The NYT has a very interesting article about a group of exotic, hard-living ski experts and sales people who stupidly decided to ski in the wild country rather than at a ski resort area and ended up causing an avalanche that killed several of these pros. What struck me the most was the various comments they made to the writer. They sounded exactly like the bankers and dealers who destroyed our banking system by taking grotesque risks which are well known to be very destructive during previous asset and lending bubbles.
The lessons we have to learn is, caution matters. Reckless disregard of probability of danger is OK if one is suicidal and harms no one else. But rescuers have to go to dangerous lengths to save reckless fools. And these fools destroy more than themselves, they can be very destructive. The addiction of ‘Wow, this is dangerous and fun!’ has no place in banking. Yet, this is the sort of childish personalities that were richly rewarded if they violated rules of caution.
As of recently, the NYT no longer lets links go through so if you wish to see the entire story, just google the headlines like I do and you get full access: Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek – Multimedia Feature – NYTimes.com
But ski areas also see the potential to attract more ticket-buying customers, and more influential ones, by blurring the boundary lines. Many areas slyly promote not just the terrain inside their borders, but the wilder topography beyond, using the power of media and word of mouth — as Rudolph did for Stevens Pass.
This sentence shows how degraded our systems have grown. The writer explains how lawsuits and government regulations forced ski resorts to take safety measures which have cut down on deaths greatly. But this isn’t attractive. They want risk, not safety. Bloomberg Hates Boring Banking | Culture of Life News I discuss how this works in finance. Risks makes profits but also can destroy. So one has to regulate risks so profit taking doesn’t end up devouring all systems. In one of my previous stories, I explain how risky behavior can’t be constantly rewarded no matter what: THE CAVE OF WEALTH AND DEATH PT 3: WIZARDS | Culture of Life News
Back to the skiers who decided to ignore huge, big red warning signs at the top of the mountain saying this side of the mountain is very dangerous and prone to killer avalanches and landslides…they knew this was a deadly part of the mountains and has killed nearly 100 people over the years, most of them travelers caught below on the roads and train tracks.
On top of that, the weather service made it pretty clear, there was a huge danger of avalanches that particular day:
“I said to Dan, ‘Do you think Tunnel will be safe today?’” Michelson said. “He said something along the lines of, ‘Yeah, those guys know the best route down.’”….“We started asking questions,” Carlsen said. “‘Where are we going? Out of bounds?…”
As they discussed the warnings from the weather service that there was ‘Considerable’ danger of avalanches. One of the dead skiers, a man who made his living luring people there to ski, complained that the word ‘Considerable’ was a ‘gray area’ word. That is, not totally defined. Obviously, even a rather stupid person could figure out that this meant there is a huge chance of something going very wrong.
He wanted the word ‘Absolute’. Hedge fund people love that word! Absolute funds proliferated. They were extraordinarily risky but the sellers of these Piñata paper funds told investors they were perfectly safe. Exactly with these skiers. The experts told the others, they knew more than the weather man and they were absolutely certain ‘Considerable danger’ really meant, ‘Slight chance, perfectly safe if you are an expert.’
Natural forces work on banks as well as snow banks. It is the same thing: infinity is impossible. Once you reach a tipping point, things go from stable to an avalanche. Three feet of snow fell the previous two days on top of several feet of snow. This meant, there was now dangerous levels of snow built up on steep hillsides. Gravity dictates what happens next.
Instead of respecting natural forces, the reckless pro skiers wanted to have their jollies. They wanted the sense of danger so they could whoop it up. They wanted to show off their superior skills…sounds familiar? Exactly like the bankers who destroyed the banking system. It is still completely wrecked, you know. It limps onwards, at our expense. 0% loans are given to the bankers to keep them afloat while they charge us all much, much higher rates for loans. The spread is immense and bankers resumed their wayward course thanks to the central banks saving them.
Meanwhile, any money I save loses value due to inflation. The skiers thought they were being funny, going into danger. They also cynically knew someone would come and rescue them when they called for help. The signs said, they would be charged at least $1,000 rescue fee. But that didn’t stop them, they thought, they could use personal connections to avoid paying any fees like that, exactly like our bankers.
Wangen knew Tunnel Creek as well as anyone, having skied it since he was a boy. Jack traveled the world, scouting courses for extreme skiing. He knew how to avoid danger.
Stifter asked Jack about the avalanche report.
“He’s like: ‘Yeah, not to worry,’” Stifter said. “‘We’ll just do it slowly and safely and just stay in the trees.’”
Typical: here they were, seeking thrills and dangers. He had to assure them, there was no danger at all. They faced a very, very steep mountainside and he lied to them and said, they would be SLOW and SAFE. Right. The question is, what is the point of even going there in the first place???? Obviously, they feared what they chose to do and then listened to a delusional man deny reality. They thought they were being careful. When they were really being insanely stupid.
“It was kind of like, ‘All right, this group is getting bigger,’” Castillo said. “I wouldn’t pop in with a bunch of no-names, necessarily, and trust any of them, but the ones I knew were definitely qualified to go. And they’re not going to bring people out who aren’t.”
Ever watch penguins go into the ocean in Antarctica? They crowd the edge of the ice shelf and then when the pile in the back is too great, the ones on the edge are pushed into the water and then begin frantically swimming away from the waiting seals and killer whales. This, ‘I wouldn’t go with no-names’ is how all the bankers egged each other into taking grave risks.
When the top dogs all said, these risks were tiny, everyone then went into denial. Way back over a decade ago, I issued regular warnings about the historic dangers of asset and banking bubbles. History is utterly clear in this matter. Century after century, the same warnings are issued and the same stupid bubbles appear over and over again, too. They all pop. Nothing goes to infinity. Seeking ever more dangerous skiing leads to being killed. Infinity always zeroes out in death.
“The whole thing felt rushed to me, and it felt kind of like this covert operation,” Stifter said. “Which it kind of was, because you’re going out of bounds. It’s obviously acceptable, especially when you’re going out there with all these locals and the director of marketing. It’s not illegal or anything. It just had this rushed feeling from the time Chris walked out of the office, and he’s like, ‘All right, let’s go.’”
During asset bubbles, people feel rushed. They see things happening very fast. Everyone wants to jump in and then take their money back out again, very fast. The faster growing the bubble, the more desperate the participants. They act drunk. Like in this story where all the characters are drinking heavily, they meet in the bar before going off, the drunks on Wall Street saw more recklessness as they made things balloon ever faster. The graphs were all hockey stick graphs shooting to infinity. No time to think!
Dessert said. “I can tell circumstances, and I just felt like something besides myself was in charge. They’re all so professional and intelligent and driven and powerful and riding with athletic prowess, yet everything in my mind was going off, wanting to tell them to stop.”
Telling them to stop would not have worked. The weather service warned them to not do it. The signs at the top of the mountain gave huge warnings not to do this. History also warned them not to do this. But since they did this in the past when there was less snow, they figured they could do this with huge amounts of snow and it would be even more fun. And this, in a nutshell, is why we keep having screwed up economies due to reckless asset bubbles. They love doing this even though it can cause a century of agony afterwards or even the annihilation of the economic entity and the bankruptcy of their home state nations.
P.O. BOX 483
BERLIN, NY 12022
Make checks out to ‘Elaine Supkis’
Click on the Pegasus icon on the right sidebar to donate via Paypal.