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Stifling the Truth Is Abuse of Capitalism

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 6, 2011 10:39 AM |

Information is everything.

Access to information combined with fair and open markets are cornerstones of our free market capitalist system. With our economy continuing to lag, I have witnessed an increase in the stifling of the truth.

Without the truth, how can our economy and our markets recover from the fundamentally broken state in which they currently operate?

I am not so naive to think that there have not been forces at work for a protracted period which profit from intentional obfuscation of economic and market related information. I also would never denigrate the many great people in our nation who play by the rules and understand how to navigate the pitfalls and shortcomings within fundamentally broken markets.

However, in the midst of this environment one would have hoped that market regulators, government officials, and the media would have more aggressively pursued the truth in order for our economy and markets to recover. Is it just me or do others also witness a very real sense – if not a concerted effort – to obscure or conceal the truth?

Over the course of the last month, separate individuals have shared a number of examples of blatantly obvious instances in which revealing the truth of shoddy if not illicit activities has been squelched. Are these mere coincidences? I think not.

I firmly believe that there are very real forces at work from both the private and public sector which have little interest in seeing the truth revealed. The cover of “it would not be good for our economy” is wide reaching, but real ‘sense on cents’ maintains that a stifling of the truth is nothing more than an abuse of capitalism.

Is this America? Not the one I desire for my children.

Navigate accordingly.

Larry Doyle

P.S. I feel I owe the readers of Sense on Cents an explanation for my lack of writing over the course of the last month. While I have been busy on a number of professional pursuits, I also find myself thinking that our nation’s economy and the global financial markets are well entrenched in a bed which I have written extensively about over the last three years. I do not want to regurgitate a message which brings nothing new to the table.

I will be writing on a periodic basis going forward. You can rest assured Sense on Cents is not going away. I hope people will utilize the site and its extensive links and resources. I also STRONGLY encourage readers to write with questions and comments on whatever topics you may care to address. I will gladly respond in kind.

The fact is we all face a long uphill climb. As I address in my commentary today, we are now more than ever on our own in terms of pursuing our virtues of real truth, transparency, and integrity.

Stay the course and thanks for your support.

LD

  • Peter S.

    That is exactly what I did not want to here.

  • Huckleberry

    …and we thought it was because you were in a post-Sox collapse state of shock…

    There is something to be said for silence. And I think you are right, the ditch we are in hasn’t changed much the past three years, although I am afraid it is about to get deeper.

    Whenever I head the “it would not be good for the economy” line, I ask “Whose economy?” and “Which economy?”

    By the former I mean – qui bono – who benefits? The “boom” of the 80’s was a bust for millions in the industrial midwest, much in the same way the “boom” of the 90’s was a slaughter for middle-aged, mid-level managers in a variety of sectors.

    By the latter I mean, the “real” economy? or the Paper Economy (which some I know are now calling the “Vapor Economy”?

    Speaking of information, here is some information I would like access to:

    Total size or real global and national GDP, *minus* the F and I of the FIRE sector.

    Total size of outstanding foreign bond, derivative and cds exposure, by bank, by country.

    I am not a financial professional, and I don’t know where to begin looking for these numbers.

  • LD

    Huckleberry,

    The collapse of the Sox was of epic proportions. Sounds like the boys did not maintain their edge and then it just snowballed. The sting of the collapse is not nearly what it would have been without the WS championships of ’04 and ’07.

    In regard to the information which you would like to obtain, I would recommend the Federal Reserve and the Economic Cycle Research Institute for the macro level data.

    I think you may be hard pressed to find the info on the specifics of the Finance and Insurance components. In regard to the foreign bond markets perhaps you might find it at the IMF site although again getting specifics by bank and country may be difficult.

    Best of luck in your digging.

    • Huckleberry

      Thanks for the suggestions. I also found some of the information I needed at the Bank of International Settlements (which I’d never head of) and, interestingly, the CIA’s World Factbook website.

      Roughly, the total notional value of OTC derivatives is about $600T. Total global GDP is supposed to be between $60-70T, depending on which number you use.

      Total global public debt is about 59%, which is just about where our national debt is. I know it is not a simple zero-sum deal, but given how large our economy is within the global system, I am having a hard time seeing how reduction of the latter will not come at an increase of the former…

  • Sandsgrandmother

    I agree that something feels out of place and that truth is being hidden by our government and especially coupling the fact the major news media having no interest. The news media always seems to be in acceptance of whatever the White House /Federal Reserve tells the News Media.
    Ron Paul is introducing a bill and as a coin collector sometime, does this sentence sound right? Let Americans choose what they want to use for money — gold, silver, or some other form of currency. Then the Federal Reserve will then have to compete to get people to use Federal Reserve Notes
    I am not that ingrained into monetary, only relied on my pocketbook and never heard or paid much attention to Fed, Wall Street and stocks until the latter years here. After reading Numismatic magazine, I am wondering if this sentence is a good one? Don’t quite understand, if we lose our monetary as we have it today, pennies to the bills won’t that be a hard way to do business financially?

    • LD

      Sandsgrandmother,

      Thanks for writing. Ron Paul is trying to highlight that the Federal Reserve should not devalue our currency in the manner in which it has. If we did utilize hard currencies, along the lines of gold and silver, the government would lose its ability to merely print money to fund its profligate spending.

      I do not expect that we will see a conversion to utilizing hard currencies but I think we will continue to see pressures applied on our government and society by those whom realize and appreciate that the economic and political systems are fundamentally broken.

  • Small BD

    We have witnessed this “very real sense” of a “concerted effort” racing through the shredding machines of the SEC. Is this not the pinnacle of disgrace? Additional Truth & Transparency would be meaningless in our culture of in-your-face corporate crime and regulatory dereliction.

  • Randolph

    LD,

    All you have written in this piece is true and all you have alluded to is true as well. I, for one, am glad you wrote it.

    Having spent thousands of hours researching the subject of the federal reserve scam and the manufactured bubbles they create, I can say that I am thankful that American voters are waking up.

    Now for the bottom line; there is no candidate in the race that will stand up for the people against the global banking cartel except Ron Paul.

    Anyone else will deliver the status quo.

    Thanks for the blog.

  • fred

    This is a prepared text of the Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, on June 12, 2005.

    I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

    The first story is about connecting the dots.
    I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out? It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

    And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

    It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.

    Let me give you one example:
    Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.
    None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

    Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

    My second story is about love and loss.
    I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
    I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
    I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
    During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
    I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

    My third story is about death.
    When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
    Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
    About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
    I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.
    This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
    No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
    Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
    When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
    Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.
    Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
    Thank you all very much.






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