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Friday, November 23, 2012

There's No Correlation Between Wealth and Competence

Posted by on Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 10:49 AM

In pointing out the relative ineffectiveness of all that Citizens United money—for example, the $40 million wasted trying to oust US Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio—Markos closes by asking the following rhetorical question:

Can we make headway on a Constitutional Amendment banning such expenditures, and if not, will conservative billionaires keep wasting hundreds of millions trying to influence such races? Those guys may be assholes, but they didn't get rich by pissing money away ineffectively.

Um... I'm not so sure that final assumption is correct. As the highly paid executives and directors at Hewlett-Packard have demonstrated, you can indeed get rich by pissing money away ineffectively. As if we didn't already know that from the banking industry's collapse and subsequent lucrative bailout. So it's not so clear that this commonly presumed correlation between wealth and competence is supported by the facts.

To be clear, I'm not just suggesting that competence isn't necessarily a cause of wealth accumulation, but that the two often are totally unrelated.

Indeed, capitalist entrepreneurialism is an exercise in money pissing in itself. Most businesses fail. That's the nature of our economy. Show me a successful venture capitalist and I'll show you somebody who has pissed away an awful lot of money on losing ventures in the course of scoring big on the winners. Nothing wagered, nothing gained, and all that.

And forgive yet another cliche, but one of the absolute truisms of the business world is that it takes money to make money. That's where the capital in capitalism comes from. And many, many of our nation's One Percenters inherited their access to seed money, if not the money itself. Not all, but many. I mean, the Koch brothers may have vastly expanded the fortune they inherited, but they still inherited a fortune. And wealth like that can hide an awful lot of money pissing. (Or in Frank Blethen's case, not.)

So no, I don't think these rich assholes will stop trying to use their wealth to subvert our democracy, because A) they're all accustomed to making investments that don't pay off, B) pissing away money is just what you do when you have more money than you know what to do with, and C) I'm not so sure they're all smart enough to even realize that their money was pissed away.

And that's a business model that will assure future riches for Karl Rove, regardless of the actual return he provides on his clients' investments.


Comments (9) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Unfortunately, wrong again....

"..because A) they're all accustomed to making investments that don't pay off..."

Negative, they are used to thievery and unethical wealth extraction and monopolized debt peonage --- selling untold layer upon layer of debt, claiming "we the people" own it, and they forcing further debt through their artificial "austerity" programs.

Amortization is something few Americans, and fewer corporate jackholes, are familiar with anymore.

They are accustomed to thievery, financial fraud and propagandizing the rest of us. They atre used to uneducated douchetards criticizing the Pew Research Center when the claim the media is overwhelmingingly liberal, they claim other bullcrap, which the uneducated bozos accept religiously (although not accepting, but forever somehow ignorant of, their first "study" on that "liberal media")?????

Goldstein, you are faltering......
Posted by sgt_doom on November 23, 2012 at 11:02 AM · Report this
Apply this reasoning to the charter school debate. I would argue that the donors had a certain kind of competance: they had great timing, they were successful in a certain endevor (software, etc), they were on the whole diligent. But that definately doesn't mean they have cometance in improving education fact what they learned in making their millions would tend to make the WORSE at improving schools than your average joe.
Posted by MattL on November 23, 2012 at 11:26 AM · Report this
Goldy, there's a difference between pissing away your shareholder's money and pissing away your own.
Posted by Joe Glibmoron on November 23, 2012 at 1:06 PM · Report this
@3 got it.
In fact, pissing away your shareholder's money by spending it to advance your friends and business associates is a great way to get them to do the same for you.
Which results in you and them all getting more money.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on November 23, 2012 at 1:25 PM · Report this
The thing is- if it's true that spending all that money doesn't impact elections so much, then why should I care if billionaires continue to do it?
Posted by madcap on November 23, 2012 at 1:25 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 6
Well Joe Glibmoron settled this debate already. There's a strong correlation between wealth and being good at making money, but that doesn't mean you make money in good ways or do good for any other living being.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on November 23, 2012 at 1:47 PM · Report this
Markos forgets that Brown spent $20 million of his own to defeat big money, half what was spent to defeat him but 10 times more than the average amount spent on a senate campaign, which implies candidates more and more beholden to entities/individuals with big pockets and less and less beholden to the public they are supposed to serve.
Posted by anon1256 on November 23, 2012 at 4:20 PM · Report this
@1 and @3 got it right, Goldy. "Incompetent" is not the same as "greedy." Their objective was not to run a company, but to make as much for themselves as they could. They're actually very competent at that...
Posted by dafydd on November 23, 2012 at 5:19 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 9
or D), they will blame Rove and give their money to the next charlatan who comes along. Because the alternative is believing there's something that money can't buy.
Posted by Free Lunch on November 23, 2012 at 9:35 PM · Report this

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