IKN

a plague o both your houses

The Dark Side (from IKN439)

This was the intro piece from last week’s edition of The IKN Weekly, IKN439. A couple of subbers said I should put it on the open blog. So I have.

The dark
side

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process
he

does not
become a monster. And if you gaze long enough

into an
abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

I have something to get off my
chest, please forgive the introspection of this week’s intro. The opposition to
the type of scamster exposing that I do over at the blog has always been there
(they don’t like the publicity) but in recent months their noise has got noticeably
louder and along the way, from time to time, I’ve actually wondered why I do the
whole exposé thing on their nefarious activities. I don’t need to do it, not
even for the sake of the “soft marketing” advertisement that the free blog is
towards this publication, the one that provides cash flow for the food my two
daughters eat. For enjoyment then? Well sometimes yes, taking some stuffed ego
down a peg or two by uncovering things they’ve been doing behind the backs of
the world has its own fleeting charm, but I’ll just as often go through periods
when it’s a royal pain in the posterior to run the blog.

Alongside, there are the moments of
the Dark Side. What if I’m wrong about the position I take and the attitude I
prefer? What if Mr (add preferred scamster name here) of XYZ Resources Inc is
right to use the inherent laws of Darwinism and all tricks of the
Vancouver/Toronto book in order to transfer cash from the pockets of the naïve
in his (or her, but dammit it’s nearly always his) pockets? That, in short,
they are right and I am wrong and it’s about time I stopped tilting at
windmills, joined the throng, used the same strategies (because at this stage I
know a lot of them backwards, if you can spot them a mile off they’d be simple
to put into practice) and make myself a mint. And when this line of thinking
comes up, like it did on Friday as I was putting the end-week numbers into the
Excel sheets for this weekend’s edition, somewhere in the back of my head a
frustration and anger boils up because this issue bothers me deeply.

Right at the heart of the matter is
the fact that I am a Capitalist. It’s the way I was brought up, it’s the world
in which I operate, but there’s also a moral duty to be true to your other values
as well as the economic so when faced with a
me-first-f__k-you-gimme-gimme-gimme capitalist at the far end of the same
spectrum not only do I see that I’m not that kind of boy, but my abhorrence of
those people sends me into aversion mode. What’s more I’m not shy about calling
myself a Capitalist in its truest sense, because what I do to pass the time and
make money is write this thing, The IKN Weekly, every weekend. If it’s good and
people like it then it grows and I make money. If you the customer don’t like
it you stop paying me, I go out of business and end up happily flipping
burgers. So what is it about the thing that I the Capitalist (with a large C)
hate about these people who call themselves capitalists, those who go out of
their way to make money in the stock market at the direct expense of others? I
took time out on Friday evening to consider just where the cleavage point is
and on doing so, it didn’t take long before Nassim Nicholas Taleb and his “skin
in the game” ideal came to mind. So as one does in the 21st century,
in order to pin down a quote and crystallize the concept I went off to Google
to remind myself and find the mot juste (along the way, I watched this 45
minute Youtube interview of Taleb (1) a good one and recommended). But I also
know that Taleb didn’t coin “skin in the game”, he may have co-opted the phrase
and has become closely associated with it but it’s not his, so I was pleased to
find that the quote most matching my position came from another author. This is
Bob MacDonald, retired CEO of Allianz Life NA now author/blogger and it was
written in 2011, before Taleb picked up on the catchphrase (2):

The Era of the Fake Capitalists

Today that system that
worked so well to stimulate the American economy is despoiled and infected with
fake capitalists. Those who run the gigantic corporations of today no longer
have any real “skin in the game.” And yet, they expect to be rewarded – in the
form of obscene salary and bonuses – as if they did. Few of these individuals
have put their personal capital at risk and any ownership they have was given
to them by the board of directors. If they do fail, their fall is cushioned by
the comfort of multimillion dollar severance packages.  How can this be
called capitalism? It is even stretching the term “capitalist” to apply it to
shareholders. When someone buys stock in Ford or General Electric today they
are not putting capital into the company so it can expand and grow. They have
no material power to add value or make a difference in how the company
performs. The capital they “invest” goes, not to the company, but to the person
from whom they purchased the stock. This is no more than a form of gambling.

While MacDonald talks of giant US
Corps, my mind springs to people running junior mining companies. When you seed
yourself stupid amounts of penny stocks and options then run an IPO up over a
Loonie, you have zero risk. When you entrench and resist any overture, simply
happy to cut you and your buddies a $10k or $30k cheque at the end of every
month for the right to go fishing, you have zero risk. When you can quietly
transfer stock to your friends who then sell it through House Zero and nobody
ever knows you were insider selling, you have zero risk. And when there’s zero
risk and plenty reward, the only logical thing for the sociopath businessman to
do is to repeat the mold and create the same type of company over and over
again, creating not just one or two but dozens of worthless enterprises that
have no intention whatsoever of creating wealth for society but are formed and
exist as a cash funnel from you to them. These people (no need to name any
here, I do enough of that on the blog already) are not true capitalists, they
don’t care about society, they are mere parasites. That’s why the IKN blog will
continue to do what it does, or in the words of MacDonald in another part of
his article:

What will save capitalism
in America is a return to the basics of capitalism that demands true risk and
offers reward for those who have the power to add value to an enterprise and
invest their capital – in any form – that gives them “skin in the game.”

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