15 August 2004

It appears that Gordon Gecko lives. Although Gary Winnick is not the most reprehensible freerider of the go-go-Internet era (which bears startling resemblance to the go-go-mergermania of the 1960s), he's certainly no hero. More than anything else, though, the Global Crossing and Enron sagas point out the conceptual bankruptcy of the GAAP. Corporations are very fond of pretending to be persons. If that's such a great thing, they should be persons for accounting purposes, too. <SARCASM> Oops. That might inhibit creative financing schemes that bring great wealth to a few pyramid-scheme operators result in the inefficient creation of capital wells from which entrepreneurs can draw… until they unexpectedly run dry when nobody replenishes the water table. </SARCASM>

The real question that needs to be asked—and, so far as I can tell, nobody is asking, or at least not visibly—is an "efficient allocation of resources" question with a time dimension. As simply as I can put it: Is economic growth and efficiency enhanced by a temporal shift in the acceptability of transactions without actually changing the underlying nature of the transactions? I have my doubts. But then, I'm not an economist; and I don't accept "efficient allocation of resources" as the be-all and end-all of a market system, economics in general, or society as a whole. I have this little problem that starts with game theory's "unfavorable excursion" problem and ends with rationalization of the time dimension and intermediate stage results as irrelevant.

I would leave application of this problem to literature and the arts as an exercise for the student if there were any students. But, as nobody appears eager to inquire, I can't assume there are any.