It’s been more than thirty years since Oliver Stone’s film Wall Street was released. Michael Douglas plays Gordon Gekko, an iconic hedge fund manager who buys companies with the sole purpose of splitting them and selling them at a profit. In the middle of the film, he leaves friends and foes stunned after a brilliant speech with which he wins over the shareholders of a pitiful company. That speech has become known as the “Greed Is Good” speech. It is the ultimate apology of unscrupulous capitalism, social Darwinism and the survival of the fittest.
I had Gordon Gekko in mind when I wrote Money. And Bernard Madoff, the greatest pyramid game fraud ever. And a former colleague, who tried to warm me up a few years ago to invest in the Bulgarian Ponzi scheme OneCoin, an obvious set-up to squeeze money out of the pockets of gullible investors. Blockchain you know, the future. That former colleague is no longer my friend.
Money is about easy money, and about our tendency to ignore all warnings. The bitcoin is a tulip bulb, but one that now requires more power than the entire Dutch economy. It doesn’t matter, as long as we get rich. I do love the fallacies that come along to legitimise the crypto currencies. Such as: you can pay with a bitcoin (you can’t, unless you can afford to wait a long time). Or: bitcoins are not controlled by banks and governments (so say people who are controlled by Facebook, Instagram, Google and other hip companies all day long, and who would also hesitate before they would cut their debit cards out of idealistic motives).
The past month I spent a few weeks in the US, the promised land of Ayn Rand admirers. It is a beautiful and fascinating country of extremes, I can see that. Only, money is all-important. People with no money can go to hell. It’s their own fault. Whoever has money but gets sick, can also go to hell. Gordon Gekko’s Greed Is Good acted like a mirror to the American people. This is the land you get when greed is good and tax is theft. But nevertheless we remain fascinated by easy money. The Wolf of Wall Street was in the cinema five years ago and Jordan Belfort speaks to the imagination just like Gordon Gekko did at the time. Fortunately, America is also the land of Woody Guthrie.
I wish everyone who has invested in bitcoins and other tulip bulbs the best of success, just like everyone who participates in the Zipcode lottery. I myself am the schmuck with no lottery tickets, who lives in the street where the big one drops. That man with the guitar who became a pop musician a while ago.
Is there still time for a joke? A lion walks over the tundra and suddenly falls into a deep pit. Luckily a mouse in a Ferrari drives by. The mouse hears the roar of the lion. “Wait a minute, I’ll pull you out,” he squeaks. He ties a rope to his car and pulls the lion out of the pit. “If I can ever thank you …” the lion growls gratefully. But the Ferrari is already around the corner. A week later, the opportunity happens to occur. The mouse has fallen into the same pit and its fearful squeaks have awakened the lion. Sleepy, he drops his dick in the hole. “Grab!” he calls. And he liberates the mouse from his awkward position. The point of this story? If you have a big dick, you don’t need a Ferrari.
And friends, if you have a Duesenberg Fullerton CC, you don’t need a Ferrari either.
January 25, 2018