Monday, October 12, 2009

Inexpensive Halloween Decorating with what's just laying around

Spin is everything as illustrated by separate news articles based on the same press release: one of the large conservative rags said the big sellers for Halloween costumes this year are vampires and witches. The wire service version that used the same survey data from costume retailers said it was Bernie Madoff and Sarah Palin masks. (same information, different spin) The conservative story also quoted the president of the National Retail Federation, as saying "Falling off the [costume] list are nurses and politicians" -- a sign that "Americans would like to shelve the health-care reform debate, at least for one night, to have a little bipartisan fun". They’ve got to get the message out about who is really scary, not unregulated Wall street crooks or religo-krazy politicians but health-care reform. (insert blood curdling screams and the rattling of the liberal chains on free enterprise)

The NRF also expects Halloween sales to be off 18% this year. The good news is that retail space is easy to come by for those temporary Halloween stores. There is plenty of it with commercial space having been overbuilt by at least double during the "service" economy years with the "endless credit for the sake of credit" mentality. The new jobless economy simply can’t support it and it’s only getting worse. The new "haunted house" at the end of the street that’s concealed by brush and weeds is a forty acre mega-mall.

You can’t have Halloween without a creepy graveyard and according to the county coroners, the need for pauper graves is up 40%. We’re not quite to the point of mass graves or uncollected bodies decaying in the street (except for New Orleans and Galveston).

More Halloween Horrors: The Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Science went to two Americans, one of which is not even an economist. It’s not really one of the "Nobel" prizes but rather an award from the European central bankers for saying things they like or that they can twist to suit their needs, them calling economics a "science" should be a clue. Paul Krugman won his not for his legitimate but rather obscure research that nobody really cares about, but rather his constant and biting criticism of the then criminal in chief George W. Bush.

This years winners wrote obscure and probably perfectly fine papers. One was on the microeconomics of successful business relationships where trust develops between parties in the absence of public market forces or the oversight of shareholders. The sort of thing that used to tweak the interest of people at the DOJ back when conspiracy, price fixing and antitrust were treated as crimes. Is bank robbery a crime if there are no cops?

The other prize winner wrote about how throughout history, groups have successfully used the commons without government oversight. The commons, you know things like forests, fisheries, pasture land and the like or in Bush and company terms; clear cutting trees to save them, fish-free oceans, new desert lands and the death of all life outside their gated communities.

These researchers (who did not work together) were doing perfectly legitimate research on how things work. Both of them were taking counter positions to the accepted notions about market forces that we supposedly have been living under for the past thirty years and trying to ascertain how thing were really being done. The question is how will this be spun by the corporate media? Will it be calls for antitrust legislation to make businesses small enough so that they are run be people who need the commons to survive? Or will it be the no regulation, no oversight, "too big to fail" and we can do no wrong mentality of the bank robber class.

Happy Halloween, I’m dressing up like an uncollected corpse and laying out by the street. prairie2


Ronmac said...

An uncollected corpse? How about dressing up as Pol Pot? A terrible thing to say, I know. But such a figure in could prove helpful, given the current world situation. Say in the rapid depopulation of clusters like Wall Street or wherever bankers and financiers congregate.