the Library: the most successful ponzi scheme

With all the news about Bernard Madoff and Robert Allen Stanford, we might forget that America's real favorite Ponzi scheme is the public library.

Remember what very few people bothered to ask Madoff a few years before his whole fraud collapsed: "How is it that you continue to offer such consistently steady returns while others around you are failing?" It is not uncommon for libraries to boast an increase of 15-20 or even 50%, crediting these figures on "Internet" use, "bathroom" use, and people generally losing their jobs and all their worldly possessions and having no place else to go.

While all is collapsing, libraries thrive.

How do libraries continue to provide such excellent service when the local Starbucks has just closed? I mean, Starbucks charged $4 for a cup of coffee, didn't they make enough profit to keep these stores viable? What are libraries doing that's so much better?

Well, the secret is that libraries take your money and your neighbor's money and your other neighbor, well not them because they rent, but their landlord's money and then libraries buy books and other materials with it. And the libraries even borrow more money and build more libraries and then make you and your neighbors and the landlord pay it back for them. How great is that?

Libraries don't need to charge $4 for a cup of coffee because as long as you live and breathe, you will pay for libraries.

And the good news is, that it doesn't take very much money for you to "buy in." And as long as you continue to pay your share, without whining and complaining about paying taxes, the library will be a strong part of your community. But if everyone complains to their elected officials and then tries to reduce their investments, the library will fail and all that money will be lost. You don't want to lose your investment, do you?

So libraries are built on the premise that lots of investors will pay in a consistent investment over a long period of time. And everyone will see consistently high returns.

Now the older members of this association (we call them "senior citizens") feel they are the original members and see their advanced years as payment into the system, and often demand higher returns. Libraries often comply with these requests because old people hanging around just make the place look bad, so we usually give them what they want and send them home as quickly as possible.

But don't let this dissuade you. You, too, may complain about not getting new books and DVDs fast enough, and the library will help you for many years with quietly, passive-aggressive service.

Libraries guarantee consistent returns. As long as you don't panic and demand your money back. Or some government bureaucrat doesn't decide to close libraries to satisfy some budget shortfall caused by the local government investing all of its money in Madoff Securities.

What is a Ponzi scheme? It's simply a system whereby the original investors are paid back from the deposits of new investors. Now, in a really successful Ponzi scheme, the investors at the very top need to discontinue collecting from the new investors at the bottom; they have to hit a cap so that what the scam is collecting from the new investors is used to pay off the multitude of middle-investors who have already paid the top-tier investors.

When the top-tier continues to collect money long after they've made back their investment plus any fair amount of interest, then that's no longer a Ponzi scheme, it becomes the Social Security Administration. (Will there be any money left when you retire?)

But then what is the incentive for the top to continue collecting money, unless they continue to take a cut?And that's the problem with the traditional Ponzi scheme; at some point, their just isn't enough money to satisfy all the victims.

Again, just like the Social Security system.

Where do libraries get all this money to satisfy new investors? The apply for various grants and request increases from local taxes. They raise money.

And that said, the.effing.librarian needs to raise a little money. If you want to be a contributor to this fantastically profitable and financially solid institution with over two years of satisfying its members' dreams and ambitions, then apply now. It only takes $200,000 of "good faith" money to guarantee your acceptance. And then you'll be in. And as the.effing.librarian grows, so will your investment.

Public notice: the.effing.librarian is fully licensed in Cameroon and Nigeria (as an auto window-tint installer and doughnut shop, respectively).

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 


Have you gotten into my works in progress file or something?

Stephen Michael Kellat, Host, LISTen
PGP KeyID: 899C131F

I mentioned ponzi schemes, social security and Nigerian doughnut shops... are you producing something on all three of those? on my personal blog, I mentioned a new product, the "butt mouse," -- you couldn't have meant that... :)

No, libraries are not ponzi schemes. It's kind of socialism for the middle class, but not ponzi. You can pay a little and get a lot or use it not at all and pay a lot. Cows and horses both have 4 legs, but are different.

Just like other social services in the community they often are there to assist transitional efforts of people who have:

1) just moved to an area
2) have growing children - and we have cheaper books
3) lost their computer access for one reason or another
4) need some sort of brush-up on their skill set (or more often, need to pass a test to get into a job or school, but I've been seeing an increase in resumes being worked on)
5) are learning English.
6) need to find alternative housing or a place to go in between homeless shelters. (Hey, would you rather they read quietly in the back and use our toilet or would you rather they be on the sidewalk and pee in the alley?)
7) desperately need cheap entertainment or a distraction for themselves and their kids before they go crazy.
8) need to repair a car.
9) need to work on lesson plans for their daycare or their classroom because the school district shut down their library.

At least that's been my week.

A Ponzi, my dear troll, promises great returns for moderate money. All my impoverished little system wants is small amounts of money to support, maybe even babysit, people who are not in a place to get that support from other overstretched community infrastructure project - and then maybe lend out a few mystery novels to those who could afford things on their own but are looking to not clog their shelves with a bunch of books after they know the butler did it.

"Cows and horses both have 4 legs, but are different."

Not when you have to buy them shoes.

Subscribe to Comments for "the Library: the most successful ponzi scheme"