The Guardian has a story about fraud and social media scams in the UK that is worth your time. The lede:

The original Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort, was a rogue trader convicted of fraudulently selling worthless penny stocks to naive investors. His biopic, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the ostentatious, money-obsessed huckster, was a box-office hit in 2013. Although it may have been intended as a cautionary tale, to thousands of young millennials from humble backgrounds, Belfort’s story became a blueprint for how to escape an unremarkable life on low pay.

Within months of the Wolf of Wall Street’s UK premiere in January 2014, a stocky 21-year-old named Elijah Oyefeso from a south London housing estate, began broadcasting on social media how much money he was making as a stock-market whizzkid. His thousands of young followers were desperate to do the same. As Oyefeso’s online fame grew, he caught the attention of TV producers. In January 2016, Oyefeso was featured in the Channel 4 show Rich Kids Go Shopping, in which he bought expensive jumpers to give to homeless people and showed viewers how easy it was to make stock trades online.

It’s a story like this that explains some of my reason for writing critically about capitalism in the past. I’m less concerned with specific economic theories and more with the context in which economies theories work themselves out.

The reason I go in hard for stuff like Deneen’s anti-liberalism is related to this point. It seems to me that our overall social order relies upon parasitically consuming small communities in order to “free” individual people to self-actualize via marketplace activity. Once you’ve destroyed enough of the social structures, you’re essentially left with naked individuals all crashing into each other as they try to find a way toward stability and comfort. In such a context, this sort of fraud and exploitation is inevitable because people who are both desperately poor and desperately lonely are very easy to exploit.

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Posted by Jake Meador

Jake Meador is a 2010 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he studied English and History. He lives in Lincoln, NE with his wife Joie, their daughter Davy Joy and sons Wendell and Austin. Jake's writing has appeared in Christianity Today, Fare Forward, the University Bookman, Books & Culture, First Things, National Review, Front Porch Republic, and The Run of Play.

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