18 Sep 2008

Riverboat gamblers, money traders and other key speculative behaviours

What are the similarities between riverboat gamblers, money traders and other speculators? There aren't any - just degrees of "acceptability" based on who employs you. Essentially all these men do is gamble on the possibility of making a profit from the turn of a card, the roll of a die or the chance that the other guy will blink first. Each of them is concentrating on making a profit from an illusion of skill.

Michael Cullen is drawing no long bow when he points out that it was the actions of men, in the same profession as John Key once was, whose gambling caused the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch.

For anyone who understands the use of analogy and of examples when arguing a case Cullen's comments make perfect sense and provide a solid logical progression to an inevitable conclusion. For the benefit of the media and other commentators it runs like so:

1) Merrill Lynch was a financial institution that had made its reputation from speculation on the futures markets and currency trading which are simply sophisticated forms of riverboat gambling.
2) The money traders employed by Merrill Lynch are highly paid gamblers who use other people's money to take bets on the possible value of commodities and currencies that might eventuate as a result of a rumour, a possibility of a storm, flood, pestilence or the failure of a sports team to win a crucial test match.
3) John Key's reputation is not based on his political acumen but on his gambling ability and instincts developed while employed as a currency gambler by Merrill Lynch.
4) As a high stakes currency gambler Mr Key was successful - but only while the house of cards built up on successive levels of speculation remained standing.
5) Once the house of speculation collapsed the reputation of the currency and commodity gamblers must be called to question just as the security of the finance houses like Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch must be called to question and account.
Therefore: Given that John Key is still, at heart and reputation, a money trader (gambler / speculator) and has had well publicised ties to the firm of Merrill Lynch which collapsed because of the poor judgment of the currency and commodity gamblers employed there then it must follow that questions about Mr Key's ability to take control of a country's economy must be called into question.
However, the spin doctors, the Herald agenda driven reporters who appear to lack an understanding of the nuances and subtleties of language and logic have all leapt to the illogical conclusion that John Key was the cause of the collapse of Merrill Lynch. ( Would that were true - it would really make some earlier gambling trades that went sour on individual traders look like small bikkies.)
What people should recognise is that no one is saying that Key caused the collapse of Merrill Lynch but one does begin to doubt the ability of a currency gambler to make sound economic judgments.
This is not negative campaigning. This is not personality attack. This is not dirty politics as the Crosby Textor script would have it. This is legitimate questioning of the perception that Mr Key has the ability to make sound judgements based on the evidence that other currency gamblers obviously have none as they caused the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch.
The conclusion then becomes obvious.

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