Market Crash

May 17th, 2006 by rushkoff

It’s not (just) my lingering distaste for rich people thats lead me to relish in the crash in the market. It’s my increasing intolerance for pretty much everything market-oriented.

I just wrote a business book whose main message could be reduced to: “selling out sucks.” And it’s not just good personal advice; it’s actually good business advice. Once a company goes public, it is no longer doing whatever it set out to do. It has sold itself, quite literally, to another group of people with very different interests. Where Joe might have made shoes because he wanted people to have healthy feet, Joe’s new shareholders really just want their stock to go up. Sure, if they were in it for the long term, they’d understand that their stock will go up if Joe continues to make good shoes. But theyr’e not in it for the long term which is why they’d rather Joe outsource his shoe manufacturing to China, show a better balance sheet, and sell their shares for a quick profit the next quarter.

And then this approach, in turn, creates economic conditions that put the nation in debt, devalue the dollar, and perpetuate speculation.

Wall Street likes to pretend we’re in a bull market all the time. Fact is, we’ve been in a bear market for a couple of years - a stealth bear market, if you will - as smart money shifts into things other than stocks. The smartest money guys I know - chiefs of some big brokerage houses - have admitted to me that the majority of their money is in CASH (well, high-interest short-term one-week bond-things I wouldn’t know where to get).

The reason the collapse of the speculative marketplace is a good thing is that, like the felling of any idol, it will shift focus to the real. And when our focus shifts to the real - to the shoes we like making for feet we love protecting - the whole world becomes a better place.

The “personal” way of saying this? I was speaking to a literary agent last night, telling him about a book idea I had. And he said, “Sounds too lightweight for you, Doug. A book that any number of writers could do.” No - he wasn’t poo pooing the idea, as much as trying to get me to think harder. “Go deeper,” he said. “You’re an intellectual. *Be* an intellectual.”

And that was him really just telling me the lesson that I’ve been telling everyone else: rise to your own occasion.

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