October 27, 2009

Absolute Value

From one of the many Anonymice in the comments:
If the financial collapse of September 2008 taught us anything, it's that there isn't a whole lot of difference between having a very large positive net worth and having a very large negative net worth - it's the absolute value of the thing which determines whether you have access to the corridors of power.

P.S. Glaivester points out that people who have a billion in assets and a billion in debts have a net worth of zero, but are still a lot more influential than people with neither. So, maybe the formula should be to add the square of the assets to the square of the debts?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

12 comments:

one of the many Anonymice said...

"being having" = "having"

Sorry about that.

Anonymous said...

Only in this game, which we are wrapping up worldwide right now.

Funny Wretchard is just now saying that when a people lose faith in their liberal government's ability to deal with problems, they turn to illiberal government as a matter of survival.

I doubt that we will get illiberal in the sense of Mossberg. I expect illiberal in the sense of totalitarian with preservation of the ruling class trumping the overall well being of the people and the nation.

Anonymous said...

Wretchard is just now saying that when a people lose faith in their liberal government's ability to deal with problems, they turn to illiberal government as a matter of survival.





Maybe, but it's debatable if the West has liberal government at present. I think that slipped away gradually over the past twenty years. All that is left is the outward forms. We still have elections, which all put the same sort of people in power.

anony-mouse said...

Yes, yes, if you owe the bank a thousand dollars you have a problem. If you owe the bank a million dollars it has a problem.

And if you owe the bank a billion dollars (fill in the blank)

Glaivester said...

I think it would be more accurate to say that influence is proportional to the sum of the absolute values of your worth and your debts.

Because if it is related to the absolute value of your net worth, then that would mean that someone with huge assets and huge debts that balanced out could not have much power, and they certainly can.

Rohan Swee said...

I expect illiberal...with preservation of the ruling class trumping the overall well being of the people and the nation.

I think we're already pretty far into that stage of the game. What comes next is the question.

Anonymous said...

If I can answer Rohan: we ain't goin anywhere from here (if by "we" you meant stevospherics and by the setup of your wuestion you meant to suggest prescriptive reforms) .

Frustrated Steviacs are too "patriotic" to consider anything like leftist anarchism, trotskyism or even light socialism. They're FAR more inclined to fascism and in heat to be swept up and taken by some goosestepping maniac who rambles about the races or any boogeyman at the gates.

And what will this fascist do? Keep the ruling classes in place.

Oh sure, he may execute a few Jews or put bars on the windows of Goldman Sachs or track down the descendants of JP Morgan or invade France or outlaw freemasonry... but, his boogeyman harassed, the ruling classes will remain - more or less - the ruling classes and you shall remain but a pathetic, harangued cog in the anti-human money-generating capitalistic machine. Your best years, your best hours and the choice of your thoughts and passions will be enslaved to keeping up with the Joneses.

But hey, at least we're not stinkin socialists.

James said...

If you squared positive a billion and added it to squared negative a billion, you get 2 * squared a billion.

David said...

> the ruling classes will remain - more or less - the ruling classes and you shall remain but a pathetic, harangued cog in the anti-human money-generating capitalistic machine <

Conspiracy theorist.

Absolute value probably relates to the alpha male phenomenon. A man who can "lose a million, make a million" is obviously (?) a Big Man, a macher, a mover and shaker, etc. He is a BIG man as opposed to a SMALL man. That's probably all there is in this.

Anonymous said...

If you squared positive a billion and added it to squared negative a billion, you get 2 * squared a billion.

Correct - and then you take the square root and you get an isosceles triangle.

The point is that you don't get zero [which is just the origin itself].

Anonymous said...

Absolute value probably relates to the alpha male phenomenon. A man who can "lose a million, make a million" is obviously (?) a Big Man, a macher, a mover and shaker, etc. He is a BIG man as opposed to a SMALL man. That's probably all there is in this.

What's "in this" is that America used to be a Republic based on the idea of adherence to the rule of law - which required that both betas and alphas be reponsible for the consequences of their behavior.

We've lost all of that in the 21st Century.

Now we're becoming just another third world oligarchical cesspool.

none of the above said...

And when your assets and debts are imaginary, you have negative influence--anything you try to get done, people do the opposite.