Thursday, September 08, 2011
  Outsourcing crime



Been watching episodes of Racket Squad, an excellent 1952 TV show. Low budget required constant re-use of the same sets and cars (mainly Nashes!) and the same small group of actors; and the intro was oddly misplaced, belonging more to a high-action cop show. But they didn't scrimp on writing and research. Excellent scripts based on real con-men and rackets, with real and useful information about the inner workings of the scams.

Trite but true: scams don't change much through history. Except! Many of the old scams are no longer possible within America because of electronic banking and tight regulations.

Polistra and Happystar are watching an episode that deals with a 'bill-of-sale' scam. The con-men pretended to be moving from a distant town to buy a business. Their offer was irresistibly high, so the suckers felt they were getting the advantage on the dumb outsiders. (Always a key ingredient of a scam.) The outsiders paid with a promissory note against an escrow account in their hometown bank. The suckers called the bank and heard that the escrow account had more than enough money; but by the time the note came due, the money was gone and the con-men had already resold the business (irresistibly low, of course) to another sucker who couldn't be prosecuted because he bought it innocently. The resale is where the con-men made their money.

You couldn't do that now. Banks are much tighter, and you can't write checks without proper OCR codes and such.

Many of these scams have moved overseas now, where banks are loose and corrupt. Nigeria is, of course, the classic location.

Since outsourcing honest labor is evil and treasonous, you might deduce that outsourcing dishonesty would be a good thing.

Is it? Do suckers get a better break because American con-men have been replaced by Nigerian con-men?

No.

When the con-men were local, we could arrest them. When they're in Nigeria or Russia or China, we can't.

Note that very few police depts have a Racket Squad now... but this may be more related to a different type of outsourcing. The low-level cons have been hugely overwhelmed by galactic-scale official con games. Wall Street, Securitization, Global Warming, Diversity. These quadrillion-dollar scams own everything, leaving no suckers unsucked. Our "economy" consists solely of rackets now, so there's no point in discriminating against the small-time scammers by arresting them.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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