The respected financial firm of Plunder, Pillage and Loot was holding its annual meeting. First to speak was Mr. Plunder, one of the owners and founders.
Mr. Plunder: “First of all, a big welcome to our esteemed clients. You are the crème de la crème of the world’s investors. [All of the assembled burst into applause in praise of themselves.] I see all kinds of nationalities from various countries represented here, and that is how it should be. We all know money owes no allegiance to any country. But, I digress. This year, once again, we have made huge amounts of money for all of you assembled here today. Even though the market is in what we call a ‘downturn,’ we remain unscathed. It helps when you are a mover and a shaker of the system, which we all are. The good news is that your investments and profits with us are safely offshore in the tax-free money and banking havens.
"On another note, our trading in the world’s currencies continues to show massive profits as we manipulate the world’s money systems to our mutual benefit. A touch of a button and our and your profits are whisked away to our offshore subsidiaries. This is the beauty of financial globalization. Offshore havens are places where privacy is paramount. And we at this firm know how you all love your privacy. [A round of applause takes place.] I would say that some issue of worry is starting to surface. There have been reports that a number of governments wish to clamp down on many of these offshore money and tax havens. [Cries of shame and bloody socialists are heard from the assembled.] But, not to worry, many of the powerful elites have also been known to use these wonderful offshore money laundering, oops, I mean legitimate facilities, so I am sure it will not come to pass. And anyway, if some of the politicians want positions in our financial system, after politics, they will learn who butters their bread, as the saying goes, and let the matter die. Still, I believe it is only a political diversion to let the masses think they are doing something about the state of their economies. After all, re-election is the politician’s game, while ours is financial gain. Now, I will hand you over to our esteemed colleague and financial wizard Mr. Pillage.”
Mr. Pillage takes the podium.
Mr. Pillage: “Nice to see you all here today. I won’t speak too long as I know many of you have important meetings at other places directing the affairs and direction of the world. As you know my expertise in the firm is commodities. It has been an up and down year for some, but for us it has been up all the way. [More polite applause is heard.] Our speculation, oops, I mean investments, in the commodity food systems of the world has made us ever increasing profits. One commodity, rice, made us a bundle of money. As you know, people have to eat, and investing in food commodities is always a sure winner. There are some who say that manipulating the commodities markets causes hunger, starvation, and death in poor countries, as well as losses of jobs in others; they believe this type of speculation should be banned and considered a crime. But, the free market must reign supreme even though some losers don’t like it. [A number of "hear, hears" are heard.] Another commodity where we made big profits was oil. A well-placed word in the right ears and reported in the corporate media that it would go to over $200 dollars a barrel propelled and manipulated it upward, and we cashed in before bringing the price back down. Manipulating prices in the free market is what I like to call our forte. I will now hand the podium over to our esteemed partner Mr. Loot.”
Mr. Loot: “Let me first say that the free market system is the greatest system in the world, and offshore banking and tax havens are great places to let our money rest. [A standing ovation ensues and many more "hear, hears" are heard.] The world today is in a financial crisis, but in our world I call it opportunity. Why do I call it opportunity? Because I see more financial opportunities for us in the market. Yes, I know the market is down, and some say we brought it down. All we did was sell off our investments at the top of the market and we sent the profits offshore to our subsidiaries. This has always been a practice of our firm and always will be. Mind you, it helps when you have a corner on the market and have the clout to do it. But hey, all power to the powerful, I say. [A massive thunder of applause takes place and much nodding of heads can be seen.]
"Mind you, the pension funds and investments of the proletariat took a hit; but hey, the masses have to learn there is risk in the free market. Now the market is in the doldrums and job losses are huge, but our jobs are secure and our money too; that is the beauty of offshore banking. Speaking about banking, I see governments are bailing out, with taxpayers' dollars, many banks and financial conglomerates with subsidiaries offshore. I believe there is a huge opportunity here. We must get involved in this; after all, governments are not too good at handling money and our expertise in advising them will probably be much sought after, especially as some of our alumni work for the central banks of various countries. This should bring us huge fees with no risk to our firm, and a good ‘stimulus package’ for our bottom line.
"Another opportunity I see in the future, for the firm, will be the depressed real estate market. We are holding massive amounts of tax-free cash in our offshore subsidiaries. This huge cash goldmine came from our successful selling of packaged debt, which some call ‘toxic paper’ or ‘lousy debts.’ But we at the firm like to call this selling the un-sellable, and we did--and got huge fees for doing so. I am always amazed at the ingenuity of the market; one can sell manure if it's packaged properly--and we did. [Much laughter ensues.] Anyway, as I said earlier, there are bargains waiting for us in the real estate market. We made big dollars in it at the top, now it has crashed back to earth as the saying goes. What an awful pun! [More laughter from the assembled.] Still, at the appropriate time we should be able to pick up this depressed real estate at bargain prices, and sell it all over again. You have heard of two-time losers; well, we are two-time winners. This, I believe, will be another win-win situation for us. Anyway, I have talked long enough. Thank you all for coming, and no doubt we will be meeting some of you in the glorious sunshine offshore as we continue our never ending journey of maximizing our money in the free market systems, and putting it safely offshore.”
[A standing ovation ensues along with shouts of, “Three cheers for the firm of Plunder, Pillage and Loot."]
Stephen J. Gray
March 16, 2009