11 to 7 on the Paradigm Shift

There are great amounts of quality disparagements of business schools in general (intentional or not), and MBA programs in particular. The singular ethos, such as it exists, or lack of concern beyond profiteering for anything involving people, environments, good governance or even public safety opens a very wide field in which quite little is possible other than the growing of predator industries and the election of frauds.

But the hedge-fund guys and girls have largely gotten a pass for a long while now, though that just will not suffice and they refuse to have their lack of acumen for or understanding of the industries they destroy not properly respected for precisely what it is:

To me, this and so many other closings of quality publications leads to a broader question of whether journalistic outlets can even exist under this current age of capitalism. In short, I think the answer is basically no. Journalism can exist in a capitalist system of course, but only when the people who own these outlets have some higher purposes, at least in part, whether it is some belief in the truth or at least a willingness to accept relatively moderate profits instead of instant gold. But we now live in an era of venture capitalist schemes, where rank idiots stumble into massive wealth and believe that they are rich because they are smarter than everyone else. When this happens, as it did in the initial Gilded Age, these morons run roughshod over the world around them.

Just so. The jump comes from a ledge of dangerous combination: You make a great deal of money – however quickly – and also systematically evade any education that would have given you access to some self-awareness that might save you and others something a little more important than two points below prime. The serial misunderstanding of terms will be the subtext of the best work of many future historians and not-a-few extradition treaties. CRaP, for example, is a re-purposed acronym that should be far more useful that it is.

Perfect Cases in Point

We wish they were more rare. But just as rising wages are bad news for business(?) and solar most horribly spells doom for coal, word in the oil game is that consistent catastrophes are needed for oil to remain strong:

The weakness comes at a time when speculators have started rebuilding bullish positions after a sell-off last month, betting the market will tighten in the second quarter. Yet, Brent physical oil traders say the opposite is happening so far, according to interviews with executives at several trading houses, who asked not to be identified discussing internal views.

“We need to see the market going really into deficit for oil prices to rise,” Giovanni Staunovo, commodity analyst at UBS Group AG in Zurich, said. “If this is temporary, it could be weathered, but it needs to be monitored.”

The weakness is particularly visible in so-called time-spreads — the price difference between contracts for delivery at different periods. Reflecting a growing surplus that could force traders to seek tankers as temporary floating storage facilities, the Brent June-July spread this week fell to an unusually weak minus 55 cents per barrel, down from parity just two months earlier. The negative structure is known in the industry as contango.

There’s a new word for you. And yes, many of the other words they use are the ones you know, with commonly agreed-upon definitions. I know one needs a lot of sophisticated financial knowledge to really get the subtleties of these economics, but is the overall message really lost? Of no consequence whatsoever? Yes, we can play terrible music on beautiful instruments, just as we can vote against our interests and condemn ourselves with our own words ( though it really isn’t necessary to do all three at once). Thanks to Bloomberg for delivering the straight dope in the top story today. It’s important, you know? Just like it will be to move past the market riff, as I hope to soon.
And also, the term ‘oil futures.’ FY, irony.

Top 10 Things I Started in 2009 But Didn’t Finish (and my excuses)

10. A bottle of moonshine that shouldn’t have been in the house anyway. (I don’t like moonshine)

9. Building a garage/bike-tool-wood shed, for which we have an awesome plan. (too expensive)

8. A painting of a rainy early evening in France where we once lived. (I almost screwed up the light, which was the whole reason to do it, but salvaged it – kinda. Because it’s in oil, I paint on the front porch; it got too cold.)

7. A book proposal for the Eco Hustle columns. (Mmm… since “I got too busy with a new job” is a Phlegmish excuse, I don’t have a good one.)

6. A treatment for a screenplay out of one my novels. (see above)

5. Homer’s The Iliad (I was at my in-laws and left it – on purpose, I think)

4. A magazine article about a Swedish director who shot someone. (This is one I feel both good and bad about, which is somewhat rare. I agreed to do the piece and put in a non-trivial amount of research/interviewing – enough, in fact, to realize that I would need to do more and probably go to Sweden in order to do him any kind of justice. The magazine wasn’t going to send me there, so I ultimately dropped it – but I didn’t tell them. I’m sure they figured it out. It was the right call.)

3. The other blog (It wasn’t meant to be finished.)

2. A new job (see above).

1. A new story that might be a novel if it holds up. (It might be a novel if it holds up. There are several sub-entries here, but this one gets the hope-y attention.)

S0… some (most) of these weren’t abandoned, just not finished. It’s a hazard of writing. Can’t judge the year on just these, but it’s part of the truth of the 365 about to turn.

And you?