A Keynes traditionalist might pump a fist; he might even be proud. West, after all, is Keynesianism on steroids. Just marvel how one individual -- West -- "stimulated" the economy with his multi-million-dollar profligacy. Borrowed or earned, what's the difference, right? West's outlay was income to someone, so West was performing God's work, so a Princeton economist reasons.
Actually, West wasn't performing God's work. If you're willing to probe a bit deeper, you'll strike reality. West is a belligerent, delusional, cocksure nothing -- the most emptiest of empty suites (Here's a sample of West's talent for rhyme and verse: "Now if I f**ck this model, And she just bleached her a**hole, And I get bleach on my t-shirt, I'mma feel like an a**hole," from "Father Stretch My Hands." At least there is no chance of confusing Kanye West with Hal David.)
Now we know that West's eight-figure lifestyle was a fraud; it was an act of hocking an unattainable future for the pleasure of living for today. Such is the mindset embedded in every con-man and Ponzi-schemer.
Perhaps Mrs. West will take one for the team and bring her spendthrift husband's accounts current. Fifty-three million dollars is a lot of scratch, though, even for someone with an insatiable itch, like Kim Kardashian, to sell celebrity. And let's be honest, celebrity derived from selling a bit of "T" with a helluva lot of "A" has a finite shelf-life. Mrs. West, or Ms Kardashian, whichever she prefers, aged 35, is on the back-end of a finite youth. The upside is that age usually brings more "A." The downside is that age combined with continual exposure leads to apathy, especially when targeting a Facebook selfie-obsessed clientele. An audience isn't quicker lost than when mystery devolves into the mundane. .
Will potential sugar-daddy Mark Zuckerberg save the day? He certainly packs the financial wherewithal. West recently implored the Facebook chairman and CEO to chip of a billion dollars of Zuckerberg's mountains of billions and slide it his way. West attempted to sway Zuckerberg with the following logic: "I’m this generation’s Disney … I want to bring dope shit to the world," I guess I've been enlightened: I never knew there was a market, much less a demand, for "dope shit." We'll see if it works. I doubt it, though. Zuckerberg might have been more receptive had West been less tin-eared and reached out through Facebook instead of Twitter.
Talent is the issue, which limitless pimping and promoting is impossible to overcome. Kanye West's work is devoid of aesthetic appeal. Put as much lipstick on a pig as you wish, but eventually everyone, even the most doltish spectator, sees nothing but pig.
Kanye West is just one of many reasons why celebrity leaves me underwhelmed. I've heard enough celebrity claptrap to conclude that nearly every celebrity is inured to critical thinking (as Kanye West aptly proves). The rantings are no more intelligible than those offered by the village half-wit. (See any Sean Penn quote.)
That Kanye West has deluded himself into a messianic complex only embellishes the laughable spectacle. West is no messiah, though like many wanna-be messiahs, he's a fraud; he's a pretender. West lives a life he can ill afford; he's got plenty of company. The fraudulence of it all, more than anything, is why celebrity, and opulence in general, should be viewed with an unenvious and skeptical eye.
Living beyond one's means and assuming a fantasy is within everyone's grasp. No talent, no planning, no work is needed to hock the future for an ephemeral fling with debauchery today. For that reason, when someone with a bigger house, a newer car, more stylish clothing crosses my path, not a wisp of envy invades my thoughts. If that person earned his possessions and standing, more power to him. He worked harder and smarter than I did. His willingness to display his success is well earned. I begrudge him nothing.
But equally likely, the ostentatious display is smoke and mirrors. No present value was created to support present consumption. Unearned consumption is the childish act of demanding immediate satisfaction with no regard for future consequences. Why envy that?
How someone can live paycheck to paycheck in negative equity, or deficit spend to advertise a nothingness, has always confounded me. I couldn't image a more miserable existence. I would know I was a fraud; I would know I was a pretender. Worse, I would know I had no future. If my talents could afford me no more than a 20-year-old Dodge Caravan, and that Caravan served as both transportation and shelter, so be it. I might not be satisfied, but at least I would be content in knowing the future still offered some opportunity, limited though it might be.
Frugality and forethought trumps profligacy and immediacy every time. Perhaps Kanye West will learn this lesson; perhaps he won't. I suspect the latter. Unfortunately, an entire strain of economic theory, dominant in our culture, sides with and encourages the Kanye Wests of the world.