Our growing zero-sum economy – LA Progressive

The fact that Donald Trump is now offering digital trading cards with pictures of himself as a superhero for $99 each tells you everything you need to know about Trump and about NFTs.

The recent FTX crypto market implosion by Samuel Bankman-Fried provides another case in point. Months ago, FTX was huge. Now it’s a hole in the pockets of countless people who put their money into it. (Until a few weeks ago, Bankman-Fried was one of the richest people in the world.)

Crypto as a whole is proving to be little more than a giant zero-sum game. As with NFTs, the current value of crypto depends on whether buyers believe it future Buyers will be even bigger suckers.

A large and growing sector of the US economy produces nothing of value. Nada. zilch. Each winner comes at the expense of a current or future loser. The only things this “zero-sum” sector produces are many of the nation’s ultra-rich. Money moves from one set of pockets to another – mostly upwards, into the pockets of the ultra-rich.

Much of Wall Street is expanding this zero-sum economy. Derivatives, private equity, hedge funds and funds of funds are creating a few incredibly wealthy people who might disappear tomorrow and for all the net worth they produce could hardly be missed.

Corporate law is another part. Highly paid lawyers representing one company fight high-paid lawyers representing another. Huge sums of money are spent on these escapades. But there are no societal gains unless you equate it with the victory of one company over another Justice.

management consulting? Advising companies on how to make more money by cutting wage bills, abandoning communities, busting unions, outsourcing abroad and hiring more temporary workers adds no value. Some economists call this “efficiency,” but when you factor in the social cost inflicted on everyone else, it’s a zero-sum game.

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