Boycotts, Social Media & Goldman Sachs

[Editor’s Note:  if TV networks play re-runs during traditionally slow times of the year . . . bloggers can recycle old posts.   The following, which originally appeared November 13, 2009 (!), is one of my favorites. 

“Your Money’s No Good” is also the title of the second book I intend to write, if I ever get the time (the first one being “The Book on Real Estate” — as in, “Ross Kaplan wrote ‘The Book on Real Estate.’“] 

If artists doodle, and musicians play little ditties in their head, what do bloggers “noodle around” with in their free time?

At least in my case, provocative phrases with multiple meanings.

Like, “your money’s no good.”

So far, I’m already up to four, alternative definitions:

One. “I won’t accept your money because I hold you in high esteem” (in other words, it’s free).

What the bartender says to a longtime friend, star athlete, war hero, etc.

Two. “I won’t accept your money because I hold you in low esteem” (in other words, the price is infinite).

What fashionable, upper East Side restaurants now say to Ruth Madoff, or gated communities in LA presumably used to say to OJ Simpson after he was acquitted of murder, but before he was (finally) sent to prison for armed robbery last year.

Three. Your money, specifically, is no good: your credit cards have been revoked, your bank account is overdrawn, etc.

Four. Your money’s no good — and neither is anyone else’s — because the currency has been debased (as they say, this one’s “ripped from today’s headlines”).

Ostracism, 21st Century-Style

Of the four possible meanings, the one I find the most tantalizing is #2.

Combine the latest social networking technology; some old-fashioned notions about boycotts, shunning, and ostracism; and a feckless, co-opted political system — and suddenly you’ve got a way to deal with a corporate miscreant like Goldman Sachs.

Namely, society could collectively refuse to do business with Goldman Sachs and its greedy, economy-wrecking executives.  But see, “Boycott Goldman Sachs?  How??”

Boycott, the term for such collective action, is usually thought of as a refusal to buy from someone. In fact, the term comes from the local Irish community’s refusal to sell to Charles Boycott, after Boycott took the landowners’ side in a labor dispute in 1880.

And to think, they had to organize their boycott without the benefit of email, smart phones, instant messaging, or Facebook!

P.S.: One of the funniest stand-up comedy bits I ever heard was (a then unknown) Rob Schneider cataloguing the various usages of the word “Dude.”

As in . . . Approval (“Dude!”); Disapproval (“d-u-d-e”); “Is that a stranger in my bedroom closet?”: (‘d-u-u-u-de??’). And so in that vein (I think Schneider topped out at 12 meanings).

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.
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