Good Evening members of the board of JPMorgan Chase. For new members, this is the first of four quarterly addresses that I will deliver to you over the course of the year. For returning members of the board, and those of you who know me well, perhaps you have noticed that over the course of our current crisis, I have become more poetic. My early efforts to find metaphors for our economy were admittedly a bit awkward, but now almost a decade into a permanent state of economic crisis my language has become more precise. Once again, we find ourselves in shifting times. The question for us, as always, is how do we best profit from the shifts in the culture and in the economy. That is my only concern. To keep our share price high, and to navigate this steamboat upriver amid choppy waters. The title of this address to you is: Our Savage Economy.
The savage in me will no longer be tamed; by regulation, by ethics that were always a poor fit anyway, by decency. No, the savage will be free to be savage, as he was meant to be.
I speak to you as your savage in chief.
A new golden era of finance is about to begin. It will be chaotic. In chaos, men like us are set to gain the most. This has been building for quite some time. We are in and age of chaos produced by lawlessness that is a direct result of the top down contempt for the rule of law, a disdain for regulation itself. What an opportunity. However, this is not new, this has happened before.
Think of it: a vast fuckable landscape known as the west opens itself up to us, ready to be penetrated and guided by our ideology of Manifest Destiny. A new country not ready to regulate a new type of explorer, an explorer of the frontiers of business and capital, is marked by railroads, shipping lanes, mines, and towers of finance without constraint, ushering in the era of the robber barons. A lonely white man makes a river trip into unknown territory in colonial Africa. His gun, his dick, his pale skin and his God are his only guides. From where does the hubris come from? He takes up the White Man’s Burden to civilize the world. In each, the vast exploitable land is female, the darkest skin is animal, a worker is a slave. In each, we white powerful men, are the beneficiaries of a system that we can set up however we like. The common thread is chaos.
However, each era saw an end, regulated by an ethical turn, by a realization of the unwashed masses that “this is not us, this is not who we are.” But of course this is who we are. We as a culture are not ready to look directly at it. So the golden eras are reigned in: the frontier becomes a reservation, the colonies are gifted back and our monopolies are broken up.
The question of the day, at this dawn of a new era in finance, is how do we make this more permanent? My answer: Poetics. Metaphor. Mythology. Storytelling. The story we tell are more powerful that the truth. They are their own truth.
Now is the time for: Trickle down economics, Tax reform, Deregulation, Austerity, Free markets.
The fact that the myths of capitalism are still intact is a testament to our power as story tellers. As myth makers. So essential to the American psyche is the free market, the idea of an invisible hand, our self reliance it is the stuff we take pride in. We are a proud people. And I mean them. So great is the disconnect between the story and the reality is that they accept tax cuts for us because the mythology is stronger than the facts. It's the culture. It's the ideology.
And now it is time to summon our talents as storytellers, as myth makers. Make Ayn Rand required reading in schools. Privatize everything. Erode everyone’s faith in institutions. Replace the citizen with the individual. Make everything complex and hardwire it to self destruct. I am talking about total chaos. And in chaos, men like us benefit most.