Tuesday 24 April 2012

ACCG Uses Chinese Fortune Telling to Predict Success

It seems the coineys have just discovered a 2011 report of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) which estimates the profits made by various types of trafficking and other transnational crime ('Estimating illicit financial flows resulting from drug trafficking and other transnational organized crimes' see here). It is being claimed on the Moneta-L discussion list that the profits of this activity are of very little importance on a global scale.  According to them, it is only "disreputable archaeobloggers and those swayed by them" who have been misleading people about the magnitude of this trade. Let us remind ourselves of the figures we are talking about, the trade in illicit cultural property is estimated in the report as generating in the period 2000-2009 between 3.4 billion US dollars and 6.3 billion US dollars annually. Let's have a look at that minimum number written in full.
USD 3,400,000,000
Now I do not know how it is possible to exaggerate  the size of that number, it looks a pretty big one to me. Claiming that this (estimated) figure has any significance is, according to one contributor on the moneta-L list "attacks [...] based on lies and bad scholarship". The coin dealers' lobbyists and their fellows would apparently prefer us to consider such a scale of the illicit antiquities trade as a mere trifle. Indeed it seems they are intending to use the UNDOC report to convince the public that an illegal trade worth 3.4 billion US dollars is not worth bothering about. Will they succeed?

The coiney lobbyist group ACCG employs John Hooker as their spokesman. He has decided that the way forward is to use "Yi Jing" to predict the future of the struggle for the free import of unlawfully exported ancient artefacts into the US markets. He has drawn some magic hexagrammes and announces that the results are coineyly-favourable:
Let's look at the UN report as the well in this case. it should give us all some relief -- we have finally got some reliable data -- the water seems fine and the bucket and the rope are also fine -- let's drink from it!  [...] This is hexagram 7 Shi, The Army "Shi indicates persevering. Led by the elder man, it will be auspicious and blameless" 
Goodness, Wayne Sayles fortold by a Chinese hexagram! ACCG members' money well spent then.
The lone yang at the second position symbolizes the commander in the midst of soldiers of his army. The outcome is going to be favorable and it will be right and just. [...] So if we use the data properly we can expect to win, and the enemy will rue the day. [...]  Let's kick some butt!
Yes, you do that Mr Hooker. Tell the public that smuggling 3.4 billion US dollars' worth of artworks from one country to the next is not such a bad thing after all, the ACCG hexagrams say so.

Next week, perhaps ACCG petty cash will be used to purchase two kilos of chicken livers, maybe Hooker can have a go at being a haruspex too. The entrails never lie.

Vignette: Protective 'i Ching' coin

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