1918-2018, or Why World War One is part of your life, too


Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2World War One was the death of a prosperous, relatively happy world. If you read the biographies of people who fought in that war, you’ll see something very familiar  – The loss of a world of youth, and its replacement by a hideous world of ideologies and political insanities. Everyone who fought in that war resented it, and what it did to their lives in so many ways.

The sheer madness of World War One was a guide to the future in so many ways:

Ridiculous basis for a war: The Archduke who was shot and triggered the war was one of the progressives, trying to address the issues for which he was assassinated. It was a sad event, certainly, but not a good reason for an estimated 20 million deaths and four years of mass human misery. There was no reason for this war at all, on any rational basis. One authority comments that the most striking cause for the war was the sheer mediocrity of the people involved, office boys with no clue about warfare or its possibilities, or how to stop a war from happening.

Maniacal conduct of the war: Even those who assumed a war was inevitable never predicted the results. The sheer slaughter of World War One is still statistically as bad as later wars in terms of massacring combatants, usually to achieve absolutely nothing of military or political value. People were walking in to literal hails of machine gun and artillery fire, and they just kept doing it. Millions were killed, and many more maimed for life. The only people who benefited were the arms manufacturers. Everyone else lost.

The most vague political concepts of the war: By 1915, Europe and Russia were annihilating their soldiers at thousands per day, with no clear view of what was to be achieved except “victory”, at the price of an entire generation. Even the Vietnam War doesn’t quite reach this level of mindless obsession.

Social catastrophes: The Russian Revolution, the creation of a maimed and barely viable Germany, and the legacy of Britain’s horrendous war costs were the catalysts for a disgusting, politically corrupt future and the endless local wars of today.  1918 was the benchmark for political failures of all kinds, and the predecessor of “austerity”, that worldwide obscenity, in its first form.

Hijacking democracy: The rise of Fascism, Nazism and Communism date from 1918, too. Ultra-capitalism in the US the early “1%” and the Depression consolidated capitalism in the West as the so-called antithesis of the anti-democratic movements. In practice, capitalism enforced another form of anti-democracy, the hijacking of government by the big capitalists. The New Deal dealt only with the physical problems, not the venal, verminous mindsets which contaminate the world now.

Propaganda and disinformation: Fake news is nothing new. During and after World War One, it became a science, and the basis for Orwell’s 1984. By 1946, it was a standard tool of governments. Some people still fail to recognise that Big Brother is a stagnant, self-limiting, self-oppressing society, dedicated to preserving its owners, not the society.

Ideological warfare in war and peace: The ideologies which sprouted like diseases from World War One’s gigantic cemeteries were arguably worse than the war. These were the excuses for genocide, fire bombing, mass executions, and the vast human disasters in Europe and Asia. Even colonial genocides didn’t reach these industrial scales of mass murder.

Yes, World War One is your problem in 2018

If you’re one of those people who believes that nothing which happened before you were born is relevant to you, you’re very wrong. The map of human misery as it now exists was made in 1918. A war which never needed to happen at all caused it all.

There’s no reason to believe that so many prosperous countries would have torn each other, and themselves, to pieces and set the scene for the 20th century’s hideous “entertainments”. The Holocaust, the Great Depression, and the Cold War could never have happened without World War One.

Gothic Black, Paul Wallis books Amazon

This book is all about fears. It includes a monster which learns how to bore people to death and the wonderful town of Pithcurdle, in which the coming of the dreaded Toothpaste Man is a cause for celebration.

Germany, a middle class country in normal times, could never have been the scene for Nazism without the Treaty of Versailles which sent it broke even before the Depression. Global colonialism would have come and gone on its own. Social changes and improvements for the poor were already happening in the West, and percolating to the East. Before World War One, there were no fanatics running nations. Even when the Russian and Chinese Revolutions first happened, they were led by moderates and academics, not fanatics and criminals.

Science couldn’t have been so easily diverted to military industrial uses, either. World War One turned basic technologies in to high value commercial assets. War, in effect, became truly profitable, and easy to distribute, worldwide. No prizes for seeing the modern parallels and their equally repulsive ramifications.

The same methods, the same stupidity and same basic mindsets are still in play. They’re like some sort of rotting corpse centre stage at a wedding which never quite happens. For some reason, these ugly bastard children of World War One are still calling the shots, a century later.

World War One As Part of Your Life? Yes. Lucky You.

Those who don’t learn from history are fools at best, traitors to humanity at worst. Look and learn. History is the greatest horror stories ever written, and you’re in it, whether you like it or not. NONE of the problems have been solved. If you don’t recognise history as a threat, you may well become history well before your time.



Readers note: Having some database issues with the blog, which is why it’s been off and on recently. Hopefully fixed now, but will believe when I see it. 




The vacuum of facts in business media


Wasp2I read a lot of information every day. The question is how much of it is actual information. Global media, particularly business media, seems to spend a lot of time chasing its own tail, very ineptly. The sheer factual emptiness in thought and culture is quite astonishing.

I was reading something today about how Fed interest rates caused the subprime crash. It’s a bit like saying World War 2 was caused by stale hot cross buns. The subprimes at their worst were works of pure fiction with dollars attached. The 2007 Fed rates were around 5%, hardly worth noticing in practical terms unless you’re a bean counter or margin dweller.

The actual crash of the subprimes triggered a panic not seen for generations, with good reason. I remember reading in Bloomberg the week before the crash an article which said in so many words “bury your money in the backyard”. Nobody noticed. The due diligence failures and basic debt management procedures disappeared in a haze of greed. A ground squirrel could have got a subprime loan. This was free money, and the stampede in was as frenzied as the stampede out. It was a systemic meltdown. Organized crime was directly involved, and the FBI refused to allocate resources to investigation when issues about fraud were raised.

Job page 23I won’t take this guy to task for a naïve view; the poor schmuck probably believes, like so many still do, that the world revolves around interest rates. People are trained in theory, and tend to put the blocks in the holes where the theories apparently work. Like kids in school, the idea is to get the right answer, not understand the issues or come up with a better question or answer.

Monetarism has long since been discarded by economists and business hardheads as a working toy, let alone a useful concept. Japan tried it and got nowhere for nearly two decades. The US tried it, and only actually moved when the huge inertia of the American economy started to exert gravitational forces again.

Money moves and moves fast; the idea that it sits around accumulating dust while the rates twitch slightly is barely credible. Adam Smith pointed out that money works on a practical basis, rather than ethical or technical grounds. What’s X worth to someone? That’s the real margin.

BarbariansImagine if hedge funds and private equity worked on the basis of interest rates. They’d be chasing the tumbleweeds, not making billions. They don’t work in plodder land, with good reason. It’s extremely dull, slow, and certainly not about to generate huge amounts of profits.

That doesn’t stop business media from endless reiteration of virtual trivia and recycling and promoting bad, useless ideas. Apologists and spruikers, shills and scum, the promo angle drives non-information. The result, of course, is a vacuum of real information and a business culture which is nothing like distrustful enough.

Business analytics is actually a professional subject. Actual values, potential values, risks and rewards, are the staples. Fiction isn’t much used or highly regarded by the experts, largely because it’s so utterly pointless and delusional in real business terms.

The Rube Goldberg model of business information would look like a calculator made out of chewing gum wrappers using farm animals rather than numbers, powered by geriatrics wearing clown suits and ties on bicycle generators. That’s more or less what we have now.

A_Career_in_Characte_Cover_for_Kindle 300PPIAsk yourself- How much really useful information would a competent business or financial person give to media about a great money making opportunity? Short answer – None. Knowledge is a commodity, too. You don’t do or say anything which instantly raises prices until it suits you. When you’re ready to sell, your “revelation”, which may be months or years old, becomes headline news.

All this wisdom creates a continuous silence. The public, and just about everyone else, has no access to information on this level. People aren’t really stupid in this sense. They’re simply severely misinformed or seriously under-informed.

Business media, in fact, acts very much like that other two dimensional, PR-driven façade, politics. Attention is systematically pointed at things, relevant or not. Chosen subjects are news; what’s not being mentioned is the actual news in progress.

Business media? What business media? It’s mainly spin.

Not surprisingly, about 30-50% of so-called news is written by PR companies and duly published by our brave guardians of the truth. Facts and spin are interchangeable in PR. In journalism, you’re at least supposed to have some grip on actual information, but not in PR.

Pic max effects1Nor are facts much required in sales-based sectors. In Australia, the national game is Monopoly, worth any number of trillions of dollars. The market was talked up and a virtual horde of speculators, big ones, moved in. The upward move kept going up, forcing first home buyers right out of the market.

The median price of a house in Sydney is now about $1 million. A 3% drop in one weekend has the pundits/shills talking about a correction. Previously they were saying there was no bubble and would be no bursting bubble. The fact that accumulated profits are relatively worthless at market prices where your sale price is more or less the same as your next purchase, of course, was never mentioned at all. Homeowners with long-held equity have paper profits, but if they buy more property, they’re back at square one.

Nor are “corrections” spread evenly in this market. In 2007-9 top end suburb prices around Australia experienced actual drops of up to 20% almost instantly when the crash happened. The bull market in property started a bit later, with some big margins created by the crash and lack of confidence. Interest rates, at moron levels, were selling points.

People believed it all, because the vacuum of facts gave them no other perspectives. Now, we have about 30% of mortgagees on interest-only payments. They’re not adding equity. They’re basically trapped. If they’re in the first quarter or half of a mortgage, it’s a truly lousy outcome. They may have wasted a decade of their lives, and the only result is a no-win situation.

This is the lotus-eating paradise of business media at its most disingenuous. Market farces, not market forces, are the working dynamics. This is the vacuum at work. Huge numbers roar away in business media like the surf and nobody talks about the rocks.

Ironically, the people best placed to disarm these financial Improvised Excremental Devices are the finance planners. The very people who set people up for Death by Mortgage or Castration by Market. They’re either the most corrupt people on the planet, or the least trustworthy. They do nothing about corporate disasters, market crashes, or anything else.

They just sit there and help the processes to happen. They could fill the vacuum, and they scrupulously avoid doing so. That’s mainly because it’s how the market now works – Find a sucker, sell them whatever crap is around, and move on to the next sucker.

cropped-GREEN-AND-WHITE-SNOWSTORM-2.jpgThen, miraculously, they go looking for new customers because the old ones are broken and don’t seem to work any more. Apparently these people have something called “lives”, which include kids, divorces, traumas, jobs, health, and other irrelevant effluvia of the natural world which don’t translate in to available dollars to give to financial markets. Hardly the sort of people you’d give a loan or good financial advice.

In a society made entirely of losers, and in a culture made of empty spaces, it’s inevitable. Business media will say, if anything, that these are natural processes and produce rationales like cows produce manure to explain why the markets are infallible.

When an illusion is itself an illusion of its own, no facts need apply for attention. The markets are crash tests for various products. Nobody does actual business in the markets. It’s all numbers. Reality is defined by the market’s degree of acceptance of its own myths.

Once upon a time a young couple, just married, came to get a home loan and hopefully start a family. Nobody gives, or ever gave, a damn what happened to them.

How’s that for a working description of the markets in 31 words?

Long may you rot, you filth.

LOGO with Sydney Media Jam edit 300PPI