Blurring the lines between real and the fake
As one reads the stories of the hyper wealthy, especially in ‘crisis books’ such as those by Randall Lane, Michael Lewis, Janet Tavakloi, Yves Smith, Lawrence G McDonald, Henry Paulson, Phil Trupp, David Faber, Charles Gasparino, Gillian Tett, Greg Ferrell, William Cohan, Andy Kessler, Nicholas Maier, Leah McGrath-Goodman, Christine S Richard, and on and on, you see that in that world, perception is reality. There is a phrase, “fake it till you make it” that is used in high finance, that basically refers to the fact that if you appear ‘well spoken’ and have a nice suit (Armani is mentioned frequently) you can do anything… like convince people to put you in charge of huge sums of money, or like sell people millions of dollars of worthless financial products and get away with it.
Lane’s book has a very interesting expose on the ‘luxury industry’, pointing out that a lot of the luxury brands so popular with the hyper wealthy are actually of low quality, people simply buy them because they are expensive. He knows, because he constantly had to sell advertising space to the luxury companies in his luxury magazine.
There is also never ending battle between the fake and the real wen it comes to the titans of high finance and the media. Many financial empires are built only on confidence. Books about the Bear Stearns or Lehman collapse will give insight here. They both relied on borrowing billions of dollars every day, then paying back that money the next day, (overnight repo). A loss of confidence would mean that borrowers would stop lending to them, which would make the company bankrupt in a single day (which is what basically happened). Again, perception is reality. A single phrase or single sentence in a news report can cause millions and millions of dollars to disappear, and a piece of gossip tunneling through the phone banks of the hedge funds and backrooms of wall street can destroy entire companies.
In that world, the real and the fake are one and the same. I know some people think ‘oh but finance is not real business, like an airline or computer company or oil company’, and yet the fortune 500 companies have an intimate relationship with the big banks, relying on them for their initial existence (IPO) and for many other things as time goes on (debt refinancing, mergers, offshore accounts, tax avoidance, etc). In fact the ‘credit derivatives’ at the heart of the 2008 crash were originally created in the 1990s in a deal between Exxon (the oil company) and JP Morgan, to deal with the financial problems caused by the Exxon Valdez disaster. This lead directly to trillions of dollars of products that nobody was sure if they were based on anything real or not. They were on the books but nobody knew the actual value.
This carries over into personal relationships. Strippers, prostitution, and drugs feature in most of the insider accounts of the world of high finance… each of which involve the conflict between a fantasy and reality, and the blurring of lines between one and the other. Real emotions get swapped in and out with fake ones until the point where the pretender cannot remember which is real and which is fake.
In a personal relationship, there are the same dynamics. What is the real part of a relationship and what is the fake part? What is real love and what is faked?
Since she is involved with a hyper rich guy, and they do hyper rich people things together, she is running into these issues.
Although in reality, any social status can run into the blurring of fantasy and reality. But when you are hyper wealthy it seems to be at ones fingertips.
With how much the American wealth and glamour is revered to the US population, she follows all the abused and central actions and emotions that the lifestyle draws on with a note that putting such things into tempestuous combination risks confusing the superficial and materialistic culture with the heartfelt truths that she knew before the relationship with the wealthy man and his lifestyle.
She names several superficial activities that wind down into sad and dark themes of human emotion that exist regardless of the superficial.
As a consequence of living this superficial and materialistic lifestyle, it has become difficult to distinguish what is real, and what is fake.
In this instance it is [probably] about loving a person and loving what they have to offer (wealth).
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