In case you’re new to this tempest, Ken Fisher is the prolific author, WSJ writer & CEO of financial behemoth Fisher Investments. At a recent Tiburon CEO Summit in October Fisher, a featured speaker, made several sexist, lewd remarks in portrayal of how the investment business operates in general*. Contrary to most of the media, according to Fisher, he was describing this industry not his beliefs about how it should be run. Still, as usual, the title of this post is a myth. I believe Fisher’s remarks do matter but not as momentously as the financial press would make it seem.
All the self-righteous hullabaloo is pollyannish and naive in the face of the larger obscenity that has not been addressed: Fisher is a billionaire. And then there’s the subsidiary obscenity to that which is the ways he became a billionaire: merciless boiler rooms harrassing people on the phone all day, the millions spent on questionable mass mail campaigns, & idiotic and disengenous advertising & public statements e.g. “I would rather die and go to hell than sell someone an annuity” & “I hate annuities and you should too”.
I agree with Bernie Sanders that billionaires should not exist. I think $999 mil. is plenty of “reward” for anybody. The record wealth disparity we have today presumes there is a direct & uniform correlation between wisdom and wealth, virtue and wealth, value to society and wealth. There are plenty of prominent models proving that this is false, including Ken Fisher. No individual should be able to change the rules of commerce at will. Billions can buy a lot of lawmakers and that is indeed what has occurred.
It is obscene that billionaires exist while families go bankrupt from medical bills. It is obscene that billionaires exist while people die because they can’t afford their prescriptions. It is obscene that billionaires exist while we we mercilessly extract resources and other wealth from other nations. It is obscene that billionaires exist while graduates stagger under record tuition debt design to create ever more billionaires. Yet the financial press is all in a tizzy because Ken Fisher- accurately, I might add – likens the conventional sale of securities to trying to get into a girl’s pants. Both are driven by lust as well as disregard for the other person.
So Fisher’s juvenile similes are merely symptoms of the problem, they are not THE problem. The problem is wealth disparity resulting from the increasing ease with which unmerited wealth can be accumulated, and ease progressively enhanced by the super rich. That is obscene in any society since it is the universal precursor to a failed civilization.
Your Constructive Comments are Welcome!
*all the juicy details here: https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2019/11/25/cover-story-tipping-point