Just had a discussion with some local Occupy people on capitalism and central banking

swissaustrian

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I went shopping today in Zürich, Switzerland. The financial sector is neighbouring the main shopping Avenue. There were some Occupy people (about 10 of them) protesting both UBS and Credit Suisse, the two Swiss tbtf. I had some time left before I had to go home, so I thought: Let's discuss with them.
I don't look like a greedy capitalist (although I kind of was one until early 2011 when I managed a commodities fund), so they were friendly when I approached them. I intially talked to a guy with a sign which said: "End capitalism". So my question was: "How do you define capitalism?" His answer was some Marxist bs about the exploitation of labor by the capitalists. His solution: More power to governments. After 10 minutes of discussion, we discovered that governments are run by lobbyists, so more power wouldn't change anything. By this time, all the Occupiers had joined the discussion.
Then I brought their attention to the Swiss central bank and the famous insider trading of Philipp Hildebrand. The intial reaction of the Occupiers was to defend Mr H and the central bank, because you know "it's a government agency" :flushed: I thought some class warfare rhetoric might impress them, so I told them that Mr H earned over 900K $ a year whereas the Swiss president just earns about 250K$. Then I told them that I am shareholder of the SNB (49% of the shares are privately owned) and that they pay me an annual dividend of 16 CHF per share (yielding about 1.6% p.a. at the current price of ~ CHF 1000). That nearly made their heads explode. One guy told me that I must an evil 1%ter, some started calling me names. So I decided to disclose my professional past as a fund manager and why I got out of that doomed business. I had the opportunity to talk about paper money and it's biasedness towards those who understand it. I also told them how central banks secretely bail out commericial banks with zero interest loans, so these commercial banks can lend the money to their customers at 3,4,5% interest.
Finally, I brought an argument up that made the hardcore Marxists nearly puke: Why should governments use the free market to loan money and commerical banks get priviledged loans from the central bank?
After that, I had to leave. I gave one guy 20 CHF, so he can buy a copy of Ron Paul's "End the FED" (it remains to be seen whether he actually uses the money for that, but anyway) :rimshot:
 

pmbug

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You probably looked at that excersize as a bit of fun, but hopefully it planted some seeds which will sprout into mighty oaks.
 

swissaustrian

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You probably looked at that excersize as a bit of fun, but hopefully it planted some seeds which will sprout into mighty oaks.
We'll see, I have the suspicion that some of them were activists for the socialist party. They probably won't change their minds :(
 

DSAbug

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The BEST way to gain some traction is to point out how lobbyist control governments just as you did. Most liberals put government on a pedestal and the realization that it's corruptible usually sends them into overload.

However, it takes YEARS to break down the mental barriers a lot of these statophiles have. I lived in Oregon for 7 years and found it unbelievable how closed minded and inherently biased people are up there. I don't want to sound elitist but the level of ignorance is astounding. Pretty much every political/economic argument is based around strawmen and if I had a penny for every logic leap I heard.
 

ancona

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The BEST way to gain some traction is to point out how lobbyist control governments just as you did. Most liberals put government on a pedestal and the realization that it's corruptible usually sends them into overload.

However, it takes YEARS to break down the mental barriers a lot of these statophiles have. I lived in Oregon for 7 years and found it unbelievable how closed minded and inherently biased people are up there. I don't want to sound elitist but the level of ignorance is astounding. Pretty much every political/economic argument is based around strawmen and if I had a penny for every logic leap I heard.
+100 Derek.

I live in Florida, and the government workers surrounding me every day are among the most closed minded bunch of govtards I have ever listened to. With a few exceptions, they blame the failure of our system entirely on free enterprise, instead of the millions upon millions of pages of laws enshrined in the Federal Register.
 
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