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Guest Post: The Last Refuge Of Wall Street: Marketing To Increasingly Insolvent Consumers

Tyler Durden's picture


 Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

The Last Refuge Of Wall Street: Marketing To Increasingly Insolvent Consumers

Wall Street is promising riches to those who believe social media is something more than just another Darwinian churn of starving piranhas.

Have you noticed that all the "hot" initial public offerings (IPOs) being hyped by Wall Street are all marketing companies? The big IPO that has everyone on the Street salivating is of course Facebook in 2012--the ultimate "social media" marketing machine.

What's striking about these heavily hyped Social Media companies is that they make nothing, and their service is either free (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) or a "free" marketing mechanism (Groupon). When was the last time a company went public in the U.S. that actually manufactured a good? When was the last time a "hot" company went public selling a service that had nothing to do with marketing and that actually performed a valuable function?

Wall Street has nothing left to sell except marketing schemes aimed at increasingly insolvent consumers. With a hollowed-out manufacturing base and leveraged financialization finally running out of steam as the engine of "growth" (see debt saturation chart below), then chumming the waters thrashing with marketing piranhas is Wall Street's last refuge of staggering profits.

Does anyone really believe Groupon coupons build lasting profits? Offering 50% discounts is basically the "Black Friday" scam run year-round: sales leap up because the product/service is being sold at a loss.

Once the customers grab the deal, they're gone until the next loss-leader sale. Meanwhile the enterprise experienced a blip up in revenues that quickly declines while racking up major losses to honor the coupon.

In other words, marketing to increasingly insolvent consumers is a Darwinian zero-sum game. Sales can't actually increase as consumer credit and incomes both decline; sales are simply brought forward in time or ripped from the desperate grasp of a competitor.

The only "hot industry" left in America that Wall Street can hype is the one promising to get to the consumer before the other marketing piranhas can strip the last shreds of cash and credit from their bones. Wall Street has no interest in hosting 800 Million Channels of Me for free; there is essentially no income in this "revenue model."

The "real money" in hosting 800 Million Channels of Me for free is in the selling of stuff to those who spend hours on the site, expanding their Channel of Me and socializing online.

But that model assumes the people spending hours on social media sites actually have disposable income to spend. The Wall Street crowd loves consumption math extrapolations--if 800 million Chinese people each buy one tube of Crest toothpaste, if 800 million Indian people each buy a Coke, if 800 million people on Facebook or Twitter each spend $20 on Farmville or another online game....

We're all get filthy rich!

Actually, it's the folks selling marketing services who will get rich, and Wall Street knows this. Those selling the "sizzle" of marketing take no risks and carry no costs of actually making goods or delivering services; their money is made the moment you fall for their pitch that "social media is the place to get to those consumers before anyone in old media can even smell their credit cards."

But Wall Street is working a meta-scam, as usual: you don't have to believe in the trillion-dollar potential of social media marketing, all you need to believe is that other suckers will believe it enough to buy the shares of the IPO off you for a bloated price.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, American consumers are increasingly insolvent: their incomes are declining even as their non-Federal taxes rise and their debts are pinned at the "crushing" level.

Let's glance at a few charts for a whiff of non-Wall-Street-tainted reality.

After tax income is way off the pre-recession peak-- and note that "government transfers" are a big part of non-earned income. Also note how the refinancing "your house is an ATM machine" boom that issued $2.5 trillion in crisp new bills to consumers per year at the peak has broken down for good; the "free money" from re-fi's has declined to a trickle.


Note that Median Income of working-age households has fallen dramatically.


Employment has tanked.



If we look at the ratio of employed to the civilian population, the reality is even more sobering.



Employment per capita has also fallen off a cliff.



As a percentage of GDP, employee compensation (i.e. earned income) has collapsed to levels not seen in 50 years.



Here is a chart of the costs of financialization: staggering debt loads in every sector of the economy, public and private.


Keeping all those wars "hot" and all those transfers flowing while tax revenues tanked means Federal debt has skyrocketed.

Households funded the past 30 years of consumption with debt.


All that debt no longer adds to GDP "growth," it actually causes GDP to contract. "Growth" based on exponential debt has run its course; marginal returns have turned negative. It's called debt saturation. 

The real economy is still well below pre-recession levels of production.


The financial media ignores rising taxes-- for example, property taxes, which continue to rise nationally even as the market value of real estate continues declining.

So let's add this up: less income, crushing debt loads, higher taxes (not to mention junk fees), no more "free money" from re-financing, and a Federal government that might not be able to borrow and blow 11% of GDP each and every year to prop up consumption.

The Darwinian struggle to strip the flesh from insolvent consumers before one's competitors do so is not a thriving economy nor a growing economy; it is a hollowed out economy at a dead-end of financialization and substitution of Federal debt for actual production.


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Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:06 | 1970222 Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

Reek of putrefaction.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:20 | 1970287 eureka
eureka's picture

I have said it for two decades: US is a sales muscle - and its chief commodity is lies - that is to say myths/entertainment about its own glory, enforced by fear-mongering and bamboozlement.

I am glad someone else now sees it.

Merry Christmas - and cherrs - in good olf Anglish Christmas Ale.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:20 | 1970300 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

'US is a sales muscle - and its chief commodity is lies - that is to say myths/entertainment about its own glory, enforced by fear-mongering and bamboozlement.'

Bombs. They bomb people, often. Brown people usually, but not exclusively.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:29 | 1970326 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



Meanwhile, back in the real world, American consumers are increasingly insolvent: their incomes are declining even as their non-Federal taxes rise and their debts are pinned at the "crushing" level.



You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you're satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you've got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.


~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 5

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:31 | 1970349 trav7777
trav7777's picture

real economy: negative profitability

solution: leverage and a virtual economy of MLM schemes

Note in EVERY SINGLE "recipe for a solution" we hear about how it will get "growth" going again.  That's a fuckin prerequisite, an axiom, of the system.  It's hundreds of years old and everyone has become accustomed to its running one-way.  It seems impossible that contraction could actually occur, yet that is where we are.

The monetary problems are a SYMPTOM, not a cause

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:38 | 1970382 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

"The central irony of financial crisis is that while it is caused by too much confidence, too much borrowing and lending and too much spending, it can only be resolved with more confidence, more borrowing and lending, and more spending,"

A game of: Who Said It? Anyone care to guess?

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:49 | 1970423 Potemkin Villag...
Potemkin Village Idiot's picture

Sounds like Krugman for sure... Either that or some halfwit from the Ritholtz blog...

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 13:04 | 1970508 The Limerick King
The Limerick King's picture was actually Larry "The should have been a Cable Guy" Summers.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:54 | 1970456 Mr_Wonderful
Mr_Wonderful's picture

Larry Summers.

I read the FT article a few weeks back.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:59 | 1970484 Potemkin Villag...
Potemkin Village Idiot's picture

The same Larry Summers, who while in the process of losing a great deal of the Harvard Endowment fund, couldn't be bothered with an internal issue with regards to the startup of Facebook...

That Larry Summers?

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 13:17 | 1970587 Xkwisetly Paneful
Xkwisetly Paneful's picture

THey should just follow Germany's lead. They have been selling to insolvent customers longer than anyone else.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 14:58 | 1971040 TheGardener
TheGardener's picture

So,what to make of those shallow Germans: Too big to hail ?

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:48 | 1970420 lynnybee
lynnybee's picture

You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you're satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you've got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.


~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 5         

it's obvious that Chuck Palahniuk wasn't running a household with kids to raise.    take it from me, my experience says that it's NOT the drapes & the rugs & the perfect dishes ....... it's the kids we raise that own us , the post-WWII lifestyle of hearth & home that owns us.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:52 | 1970446 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



I have read every word in Carla's Encyclopedia of Country Living at least once.  You should read Fight Club.  It will be like a trip to the zoo for you.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 13:21 | 1970607 flattrader
flattrader's picture

I have an original mimeographed copy given to me by my (then) hippie sister.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 15:31 | 1971193 KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

Bubuubut....what about Tajazzle?

We do make something!


Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:18 | 1970290 CPL
CPL's picture

The dead eating the dead.  Good times.  Good times.


Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:27 | 1970331 economics1996
economics1996's picture

The author forgets the role of government consumption, and misallocation, of resources in creating more paper and less production.  

In 1999-2000 the feds share of the GDP was 18.2%, the lowest since 1958.  If you want to get over this fiscal disaster eliminate the feds to 11% of GDP or just eliminate them like the USSR did.

Back to capitalism and the free market.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 14:30 | 1970946 flattrader
flattrader's picture

The author just cobbled together a bunch of charts from other web sites (often without citing/linking the source) slaps some narrative on it and tries to pass it off as "commentary" or even worse, "analysis."

For example, one of the charts (the second chart) came from here--

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:32 | 1970352 scatterbrains
scatterbrains's picture

anyone know what that spike in volume was at 11:18am on the down tick?  or was that just nutsack loading up short for the 2:30 light volume buy to cover ramp up?

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:05 | 1970223 sunnydays
sunnydays's picture
Explosive Interview Jim Willie "JP Morgan Crashed MF Global to Avert COMEX Failure, they stole all the accounts that were going to take delivery"

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:55 | 1970454 fonestar
fonestar's picture

Haha... I really enjoy the Jim Willie articles and interviews and am thinking about a subscription.

...a family member asked me, "hey Jim, what should I do with my money?" and I told them go buy a coffin because you haven't listened to a thing I've said!

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:06 | 1970226 bill1102inf
bill1102inf's picture

Excellent post

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:30 | 1970342 fonestar
fonestar's picture

Yes, excellent post.

I have gotten rid of all of my Google, Yahoo, MSN, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube accounts (I still need eBay because there are no coin shops in my area).

If these assholes (who produce nothing) are going to use me in their ponzi schemes, and to gather intelligence in their massive data mining operations, they could at least include me in their IPOs or pay me a fucking dividend!

We made these schmucks what they are today and can take it back with how we click and spend (and short).  I urge all fanatical ZHers to do the same, to chose FREEDOM, LIBERTY and the non-ponzi'd interwebs!!

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:33 | 1970356 trav7777
trav7777's picture

facebook is only good as a rolodex of acquaintances and to vet chicks you picked up on dating websites to see if they actually look like their pictures

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:40 | 1970389 In Fed We Trust
In Fed We Trust's picture

I only use FacEbook to post links to ZH.

And to post links about fairy tale terrorists

And such. I now have over 5000 friends.

My friends think im crazyvboth they always come back for more.

Befriend me facebook if you wish.

Patrick the Painter

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 13:13 | 1970570 Potemkin Villag...
Potemkin Village Idiot's picture

And such. I now have over 5000 friends

I'm assuming many of them wear jackboots & ride around in black helicopters...

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:53 | 1970450 Potemkin Villag...
Potemkin Village Idiot's picture

and to vet chicks you picked up on dating websites to see if they actually look like their pictures

If they 'vetted' you, woulkd you look more like your avatar, or more like the dude on the yellow shirt that Forrest Gump wiped his face on?

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 13:50 | 1970753 trav7777
trav7777's picture

I clicked it and Chuck Norris came up in the video.  Yes, I AM CHUCK NORRIS

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 14:07 | 1970837 flattrader
flattrader's picture

I saw a chubby guy in his mid 30s with a bad hair cut peaking out from under a ball cap.

The blonde-headed kid was cute.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:44 | 1970405 In Fed We Trust
In Fed We Trust's picture


A rolodex for the CIA.

Populated willing by the sheeple.

Farmville. A conspiracy to end farming.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 13:13 | 1970566 LouisDega
LouisDega's picture

Relax. Its a place to hangout and converse with friends and family. I find it very relaxing. Stop thinking so much. Its bad for the brain

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:48 | 1970422 In Fed We Trust
In Fed We Trust's picture


A rolodex for the CIA.

Populated willing by the sheeple.

Farmville. A conspiracy to end farming.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:54 | 1970459 Potemkin Villag...
Potemkin Village Idiot's picture

Ron Paul... a conspiracy to END THE FED

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 13:42 | 1970708 Clampit
Clampit's picture

The web has far more sinister plans in store for centralized solcial media. Diaspora, while it looks like they're off to a shaky start, will be the trend of things to come. All our computer toys have Tx and Rx capabilities, central [Facebook] servers (and ISPs) could all quickly become a thing of the past when mesh networks really take hold. This also highlights how any kill switch action might be considered "censorship" (in web parlance), a defect to be automatically routed around.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 14:01 | 1970811 fonestar
fonestar's picture


Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:08 | 1970234 PAPA ROACH
PAPA ROACH's picture

We will get past this all the day that true capitalism is allowed to work. Out with the old in with the new, only the strong survive, etc etc.



Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:11 | 1970236 DormRoom
DormRoom's picture

still waiting for the web 2.0 bubble to burst.  Once DST (Yuri Milner) implodes, Silicon Valley will be like detroit over the next decade.  DST is patient 0 down there.


The misallocation of capital in Silicon Valley over the last decade would make Soviet planning committees blush


If you work in a seed funded web company, it's time to update your CV.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:11 | 1970255 nhr215
nhr215's picture

hah, that won't help. I lived in SF during the first bubble crash and my friends who were all programmers working at hot startups basically were unemployed for almost 3 years....

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:34 | 1970361 trav7777
trav7777's picture

Silicon Valley doesn't have the demographics to ever look like Detroit

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:08 | 1970237 vegas
vegas's picture

Valuable function in Soetero's Amerika? Yur shitin' me right? "We lose money on every sale, but we make up for it in volume."

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:08 | 1970239 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Purrdy charts.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:34 | 1970362 pods
pods's picture

Yep, and most of the debt charts look strikingly like exponential functions.


Wonder why that is?  Future P=P+I.


Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:09 | 1970244 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

Welcome to the Terry Schiavo Economy! #Veggie


Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:09 | 1970245 Occams Aftershave
Occams Aftershave's picture

"When was the last time a company went public in the U.S. that actually manufactured a good? "


TSLA   FIO     come to mind

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:25 | 1970318 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

GM, baby! Channel stuffers, extraordinaire!

(well, except for the ones that self-immolate)

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:10 | 1970246 nhr215
nhr215's picture

Agreed 100%. Most of these businesses are based on advertising revenue. They are digital magazines essentially. Facebook has non-ad revenue from gaming which is substanal. Plus they are the 500 pound gorrilla. Too bad by the time they IPO all the value will have already been extracted in previous private share offerings. All the rest are basically minnows. As soon as the advertising market drops off even a small percentage, valuations will come tumblinhg down for everything from Twitter to Linked-IN to Foursquare etc. Their projected extraploated growth rates based on funn-money advertising (i.e. mucha as in 2000 the ad-money is actually just VC money being recycled... all the startups are buying ads from each other to promote their services all paid with VC money) will be shattered and valuations will collapse.... We've been here before.


Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:16 | 1970275 Potemkin Villag...
Potemkin Village Idiot's picture

Let's get Mark Zuckerberg & Sean Parker on the fone and tell them to go crash the Comex...

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:10 | 1970249 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Almost as ridiculous as the height of the Dot.Com bubble where 'eyeball count projections' were used to place multi billion market caps on 'companies' started last week by a 15 year old kid.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:11 | 1970251 ZeroPoint
ZeroPoint's picture

But..but..LinkedIn has thousands of members...It's a sure winner!

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:31 | 1970347 WonderDawg
WonderDawg's picture

Loving my LNKD puts this morning.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:11 | 1970256 hondaicivic
hondaicivic's picture

I'm kind of happy that I live in California. Property tax can't rise because of proposition 13. It was a smart move by the people in Cali in 1978.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:12 | 1970258 Haole
Haole's picture

This is the best place to hang-out during a global political/financial/monetary collapse ever!

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:15 | 1970273 economics1996
economics1996's picture

This is extremely fascinating and the company is second to none.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:32 | 1970353 Dr. Richard Head
Dr. Richard Head's picture

Many sheep tell me to just go back to sleep...I mean enjoy the circuses and just deal with it.  They say, there is nothing you can do about it, so you might as well enjoy yourself while you can.  Other sheep ask me why I am so obsessed.  How can one not be obsessed about their freedom?

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 18:03 | 1971767 deepthoughtless
deepthoughtless's picture

I just get asked why I'm so paranoid when I comment on how much these web services know about you. And that's the end of that discussion. Occupy has actually done quite a bit to normalize that topic of conversation (among others) though, which is nice.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:16 | 1970276 Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

Las Vegas?

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:16 | 1970279 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

This is all hogwash.  Oil and gas exploration and development tops the list of IPOs.  You can see a list of the whole bunch here:



Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:22 | 1970307 dir
dir's picture

Not all social media companies are the same.

Facebook, for instance, can be considered a new communications platform and consumer data warehouse.  How much value does the combination of an AT&T (communication), Google (customized ads), and Choicepoint (consumer data) have?  I would argue a hell of a lot.

Group-on the other hand (heh) appears to be a fairly low-value endeavor.  Not sure how they even made it public to be honest.

Each of these social networking companies are different animals, but I would not underestimate the power of intelligent communication networks.  It would be like saying that the telephone is overhyped and really doesn't deliver much value... in 1885.



Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:31 | 1970348 Potemkin Villag...
Potemkin Village Idiot's picture

How much are they going to be worth when somebody hits the 'internet kill' switch?

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:35 | 1970367 Dr. Richard Head
Dr. Richard Head's picture

I partially own a company that competes with Choicepoint.  We are privately-held and I wonder when the day will come where some entitity weants to purchase the information we have pulled together over the past 15 plus years or when the government demands it without renumeration.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:43 | 1970401 Potemkin Villag...
Potemkin Village Idiot's picture


My point exactly... Anybody in this business (anybody in ANY critical business whether it be related to physical infrastructure or 'psy-ops' in nature) ought to live with the idea that someday the jackboots may decide to pay them a visit...

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:45 | 1970407 the grateful un...
the grateful unemployed's picture

one of the most insidious theft of data is the personalized questions which link to your account, where were you born, whats your dogs name.

i tell people when they ask these questions LIE, make something up, once the real information is out there you are compromised, but if you always make up this information they can never hack you.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 14:50 | 1971016 flattrader
flattrader's picture

You are so right...Lie like a SOB.

Oddly, most people are just throwing personal info out there, in the form of crumbs, for anyone to pick up.


Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:22 | 1970310 the grateful un...
the grateful unemployed's picture

we make things, we make entertainment, we are the entertainment makers for the world. the rest of the world would be a dark gray place without us.

the solution for the tapped out consumer is to print money and give it to them. the great god bernanke hath spoken

(the difficulty to this point is that the politicians won't give us the money. give me the money Obama, you tight fisted asshole! quit giving the banks credit which is worthless shit and give me the money!!)

the modern business model is to find some small margin of profitability and leverage it 8 billion times. competition however is destorying marginsd, Walmart is a socialist conspiracy, and so is Bernankes free money.

money is not a zero sum game necessarily. you print an expired date on every bill and watch the economy grow! the money automatically self destructs. then you print new money to replace the old money.

yes wall street is a hundred years behind in financial theory, although their derivative game is pretty interesting. but when they start printing expired dates on money there will be no more leverage to the sky.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:22 | 1970311 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

Facebook is in a race to become the ultimate verified electronic ID and subsequently a payment mechanism in a post credit card world.

Eventually we really will be able to grab our shit at the grocery store and walk out the door with automatic one click ordering.

No waiting required.

Will it be google or facebook that wins?

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:23 | 1970312 Davalicious
Davalicious's picture


Why such a downer, Tyler? All of the same shit can be marketed to those chumps on Keppler 22b. Those fucks are light years behind the US consumer. Specifically 600 light years. 

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:23 | 1970313 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

How the American people still think the majority of politicans in DC give a fuck about us is one of the best cons of all time.  Corporations first, AND second......the people 53rd.


Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:29 | 1970339 marcusfenix
marcusfenix's picture

hey we still count...every 2 or 4 years when they need our votes.

though who knows how much longer that will last...

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:37 | 1970381 Potemkin Villag...
Potemkin Village Idiot's picture

You know, comrades," says Stalin, "that I think in regard to this: I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how.


Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:40 | 1970390 MissCellany
MissCellany's picture

They don't even need "our" votes. Watch "Hacking Democracy".

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:24 | 1970316 Mark123
Mark123's picture

Need to add one more graph....increase in subprime lending (auto and credit card).  That is all that is keeping the US concsumer going right now.  And how long can that last????  Until it becomes apparent that it is not causing a real shift in the economy....

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:25 | 1970320 Catullus
Catullus's picture

Google is free and they're doing just fine.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:34 | 1970364 ElvisDog
ElvisDog's picture

Google is doing fine because, like Amazon, they were smart enough to leverage their initial expertise, search engine and book selling, to create a company with multiple, diversified income streams. You can almost literally buy anything on Amazon these days. And Google owns a wide variety of companies.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:36 | 1970376 the grateful un...
the grateful unemployed's picture

yes but you aren't they've taken away your Constitutional rights, press, speech, etc, using China as the great proving ground. enjoy your free, freedom lover

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 13:22 | 1970614 Mr_Wonderful
Mr_Wonderful's picture

The constitution means nothing as the last administrations have made very clear. You are the product. There are no rights, only privileges you receive from the government. It´s the modern fascism (statism). Get used to it.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 13:24 | 1970629 Catullus
Catullus's picture

I don't remember a private company ever taking away any of my freedoms.  The government, yes.  A company? No

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 15:27 | 1971149 Mr_Wonderful
Mr_Wonderful's picture

Fascism can also be called corporatism. This is what you have seen evolving gradually in the US for the last decades. The so called democracy is mere window dressing. You have more or less questionable "elections" for a nominal figurehead and then Wall Street fills his administration with people that nobody voted for in any elections. The rubber stamp congress is totally corporate owned, the so called market regulators are totally corporate owned. It´s all under control and the gamekeepers and the poachers are working together.

This outcome has resulted from a reaction to the staggering and still rising technological wave which we are in. This wave is extremely deflationary. The world is absolutely drowning in productivity increases and endless armies of dirt cheap labor. The overabundance of everything is staggering. The idea of shortage, which is the very basis of economic theory has been crumbling. As before, this reactionary system will have its political assets peddle war but nowadays in the fragile economic system this is very problematic. They want to attack Iran and have flanked it by two wars on false pretenses but both flanks are still very weak after all those years. In this case the flanks constitute both supply lines for ongoing wars and staging areas for the desired war. Which has been making that war ever more elusive over the years. By closing the Straits of Hormuz Iran not only cuts 40% of seaborne crude traffic but also puts US forces in US vassal dictatorships on the Gulf in a very difficult position by cutting their main supply line. The right flank, the Afghan theatre and the supply line through Pakistan is a total mess as well. As a result major war to prop up this totally bankrupt mess seems very unlikely but still you shouldn´t fully discount desperate acts of cornered rats.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 15:50 | 1971296 KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

The US government IS a corporation.

Someday they will physically attack the citizens of the 50 American States.
Right now we have the corporation surrounded. Cool thought eh?


Public Service Announcement :
Make sure you take an interest in electing *proper* constitutionally law abiding county sheriffs.
That's the *first* step to take.




Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:25 | 1970322 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

you can "sell" things to people as long as they are mortgage free

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:32 | 1970350 PulauHantu29
PulauHantu29's picture

You make a valid point.

Fewer produce much of anything here anymore...consumption is 70% of our GDP.....20% is "financials" (meaning pushing paper around).

The 10% of our actual production is plunging as more production is outsourced to more efficient economies from Guatemala to Cambodia. Even China is now too expensive.  Check your shirt...odds are it says,"Hecho in Cambodia"....or Bangladesh...etc.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:49 | 1970424 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

We'll consume our way to prosperity. Oh wait, we import almost everything. 

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:33 | 1970355 Orange Pekoe
Orange Pekoe's picture

Politicians steal, left and right.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 13:15 | 1970582 sleepingbeauty
sleepingbeauty's picture

You underestimate Politicians, sir. They can also steal from the center, from behind and in front, from up and down. They are also stealing from the past and the future.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:34 | 1970360 Greater Fool
Greater Fool's picture

Anyone who thinks the public equity markets are a reasonable core sample of new companies raising equity is not paying attention.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:34 | 1970363 Odin
Odin's picture


Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:46 | 1970380 Alex Kintner
Alex Kintner's picture

The smart phone sellers have done a masterful job of marketing phones to kids for social media. The kids 'Guilt Trip' the parents into paying for the phones and the service. And carrier sevices run over $1,000+ per year. IMO, as the economy continues to crumble, the parents are going to have to chose between grumpy kids or paying rent/mortgage. Look for lots of iPhones at yard sales next summer.


I would love to see versions these income charts that exclude the top earners (say top 10%) whose income must skew the results to look much better than they are for the vast majority. My guess is it would be quite a shock.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 13:04 | 1970512 Potemkin Villag...
Potemkin Village Idiot's picture

Look for lots of iPhones at yard sales next summer.

Meh... I'm looking more to see if KIDS start ending up at yard sales...

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:39 | 1970386 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

Maybe if we get more immigrants from Kenya or Haiti the economy will get better.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:40 | 1970388 TheGardener
TheGardener's picture

I had business friends going public on nasdaq during dotcom.
They masqueraded as a tech-stock but were just marketing
guys with good banker contacts.

They moved out of NY, bought some obscure patent solutions
and got a bankrupt factory on the cheap as well down south.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:56 | 1970466 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture


Reminds me of loud cloud IPO.

It was like putting up a huge restaurant in an essentially uninhabited area.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 13:09 | 1970553 Potemkin Villag...
Potemkin Village Idiot's picture

I was watching the Packers-Raiders game on TV & the announcers were talking about the recent new issuance of "stock" for the Green Bay Packers... They even put up a graphic which showed one of the original stock certificates from many years back...

So yeah... I was thinking PACKERS & RAIDERS... (& stock selling)... How appropriate...

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 17:27 | 1971666 TheGardener
TheGardener's picture

Those guys were Greeks,that I met too, and by the time the local council was bribed to the tilt, that huge restaurant on the foreshore off the rocks was up and running down under...

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:47 | 1970418 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

It all hinges on a grand level of multi-national cooperation. And Europe flinched

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:56 | 1970469 SDS Trader
SDS Trader's picture

+1 to the whole article.

Have been asking that same specific set of questions to myself for a while now - how are social media companies good investments, and will there ever be an IPO for a company that actually makes something tangible?

Never carried it thru to the more-than-possible conclusion of pirhana/zero sum model outlined above. 

Frightening, but a good read all the same.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:56 | 1970470 warezdog
warezdog's picture

Just like TV Superbowl sales they'll be pushing these primetime in hopes of sucking up some tax return liquidity, since it will be the only liquidity available from the PS in Q1 2012 or any Q for that matter in 2012!

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 13:05 | 1970515 Orange Pekoe
Orange Pekoe's picture

Teacher once gave a case study on Kmart. Kmart customers said the stores were cramped, dark and dirty. So Kmart execs did a marketing campaign. Doh!

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 13:14 | 1970564 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

Zero Hedge will be the Alamo of our time.


What happens when we get rid of marketing and actually just focus on making quality stuff people use every day like Guns and Ammo? (There is a little marketing but nothing gone wild)


Yes Facebook is there. The other day someone linked to a free Ipad two giveaway and I examined it. It turns out that there is a massive marketing force ready to BURY you in spams, rules and other things you must comply with should you agree to take a free 600 dollar Ipad two.


35 thousand apparently have took this in.


35 thousand actual people slaving away at home trying to feed these fish of marketing forces trapped in the hell of the new Ipad two that they now dont want to pay for.


Reminds me of the Beanie Baby thing, or the Cabbage Patch thing or the Elmo... take your pick.


The only time the true power of the American People comes to strip a walmart is when a hurricane is coming, a tornado has wiped out everything or a quake has shaken them loose and they were not prepared for it at all.


All on the credit card too.


And those are becoming hard to get these days.


I see the Ipad giveway loaded with gotchas as a way Marketing managed to soothe the anxiety in the Apple Board Room as they realized Mountains of product is piling up with no one buying as they used to years ago.


As I type this, I have marked my facebook for deletion and have put several spammers like Newegg and others pushing Holiday crap sales that I know I dont need this year into my shit.


Thanks but no thanks. This customer buys what I need when we need it and sometimes before we need it. And then sit and wait.

Easy to do when you are debt free and only need very little to live on.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 13:18 | 1970593 Jordan Kanter
Jordan Kanter's picture

The momentum grows: DEBTORS REVOLT – intentiona­­l *default-e­­n-masse* to hasten the collapse of the predatory lending system and the plutocracy into which our country has morphed.

Join us. Simply refuse to play their game, and repudiate your debts – just walk away. The system, as it has transforme­­d over the past 15 years, is simply rigged against you and offers you no mercy. So show no mercy in return; just default. Watch what happens – their power depends upon OUR cooperation, and our continued fear. Reset and rebuild from there.

DEBTORS’ REVOLT — DEFAULT EN MASSE.  The Founding Fathers revolted against England over far, far less. 

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 13:35 | 1970673 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

that falling-off-the-table marginal productivity of debt graph by the Treasury is from march 2010

is this another data point which will no longer be re-visited?  timmah? 

that puppy is the one to show the crying monetary doves to sober the fuking shitheads up; that's the one the chairsatan must dream about after too many pickled eggs and curry;  the one which shows that more debt and QE is negative for the econom at this point in time

this is why i've been saying since july that the benzelbub would prefer to keep his foot off the gas, BiCheZ

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 13:35 | 1970677 Mr_Wonderful
Mr_Wonderful's picture

Good article but there are exceptions like Google and Amazon. Apple is also heavily into marketing, but once their stuff has been jailbroken it´s excellent.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 13:44 | 1970703 Mr_Wonderful
Mr_Wonderful's picture

An anomaly: Govt. with brains.



Swiss Govt: Downloading Movies and Music Will Stay Legal

The overall suggestion the Swiss government communicates to the entertainment industries is that they should adapt to the change in consumer behavior, or die.


Mon, 12/12/2011 - 14:34 | 1970970 Absalon
Absalon's picture

Wall Street can still do an IPO on its wholely owned subsidiaries: the Republican and Democratic Parties.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 14:47 | 1971008 tomfool
tomfool's picture

Next big IPO will be Online BK Service complete with APP for that

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 14:47 | 1971009 tomfool
tomfool's picture

Next big IPO will be Online BK Service complete with APP for that

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 15:42 | 1971248 Downtoolong
Downtoolong's picture

Anyone still got P? I bet your retirement fund does. Low trade of the day $9.15; so far.


Mon, 12/12/2011 - 16:02 | 1971342 AldoHux_IV
AldoHux_IV's picture

The Darwinian struggle to strip the flesh from insolvent consumers before one's competitors do so is not a thriving economy nor a growing economy; it is a hollowed out economy at a dead-end of financialization and substitution of Federal debt for actual production.

An economy of fraud.

Tue, 12/13/2011 - 03:34 | 1973011 myne
myne's picture

So... in a nutshell, the only thing left in the entire US economy is zombie pacemakers.


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