Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Vain Glory in South Africa

The disease of vain glory is in all countries.  In 1999, the South African ruling party the African national Congress, wanted to be a player in African politics.  To do that they needed a military--an army air force and navy.  It involved US$ 4.8 billion for purchase of weaponry Included was 28 fighter jets from Sweden at a cost of US$65 million per plane.  The manufacturer donated money to an industrial school, but it was alleged that the money went to politicians and to the ANC to finance election campaigns.  (see Wikipedia South African Arms Deal)
    This military expenditure would have financed a lot of housing for the poor.  The poor rioted and drove President Mbeki out of office for not delivering promised aid. The irony of it is that their anger focused on Mbeki and not on the folly of huge military expenditures.  Zuma exploited their anger and  became President where he is in office today.    Zuma excited voters with a song that featured arms to get a redistribution of wealth.  Mostly it was redistritbution to a different set of polititions.

Goldman Exploits

Goldman Sachs exploits pricing regulations set up by an overseas commodities exchange to make billions.  There are 27 industrial warehouses in Detroit and each day trucks shuffled aluminum between warehouses to fulfill the letter of the regulations.  This increases storage costs and consumers thus pay higher prices.  (NYT July 21 2013)
    Never have such brilliant people put their smarts to work for evil.  It is complex thievery, but thievery nevertheless.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


 Civilization depends on self-restraint, an idea forgotten by CEOs who give themselves obscene salaries and Republican Congressmen who use the filibuster frequently.