Financial Industry Extracting Values from Us

Financial industry, if we shall even call it industry, as it is now, does less than contribute values to the general community. That much is clear.

I am not saying they cannot turn a profit. I really don’t mind them making profits, even off from me. We all need to make a living after all because money buys us food, shelter, and all. But moderation is always the virtue and what they had done and are still trying to do is by no way reasonable.

What is a concrete example you may ask? Well, look here.


This is the result of a transaction through Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (oh what a long name) that I must use in order to deal with company’s restricted stocks. Instead of one reasonable transaction fee, we got Commissions, Other Fee, Transaction Fees, and Service Fee. And this is not including the Proceeds Delivery Fee of $25 if I had chosen to do a wire transfer to my own bank account. Instead, I choose to be patient to receive the proceeds by mail.

My question is, why all the fees? And commission with service fee on top? How much did they do for me? We all know all these are done electronically now. Sure, you need to pay people to maintain the systems, but instead of being sensible charging one single reasonable transaction fee, we have all these. And this is exactly what our financial industry, our banking system does. On top of interest, they charge all sorts of fee for all sorts of occasions and transactions, or just about any time money passes hands, to drive up profits unreasonably and forever.

But we all know perfectly well that nothing in this world can go up and grow forever.

This is exactly what has driven the market to the ground. In a nutshell, the banks and investment firms make billions off transaction fee for creating/underwriting CDOs ranging from 1-1.5%. So they went nuts to lend out mortgages, and then hype up the demand and price of CDOs backed by these [unreliable] mortgages (bubble) to sell and exchange a shit load of them so then they get those fee. In between, banks and companies add financial products such as credit swaps and insurance for these derivatives which result in even more profits through fee while providing them the illusions that they are protected from the CDOs’ risk… But finally they run out of people to lend mortgages, plus unreliable lenders start defaulting, plus themselves and others realizing this cannot go on forever and BAM. (I may not be fully accurate and politically correct with these terms but this is the gist of it.)

Until CEOs, bankers, and all these investing “experts” and “gurus” and “managers” learn to be reasonable and sensible, or be replaced by ones who are, we are in it for a turbulent ride where they will do anything and everything to hoard and extract money.

I say in this blog title that they extract values not simply because they hoard money. They extract values from society because:

  • They are hoarding money beyond enough for themselves, meaning either they have little to no values or they are destroying them in process of hoarding.
  • To hoard, they would make others not have enough money, and how much energy, time, and money can people afford to develop values when they are preoccupied about surviving.
  • Eventually, they would have destroyed money, wealth, values, and lives for everyone including themselves.

And let’s be honest with ourselves, beyond a certain amount of money for food, shelter, other life necessities, and perhaps some indulgence, what more do you need money for?

These are things that will never be taught or promoted by mass media, social institutions because as of yet, our so-called economy is kept alive by irrational and excessive consumption. Enough and reasonable be damned. Intelligent populace aware of how everything works and are inter-connected be damned.

Originally posted 2009-12-16 01:27:40. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Questions for U.S. President George Bush Junior

I talked about reflecting on yourself to become a better “you” as everyday goes by.

I’m not a very political person, but I wonder if our president does any self-reflection.
I wonder if President George Bush Junior ever think to himself:

I’m already the president of U.S., the most powerful man in U.S. and possibly in the world, do I really need more power?
Maybe I should use my power more appropriately, for better cause, and not abuse the darn thing…

I (and my friends) have a crap load of money already, do I really have to help us obtain more?
Maybe we can use our time, money, and effort to help and advocate medical research or any kind of benefical social efforts.

I’m making more mistakes than I really want to when I speak in public…
Maybe I should work on my vocabulary and practice the presentation…

Had there been “a little” too many lives lost among all the wars I started here and there?
Maybe it’s time to find a way to stop them.

I have always been pushing democracy to the other parts of the world. Why don’t people understand?
Maybe they don’t understand the fundamentals of democracy. Wait, do I know the fundamentals of democracy? Is United States being a good example of democracy under my ruling?

Should I listen more to the opinions of the people I am supposed to be serving?
Maybe it’s time I listen to other perspectives.

Did I really change the government for the better?
Did I really make America a better place?
Have I contributed to the world positively?

And finally…
Am I being a good president? Am I being a good person?

Personally, I’m not sure if he can close his eyes and say with peace in his heart, “Yes”.
But that’s just me.

Do you have questions for our Mr. President?

Originally posted 2007-08-19 13:10:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Are You Ready to Change?

Phew, the election is finally over. For awhile I felt like the news, rumors, absurdities, bashing, and Tina Fey would never end. We can now be relieved and start seeing and reading other things besides all things presidential and campaign related. By other things, I mean economic crisis news ONLY. Okay, enough sarcastic comments for the day.

Finally the president is decided. Now we can move on. I am glad. The biggest unknown and question now is, “Are the people ready to change?” Our future will result in two completely different ends depending on the answer. I wonder if people really mean it when they say change.

If they mean that they are ready to change and better themselves, this would be a good answer.

If they simply mean that they await for others and the world to change for them, this would be the disastrous answer.

Originally posted 2008-11-05 21:36:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

There is Always a Choice

There is always a choice.

That is why I am no fan of the “blame game” that people play. Flip through any sort of media channels and you can find the trend of blaming in almost every story, in any scope, be it a small town event or national crisis. Better yet, look around yourself and see how many people always think they are victims of problems created by others. Why is that?

It is simply easier to be victims and claim that you do not have a choice. That means you do not have to be responsible. Let’s face it, most people avoid responsibility by victimizing themselves and pretending they had no part of the problem creation. People fear to admit the problems they have caused and shit they have created.

Let’s look at it on the individual level with a few examples.

Do you have to go to work?
Do you have to exercise? Or go to the gym?
Do you have to make your spouse happy?

You may think that you HAVE TO work to pay all the bills, but do you really HAVE TO? For all I know, you work for the money to afford the luxury of a shelter, food, the use of city’s facilities, and the million things that you try to accumulate. You do not HAVE TO work. You may think it a tragedy when you lose all your things but you will not be dead. You CHOOSE to work because you want all these things and stuff.

The concept of have-to-exercise or have-to-go-to-gym are detrimental and is the reason why many people never get healthy or stay consistent with a training schedule. You do not HAVE TO do those, albeit your body will function sub-optimally. It is not a chore. It maybe difficult to have yourself go at times, but personally I make the choice to exercise and go to the gym every time I do so. I want to be healthy and maintain my body. I want to be better physically, at the same time improving myself mentally. Body and mind are inter-related. Therefore, I choose to go. I also choose not to go when I feel I cannot strain myself any further due to schedule.

What about relationship? Do you HAVE TO stay in a relationship that maybe harmful to the both of you? Or do you stay in a relationship because you HAVE TO be in a relationship, supposedly? You may think you HAVE TO because you may hurt the other person badly, but you probably are already doing so. Give the other person some credit and let them be responsible for themselves while you make an aware decision, whether to leave or to take action for resolution. And if you are married, does that mean you HAVE TO take care of your family? They may not be as well off if you don’t. They may hate you. But I say you do not HAVE TO. I would choose to be with someone because I want to, not because I have to have a girlfriend. I will choose to care and protect my family not because I have to, but because I want to and it is my choice.

In the extreme case, for people who are in the position of authority to do so, they think, “I have to do [fill in illegal activities] in order to make my family happy.” Now, do you really? Maybe your family desire not all the money and power you may gain from doing the illegal stuffs in order to be happy. Maybe your parents will be happier if you stay safe and just take care of yourself. Maybe they will be happier if you are around more. Maybe it is all okay, if you choose to care more about them and stop hurting others to get what you want. Maybe if you choose not to be such a greedy bastard.

All the “have to” we tell ourselves are choices we have given up. I am not telling you to live in an illusion and put a positive spin where you control everything. Because you do not control everything. You control nothing but yourself. But I believe what you choose for yourself in every moment can directly or indirectly influence many events to come in your life. In every moment, there is always a choice. Therefore, first not give up your choice. Second, do best to make good choices.

Begone with the “have to”. Now make your choice. And give it time because it will take time to regain responsibility on things you have given up on and to resolve the mess created in the process of you not being responsible.

There is always a choice.

Originally posted 2008-07-13 01:41:26. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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