Things That Make You Go Hmmm - The Game Of Sovereign KerPlunk!

Tyler Durden's picture

Now that formal newsflow has officially replaced the Onion's funny pages, it is only fitting that the reality of politics and finance be reduced to a board game. Enter Grant Williams, to whom the last days of the Ponzi unwind are nothing more or less than a game of KerPlunk!: "When playing KerPlunk!, the early straws are easy to pull out without causing any dislocation amongst the marbles. Consequently, there is a period when players spin the tube with abandon and yank straws from the bottom of the pile with the kind of carefree attitude one normally only sees on the face of a Fed Chairman about to be interviewed by CNBC, but as it goes on, almost imperceptibly, the  game changes and tension begins to creep into the face of each and every player. The shift normally happens when one stray marble drops as a straw is pulled out without the requisite attention being paid to the ramifications of doing so. The sound of that one marble hitting the plastic floor of the tube is normally enough to concentrate the minds of the players for a minute or two, but pretty soon, as a few more straws get pulled out without further consequences, players relax again. It’s about this time that the game changes completely. Without any warning, the remaining tangle of straws suddenly looks precarious and finding a straw to pull out safely requires extreme focus...Each of the straws is virtually guaranteed to dislodge some marbles when pulled out – no matter how much care is taken – and while there are still a few straws which will cause minimal problems, certain straws, when pulled out, will cause a small avalanche. By this stage in the game it is abundantly clear to all the players that the point of no-return has been reached and in no time at all - and indeed at any moment - all the marbles will end up tumbling down; the cacophony of noise created by the echo in the plastic tube jarring to one and all."

Full letter (pdf):

Hmmm Jul 03 2011

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cossack55's picture

I would have thought KerFlop more likely the sound.

Transitory Disinflation's picture

I assumed that they would just change the game if things were not working out.  This looks like a fun game

slewie the pi-rat's picture

next time, ask before you use the bong, k?

FunkyMonkeyBoy's picture

If you ever lost the little light sabre for your original starwars darth vader character figurine, then the kerplunk straws, with a little trim down, made a perfect replacement, with the added bonus of a variety of colors.

Franken_Stein's picture


What happened to Don Blankenship ?


Franken_Stein's picture


Has he been DeLay-ed already for what his negligent conduct did to 29 West Virginian miners at Upper Big Branch ?


carbonmutant's picture

I believe the EU is looking for a way to explain why falling marbles don't count...

Franken_Stein's picture


Because it's transitory.

Soon they're gonna lift gravity and make them fall up again.

g = 9.81 m/s² is so yesterday.


Popo's picture

Is there a carb on that thing?

Zero Govt's picture

picture an angry mob at the bottom of the tube awaiting Mr Papaparasite to drop for added realism

PY-129-20's picture

Yeah - or this other dude, Korruptis or what was his name? Ah, Kouroublis! Sorry, at least he voted against this bailout stupidity

Dre4dwolf's picture

So put the straws back.


carbonmutant's picture

There is of couse an alternative to this game in which you pay others to pull the sticks...

Franken_Stein's picture


Gregor Gysi, one of the brightest minds in the German parliament, East German, ex-member of the East-German communist SED (Socialist Unity Party), then PDS (party of democratic socialism), now Die Linke (The left party), and fierce opponent of Angela merkel, calling her out recently about the dire situation in Greece in the German Bundestag.


He has studied the structure of hedgefunds, bailouts and CDS to a great extent, more than anyone in the Bundestag I dare to say.

And he's a rhetoric genius.

He has a PhD and is lawyer.


He still doesn't know that Merkel is remote controlled by the likes of Kissinger and the Bilderberg group, to which Helmut Kohl introduced her, as well as to the Bush family from Texas.


Rynak's picture

Not so sure about the last paragraph of your post. Gysi is someone whom i would not call a mastermind, but definatelly would try to never underestimate. This guy amazes me as much as he scares me, because with his intelligence and rethoric skill, he could pull off things of which most other politicians in the german gov could only dream - and i mean in both regards, good and bad.

In theory, that he so far hasn't used his skills to support the kleptocrats should ease my mind.... and yet, i just cannot trust him.... kinda weird.

walküre's picture

Guess where he got his skill set from.

He's former KGB or at the very least, he's closely affiliated to KGB.

Bilderberg isn't the only elite group manipulating politics.

KGB is running many affairs in Europe, Africa and Asia.

Rynak's picture

Last time i checked, being a secret service agent doesn't involve being talented in moving the masses, and explaining complicated things simple, without overly dumbing them down.

I don't know which affiliations he has, but his "skillset" has nothing to do with what you're claiming.

walküre's picture

He's got an agenda just like everyone else.

Good speech though although it was met with hysterical laughter.

What he is suggesting will not get any traction as it cuts deep into the pockets of the banking elite. They would sooner start a war and reap profits from total destruction than to write-off their losses and walk away. We've been there, done that.


Rynak's picture

Well, of course he has an agenda. He knows very well that what he's proposing will not happen in the near future. He's simply gaining voters for the party, by doing what he has been doing for the last 20 years: top-notch rethorics, good analytical skills, and giving the impression of being a lone voice of common sense and honesty. The combined "gestalt" of those properties, it what makes his speeches so powerful.

I mostly like what he has been doing in the last 20 years, but i just have no idea how he would use his skills, if he got more power than being the leader of a minor party. That is why i feel uncomfortable with him - not because of what he has done so far, but because of what he could do, if he had more power.

P.S.: I consider gregor gysi the most talented speaker of all popular german politicians. He has so far used those skills only for minority parties, and for non cleptocratic means. But i wonder if his skills could put certain historic german speakers to shame, if he got more power, and used  it for non-cleptocratic means. This does not mean that he will do so(his entire track-record suggests that he  will not do so), yet i'm scared if he would do do. I just cannot think of any german politcian who could beat him, at the same power-level - and that makes me concerned (justified or not).

Escapeclaws's picture

He is plugging the Swedish model with regard to the banks.  He wants to nationalize them, ddeal with their worthless assets and then sell them back to the private sector. I never understood why that is a no-go and isn't even tried. Sure makes more sense than trying to throw good money after bad for the indefinite future.  At the same time, he says that the export profits of Germany actually work against countries like Greece, Portugal and Ireland. I'm not sure why this should be the case except that I recall that he said that 60% of the export revenues come from the EU.

A big point he makes is that the austerity measures imposed on the PIIGs will only result in reduced income and therefore income taxes leading to a downward spiral. So what is the reason for doing this? It doesn't make sense on its face, financially. It must be simply to force the middle class in these countries into poverty and thereby make them submissive in preparation for the NWO.

He is a good orator, but I think that's by virtue of having done his homework. He just reels off the facts and explains their causes and consequences, as opposed to the obfuscation one calls oratory in the US.


Rynak's picture

At the same time, he says that the export profits of Germany actually work against countries like Greece, Portugal and Ireland. I'm not sure why this should be the case except that I recall that he said that 60% of the export revenues come from the EU.

Short version:

1. Germany and france lend to the PIIGS

2. Germany exports to the PIIGS (which are the importers), who then pay germany. But what they pay is not the debt, but for the products. Their debt stays untouched.

3. PIIGS have an import bias and thus a trade deficit. They because of the structure of the EMU also are rather restricted in changing much about that.

4. Goto 1


Even shorter version:

1. Germany and france lend goods to the PIIGS.

2. PIIGS consume goods

3. Goto 1

trampstamp's picture

So the PIIGS never get slaughtered... Nice

That'll do... pig that'll do.

Rynak's picture

They will get slaughtered when the mafia-men appear and proclaim "enough is enough, we now own yuo!", and the populace does not say "fuck you!"

duncecap rack's picture

The connection between Kerplunk and the current situation is pure genius. Perfect analogy!

akak's picture

Europe just had their latest G-pap-smear, and the results were positive.

Which means they were negative.

Which means, prepare for the inevitable hystericaleuroectomy.

Franken_Stein's picture


In the video, Gysi describes the impossibility of Greece ever paying back the loans and outstanding bonds, even more so under ever harsher austerity programs.


He calls it a "Teufelskreis", a vicious circle.


He also says that it is insane to prescribe that same doomed to fail medication to countries like Portugal and Ireland.

He speaks of the high multiplying effect of rising lower incomes, strengthening the "Binnennachfrage" = domestic demand, since low income people tend to spend a muh higher percentage of their rising incomes than high-income individuals.


He heavily criticizes Germany's one-sided focus on exports (Bilderberg/Rockefeller goal of strengthning multi-national corporations => corporate fascism as advocated by Mussolini),

which are only possible through ever higher indebtedness in the corresponding import countries.


He demands the so-called "Swedish model", i.e. he wants Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank to be temporarily nationalized, in order to lower interests on outstanding Greek loans.


It is very clear to me that Merkel isn't herself.

She's remote controlled. She shrugs off and brushes aside detailed questions on the aid packages for Greece. Never explains why and how she thinks its gonna work.

She's a tool.


I also know that Peer Steinbrück (SPD), who recently announced his plans for candidacy for chancellery, attended this years Bilderberg meeting in St. Moritz 09.-12.06.2011.


cossack55's picture

temporarily nationalized. Is that the same as transitory nationalization?  What will be the next euphamism to replace transitory? This IS a fun game.

Rynak's picture

When you want to keep a bank, that is bancrupt AND possibly earning back the lost bailout cash from them AND ensure that regardless of current laws regarding banks, they behave exactly as you want..... then there isn't much alternative to making them yours -> nationalization.

After they fullfilled their purpose and you earned back most of the cash you spent on them, you could re-privatize them to cut down on gov-assets again, and make a nice surplus in the process.

Got a better idea than that, which doesn't involve the bank imploding uncontrolled?

equity_momo's picture

Dude theyre all tools. You think its possible for a person to navigate the halls of power and attain the post of  running a country , any country , but especially a powerful country , without being corrupted along the way?

Many may start out on their political career with good intentions , but the entire system is designed so only those that are prepared to sleep with the devil get to the top. Part of getting to the top involves knowing when to STFU and do as youre instructed.

Franken_Stein's picture


But that doesn't mean that we can't change it.

We have the Internet now.

And we know about the existence of Bilderberg group.

We can spread information much faster and have a much higher multiplying effect than ever before.

And that is the main difference to before the advent of the internet.


Look, we already took down 2 FDP and 1 CDU hopeful, by starting the now infamous "GuttenPlag" and "VroniPlag" anti-plagiarism campaigns against fake PhD titles with neo-con politicians in Germany.


Guttenberg (CDU, ex-defense minister): destroyed

Koch-Mehrin (FDP, EU parliamentarian): destroyed

Chatzimarkakis (FDP, Bundestag parliamentarian): down


All aspiring globalist/corporatist sellouts.

All down.


All stripped of their fake PhD, then resigned.

This strategy is very effective.


Zero Govt's picture

"Gysi describes the impossibility of Greece ever paying back the loans and outstanding bonds, even more so under ever harsher austerity program.. He calls it a "Teufelskreis", a vicious circle."

Absolute nonsense argument peddled from Greece to California. Cutting the public sector is the ONLY way to get out and possibly find the money to repay interest or the remoter chance of capital.

How can any economy recover, or the Govt find the money to repay, with a glutnous Govt budget sucking money out of the private sector? The only way out is to cut taxation to the private sector (Greece is doing the exact opposite) to allow excess capital to find its way into investment and then returns in taxable profits after. Place more tax burdens on the private sector and your future tax returns will assuredly dwindle.

Or cut Govt cuts hard spending immediately enough to save money for repayments rather than sink/waste further funds into the wasteful hole that is the public sector.

The argment that Govt spending cuts contracts GDP so what? It's GDP counted productively but is in fact entirely wasteful (consumed) capital from tax or debt counted twice being added into GDP. It shouldn't be included in the first place 

Rynak's picture

Actually, a more simple explanation of your position, is that the answer to every problem, regardless of the timespan and regardless of the consequences - is to simply do what your nickname says.

What frankenstein did not post, is that gysi also explained in detail WHY in the shortterm blindly axing public services and social programmes, would nuke the economy: Buying power. In the absense a stable selfsustainable economy already existing, most of the buying power comes from the government via what you would call socialism.

Oh, i can hear the next argument already: It doesn't fix the causes.... the country should have a stable selfsustainable economy instead of compensating it with socialism. Completely correct.... BUT to get there, the efficient path is not to FIRST nuke buying power, and THEN build up the economy and leave the EMU (euro).... but instead the other way around.... which precisely is what gysi is proposing.

Now, who's making sense, and who's making nonsense?

Escapeclaws's picture

The other factor that seems to get swept under the rug is that these banks make loans of money created out of thin air--fractional reserve banking. This only works in one direction. When the economy starts contracting the fractional reserve banks left to themselves would implode. So why should the borrowers be any more liable for fixing the problems then the banks themselves who lent them phony money in the first place? This side of things is never addressed by austerity fanatics.

Bartanist's picture

Austerity obviously fixes nothing because the problem is mathematically impossible to fix when the banks lend a total of x and x+y must be repaid. It can never work unless x is reduce somehow (or assets in excess of the value of x+y can be created through labor and traded for debt plus interest ... does not work in a financial, consumer, service based economy), such as a default that makes the banks shareholders and bondholders take a hit or get wiped out.

Default and wiping out, then restarting banks with fresh funny money is the real answer.

Escapeclaws's picture

Bart, I agree with what you say--haircuts for bondholders is the only equitable solution--another "off the table" item as far as discussion goes.

As an addendum to my point about fractional reserve lending, it is clear that when we say "reserves" we are talking about what amounts to depositors' savings being treated as a form of insurance in the case where depositors would lose confidence and want to withdraw their money. The amount is set at 10% of all bank assets (loans) by the government. This seems rather arbitrary and neglects the fact that insurance premiums are normally determined actuarially--a point that I've never seen discussed, but would seem to be a natural outcome of how banks treat reserves. One would expect reserve requirements to increase in bad economic times, for example.

However, my real point about reserves, given that they are treated as insurance, is that the banks have, in effect, self-insured against bad economic times in this fashion and should fold if their net worth goes to zero. Otherwise, why have reserve requirements at all? This is their insurance, and once that is used up they are toast. This would eliminate the moral hazard of bailouts which only encourages them to abuse their fractional reserve lending capacity. Furthermore, while depositors implicitly accept the possibility of loss of their savings in putting their money in a fractional reserve bank, nobody, other than those doing business with the given bank, would be affected. There would be no foisting these debts onto the backs of innocent taxpayers who did not even do business with the banks in question. This is nothing but state tyranny.

The whole point of banking seems to be lost nowadays. The idea in the past was that bankers would be prudent so that you could always count on your money being safe. That is also why savings rates are so low--depositors accept this in return for the banks' guarantee. All of that has now been turned on its head. Fractional reserve lending should be considered a privilege that will be withdrawn for those banks that abuse the privilege. This is just elementary common sense.


Ghordius's picture

Merkel has no clue of economics. She is more into science.

walküre's picture

Got any more information on Steinbrück = Bilderberg?

Franken_Stein's picture


See 2 posts above, please.


rwe2late's picture

 Actually, the game of Blockhead may provide a more apt analogy.

The whole structure keeps increasing in size and precariousness

until it finally collapses.