Think Of The Homeless

There are over 30 million Americans who live on the streets of our nation. Can you consider giving something to a shelter near you? Your fellow human beings need socks because they walk everywhere. Food and shelter are great too, if they will take them. So please give.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Diamonds, Lies, Marketing, Marriage

Sex, Lies and Indifference

The other day while reading a newspaper, because I am nostalgic and miss the 12 years I spent working for newspapers; and also because I figure I had better get some newspaper time in while the getting is good, I ran into a cute cartoon. In the cartoon two characters where discussing lies. One says to the other, “If someone puts something in a book and then says it’s true, does that make it true?” “Of course not,” says the second character, “What makes you think anyone, anywhere is committed to the truth?” “Well”, says the first character, “My teddy bear wouldn’t lie to me.” “Does your teddy bear speak?” Asks the second character. “No.” Answers the first character. “Then I can truthfully say that he is committed to the truth.” 

The comic creator is, of course, both a wise guy and also a student of human nature. How true is it that we are all lied to on a consistent basis? How sad is it that often times we allow it, even when it is detrimental to us or someone else to believe the lie. They ARE all around us , though, and often times they are so pervasive that our limited abilities and faulty consistencies give them let to hold sway in our very lives.

Take for example the idea of giving diamonds on special occasions. You know like, diamond rings, diamond necklaces, and other such baubles that put many a necessary car purchase off until the following year. Men in America think about love when they think about diamonds. Has anyone ever proposed marriage without a diamond wedding ring? There must be someone somewhere, but they are in the overwhelming minority. 

Why are diamonds a valuable investment? Is it because they are so rare? Anyone who understands how economics works, knows that price is often the result of demand. A product is only priced in such a way as to provide both profit and also perceived value in the market place. If bananas where considered like gold, then their price would reflect that and they would be sky high, despite the fact that they cost about the same to obtain and also market.

Diamonds are like that. They are part of a marketing campaign. About 100 years ago diamonds were a real rare find, that only royalty could afford and purchase. Then suddenly in the mines of South Africa, that all changed. So many diamonds were found that miners could swim in them like large ponds of water. Suddenly the price of diamonds plunged.

A man called Cecil Rhodes saw spinning dollar signs in his eyes, like a cartoon character, and he bought up huge sums of the now cheap diamonds. His company’s name was DeBeers, and they established a monopoly on diamonds and persuaded almost every diamond producing nation in the world to do business only with DeBeers. Cecil Rhodes and his company now owned over 80% of all the diamonds in the world; past, present and future.

The world has changed since those days and DeBeers now only has about a 65% hold on all diamonds, but they also hoard diamonds. They drive the price up and keep huge storehouses of diamonds that could be several decades out of the Earth by the time you put that ring on her finger.  But the brainwashing was soon to follow, for that is how true selling works. Find a need and fill it is marginally honest, but create a need and fill it is a fine alternative if the first one doesn’t pan out.

Marketing strategist then decided they needed to make everyone believe a common perception, despite the inherent debt it would create for someone who had fallen in love. They created the marriage market. Now, diamonds are the proper way to express love. And yet, they don’t cost anywhere near what you pay for them. 

The time was the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s. Hundreds of immigrants had all come together  under the same mantle of “American” and there were no traditions, no thing that set them together with an historical type connection. No one knew what proper social contact should be among a nation of strangers. DeBeers spelled it out rather neatly: You relate to women, you give them a little glittering pebble; they put it on their finger.

Movie studios added in their two cents worth in the assistance of brainwashing the general public, and you’ll notice that this is a common thing we rarely think about anymore, but both TV and movies jump on the bandwagon of social movements at the drop of a hat, or the jingle of a change purse.

Who doesn’t remember, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”? How about Madonna’s material girl that picked up on this for a new generation. Marketing is like this. When DeBeers has too many big diamonds in the storehouse, it advertises that the bigger the diamond is, the more you love her. Nice, huh? Open your wallet wide, boys.

When the storehouses have too many small diamonds, the sale is all about eternity rings. The market is slightly different this time, of course, and most 25th anniversaries and beyond are the target for rings with many small diamonds on them. 

Personally, I feel that emeralds and sapphires and rubies can be just as lovely as any diamond. But, they don’t sell to women like diamonds do because of their marketing, not because they are anything inferior. Cubic Zirconium looks just like a diamond. Many jewelers will tell you only in secret that it takes some real study to see a difference between diamonds and cubics. The Gemological Institute of America will parrot this truth because even they have to use machines to tell the difference between a ten dollar cubic zirconium and a diamond that is $6,000.

Diamonds are good investments, however, as they have rich resale value. The problem of course is the 100% markup on diamonds, so any money you get back from diamond resale is ultimately a negative sum. When the public wakes up and realizes that diamonds run like water, the price will bottom out and what you have bought already will be worthless, at least as far as monetarily. Your sentimentality will be worthless as soon as you and your love reach the end of your lives while DeBeers still has your money.

more sex and lies next time

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