When Will The Masters Of The Universe Get It? It’s Not Their Bloated Financial Numbers That The Already Unsustainable Excess Human Populations On Our Planet Live On!

By Donald A. Collins | 18 April 2023
Church and State

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Reading the financial media, one is constantly struck by the focus on the fiscal minutia which changes daily and is usually unlikely to disrupt balanced portfolios, particularly if you are an average investor small enough, as I was for years, not to follow Warren Buffet’s advice to go long term on Vanguard type ETF’s. He argues the funds will do better over the long term than most professional investor advisors.

Yes, Silicon Valley Bank’s failure riled the market, but did not greatly affect the broad list of Vanguard funds.

Even most professional advisors who get paid to manage your assets don’t do better than the funds and the cost of the funds is very modest.

I found an interesting April 7th Barron’s article entitled “The Super Rich Are Worried. Should You Be?” about the deeply financially concentrated views of the elites that gathered to discuss their concerns about the financial marketplace.

It brought to my mind the Tom Wolfe book about the rich elite insider whom he called “the master of the universe” in his famous 1987 book “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” published in 1987. His “Master of the Universe” was popularized as a term for a Wall Street giant. The central character, Sherman McCoy, leads the excessive lifestyle of a 1980s bond trader until it comes crashing down.

In a later article written in 2008, Madeleine Brand talks to Wolfe about the ambitious young people who took Wall Street by storm in the 1980s and helped usher in an era of greed and prosperity. When things got bad in downturns, but where are those hot shots now? Two words: hedge funds.

Read here.

We hear mention of the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009 but to seem not to take notice as the growing greed of the power elites who seem to ignore the growing planetary crises which saw the growth of humans 4 times in 90 years to 8 billion from 2 billion in 1931.

The opening paragraphs set the tone of Baron’s article:

It was one of those Manhattan society soirees that suggests that all’s right with this cozy, wealthy world. The Boys’ Club of New York annual luncheon was honoring a lion of Wall Street, Julian Robertson, the late founder of hedge fund Tiger Management and his wife, Josie, for their 60-plus years of support.

Held this past Tuesday at 583 Park Ave. (a 1923 landmark building and now an event space boasting “the highest staff-to-guest ratio in New York City”), the lunch raised some $2.5 million—much of it from sponsor Morgan Stanley (ticker: MS), with which Robertson had close ties. The entertainment (such as it is at this type of affair) was provided by a streak of so-called tiger cubs, acolytes of Robertson, who happen to be some of the most prominent hedge fund managers on the planet: moderator John Griffin, founder of Blue Ridge Capital, “in conversation” with Lee Ainslie, founder of Maverick Capital; Chase Coleman, founder of Tiger Global; and Robert Pitts, founder of Steadfast Capital.

Griffin’s questioning was gentle, yet even so, there was more than a little left unsaid. Like the fact that a number of the cubs on stage and in the audience are licking their wounds from haywire economic conditions and a brutal stock market beatdown last year, especially the once-highflying Coleman, whose flagship funds lost some 50% last year, which contributed to a loss in assets in the neighborhood of $40 billion, mostly from long tech investments, as well as redemptions and asset valuation markdowns. Ironically, that decline dwarfs the roughly $15 billion that his mentor Robertson lost in assets in the late 1990s in part from shorting tech stocks, causing Robertson to shutter his funds.

I am NOT suggesting or able to exemplify that any of these males in this Barron’s story are like Sherman McCoy, the central character in Wolfe’s book, but simply noting that their positions of power could perhaps fosered actions outside their cushy worlds which would treat helping avoid the growing 6th Extinction instead of adding to their insanely large wealth.

Their principal complaints are focused on the state of their physical assets such as commercial real estate which now suffers lower occupancy due to the work at home phenomenon. NOT one mention of the environmental crises largely unattended by adequate action.

Then these powerful investment leaders get on to the Silicon Valley Bank story and say regulation can never work to avoid the regular catastrophes.

Here we go again. What was the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-2009?

The Global Financial Crisis of 2008-2009 refers to the massive financial crisis the world faced from 2008 to 2009. The financial crisis took its toll on individuals and institutions around the globe, with millions of Americans being deeply impacted. Financial institutions started to sink, many were absorbed by larger entities, and the US Government was forced to offer bailouts to keep many institutions afloat.

The crisis, often referred to as “The Great Recession,” didn’t happen overnight. There were many factors present leading up to the crisis, and their effects linger to this day. Let’s take a look at a brief outline of the Global Financial Crisis of 2009-2009.

In the entire two above articles there is no mention of the deterioration of the climate, the general environmental declines, or the unsustainable growth of human numbers. Guess these masters of their universes will sometime “get it” when already started the 6th Extinction closes in as it will on all of us. Paper wealth won’t feed us.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC, has spent over 50 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of “From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013”, “Trump Becoming Macbeth: Will our democracy survive?”, “We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?”, “What Can Be Done Now to Save Habitable Life on Planet Earth?”, “Vote”, “Can Homo Sapiens Survive?”, “Will Choice and Democracy Win?” and “Can Our U.S. Survive 8 Plus Billion of Us”.

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