Saturday, January 10, 2009

Don't Sell Yourself Short

Look into the crystal ball - deep within it.  Can you see it?  Can you see your fortune?  A fortune teller practices fortune-telling, usually for commercial gain.  If I examine these words, how is this any different than a bank teller.  A bank teller provides fortunes, or legal tender.  But if I consider what fortune is to me, differences can be inferred.  The english translation to a famous Chinese fortune-tellers quote is:  

"One fate, two luck, three fengshui, four karma, five education"

We are first and singularly destined for fortune, we emerge from the womb destined to be healthy and happy.
We then experience chance happenings beyond our control, but are left to choose between two interpretations, good and bad.
We will afterwards arrange items in such a fashion that we may create control and harmony.
We will create a memory and expectation of our past, present and future from this harmony, effectively creating responsibility for one's life and the pain and joy it brings to others.  
We may then draw conclusions of these memories and expectations to learn, prosper and fulfill our destinies.
So how is fortune different from banks?  We may have crossed a line.  

Chinese officials have recently been charged with the loss of millions of dollars in gambling debt.  They bet on football games, invested in casinos, and gambled in mahjong.  

And at this same time, our markets have been on a downward spiral for the last four months.  A new form of gambling is to sell short.  Bet on this downward spiral.  Bet the house that the joblessness, decrease in consumer spending and deficits will sink ships.  Gamble on this and win.   You just need to sell yourself short.  Short selling consists of 'borrowing' stock from the market with the anticipation that the stock will decrease in value.  For example, I 'borrow' 100 stock of LSC Ltd. at a value of $1.00 per share from a lender, or bank, which I, in turn sell to the market for $100.   At a later time, the price per share goes down to $0.80 per share.  At this time I buy back the shares from the market and return the 'borrowed' shares to the lender.  I also pocket $20.  The lender normally pockets a fee, therefore benefits from the agreement.  The loser in the market? The Joe Six-Packs who buy, the investors who gamble money away into a system that is failing.  That the unfortunate reality of the lender.  

So if someone can make money when someone else loses, is this not a form of gambling?  Investors have and will continue to collect individual's money in the hopes that lightning will strike.  And lightning will never strike twice.  The same misfortune will never recur.  China is making sure of this.  Are we?  We must prosecute.  We must bring to justice those that perpetrated this crime, and those that allowed the deregulation that opened the door to the casino.

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