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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

My New Theory - Economic Fracking


I’ve coined a new term for what I think is going on in the world economy. Certain speculators and money-obsessed groups are fracking the economy, trying to extract smaller and smaller amounts of profit from deeper and deeper crevices. In doing so, they’ve made the underlying economy unstable, and strange, unexpected, and dangerous events are the result. This makes it impossible for those who played by former rules to know how to participate. The old rules have changed.

So, an example of this fracking of the economy would be the investment houses that invest in algorithms to do high volume micro-trades at faster-than-human speeds. They are hoping to extract pennies, or portions of pennies, in their favor.

An example of the resulting instability of the economy is the unpredictable stock market becoming even less predictable. Humans doing trading are being blindsided by unseen mathematical formulas. Shares of solid companies drop for no good reason, shares of lousy companies soar, and so on.

In addition to the economic fracking going on, I think it would be safe to assume that these days, there is a continual world economic war underway. We may not be sending airplanes and dropping bombs on China or Russia, but we are doing daily battle over currencies, oil prices, imports and exports.

Look at the list of countries most negatively impacted by dropping oil prices here in the U.S. ($1.95 per gallon in town as I write this) - the oil price break-even point. Who’s hurting most? Most of our “enemies” of recent years. (ie, places we’ve had concerns about “democracy”)

These are my new theories, freshly-proposed for discussion and debate. 

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 #

Sounds about right

Urban Dictionary - Fracked, fracking, fracks, frack off, frack over, frack up:

1. To take advantage of, betray, or cheat; victimize.
2. Used in the imperative as a signal of angry dismissal.
3. To engage in sexual intercourse or masturbate.
4. To act wastefully or foolishly.
5. To interfere; meddle.
6. A despised person.
7. To treat unfairly; take advantage of.
8. To spend time idly.
9. Used to express extreme displeasure.
10. To make a mistake; bungle something.
11. To act carelessly, foolishly, or incorrectly.
12. To cause to be intoxicated.
13. An intensive used to accentuate an interrogative.

 
 #

My version of the Urban Dictionary

My version of the Urban Dictionary is slightly different:

frack (1)
the basic verb of "fracking" - a synonym for hydraulic fracturing. This is a form of natural gas extraction that consistently pollutes drinking water around drilling sites. This method was featured in the 2011 Oscar-nominated documentary "Gasland". The film follows the destructive path of fracking and the devastating health effects on local residents and damage to the environment. In one iconic image, a man is able to turn on his kitchen faucet, hold a lighter next to the running water, and the water explodes into flames.

Natural gas companies mislead the public and promote their product as "clean energy".
-Don't frack my water.

-Can you light your faucet water on fire?
-Yes.
-oooo, Then it's been fracked.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Frack (2)
Word you can use in public or when you can't drop the F-bomb. It is a form of cussing/cursing/swearing. It may also be used when rage quitting. (In some cases)
Example 1
Person 1: How much money do I owe the bank?
Accountant: 18,000 U.S dollars sir
Person 1:......Frack!!!!!!!!

Example 2
Person 1: What's this game?
Person 2: it's Ninja Gaiden! I heard it's so awesome.
Person 1: Ok. I'm gonna to play it. *plays the first level and dies in 1 second* Frack this sh*t! *rage quits*

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It seems that Chris’ definition “trying to extract smaller and smaller amounts of profit from deeper and deeper crevices” is appropriate for oil/gas as well. (pun not intended).
However Vidda’s definition fits the alternate definition perfectly: “Word you can use in public or when you can't drop the F-bomb”

So, when fracking (Definition 1), which includes “economic fracking” occurs, the inevitable result is that we all get fracked (Definition2).

 
 #

well put

Having observed/analyzed similarly, though not articulated it, I appreciate this succinct summary and discussion starter.

My questions are, 1) how do we help people understand these dynamics/realities and that there isn't a way for everyone to participate/"win" and 2) how do we move forward to something that allows/facilitates the creation of more winners (i.e. the good parts of our previous middle class)?

 
 #

Costly Class Structure

In Dennis Gilbert’s (1998), The American Class Structure, he writes that “middle-class persons commonly have a comfortable standard of living, significant economic security, considerable work autonomy and rely on their expertise to sustain themselves.” Those were the “good parts of our previous middle class” which has woefully shrunken.

Yet, it was during the height of our multi-structured middleclass in the 50’s and 60’s that poverty was at its highest. Following Johnson’s war on poverty initial programming and throughout the ensuing years, poverty was lowered and remained steady at 15-16 percent, down from a spread of 20-26 percent.

Last year, for instance, the Fed’s (our tax money) spent nearly 800 billion dollars across 92 antipoverty programs to help lower-income Americans. Since the Johnson’s administration we clearly have shelled out trillions.

 
 #

hmmm

Vidda, that's interesting, and I'm not clear on what point you are trying to make. If you are saying it takes a lot of government programming to maintain a lower poverty rate, and implying that is not good, I can support that in part. I have seen too many people become marginalized by depending on some of the programs designed to be temporary, while other programs seem to empower people. That is a very long and involved conversation and comparison. What I don't like most about what is happening now is how many people have been driven downward to a point just above poverty level by the dynamics Chris articulated. And I don't like how powerless people feel about the potential for things to get better.

Looking forward to more comments, clarification, elucidation. This topic permeates most of my thinking everyday, and I would love more input from other than my own head!! (Can one input to one's own head? Oh, that would be another entire conversation!)

 
 #

Despite my frivolous first comment

Despite my frivolous first comment here I was so glad to see Chris' post, including his coining the phrase "Economic Fracking." Giving a name to something new is a good start toward explaining it.

I'm behind on my insulin + meal schedule but hope to revisit this later to explain my second comment and look for other comments on his new theories as well.

 
 #

I didn't think it was frivolous!

Yes, take care of yourself first!!

The definitions from the urban dictionary only added to the big picture understanding of "frack" for me. AND satisfied my warped mind. Any dictionary is a friend of mine -- I have 20 hard copy ones (including "The Devil's Dictionary", of course) I consult, plus online resources. Will appreciate any further thoughts you have. Still curious about what your point was, if any, or if it was just an observation.

 
 #

The good parts of our previous middle class?

Andie, it was an observation, plus my reaction to your question to Chris “how do we move forward to something that allows/facilitates the creation of more winners (i.e. the good parts of our previous middle class)?”

Yet, Gilbert’s view of middleclass people commonly having “a comfortable standard of living, significant economic security, considerable work autonomy and rely(ing) on their expertise to sustain themselves” will have trouble fitting well into a global economy with mass population growth along with technological advances because human jobs are and will continue to shrink.

Although, maybe my direct comment should be based on what Chris sees as what is “going on in the world economy (meaning, present time). In that sense, the urban dictionary definitions of fracking is not so frivolous, after all.

BTW, "a lot of government programming to maintain a lower poverty rate" is a good thing. The alternative is to put our trust in conservatives to rewrite it all in a way that protects huge numbers of people. They'd more likely just shovel more poverty on top of poverty, wash their hands of it by throwing welfare block grants to the states and let them all fight over it. It's really just a way to decentralize poverty and sidestep the responsibility..

 
 #

no hope?

So do you really think there is no hope for more progressive entrepreneurs to create economies where more people can earn a fair living that doesn't require government support to maintain a just barely ahead of poverty standard of living? I know I can be a cockeyed optimist, but I do hope there is hope. I have enough concerns about governments not doing things well, either, that I'd like to not leave the solution to unethical/immoral/amoral money hoarders or corrupt, power hungry, benevolent dictator, controlling government officials to whom I must answer and give up most, if not all of my privacy. Ah, there's my angst pouring out. Please tell me it might be possible for a better solution to evolve!

Having said all that, I do believe that as long as the nasty money hoarders rule, government should help minimize poverty directly though programs; I just don't want that to be the permanent answer. The writing and work I have done on this over the last 25 years has been under the copyrighted working title of ANSWERS not BROMIDES: A New Socioeconomic Welfare Education Restructuring Solution, not Boring, Redundant, Obfuscating, Manipulative Incantations Delivered by Elected Servants. It combines a rigorous, comprehensive democracy/citizen education project with innovative media, business, and technology, that is designed to be profitable and socially responsible. It is a dream, yes, but one I truly do hope can happen at least to some degree.

And now, I must leave this all to rest for a bit.

 
 #

As good as it’s gonna get ?

Of course, we can always hope that more people can do just about anything. More people, yes, but never “all” people. During Johnson’s War on Poverty, earth’s population stood at 3.5 billion, which then, was at the topline of human sustainability. It was downhill from then on.

One hope for a better solution would be massive reduction of population, or, another hope would be some kind limitless, costless, ubiquitous safe super-energy, etc., etc., etc.

If the dream system you’re seeking is “designed to be profitable and socially responsible...(that)can happen at least to some degree” then you’re in luck. That kind of dream remains on a continuum each generation, while swirling all around it are the mean-spirited conservative horror-buddies that march through every generation as well. It's a push-down, pop-up merry-go-round.

Creating hopeful scenarios is the easy part. Changing human nature toward congenial coexistence, now’s there’s the rub.

Rest well, Andie. It sounds like you've earned it.

 

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