Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Every Little Cartel Helps

Welcome to the wild, wacky and wicked world of shareholder capitalism.
There are clear parallels between the cartels governing the English football industry and those covering other areas of the economy. These criminalised networks contort the system to the benefit of big business and to the inevitable detriment of everybody else.
In this post, we explore these cartelised entities in order to discover similarities of infrastructure and tactic. We also focus on the incentives that underpin this rampant roguery and suggest some suitable regulatory policing and reality templates.

Lyotard: "Power is self-legitimating".

The entire system is, of course, a sham and both self-legitimation and self-regulation have always been the basis of this system based on capital. The progression of generations and time mean that our collective economic consciousness forgets the slave ships, the robber barons and the imperialist agendas - none of us are able to correctly apportion years, numbers nor distance and historical economic atrocities are airbrushed selectively from the history books. Consequently, when we are presented with a societal spectacular indicating that all might not be well with the capitalist model, the autocratic media provides us with the Good and the Evil, the standard Hollywood format. Pseudo-trial by public allows the spectaclist agenda to reach fruition - the financial director of Enron is jailed and we may now all sleep more easily.
Nonsense. As Baudrillard states: "...it [capital] is a monstrous unprincipled enterprise, nothing more". Nixon wasn't a knobhead, he was the norm. All capital is corrupt and the preferred format of corruption in a maturing market is the cartel.

Until recently in Britain, the deep state via the tentacles of the civil service neatly avoided any regulation of the self-legitimised system. Until 1980, insider trading, for instance, was regarded as a perk of the job and, despite being illegal since this date, not one prosecution has yet been undertaken. So, we are expected to believe that no insider dealing has taken place in Britain in nearly three decades. This would be a surprise to anybody with a knowledge of trading financial markets as insiders drive the structure!
Recently, however, Britain has been shamed into taking a more assertive line. As ever, the little island state follows its think-tanking superior, the USA. Firstly, we had the Virgin v British Airways price fixing cartel, soon followed by the inflation of energy prices by the (formerly public) utilities and the masonic construction companies rigging auctions and bids for mutual benefit. Now we have the four main supermarkets rigging the markets. These firms are not peripheral antisocialites firmly esconced in the grey or black markets but global brands fighting it out in the hilariously entitled formal economy.
What the fuck is a "formal economy"? Assuming, as one surely must within the bounds of shareholder capitalism, that "formal" refers to a private "formal" rather than a centralised political one, the "formal economy" is primarily developed by cartel or monopoly behaviour. The system requires a mafiosi structure to increase its efficiency and performance while it is a complete hypocrisy for the government to target cartelised and monopolistic corruption since such corruption is an emanation of those self same authorities.
But appearances matter. Justice must be seen to be done.
Lets focus on the four big grocers for a paragraph or so. The Competition Commission explored, examined and questioned the Big 4 for two years before announcing on April 30th that all is fair and well in the world of grocery - the standard regulatory conclusion. Regulators like the Competition Commission are poorly paid (generally around 25% of what one might earn in the private sector), they have no teeth and, everybody having their price, are able to be bought off. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is utilising a very different strategy to target the cartels. It is based on incentives, as everything in the world of money and greed must be if one is to get anywhere near to the true picture of the hyperreality. Imported from America, the tactic is as follows. Allow whistleblowers from within the cartel total immunity for grassing on their accomplices in crime. Meanwhile, hand down very severe penalties (preferably meaning incarceration) for the other cartel members. This is a proper use of economic incentives against the standard shareholder capitalist psychopathic template. Cartels offer members a win-win situation where the only losers are those, other competitors and consumers, who are left out of the cosy little grouping. This OFT-derivative template twists the incentives against the criminals. Using standard Game Theory for each of the cartel members is revealing as, the longer the cartel succeeds in distorting the markets, the greater the incentive for one of the blowers to whistle. Immunity versus Imprisonment is the type of strategic choice that a psychopath can understand, relate to and game - risk and Russian roulette...
In Britain, big business is crying foul whereas, in the US, the strategy is already being seen as an area of potential competitive advantage. One tactic, for example, is to await the whistleblower's testimony and to pay the fine to society, prior to whistleblowing the same knowledge on a proprietary basis in other territories. This creates deferred market share through the gaming of a criminality.

In summarising the OFT's campaign against the Big 4 supermarkets in Britain, The Economist states: "This supermarket cartel seems to involve many different parties sharing information in complex and indirect ways".
Which rather neatly brings us to the English Premier League/ Premiership Illusion. At its highest levels, English football is entirely a gambling medium. The match outcomes are rigged and the market prices are fixed in a standard and typical cartel structure. There are "many different parties" sharing knowledge about events but, as in the wider capitalist ballpark, there are limits to the cartelised cooperation. There are occasions where it is in the interest of one party to choose a selfish route and there are other occasions where a more capitalist-collectivist strategy is the preferable choice. This dichotomous format makes the externalised regulatory analyses of these criminal ruses rather complex mathematically. Hence the importance of the whistleblower.
Football would appear to be severely lagging the main shareholder capitalist body with regards to self-regulation of its own massive corruption. Two years ago, a whistleblower from Victor Chandler International provided evidence that one Premiership manager had placed £12 million worth of bets on Premiership matches in just one season. The response? A high court injunction courtesy of Max Clifford and the story never even gained an inch in the mainstream media columns. We have stated this before but it is important - if one manager is placing an average of over £30,000 on EVERY single Premiership match, surely we have a right to know.
In the US, the Commitment of Traders Report forces executives and insiders to disclose their insider dealing. In England, certain south coast managers are able to short-sell their own team on the global betting markets and take their illicit profit in the full knowledge that the illegality will never rebound into an own financial goal.
Power always demands self-regulation or excessively weak or controlled external regulation. This freeform structure allows the marketing of the self-legitimation of power via a compliant media. It has to be the final nail in Milton Friedman's intellectual coffin that a competitive system based on allegedly free markets actually ends up with centralised planning from a cartelised and criminalised business elite. How free is that? Why should society, as a whole, trust these individuals when there is ample evidence to the contrary? If the government is willing to fund advertising campaigns to shop a dole fraudster, why not a similar dynamic regarding a financial fraudster?

When some Premiership games are grossing over £1 billion in betting turnover, there needs to be formed a regulatory body that is able to target the corruption. The OFT structure may be directly replicated within English football. We'll blow whistles, if you want, without any incentives!
Not that it will perform any long term usefulness. Cartels grow up into monopolies and monopolies don't do whistleblowers, well not living ones anyway. Monopolies totally control output, input, supply, demand, price and it is surely the perfect definer of the shareholder capitalist system that this end goal is the nirvana of capitalist psychopaths across the world.

© Football Is Fixed/Dietrological