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Poker, virtual reality and international stock markets
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-01-23 09:53:13
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I have never been a gambler myself and, as it may have been obvious from former articles, when it comes to playing I'd rather have a good game of chess, Scrabble or even rummy, than poker, for example. However, it seems that over the last few years it is getting worse.

I am dragged into a poker game that I have nothing to do. Me? I hate poker! When I was in college, just like any other college student, the experts tried to teach me, a total failure; I never understood when to bluff or all these tricks they are doing; I was useless so in the end nobody ever suggested a poker game ever again. There is some kind of bad connection between poker and my brain, it just doesn’t make sense.

However, before you come to any conclusions please let me explain how things are. There is somewhere on this globe a huge table with a tense poker game going on. I have no idea where and to be honest I don’t care, since I hate poker. There are players, expert players, who sometimes win. When they win they go out to the most expensive restaurants with the profits to eat the most expensive gourmet dishes; they buy the most beautiful apartment in the most expensive area for their wives and the biggest possible pearl for their mistress. They buy the best toys for their kids and the newest super trooper SUV for themselves. But when they lose, after keeping their capital attached they are sending me the bill!

Why do I pay for their gambling loses is something I have never understood it and please don’t start laughing because it is totally true. Yes, the stock market is part of the capitalistic system and provides capitals to companies for improvement and yes I know the theory, but in practice stock markets in their global role nowadays are nothing more than a huge poker table with gamblers enjoying the profits and the majority of the people who have nothing to do with the game pay the loses.

The American economy is in trouble, deep trouble and the only way it survives for the last three decades is because the administrations have kept it alive often using artificial tricks. The biggest responsibility of the problem lies with the banks and the Americans are the ones that have already seen the misery coming when the system collapsed less than a century ago - it didn't happen in a global economy like today, with more elements and interests destabilizing any effect but in a controlled economy.

Has capitalism failed? I would think not but we definitely live in an era of over-production and over-consuming, capitalism has not failed but is leading us into a virtual reality where people are consumed with loans that most of the time they cannot afford. So in the end I think capitalism is a victim of its own over-producing and over-consuming. The solution is as old as capitalism: war, war and war. You just need to look at all the news agencies anytime to find out that war is the first thing. A global economy has brought effects closer, a war in Africa has immediate effect in economies in the west, an unstable Gaza Strip leads to increasing oil prices, a record high, and that leads into expensive tomatoes in northern Europe.

Competition is not bringing profit any more, gambling is the next solution and the stock market has become the global casino with thirsty investors asking for more and more profit in a very short vision attitude. A good example is what happened lately with the mobile company Nokia. Nokia is a very profitable company, apparently nearly monopolizing the mobiles market. Still, price competition with the other companies has led to lower optional profits for the year 2008, the virtual reality I mentioned before. As a result the company moves its German factory to Romania due to lower costs. This is short vision because practice has shown that it is a case of time for Romania to reach the levels of other European countries and of course competition never stops. So what’s next, Malaysia? How big is the globe and how long it will take this domino effect they created themselves to catch them?

And all that due to gambling game, to a huge poker game; just when Chancellor Angela Merkel managed to somehow stabilize the economy she finds her hands full of unemployed people, a wounded welfare state and, in extent, increasing inflation - all that because of a game of poker. Think that this extends to all the globe. I fold.

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Emanuel Paparella2008-01-23 16:27:35
Indeed, the market, soccer and football, poker games may divert us for a while but hardly provide the centripedal force needed for the center to hold. We do indeed live in interesting times, the times of globalization, and they may have to get much worse before they get any better. We'll soon see.

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