and Likklemore. Bevin insisted we discuss the failure of Capitalism and what needs to come next as its replacement. I've advocated the need for a steady-state socialist system as the new global political-economy. As I reported, a prominent Singaporean in promoting his newest book wrote in The Economist that the advent of the pandemic marks the start of the Asian Century thanks to the gross Moral Failure of the West and the Outlaw US Empire as its lead nation.

How does a group of people get cured of Pleonexia? It's likely way too late for the current crop of oligarchs; but what of their heirs who were presumably schooled in similar fashion to their elders, and their progeny? I'm with Hudson in that their wealth must be written down close to zero, and the new system emplaced will not allow a repetition. Meanwhile, someone needs to get busy writing about the current Tragedy such that future generations can learn its lessons so they're not repeated.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 1 2020 18:22 utc | 63

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[Jul 31, 2015] Greed Is King - What We Learned Talking To Chinese Stock Investors

"...Or was it just the foreign investors (Goldman Sachs) who rode that roller coaster bought into the Shanghai market on 50% margin?"
"...Same for the short selling: peasant rice farmers or JPMorgan? Inquiring minds want to know."
Jul 31, 2015 | Zero Hedge
Early birds get the worms

This goes completely against most prudent and established norms. While the standard advice is to avoid "hot" bubbly assets, in China the experience has actually been to jump in early and fully instead. Many of the bubbles or "hot" investments mentioned earlier have in truth made many of the people I've talked to a lot of money. China real estate today is a poor investment but those who got in early doubled or tripled their investments. Similarly with wealth-management products, more people have benefited from their high-interest-rate payouts than have suffered. While the Shanghai market has dropped 20%-30% from its peak a few weeks ago, it still represents a 100% gain from a year ago and a 30% gain over the last 6 months. Those participants who jumped in early are still more than happy.

Greed is king

Despite recognizing it's a bubble, almost everyone was still all-in on stocks. Why? Quite simply - greed with a dash of jealously. Seeing constant market gains in the news along with daily sharing and boasting from friends and family getting rich is simply too tempting and thus caution was thrown to the winds. Subsequently, this fueled a massive amount of equity exposure followed by leveraging and margin borrowing to go even more all-in.

But fear is the emperor

The only emotion more powerful than greed is fear. Almost everyone I talked to was still all-in on stocks but everyone had a foot halfway out the door, ready to bolt at the first sign of trouble. While not uniquely a China problem - market drops are almost always more violent than the initial rise - in China, it's several times more volatile. Look no further than solar-panel firm Hanergy's Hong Kong listed stock, which lost 47% in one hour, or the numerous days the Shanghai market rose or dropped by 5% or more.

bid the soldier...

Confucius say "With Chinese greed you get greedy one hour later. With American greed you greedy your whole life."

Greed and fear - two intrinsic emotional states relating to the topic of unpredictability of stock market. Vulnerability to those two emotional states might be a result of investors' low comfort level due to the market instability.

Greed and fear relate to an old Wall Street saying: " financial markets are driven by two powerful emotions – greed and fear".

While sticking to this statement would be an oversimplification, it can also prove to be very truthful. Resisting these emotions can have an utter and deleterious effect on investors portfolios and stock market.

This old Wall Street saying predates Kublai Kahn's duplex pleasure dome at the Xanau at 66th and Fifth.

bid the soldier...

The author hangs his hat on this stat:

Chinese retail investors make up 85% of the market, a far cry from the U.S. where retail investors own less than 30% of equities and make up less than 2% of NYSE trading volume for listed firms in 2009.

Of the 85% of the small retail investor, how many of them were in the market before China allowed foreign investors to trade their market in March 2014? How many rice farmers doubled down and margined further stock purchases when the foreign investors tried to take Shanghai to the moon? Or was it just the foreign investors (Goldman Sachs) who rode that roller coaster bought into the Shanghai market on 50% margin?

Were stocks whose trading was halted, halted to prevent further selling or halted to prevent the "malicious sellers" from covering at lower prices as the authorities slowly forced the stock prices higher?

Of the huge spike in margin loans, how much of it was caused by the rice farmers in the provinces and how much was taken on by the giant investment houses in New York and London?

Same for the short selling: peasant rice farmers or JPMorgan?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Just as we snicker when we see statistics from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) shoundn't we all have a giggle at the numbers from The Peoples Statistics of China?


Their government told them it was the right thing to do. "Trust us," their government said.

Do you really think the Chinese Authorities were completely unaware of what happened in the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1989, 3 years after the Nikkei allowed Wall Street in?

Either the Chinese are the major dumfuks on the planet or Goldman, Morgan Stanley will soon be singing the Song of Roland to deaf ears.


70 trips for Goldman-Sach's Hank "The Hammer" Paulson to teach certain Chinese leaders (sociopaths) on how to take candy from a baby. Big payoffs for some of them.

Crush the Infame

Stock markets need to change from being stock price based to dividend based. Investing should be about putting cash up today with the hope of getting more back tomorrow, not about making a quick casino win on market timing.

Imagine if Vegas changed the odds on all the slots so that people starting winning a lot more than they were losing. The mania would be surreal, but then they pulled back and all of these people who now depend on that money begin to panic. Of course let's add in that a large chunk of the nation's pension funds and insurance companies were sending people to Vegas to play these rigged slots as an "investment."

So what's next? Now the government steps in and tells the Vegas casinos that they will provide the cash to keep the party going. If this happened with slot machines people would be up in arms, but swap out slots for stocks and it's about keeping the "system" going.

Capitalism doesn't require a stock market. Corporate bonds and private equity could replace the selling of stock in a rigged market. There would less boom but also less bust and no need for governments to intervene when the whole thing teetered on the verge of collapse.


"Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures, the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind and greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the U.S.A." (c) Gordon Gekko

Uhh... about that...


Did you find any shoe shine boys giving stock tips?

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