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Conrad Black: Lessons to learn from Wall Street’s week of no return

fool?s paradise of the service economy

Conrad Black: Lessons to learn from Wall Street’s week of no return

*Here is my favorite part: *

“Beyond that, the United States and other countries have fallen
too far into the fool’s paradise of the service economy.
The U.S. GDP of $13-trillion is about half composed of worthless
and non-productive effort, which yet engages the efforts of a
large number of very skilled people. A trillion dollars annually
goes into legal expenses
to feed the absurdly litigious society
and state prosecutocracy. Another great fortune goes to insane *
*
insurance costs on medical lawsuits
, and superfluous consulting
fees — which mainly substitute for what management should be
doing, and provide a lightning rod to shelter inept management
from shareholder wrath.

In all of the nearly 50 American metropolitan areas that have
more than a million inhabitants, towering downtown skyscrapers
are jammed with people who work hard and are very talented,
but don’t actually do anything useful
. People who make paper
clips or rubber bands, or the proverbial widget, are at least
producing something. But as a society, we came to despise
blue collar work as menial
, and most of it has migrated to
formerly Third World places. The service economy only works
when people want and can pay for the services. This
progressively ceases to be the case — more swiftly and profoundly
than with finished goods — as economies slow down.

This article should be required reading for anyone, starting a new job or upon entering a trade school or college. (Except maybe law school).

The handwriting on the wall was plain to see.

Fannie Mae Seeks to Ease Home Buying
By KEITH BRADSHER, Published: March 10, 1994

NYT 1999: Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending [to minorities and uncreditworthy]

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