Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Word of the Day: Fuffle

The inimitable Dmitry Orlov posts another clarifying gem of a concept for our times: fuffles.

A fuffle is an artful fake, an artifact specifically made to fool, beguile, seduce, or intimidate people into paying for it. Ideally, the initial transaction serves as the basis of a permanent arrangement, with the victim roped into an installment plan, which keeps the payments flowing even after the fuffle itself has crumbled into a pile of dust. An even better fuffle is one that grows over time. Since a fuffle is, in essence, a fake, its useful properties, should it have any, are largely irrelevant, and so its abstract (which is to say, financial) properties come forth as being the essential ones. The most important such property is, quite obviously, size, and indeed fuffles tend to get bigger and bigger over time. This is a telltale feature of fuffles that makes them easier to identify: if something gets bigger and bigger over time while delivering the same or lesser value, then it is quite likely to be a fuffle. Also, fuffles breed: as a fuffle gets larger and larger, it produces offspring of other fuffles, which also grow. Examples come from many realms.

Automobiles, which started out as mere historically, economically, and ecologically naive boondoggles, have long since passed over into blunt, planned corporate capitalist fuffledom, as Orlov suggests.

Read his full post here.

As in the case of private-sector medical “care” and financial “investing”, President Obama is making the extension of the automotive fuffle, to which corporate capitalists are quite literally addicted, a central project of his increasingly disastrous, ideology-driven Administration.

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