Matt Taibbi raises THE question in GRIFTOPIA.

12 Apr

GRIFTOPIA by Matt Taibbi is a book you might have heard of.

Mister Taibbi is an investigative journalist, and contributing editor for Rolling Stone magazine.

I was already mega-nonplussed to learn, in Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone articles, that pretty much ALL Western politicians, and financial service operators, were criminals. Seriously. I thought it was one or two.

(This was before I cancelled my subscription to Rolling Stone, in disgust over their pitiful swallowing of the ‘climate-change’ aka ‘global-warming’ computer-model-generated lie that puny humankind affects weather and climate variation).

I was glad to hear, in an interview, on CNN or BBC News, that I could have the griff in one item on my bookshelf. Dust jacket promo:

“Taibbi has combined deep sources, trailblazing reportage, and provocative analysis to create the most lucid, emotionally galvanizing, and scathingly funny account yet written of the ongoing political and financial crisis in America.”

So the “inner workings of politics and finance” do not conform to the image of Western Democratic goodness.

So Readers-Digest-style, self-congratulatory propaganda of the West is self-deception in part.

So there is stinking corruption inside the whited sepulchre.

DOES IT MATTER? That is my question.

Matt Taibbi describes how the executives of Goldman Sachs (leaders of the whole toxic-securites industry runaway-truck) see the question.

“…And that’s exactly how the Goldman executives behaved. It wasn’t so much that they lied, it was that they seemed to think that they were telling the truth. They seemed to really believe that they were right.”

Matt Quotes a Senate aide involved in hearings on the matter:

“It’s… like someone who goes outside with his flies open and then just walks all the way down the street with his balls hanging out…

“You think to yourself: doesn’t this person have friends, a wife, SOMEBODY to tell him how bad he looks? It’s like these guys really don’t know.”


What I am thinking is that the REAL unit of exchange, the REAL substance of human society, aka getting-together, is WORK.

Nobody need have ANY money at all IF people all worked and shared. But the human animal is a competitive hunter. So we DO have to have an organised SYSTEM to determine who has what and how much.

There are some people who are unwilling to work harder than is necessary to just get by. Food and shelter is all they need.

There are other, ego-tripping, self-infatuated, and conceited, people who desire, nay lust after, nay implacably hunger for, MORE.

I am one of the former (but I like my mind-food too) and I find the latter revolting and disgusting.

The trouble is that the selfish, self-centered, greedy people take it too far. We find them enslaving people, and using people ruthlessly and cruelly, all with vile sadistic relish.

And yet, when brought to book, as with SOME of the Goldmanites, there are a few of these criminals, liars, cheaters, abusers, who are found to have moments of insight into their own behaviour.

Once again, Robert Louis Stephenson’s novel The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde is revealing.

Some of the financial service industry criminals that Matt Thaibbi interviewed seemed to admit wrong-doing IN THEORY.

But the hyped-up evil Hyde and the would-be-good Jekyll seem to merge, feeling hurt and bewildered that people do not give them credit for their extreme cleverness.

Power corrupts. Success corrupts. Good boy becomes bad man. Eventually Jekyll is gone and Hyde rules. “Yes… illegal… immoral… and your point IS?”

The Goldmanites deliberately drew their plans to suck the value, the money, the wealth, the product of other people’s work, from them.

The deceit, the crime, the whatever, was in representing the securities, the bonds, the whatever, as a safe place to park, aka invest, your hard-earned (or even in some cases ill-gotten) money.

In fact, there was no chance of your ever getting your money back with, or without, interest.

Pension contributions, and other such money, that had been entrusted by naive people to supposedly wise and honest hands, got handed over to the crooks in return for worthless paper.

Only those who knew the truth and quickly sold on the worthless paper could ever recover their money.

As for me, I am bemused by people who park their money rather than driving it. Saving up for a vacation is OK by me but taking a chance that factors outside one’s control might render it worthless puzzles me. SPENDING, aka supporting the merchants and producers, is what money is FOR. 

It is easy to be fooled hard-selling pushers of religions and/or political philosophies. Both Capitalism and Marxism claimed to be the ONLY WAY. But there is no substitute for the MIXED market economy REGULATED to serve all, not just a few.

Our error was to allow regulation to be swept away. We suffer the consequences.


As long as people do not actually SUFFER, it does NOT matter.

Newly wealthy criminals (in the style of gangsters calling themselves aristocrats in the past) spend money creating work for yacht builders, mansion builders, sports car builders, and so on. Does that mean it does NOT matter?

But, of course, people DO suffer, both in the West itself, and in the Third World. So it DOES matter.

BALANCE is what we aimed at. Some doing very well. Most doing just OK.

But privatizers, out-sourcers, financial service industry thieves, and politicians taking campaign contributions as well as actual bribes, thought they could do better.

They wanted MORE profit. Sufficient was NOT as good as a feast.

We are just going to have to KEEP TRYING, damn it. When are we going to be able to relax and just cruise?

2 Responses to “Matt Taibbi raises THE question in GRIFTOPIA.”

  1. charlywalker April 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    My cruise control is on the fritz….

    Great post!

  2. Vincent April 15, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    Particularly when all your money is trapped in the FALLING nations – in my case, BRITAIN!

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