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Reddit collapse, or r/collapse, provides a daily log of the doom and gloom people face all around the globe. Perhaps there’s some degree of comfort to know that hundreds of thousands of other Redditors recognize potential collapses. But, to answer a question posed by a Time magazine article covering the subreddit, we at the Zero Theft Movement might have a solution to evade collapse. At least in the economic sphere, when it comes to the widening wealth gap in the U.S. and seemingly growing corporatocratic control over our democracy.
The Zero Theft Movement, along with our growing community, works to eradicate the rigged parts of the U.S. economy so that the ethical parts can flourish. In this article, we’ll take a look at Reddit’s collapse and see what kinds of discussions they’re having about the rigged economy. We will inform you all about our solution at the end of the article, so stay tuned!
(as of 04/2021)
r/collapse has unfortunately(?) attracted a considerable number of redditors throughout its decade-plus existence. It serves as a hub where community members can “deepen [their] understanding of collapse while providing mutual support, not…document every detail of [their] demise.” A somewhat positive spin for a pretty depressing subreddit.
While Reddit collapse covers a wide variety of topics (climate change’s a particularly popular one), our perusal of the subreddit has yielded a handful of posts relevant to the rigged economy. Posts on the potential corruption between the government and Wall Street appears to attract community members the most.
The Government’s Response to COVID vs the Repo Market Breakdown
Quite well received in Reddit collapse, this article post sparked a discussion about the vast inequality evidenced in the stimulus relief package. Many of us eagerly awaited each stimulus check, which barely covered our bills. Unemployment rates reached unprecedented levels, and millions of Americans had to rely on a food bank for the first time in their lives.
The article linked in the post contrasts the government’s response to ongoing struggles of millions to its treatment of Wall Street a year before the pandemic even hit, during the repo market crisis. It claims, “On September 17, 2019 the interest rate on overnight loans (repo) made between banks and other financial institutions spiked from the typical 2 percent to 10 percent…But within 24 hours the New York Fed had pumped $53 billion to the trading houses on Wall Street. No questions asked. No clogged phone lines. No paperwork to fill out. No standing in lines. No asking Congress for a vote. Just $53 billion created out of thin air by the New York Fed and instantly funneled out to Wall Street’s trading houses with the push of an electronic button. Over the next six weeks, the New York Fed pumped out more than $6 trillion in below-market rate loans to Wall Street’s trading houses…”
When the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the U.S., decides to play the lender of last resort, ‘too big to fail’ companies get bailed out with taxpayer money. Billions of our money! We have seen this story many times before: the savings and loan crisis, the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis, LTCM, and so on. In these cases, we often have Wall Street investors taking excessive risks, perhaps due to the moral hazard created by their employer being ‘too big to fail.’ Billions in relief, and that does not even account for the damages to the nation’s productivity and the mental health of the public.
Even now, with the Coronavirus pandemic, massive corporations sought out aid and allegedly received relief intended for small businesses.
Tax loopholes = the stimulus check for the wealthy?
As an important addition, the top commenter shared and quoted the following Forbes article. Here we have an instance of the grey area between tax evasion and tax avoidance. Yes, taking advantage of this loophole does not violate the law, but it supposedly enables the wealthy to come away with a $1.7 million unofficial ‘stimulus check.’ With the government down trillions in debt and some multinational businesses effectively paying $0 corporate income taxes, now we have another opportunity for the rich (intentionally or not) to further widen the wealth gap.
Rigged Stock Markets? r/collapse discusses…
Main Street investors (i.e. any non-professional investor) often do not have the time to closely follow financial news and learn all about emerging markets. Wall Street investors make a living off of doing just that. Obviously, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Plus some advantages/disadvantages just come with the territory and should not be considered unfair or rigged. Not that any member of Reddit collapse made this claim.
But some Wall Street investors (and maybe a smaller set of Main Street investors) could be trying to get undue advantages as well.
Illegal insider trading typically refers to when an investor buys or sells a company’s stock with material, non-public information. Say, for example, a company executive gives their family members a tip about the upcoming quarterly report announcing huge gains. If the family members act upon the information by buying a bunch of shares in the company, then they’re committing an illegal form of insider trading.
The post above on r/collapse shares an article from The Economist. The article discusses a few academic studies, which explore potentially dubious or illicit behavior in Wall Street. One paper even argues that the “entire share-trading system is rigged.” How can this happen? According to the economics newspaper, insider trading proves quite hard to track, regulate, and present as a serious white-collar crime: “But these require fortuitous tip-offs and extensive, expensive investigations, involving the examination of complex evidence from phone calls, e-mails or informants wired with recorders. The resulting haze of numbers may befuddle a jury unless they are leavened with a few spicy details—exotic code words, say, or (even better) suitcases filled with cash.”
While we cannot verify the identity of the top commenter, here’s what they had to say:
Thirty brokerage firms paid about $900 million to settle the civil suit contending they “schemed with one another for years to fix prices on the NASDAQ stock market,” according to The New York Times. They allegedly did so by not using odd-eighth NASDAQ quotes, skimming profits off of quarter quotes.
See what the ZT community has uncovered about the matter…
Reddit Collapse on Energy Industry Lobbying
The act or idea of lobbying itself is not a problem. Each and every one of us should have the opportunity to express our opinions and beliefs to our government officials. Nevertheless, when big money gets involved in politics, corporate ‘voices’ can take overwhelming priority in legislative and regulatory processes. When personal gain motivates politicians more than anything else, they create a Pay to Play system. Where rent-seeking officials look to gain favors or campaign support sometimes blatantly in exchange for legislation favorable to a company or industry.
In the climate change case present in the r/collapse post, we can see the possible influence of big money lobbying on legislation. This is not to argue there’s causation, just suggestion perhaps.
The Guardian article shared in the post claims, “The successful lobbying and direct opposition to policy measures to tackle global warming have hindered governments globally in their efforts to implement policies after the Paris agreement to meet climate targets and keep warming below 1.5C.”
To provide a bit more evidence, a Reuters article states, “Earlier this year  ExxonMobil told the Guardian that the company “does not fund climate denial”, yet since 2007 it has expended $1.87m to finance the campaigns of climate-denying Republicans in the US Congress. In fact, an October 2015 report from the London-based advocacy group Influence Map found that oil and gas companies (those studied were Shell, BP, Total, ExxonMobil and Chevron) are systematically obstructing climate change legislation and carbon pricing directly and through their involvement in trade associations.”
Current campaign finance laws, which prohibit soft money contributions but allow limitless and anonymous dark money donations, have opened the floodgates for wealthy donors. Regardless of the industry they represent.
This post, one of the most popular ones in Reddit collapse, essentially claims that a handful of mega corporations own the majority of media. A quick Google search reveals that there’s perhaps credence to the redditor’s statements.
Take the Tech Startups article that argues we merely have the illusion of choice, while the media industry quietly operates as an oligopoly. “Today, Americans think they have an unlimited variety of entertainment and media options right at their fingertips. But it is all a lie. This illusion of choice was fabricated by the media elites. In the early 90s before the mainstream adoption of the Internet, the media landscape used to be simple and straightforward. Today, 6 media giants control a whopping 90% of what we read, watch, or listen to.”
From the Tech Startups article, originally sourced from Statista
The harmful effects of media on a society have long been debated, dissected, and examined in art (e.g. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World). And as we continue to grow more and more connected to our devices, we should take the time to assess the content we’re consuming.
This redditor makes a key claim at the end of the post, which relates back to the rigged economy. “We’re being manipulated into hating each other so we never unite and focus on the real problem—the rich bullies who are destroying the world in the name of profit.” Discussion definitely serves its purpose, but we must take action.
So how do we unite and focus on the real problem?
Reddit Collapse! Battle against the Rigged Economy with the Zero Theft Movement
We at the Zero Theft Movement, along with our growing community, work together to calculate the best estimate for the monetary costs of corruption in the U.S. Corporate, political, and everything in between.
We have built a safe and independent platform where you and your fellow citizens work together to investigate and debate potentially rigged areas across the economy. You vote on whether (1) theft is or isn’t occurring in a specific area of the economy, and (2) how much is being stolen or possibly saved. Through direct democracy, we can collectively figure out where the rigged areas are and start eliminating them systematically.
Reddit collapse, let’s put aside our party allegiances and level the playing field between citizens and corporations.
The ZTM community knows that many corporations and wealthy individuals act ethically. We are trying to hold the bad actors accountable. The corrupt corporations, lobbyists, and government officials. That way, good people and businesses can safely flourish and enjoy what they’re due.
The Zero Theft Movement does not have any interest in partisan politics/competition or attacking/defending one side. We seek to eradicate theft from the U.S economy. In other words, how the wealthy and powerful rig the system to steal money from us, the everyday citizen. We need to collectively fight against crony capitalism in order for us to all profit from an ethical economy.
Terms like ‘steal,’ ‘theft,’ and ‘crime’ will frequently appear throughout the article. Zero Theft will NOT adhere strictly to the legal definitions of these terms (since congress sells out). We have broadly and openly defined terms like ‘steal’ and ‘theft’ to refer to the rigged economy and other debated unethical acts that can cause citizens to lose out on money they deserve to keep.