“All these people have a sort of parlay mentality, and they need to get on the playing field before they can start running it up. I’m a trader. It all happens for me in the transition. The moment of liquidation is the essence of capitalism.”
“What about the man in Rigby?”
“He’s an end user. He wants to keep it.”
I reflected on the pathos of ownership, and the ways it could bog you down.
– from Tom McGuane, “Gallatin Canyon”.
The guy may just be selling a car dealership, but he gets it: You’re not a capitalist until you get to M’. Getting attached to C-C’ for its own sake will just bog you down. But of course, organizing life around the moment of liquidation has its drawbacks as well.
UPDATE: Variation on a theme. From today’s fascinating post by Felix Salmon on a lawsuit over some disputed Jackson Pollock paintings:
In this lawsuit, Mirvish has taken the idea of art-as-an-investment to a particularly bonkers extreme. In Mirvish’s world, it seems, artworks have no inherent value, just by dint of being beautiful or genuine or unique. Instead, an artwork is only an investment if it’s being shopped around — if someone’s trying to make a profit on it, by selling it.
Similarly, in Mirvish’s world, if a gallery has a claim to 50% of the value of a painting, but again isn’t actively shopping that painting around, then the gallery’s claim is worthless.
Value doesn’t inhere in a thing, only in the process by which that thing is eventually converted to money. Bonkers, sure, yes, but also the organizing principle of the world we live in.