Monday, October 25, 2010

Take a Load Off -OR- Button, Button Who's Got The Button

Ahhh Money tricks! Where would we be without them? It used to be comical.

The rubes, marks and fools who fell prey were certainly not to be openly pitied; just grist for the mill. A fool and his money... Milieu of confidence men, flim-flammers and chimney shakers. Purview of the Bunko Squad. Rich vein of materials for tome, stage and screen.

History of Bunco
Bunco was originally "8-Dice cloth", a dice game in 18th-century England. It was imported to San Francisco as a gambling activity in 1855, where it gave its name to gambling parlors, or Bunco parlors, and more generally to any swindle. After the Civil War the game evolved to a popular parlor game. During the 1920s and Prohibition, Bunco was re-popularized as a gambling game, often associated with a speakeasy. Law-enforcement groups raiding these parlors came to be known as "Bunco squads". Bunco as a family game saw a resurgence in popularity in the 1980s."
(source: World Bunco Association The Official Site

A mere annoyance really. Far less insidious and/or dangerous as illegal immigration, prostitution or the drug trade. Right? When was the last time you heard/read about a big bust by the Bunko Squad?

Wait a sec... what did it say up there? "Bunco as a family game saw a resurgence in popularity in the 1980s."? Family game? As in "Fun for the whole..."?

What else became popular in the 1980s? Oh yeah, looting S&Ls and the taxpayers for fun and profit. Whoooo boy, that was some fun. Worked so well it was adopted universally. What happened to the Bunko Squad?

The job of the shill is to distract the mark. Who were the shills? Who were the marks?

Wanna buy the Brooklyn Bridge? Some oceanfront property in Nevada? The parking meters of Chicago? Want the taxpayer-funded municipal arena Naming Rights? Mineral rights in a National Park? Oil beneath the Gulf of Mexico? An elixir to ward off evil spirits, cure lumbago? All of this, and much, much more is peddled daily, in quasi-legal, caveat emptor, marketplaces of goods and ideas.

Pigs in pokes. Fool's Gold. Bridges to Nowhere. All can be yours IF the Price is Right! Everybody plays. Almost everybody loses. Life isn't fair. Sometimes it's not fair in your favor.

Incrementally tranforming and supplanting scams as "legitimate business practice" because everybody's doing it. It's all the rage ya know? Just ask Bernie Made-off.
Supercomputers manipulating the stock market with an ability to predictably move the numbers? Oh, that's just good old fashioned ingenuity and perfectly legal. Movement of obscene piles of transformational cash into and out of PACs? That's just politics.
We little people just don't appreciate how modern financial whizbangs operate. It's beyond our ken to grasp the intricacies, the razor-thin margins in which everything transacts.

Sure it all looks like a duck walks and quacks like a duck, but that's just how it looks and acts. In reality it's just your intrepid business types doing what intrepid business types have always done. Money tricks. Get `em while their hot.
Fun for the whole family...

1 comment:

amber ladeira said...

--Another hit outta the park!

--As to games, gimme Scrabble, running, biking and hopscotch.

--Bernie Madoff-his destiny to be defined by his name, no? How about the other implied meaning of his name, mad, off? (Millions must have noticed this.)

I'm thinking of asking all I met
on Saturday over to my place for a meeting sometime soon....intelligent, well-meaning people should confer
a bit more, no?