Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Capitalism's Obituary

WESTERN CAPITALISM: Dead at approx. 300

Western "Free Market" Capitalism died suddenly on December 31st after a brief illness. Mr. Capitalism expired at home on Wall Street surrounded by his immediate family including investors, shareholders and several unsecured debenture owners.

Born sometime in the early 1700s in northern England, Capitalism was nurtured by the Nobility and the Enclosures and embraced by both Entrepreneurs and Industrialists. Thanks to Capitalization and Limited Liability Corporations, Capitalism grew rapidly and achieved great success not only in England but throughout the western world. A lifelong believer in free markets and class exploitation, he was able to employ billions of impoverished workers while at the same time enriching thousands of owners of the means of production.

Mr. Capitalism achieved his greatest successes during America’s Gilded Age of the late 19th century. Through the judicious use of vertically and horizontally-integrated monopolies, he was able to secure untold wealth for his followers who became known as "Capitalists", "Industrialists" and "Robber Barons."

Financial success did not always follow Mr. Capitalism especially during a period called The Great Depression when he was severely ill and, for some years, on life support. Thanks to government intervention and a diet of strict regulation, Capitalism recovered and went on to experience some of his greatest success during the latter part of the previous century.

Sadly, Western Capitalism was not able to learn from his past mistakes and continued to encourage others to profit from a series of so-called Bubbles based on everything from tulips to computers to real estate. His final illness was precipitated by a rash of unduly complicated and severely underfunded investment vehicles. Ultimately and ironically, his final demise was brought on by a severe and prolonged case of greed.

Western Capitalism was predeceased by his parents Feudalism and Serfdom and his estranged sibling Communism. He is survived by his other siblings Socialism, Fascism and Democracy and countless millions of illiquid shareholders and bankrupt corporations.

To honor Mr. Capitalism’s life, Wall Street will close today and will remain closed until further notice. In memoriam donations may be made to the government bailout program of your choice.

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