11 April 2011

The amount of leverage

Gift giving addresses the first condition of transaction: do I want to do business with you in the first place. It establishes the flow of transaction through the circulation established by the network of reciprocations that leave the actual distribution of wealth unchanged. 
Gift giving resembles the oscillation of atomic particles within a crystaline structure. Little is flowing but the particles are in constant motion while remaining in place, whereby they establish a solid structure. 
Where there is re-distribution of wealth, it takes place, by and large, between groups rather than between individuals, and it flows from God's bountiful providence through the upper classes to the lower classes and then down to the animal kingdom. 
Where the flow is from the lower classes to the upper classes we have not gift giving but exploitation. The trading of assets in a place like the stock exchange resembles this gift giving-like oscillation in place of the value being handed back and forth. 
The inflation of prices in an asset bubble results not from the supply and demand conditions in the marketplace but from the manner in which credit for the asset flows in the stock exchange. It is the flow of the credit that determines asset price rises and falls, which is to say, it is the amount of leverage available in a particular asset exchange that determines price movements, while the actual movement of value stays roughly in place. 

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