Category Archives: Link

Link: Addicted To Wealth

A young man who earned his way into insider status in the financial industry, compares the compulsion to acquiring money as an analog to other addictions, an attempt to compensate for or avoid some other deeper pain inside.

It’s a cool story, but I doubt it is universally true. But there is something else he realized as his eyes opened that is certainly true:

I’d always looked enviously at the people who earned more than I did; now, for the first time, I was embarrassed for them, and for me. I made in a single year more than my mom made her whole life. I knew that wasn’t fair; that wasn’t right. Yes, I was sharp, good with numbers. I had marketable talents. But in the end I didn’t really do anything. I was a derivatives trader, and it occurred to me the world would hardly change at all if credit derivatives ceased to exist. Not so nurse practitioners. What had seemed normal now seemed deeply distorted.

We need banks and investors, as a way to pay for real things, but the notion that credit “products” like credit default swaps are anything more than a way for the sharps to skim their percentage off the world economy is a sham.

I’m not qualified to know where to draw the line here, but I’m sure that one great injustice we can all line up behind is the fact that income derived from this mostly-worthless churning of money should be taxed at the same rate as income that is earned by labor. At least.  It should certainly not be taxed at a lower rate, as it is now.

Something Dry But Important.

The FCC’s net neutrality rules were overturned this week. Yawn. But this is a big deal. The gist is that with net neutrality rules in effect the phone and cable companies who deliver the internet into our homes are required to treat all the info coming from the internet the same. Whether it is my personal website, Facebook, Netflix or Comcast’s own Video On Demand service, the information has to flow unimpeded through the same pipes. As it were.

Without net neutrality, which is no longer the law of the land, Comcast could charge Netflix extra to deliver it’s stream into your house, for instance. Or, if your internet provider didn’t like what I had to say, it could block my personal site.

One of the greatest and most important attributes of the internet has been its status as an open sandbox or playground, available to all who have something to say. Without it, as this very clear article makes plain, our internet would look a lot more like our cable TV service. That is, unresponsive and expensive and pretty awful.

It is in all our interests to let the politicians who work for us so that they know that we want them to re assert our rights to net neutrality.