Friday, 15 July 2016

The market of lies.

As economies expand and explode, new markets show up everyday. Markets for brands, ideologies, professions and what not. All markets, no matter how disparate they are, have this unique characteristic of being largely transactional. To say it the other way, brands, commodities or whatever it is, can often be replaced with a similar substitute without much hustle. Very few Coke fans would remain Coke fans if they were in a Coke drought for months and always had Pepsi around. Hence markets, no matter what's traded in them, are extremely dynamic, virulent and competitive. Now what if I tell you that after the tangible obvious market objects, comes a rather abstract set of entities that can also be traded? That entity is a lie! 

Oh yes! The market of lies is an old and an established one. Right form the Mayan prophecies which made a cabalistic truth stand on top of everything else and made a rotten community of profligate stay strong, to modern established religion, to industrialization, to capital markets, to augmented reality! Everything exists and promises a certain set of benefits in return for faithful unbridled, unquestioned preaching! So initial followers give it a try, and find the benefit of being the first cohort. Then more people follow suit, and more, and the chain goes on. It ceases finally only when no one checked for the veracity and the action of exchanging full loyalty with the supposed benefit is so well established that the question of questioning the worthiness of the exchange is altogether debilitated. 

Lies are in fact the most suitable candidate to be marketed, and despite our beyond all doubt Darwinian evolution bypassing human intelligence, we still allow all marketing communication appurtenant to lies to titillate us and sweep us off our feet! Why? Well, because lies are never marketed as they are. They're always, and almost infallibly, wrapped conveniently in a mesmerizing labyrinth of facts, events, happenings and incidents which all cover up the lie and give it a unique and a much more sanctified identity of its own!

Consider major wars! Looking back at WW2, it seems silly and moronic that a race suddenly considered itself far more imperial and suddenly felt the need to assert its right on supremacy of all forms. However, if you read Mein Kampf, you'll see how perfectly the harbinger of the war, Adolf Hitler, had wrapped the original agenda in a veil of purported tyranny and struggle, which justified emancipation by ripping off everyone who was not ostensibly exploited! 

Look at industrialization now. People prior to it had agriculture, no electricity, no hi-fi comm gear and nothing of what can be qualified as a 'life'. People were also struck by epidemics and one would be compelled to deem their lives miserable and filthy. But make no mistake, those people were far more happy! Why? It's simple! One, they were fewer in number so even with the limited resources, everyone just had about enough. Compare this with today when a handful have much more than the remaining 99%, and the remaining 99% have the sole and meager 1%. So we technically have more per head, but the distribution more than annihilates the advantage. 

It was all a lie. Wars, revolutions, capital markets, everything! Look beneath the many veneers, and you'd see the solemn truth. And very often, it's not the ones who work hard and wither under the hemorrhaging travails of masqueraded lies who win. It's the ones who seek the solemn truth and find it, who go on and win. It will seem pretty surprising but most of what we're told to do to appear ideal, is farcical. So why is it that despite the world becoming more transparent and more intellectually advanced, a handful of people still rule the roost? It's because the rulers know there should be only a limited number of rulers and they've upped their game to keep it that way. Lies have evolved.

A few years ago, multiple investment banks across the US created what later came to be known as Collateralized Debt Obligations(CDOs), which were a complex investment instrument tied to the repayment of loans at the US house markets. Despite the innate fallacies of the product, these products were deemed top grade by credit rating agencies either because they were fooled, or because they connived with the rulers. Later on more complex instruments CDSs(Credit Default Swaps) were invented to bet against the already complex CDOs. And that was the best example of the mired malarkey mentioned above. The instruments, despite the ridiculous perils associated, were even bought by state pension funds, thereby embroiling the hard earned pensioners' money. The lie hidden in all of it was that the US house market would crash. Everyone knew from the bottom of their hearts that most loans were bad with no securities, and yet everyone largely bet for the market's bullish future, until CDSs came in and changed the specifics. When markets crashed and multiple economies collapsed at once, everyone spoke that the downfall was obvious. Such, ladies and gentlemen, was the prowess of those who managed to market this lie. 

Consider a country torn in bits and pieces due to a dictatorial regime of a local demagogue. Now another country comes in and says we'll spend a lot of blood, we'll devastate all the infrastructure and we will then give you your country back with nothing left. So you think wow it'll be amazing to get the land back, and yet you miss on the fact that the country would not be what it was. Or consider an incumbent government raising taxes. The public goes on strike, there's massive hoopla and hubbub, and everyone goes crazy. A few days later. all rise is rolled back and suddenly everyone sings paeans of praise for the government, even though the government raised for a rollback. The welfare and egalitarianism of the outside country in first case and the govt in the second case is all a sham, but wonderfully packed in complex human perplexing mechanisms so impeccable that everyone misses the bus. 

As the world progresses and the reins move from administrative moguls to media, telecom and cyberspace moguls, the world will become an intricate network of populace ruled by extremely powerful rules who'd be in a position to hard press anything with an almost indomitable cover to break through. You're told to work hard so that you buy better houses, afford emis for the same, pay bills your whole life, have kids and die. The banality in that is obvious but the rulers have ensconced such fear and anxiety in us, that the mere thought of deviation from the set path bodes paroxysm. Lies become more and more complex to decipher, and as the world becomes more glorious in terms of materialism, the world becomes more sombre in terms of quality of life. At the end, remember how you wake up vis-a-vis a 2016 BC man. You wake up to see pictures of waterfalls on your cellphone screensaver and feel good. The other guy actually owned a couple of them!