Cyreenik Says

December 2017 issues

New financial tools, new ways to express financial mania

Booms end in busts. When the bust is a big one, one part that becomes memorable is the new financial tool that spectacularly busts as part of it. In 1929 that was stocks, in 2000 it was dot-com companies, in 2007 it was CDO's. When the next bust arrives the memorable tool will be cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin, highest-profile cryptocurrency, originated in 2009 as a cyber-based alternative to country-oriented currencies. The goal was for a currency that couldn't be manipulated by a government. It was followed by many other similar cryptocurrency offerings. But in 2017 that original goal of these offerings has been transcended by a new, much more spectacular one -- they have been transformed into the "new gold" -- a new way of trying to make spectacularly big money by speculating on price moves.

That Bitcoin and the cryptocurrencies got picked to become the center of this next mania is a surprise. That some new financial tool got chosen to become the center of this next boom-associated mania is not. This is a recurring pattern. And next, at some point, as part of the pattern, comes the bust. Exactly when the bust happens will be a surprise, this is part of the pattern.

What then follows is new regulations for the tool, and discovering what its more conventional fit in the financial universe will be. This is also part of the pattern. Where it fits will be surprising. It can be has high-profile as stocks, or as obscure as the current CDO's are.

The consequences of the now-flowering Fem Scare

The Fem Scare (the #MeToo movement) continues to flower and extend its reach. What are the lasting consequences, the social scars, this moral panic is going to bring on our communities? Here are a few predictions.

o As with other moral panics one of the first casualties is going to be humor. The topics of these panics are things that are at the root of many humorous stories and jokes. When these become "No-No"'s then we lose branches of humor. An example from my youth is one of the first jokes I learned.

Q. The Big Moron and the Little Moron are sitting on a railroad bridge. A train comes by and rattles the bridge so hard that one of them falls off. Which one stays on the bridge?

A. The Little Moron because he's a little more on.

Try find this one in today's humor lexicon.

o Another obvious change is what will be permissible behaviors in offices and other workplace environments. Men and women will have to be a lot more careful about what they say and do around each other. This is going to make the workplace experience duller and a lot more like what conservative religious groups experience in their social gatherings. Variety in workplace experiences will be a casualty as well, they will all become more alike in this arena. This will be a loss of choice in office culture for employees.

o How this panic is going to interact with more tolerant parts of the community is a mystery. How is Fem Scare going to interact with hookup culture? How is it going to interact with falling in love romance?

o This panic is yet another blow to what I call the Sacred Masculine -- the feeling a man has that what he does contributes to the community's well being. The alternative is to think that what he does makes no difference, so... "Meh... I'll stay in the basement and play video games." The more men feel this way the more future prosperity the community will never experience.

In sum, moral panics have big consequences -- some of them are predictable, some will be surprising. The bigger the panic, the bigger the surprises, and this one is getting big.

Update: This 10 Jan 17 WSJ article, In France, Some Say #MeToo Has Gone Too Far Actress Catherine Deneuve sparks a fight with a letter arguing the campaign against sexual harassment undermines sexual liberation by William Horobin and Sam Schechner, talks about some alternative viewpoints on this controversy.

From the article, "Film star Catherine Deneuve and more than 100 French women this week published a letter in the newspaper Le Monde defending the lustful advances of their male compatriots, and denouncing what they call “puritanism” of the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment that has taken root in the U.S. and other countries since the publication of allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein."



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