I’m Getting An MBA Because You People Are Wrong

I saw a tweet this morning which reminded me why the hell I’m spending all of this money on an MBA. It observed that the stock of CoreCivic, a for-profit prison operator, went way up after Kamala Harris was announced as Biden’s VP pick. Coincidence? Well, actually, yeah. This person didn’t think so.

Leftists. Come on. This is why we can’t have nice things. We will never be a credible movement if we don’t get finance.

CoreCivic: Better the Public Good
The California sun sets on an idyllic prison. Or, the sun sets on the prison-industrial complex, really. ©CoreCivic.
SO, A QUICK LESSON

CoreCivic has eaten it this year. Fundamentals in the stock market are falling apart. Mass incarceration is, thankfully, an increasingly reviled paradigm. CoreCivic has lost more than two thirds of its value in the past few years. Since 1998, it’s lost a whopping 94% of its market capitalization (stock value). Nay, it had naught to do with Kamala Harris.

It had to do with two things. First, the company is trying to frantically restructure its debt to survive. Second, shares popped after it was announced that it would soon be listed in the S&P 600 (a market index of companies than the S&P 500). Investors bought in with the expectation that cash would flow in from passive investment funds that hold the S&P 600, driving up the price further. Is that going to happen? I mean, I don’t know, maybe? I don’t have a fucking crystal ball, bro.

I don’t think you should be buying their stock. I am not buying their stock. I don’t think these companies have much of a future, certainly. Do I think that for-profit prison operators should be illegal? Yes. Do I think these companies and their managers and executives should probably be shot off into the sun? Absolutely. But like. Stop sharing misinformation.

This is why I’m getting an MBA. Because none of y’all understand shit about money or finance. And you can’t beat The Man if you don’t understand his wily ways.

IN SEARCH OF GREATER UNDERSTANDING

This lack of understanding is why on my bookshelf, I display, with no dearth of irony, a gold spray painted plaster bust of Karl Marx (that I bought in the former East Berlin) on a shelf next to not only Das Kapital, but also the likes of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Maynard Keynes, and then other names that the average person has never heard of in the world of what I call High Finance and, well, business in general. Burton Malkiel, who taught me about the stock market. Bethany McLean, who wrote one of the best business books of all time in her exhaustive biography of Enron. Economist and labor relations scholar Eileen Appelbaum and Rosemary Batt. Or Alan Greenspan, who I frankly think is an abominable human but who presided over Important Historical Things That Happened. And many more! These are people whose work and legacies often serve as much as critiques of capitalism as they do as advocacy of it.

Please. Liberals, leftists, whatever. Get yourselves learned about this stuff. Ask questions before making the wrong conclusions. Oh, and while you’re here? Remember to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Do I love them? Absolutely not. Could we do better? We sure could. But our goal should not be to demand perfection and ideological purity, but rather to never stop asking questions and to never stop demanding better and holding ourselves and others accountable to do the best we can do.

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Nat M. Zorach, AICP is a city planner, community development professional, and MBA candidate at American University's Kogod School of Business, based in Detroit.

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