Middlemen, by The Zman

There are only so many ends you can play against the middle. From The Zman at theburningplatform.com:

The American economy is a middleman economy, designed around the idea of there being a person or group of persons between the parties of a transaction. No matter how trivial the transaction, there is someone trying to get in on the deal. This middleman brings nothing to the transaction. He adds no value and only facilitates the deal because the rules have been set so that he is required. The middleman is the ever-present silent partner that is the point of the economic arrangements.

 

If you go back a century, selling a house involved three parties. The seller and buyer, of course, and the government. You had to register the transaction with the government so it was known who held the deed for the property. If there was a lien on the property, then the bank would be involved, but only on one side. Today there are dozens of people involved in the transaction. The government is promising to add dozens more in order to flood stable neighborhoods with magic.

Just about every transaction in the economy now has silent partners. This is why the economy is still a mess due to the Covid lockdowns. Shutting down supply chains was always a dumb idea, but getting them restarted means activating millions of middlemen who have to get paid for the system to work. In a completely financialized economy, nothing moves without money moving first. The money men are the ever-present middlemen in every deal, no matter how small.

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