Bye, Alexa…

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Leave aside the question of whether you care about wealth concentration or believe in any socially deleterious effects it might have. Ignore whether you believe that Amazon or any other Big Tech company is really an anti-competitive monopoly. Do you disagree with Ben about wealth taxes? Hold that in abeyance, too.

Why? Because what we personally believe about each of these things isn’t the same thing as what we all believe we all believe, or what we all know that we all know – a thing which we call Common Knowledge. And it is Common Knowledge, rather than the sum total of all of our deeply held personal beliefs, which usually shapes our culture and our politics.

The more we glance at the top of the Zeitgeist, our daily collection of the most linguistically connected articles in financial news, the more often we see common threads with our Election Index. In many ways, the framing of all news through the lens of income inequality, monopoly power and the influence of Big Tech IS the zeitgeist.

It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that this article about the apparent attempts by Amazon and Bezos to steer the outcome of a local city council election ranks so highly.

Amazon’s $1.5 million political gambit backfires in Seattle City Council election [Reuters]

To date – and it’s true with this article and its neighbors, too – the most powerful connections between finance and markets articles have been phrases like ‘socialist’, ‘billionaire class’ and ‘unprecedented spending’. Still, it’s hard not to observe a subtle transition happening here. Here the main event isn’t just income inequality or power and influence per se, but the framing of Amazon’s use of wealth to generate political power as ‘backfiring‘ and ‘repudiated.’ I think that similar language in coverage of Bloomberg’s primary bid and the related Howard Schultz retrospectives probably contributed to that. So maybe this is anecdotal.

But if we’re not looking ahead to consider what else we might all know that we all know through these lenses, that’s a failure of imagination on our part.

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Rafa Mayer
Member
Rafa Mayer

What this article makes me think is Ben’s line – They’re. Not. Even. Pretending. Anymore.

And the counter-effect is interesting; the spend boomerangs. It brings negative attention to the supported candidate and positive attention to their opponent (we all love an underdog?).

Is this the eventual result of the “democratization of voice through social media” whereby large $ spends can easily be neutralized by a viral wave of negative sentiment?

Fascinating…

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Mark Kahn
Member
Mark Kahn

Can’t bode well for Bloomberg’s bid.

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Peter
Member
Peter

RE money and the “David vs Goliath Effect” in elections and who’s backing them, I’m reminded of something Sun Tsu (or was it Nietzsche) said. Paraphrased: One must always battle a superior foe. If you lose, you battled against the best/biggest and lost. You get the psychic/social benefit of courage and a having made a good try/effort against the impossible. If you beat a superior foe, you’re a hero for doing the impossible. However, if you challenge/battle an inferior/smaller foe and win, you’re a bully. If you lose…well you’re just a plain loser. Nuf sed!

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The Daily Zeitgeist

One Narrative Keeps on Trucking

By Rusty Guinn | December 9, 2019 | 2 Comments

Trucking is dying and truckers are suffering along with it. The fact that the latter is the framing being chosen for the issue should pique your interest.

Read more

Presented Without Comment

By Ben Hunt | December 4, 2019 | 1 Comment

Regardless of your personal views pro or con, if you don’t see that a powerful narrative backlash is forming against corporate management enrichment, you’re just not paying attention.

Read more

Our Dumb World

By Rusty Guinn | December 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

Sometimes you really have to wonder how on earth an article makes its way into the Zeitgeist. Sometimes it’s best not to know.

Read more

The Rent Is Too Damn Low

By Ben Hunt | November 25, 2019 | 8 Comments

It’s so weird that everyone who would throw an unholy temper tantrum at – gasp! – rent-controlled apartments is just fine with rent-controlled money.

“Yay, crumbs!”

Read more

OK, Boomer

By Ben Hunt | November 18, 2019 | 4 Comments

I’m a fan of FedEx the company and Fred Smith the founder. I think they are both crown jewels of Western capitalism.

But if I hear another lecture from Fred Smith and his fellow billionaires on trickle-down tax cuts and the “benefits to the United States economy, especially lower and middle class wage earners”, I’m going to lose it.

Read more

The Rake

By Ben Hunt | November 12, 2019 | 10 Comments

Jamie Dimon is the rake.

Read more

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