Kim Kardashian understands how money works

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

I am afraid of the kind of economy that Kim Kardashian makes her money from, where illusions are profitable but manufacturing physical products is unprofitable. Nevertheless, I recognize that she has a genius for operating in this current environment, and I try to follow her, because I realize that I have a lot to learn from her.

That said, perhaps the woman on the $20 should fit a similar mold — the modern embodiment of how pursuit of success at all costs doesn’t lead to some sort of satisfying karmic retribution and justice; it leads to wealth and power. Of course, Condoleezza Rice, a woman who helped run the engine of the Bush administration’s disastrous lies, would be perfect, if we’re looking for someone Jackson-y. But if we want to get real about how money — real money — is made in a country that has fallen well behind its international peers in innovation and manufacturing, there’s only one person for the job.

That person is Kim Kardashian.

The Daily Intelligencer piece offered a mock-up of a Kim Kardashian $20 bill, noting that it was an unserious offering. But should it be characterized that way? The Kardashian family is the Microsoft of famewhoring, and Kim is its logo. Kim, a woman who entered the national consciousness when she starred in a sex tape before sex tapes became a standard stunt pulled by anyone wanting to get famous, and too many people began deploying them, and their impact became dulled with overuse. She’s woman of little quantifiable talent besides figuring out ways to make more money and then doing those things, the modern American success story that tells us more about ourselves than it does about her. Kardashian has branded and marketed her own extravagant banality — her second wedding and ensuing 78-day marriage, her third wedding, her baby, her hair, her family, her clothing, and even has her face on the trendpiece fodder du jour, a game that rakes in millions literally making fun of how Kim became famous. Although pundits love to deride her for not being smart, she’s obviously aware of something that escapes everyone else, otherwise she wouldn’t consistently be at the cutting edge of getting attention, and then capitalizing on it, over protest, over eye rolls, over ridicule. She helped usher in the post-shame era and for that, she’s a totem to modern capitalism. Like it or not, Kim Kardashian is America’s most intrepid innovator right now. She’s earned this.

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