Capitalism as practiced in most of the world – but especially the USA – revolves around one principle: I got mine, Jack, Fuck everyone else. The future doesn’t exist, consequences don’t exist. And as we see in fuckos like Biden, when the consequences do come home to roost? It ain’t as bad as it looks, it wasn’t my individual fault specifically, it’s somebody else’s bad, somebody else’s duty, somebody else’s problem. If he saw things clearly and accurately, if he wasn’t huffing the statue of liberty’s ass vapors, he’d know that by being rich he has no small amount of personal liability for it, and as president every moment that he doesn’t exercise his massive executive powers to fight AGW, he’s taking on much much more personal fault for the destruction of life as we know it. He’d be wracked by grief, but spending all his waking effort to make right what has transpired on his watch.
I’m not going to write this story because it’s too bleak to focus on for the length of time required, but take in the short version, if you will.
Upper middle class family. Dad’s a contractor, mom’s in publishing, they own their own home. They have more than a million in assets, but much less available for day to day things. Nonetheless, a life of comfort. The only worries they have are ones they brought on themselves by keeping up with the Joneses. The kids all grow up to be similarly successful, but have fewer assets. Their mortgages are less generous, housing prices massively higher, but still. Not shabby.
One of the kids breaks the mold. He’s a stand-up comedian, turned actor and screenwriter. He gets a few hot breaks and is pulling royalties off of some kids movies he co-wrote, getting character actor parts with minimal effort, bringing in that cheese. He is a millionaire with no quibbles – Where his parents had over a million in assets, he has more than a million in the bank.
You can’t expect that to last forever, kid. You’re gonna be old and wanting the kind of loot that lets you pay for black market organs someday. So how do you get it? Pay a money guy, don’t ask questions. It doesn’t matter what he does to increase your wealth – he just says that he can and has a track record of measurably succeeding. You have proof it isn’t a ponzi scheme.
Money guy says all the B list celebs are getting theirs from real estate. Not houses anymore. It’s all about apartments. All you have to do, comedian, is give me the money – and I’ll give you a reliable return every day for the rest of your life. Money guy pools money from various Hollywood types to start a “property management company” that buys up apartment buildings around the country. Now comedian has a partial stake in apartments from Florida to Oregon.
The apartments are any cheap pile of moldy lumber, with more effort put into faking a good look for the exteriors than any structural or maintenance issues. They look alright from a distance but once you get in the door you realize it’s all falling apart. PropertyCo still jacks the price up every year until people are forced to move into still cheaper places – owned by companies like PropertyCo.
Since these apartments are businesses designed not to deliver an essential service but instead to rob poor people blind, moneymaking schemes are added to moneymaking schemes. Require pet rent, renters insurance, parking rent, etc. Cut deals with shady insurance companies that will give you a slice if you coerce your customers into using them, or better yet toss together your own insurance company based out of a server in a Connecticut basement. Have the price for units so high that people can only afford them by having more adults in a single unit than they were designed for, meaning more cars necessary for commuting than the parking lots were designed for, so that in desperation people who work late park in fire lanes and get their cars towed – by tow companies you have other shady deals with.
Inevitably a certain amount of people can’t afford to stay or pay timely due to losing work (possibly by having their only ride to work held hostage for thousands of dollars) or other bad luck, and they get evicted. You have debt you can sell to a collection company. It’s basically impossible to lose money as a property management company.
Some sixty year old lady with poor health is among the evicted and she manages to beg her way into the household of one of her children. At her new residence she starts receiving harassment from a collection agency. Story cuts to Hyderabad India where a call center full of crash course English speakers follow their scripts to hound people to desperation and suicide, while their company compounds interest on the debt every time somebody sneezes.
How do you convince a decent human to be a collections agent? It probably helps to hire as many violently twisted people as possible, but no way there are enough people like that in a given community to comprise the entire staff of a given call center. I imagine there’s some indoctrination session, like, “These are scum, criminals who don’t pay their dues. They deserve all the scorn you can muster.”
Story follows a guy who took the job. It paid better than anything else he could find and he needs it because rent is going through the roof, but he senses something wrong, messed up. Still, he powers through it. One day that he has inflicted exceptional cruelty upon the “clients,” he snaps out of it, like coming out of a dream. He has become a horrible person and blames the business. He burns the place down.
The debt collection agency gathers its insurance and ponders options. Hey, the corrupt government has made it very easy to do organized crime against targets overseas, you have experience running a call center, just start over with an explicitly criminal call center. Now the indoctrination is a little different. “Americans are all greedy fat cats ruining the world for fun and profit, their old folks and disabled people have money but are too stupid to hold it. Tell them you’re calling from a government agency and they’ll be in big trouble unless they give you their social security numbers, mother’s maiden name, bank account info…”
The new call center cuts deals with US telecoms to acquire thousands of US local phone numbers, makes it look like their calls are coming from within the US, and hits the phone book. They dial everyone, but whenever they have a hint somebody might be old or disabled? They hit them ten times as hard, calling round the clock, trying to scare someone into slipping up.
They call the comedian’s mom and pop, get enough info to run massive fraud on them. Because of their assets they have higher credit limits than most of the call center’s victims and the scale of loss is immense. Well, you know, even modestly rich USians get enough deference from financial institutions they could probably get out from under the damage, but it’s scary to get scammed like that. Mom and pop spend the rest of their lives not answering phones, paranoid and scared.
It’s the circle of life under capitalism. And notice I didn’t even invoke the evil of billionaires, easily the most destructive class in human history, with more resources than god emperors. I kept the story down to millionaires at the worst. Money chases money chases money, until the people who have the least are hounded into the grave. And even people with resources know on some level that vultures are nipping at their heels. They’ll blame taxes and the government, but it’s the whole sick-ass world.
This property company thing is real. Mid-tier celebs from Fox News talking heads to liberal Hollywood types are all making their loot from stuff like this now. I’d say, might be cool if somebody created a property company whose selling point was doing business ethically – minimizing the travail of tenants, not doing business with collection agencies, etc. But if somebody did come up with that as a sales pitch for the millionaire investors? It would be nothing but a snowjob and the apartments would still be horrid slums.
Anyway, smash the system, down with everything. I’m gonna go back to sleep for a while.