Friday, June 1, 2012

Don't cotton to it

Over at Baseline Scenario, one of the usual suspects issues a cri de coeur;
Simon, thanks for your sane, sober and spot-on article which appropriately describes (in so many words) the position of Jamie Dimon as being emblematic of the very cultural illness which is moving toward wrecking the US. He would be the tip of the proverbial iceberg were it not that there are so many “tips” from which to choose. The fact is that in a plutocratic system of government, societies always suffer. In our case, as in innumerable others throughout world history, the majority of our citizens are either sufferinig, rightly paranoid and troubled by a seemingly bleak future, or simply terrified by the prospects of simply surviving their present lives, let alone distraught at the future which their children seemingly face. Jamie needs to go.
The, 'sane, sober and spot-on article', being the one claiming to draw a lesson from Acemoglu and Robinson's Why Nations Fail.  Is there such a lesson regarding J.P. Morgan-Chase CEO Jamie Dimon?

You can't even find his name in the index, unlike several others; Mubarrak, Mugabe, the Kims (Il-Sung and Jong-Il), and one not so well known to westerners, (but probably ought to be); Ismail Karimov President (for life?) of Uzbekistan.

Karimov was a power in Soviet Uzbekistan, who managed to land on his feet when the USSR imploded.  He quickly realized that that country's main export, cotton, would be key to his fortune.  But, not if a free market with truly private farms were allowed.

Landowners are forced to reserve 35% of their land for cotton growing.  Which the government confiscates, paying only a few pennies per ton to the farmers who produced it.  Since that rules out anyone being able to pay farm laborers to cultivate and harvest the crop, Karimov decided to enlist the nation's school children.

Public schools are closed in spring and fall, and children are forced into the fields to do the work that enriches the Karimov family.  Arbeit macht frei!

When private investors thought that they could grow tea at profit in the country (and succeeded) the Karimov's moved to destroy those firms and took over that industry too.  Nice work if you can extract it.

Does the above bear any similarity to the doings of Jamie Dimon?  Scapegoat of the Month at Baseline Scenario.

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