Well, it’s just a, simple fact
When I want something,
And I don’t want to pay for it
I walk right, through the door
Walk right through the door
Hey all right!
If I get by, it’s mine
Mine all mine!
– Been Caught Stealing, by Jane’s Addiction
“No Cause for Alarm”
Robbery. Theft. Stealing. These actions take many different forms.
There’s fraud. There’s force. There’s white collar theft. There’s crafty pickpockets. House burglaries. Insurance swindles. Breaking and entering (B&E). Hanoi-style. Credit card scams. Government kickbacks. Hold ups. Carjacking. Embezzlement. And much, Much More…
They all generally roll up to the same thing. Taking another person’s property (including money) without permission or legal right.
Taking from others without permission, no doubt, is barbaric. And barbarism is on the rise…
Here in California there’s a bull market in plywood. The material’s exceptionally suitable for boarding up broken windows following flash mob smash and grab robberies. It also provides fortification against future attacks.
In Los Angeles, for example, nearly $340,000 of merch was stolen by flash mobs between November 18 and 28. These robberies also resulted in $40,000 in property damage.
“No cause for alarm,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti following the rash of smash and grabs.
Fourteen people were arrested. Yet they were all released long before the police reports were written. In fact, many of the crooks met Los Angeles County’s no-bail criteria.
If you didn’t know, California’s statewide policy of imposing $0 bail for misdemeanors and lower-level felonies ended last year. But here in LA County there’s no policy that’s too dumb to not extend. The $0 bail policy was kept in place within the LA County Superior Court system.
By implication, flash mob robberies are encouraged by LA County. We’ll have more on robbery and theft in just a moment. But first, some thoughts on retail…
Years of competition from online sales had left an extreme over capacity of brick and mortar stores. There are simply too many shopping centers. Why hassle with crowds when you can order whatever you want – and at the best price – from your kitchen table?
Property managers have had to get creative to keep vacancy rates down. Some shopping malls have filled empty space with indoor trampoline parks, laser tag, and virtual reality gaming and escape rooms.
These amusement venues help maintain low vacancy rates. They also bring in traffic and supply the food court with hungry customers. But these businesses are not supported by the sort of production that drives real economic growth. Rather, they symbolize the passing of the retail shopping center.
Indeed, retail has been on the ropes for many years. Government mandated lockdowns, however, appear to have delivered the knockout punch. Forced isolation trained more and more people to shop online.
Now there are an abundance of Amazon delivery vans double parking in the streets. And vacant strip malls provide overnight parking for these vast fleets of Amazon vans. They’re everywhere.
At the same time, high end retail had appeared to have a more lasting niche. Buying a $1,000 purse is about vanity; not functionality or convenience. The fashion boutiques on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills or Melrose Avenue in the Fairfax District flatter egos in the most special way.
Posh retail shops seemed to be buffered from the online shopping assault. But that was before ruffians smashed out the windows of Louis Vuitton and Saks Fifth Avenue last month in a failed smash and grab robbery on Rodeo Drive.
Maybe next time the robbers will bring a bigger sledge hammer. What then?
The advent of flash mob smash and grab robberies is a function of several things. Social media gives mobs the means to communicate. Disgruntled individuals can network and quickly set a time and place to all show up and wreak havoc.
The world wide web also gives them an enormous market where they can sell their spoils. They’re no longer limited to swap meets and other black markets. Thieves can go on eBay and sell their loot at below market prices. The margins are phenomenal.
These tech tools, along with lax penalties, support the mass plundering of retail stores. But we think there’s something else at play. Something even more sinister than smash and grab robberies.
The Joy of Stealing
You see, government policies of mass dollar debasement are what really stimulates barbarism. Spineless money produces spineless people. Once the abundance of fake money being issued so grossly favors the wealthy and elites, throwing bricks becomes an attractive option.
We’re not justifying the mass thefts. We’re opposed to any form of unprovoked aggression being committed against another person or property. We also have eyes to see with. And we’ve witnessed an entire class of people repeatedly commit massive theft without suffering personal consequences.
For example, not one banker or mortgage broker that we know of went to jail for the mass fraud and theft that was perpetrated leading up to and following the 2008-09 housing market bubble and bust. Not even Angelo Mozilo…who personally pocketing $45 million in ill-gotten gains. But even that’s small potatoes.
Over the last 24 months, the Federal Reserve’s issued over $4.5 trillion of fake money, which the U.S. Treasury has spent into the economy. All this free money comes with a steep penalty. Like day after night and night after day, price inflation follows the mass issuance of fake money.
Price inflation also acts to confiscate the savings and earnings of wage earners and retirees. In addition, it leads to mass barbarism – and flash mob smash and grabs. Here’s why…
John Maynard Keynes, the godfather of modern day economic intervention, provided one of the better explanations of the relationship between money debasement and the economy. What follows is an excerpt from The Economic Consequences of the Peace, written by Keynes in 1919:
“Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security, but at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth.
“Those to whom the system brings windfalls, beyond their deserts and even beyond their expectations or desires, become “profiteers,” who are the object of the hatred of the bourgeoisie, whom the inflationism has impoverished, not less than of the proletariat. As the inflation proceeds and the real value of the currency fluctuates wildly from month to month, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a gamble and a lottery.
“Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”
This, without question, describes down to the T, precisely, the barbarism going on in America.
Right now, today, unrelenting theft of a colossal scope and scale is being perpetrated by the federal government against American citizens…including you. If that doesn’t bring warmth and joy to your heart, we don’t know what will.
for Economic Prism