Whether you are a Sangalese warlord, the head of Hydra or a Bond villain, the base of your operation is your henchmen, the nameless legion who are willing to die in order to execute your bold plans for a new world order, global destruction or real ultimate power. Despite being integral as an aggregate, on an individual level, henchmen are completely fungible. They can expect to be beaten to a pulp, or thoughtlessly killed by either their boss’s heroic enemies or, as is often the case, their employer himself. Note that the latter situation is in violation of labor laws in most jurisdictions, which is only the beginning of what looks like a raw deal for henchmen. What economic rationale do these henchmen have to seek this line of work?
Based on their number, and the low income generated by most criminal enterprises for anyone but those at the top, henchmen can’t be compensated monetarily in a way that is commensurate with their shortened expected lifespan and overall reduced quality of life. Generous healthcare plans would at best allow them to offset the debilitating injuries they receive. Other fringe benefits such as company flying cars and teleportation belts sound great…until you realize that those are really just expensive high-tech tethers used to guarantee that the hench are available to their masters at all times and from all places. Maybe really great daycare and good local schools? Probably not.
And the trim is not impressive. The average arch-villain is swimming in spectacular exotic strange, but that is due to their ample riches and their alpha male status. Henchmen are a dime a dozen commodity. They are indisguishable and unexceptional to such an extent that they often sport garb which is identical to their colleagues and rarely ever even have actual names. Attraction issues aside, there is also an female asset supply shortage. Our research indicates that super-hotties list mountain lairs, sewer bases, and submarines lower than Miami, Los Angeles and London as desirable places to live.
Doing something you love only goes so far, and it’s unlike they actually love what they do that much. It’s hard work, if frequently mindless. Go here. Engage Batman in hand to hand combat (Good luck with that btw). Steal this mystical ruby crystal. Test this unstable mutagenic growth formula I’m developing. Delay Jack Bauer while I try and break into the White House’s panic room. Kidnap Sally-Sue. Invest in this pool of 2007 vintage MBS and see what happens to our investors’ money. Et cetera, et cetera.
Even if you are wiling to assume that they do it for the love of the hench, consider that there are a lot of passionate employees out there in other professions, but none willing to risk death, imprisonment or debilitation at anywhere near the rates that the typical henchmen face. Per this 2006 survey from CNN, the mortality rates are the highest for fisherman at 118 out of 100,000, or about 0.1%. Henchmen die or are seriously wounded at a rate 500 times as high as that. It’s tenuous at best to think they love being bad enough not only to die for it but also to be dramatically undercompensated as well.
A fair amount of henchmen were at one point incarcerated, and find gainful employment at unavailable to them. But surely there are alternatives that don’t involve a 50% mortality rate??? Venture Criminalism (VC) has a lack of ethical prerequisites, similar financial upside, but lower risk to life and limb. Practically anyone can sell stuff on eBay, even those with no helpful skills; I know this because I have seen a wealthy baby boomer perform a successful eBay auction sale. And Piratery is still open to highly-motivated nautically inclined go-getters.
Recommendation: There seems to be no economic rationale for the typical henchmen volunteer, and this will correct itself over time. But markets, especially ones involving evil organizations seeking world destruction, may be able to stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent, so shorting typical henchmen assets is an untenable risk. We do see an opportunity to start nibbling at brainwashing assets, mystical loyalty curse assets, and zombie making assets. All beneft from solid fundamentals, and stand to gain long term from henchmen markets becoming more rational, as the labor supply dries up and evil firms seek to find ways to effect impressment.Related Reseach:
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- Satan's Portfolio: RCII, Gazprom, and Verizon
- Счастливого отпуска!! or Is Russia A Place to Invest or a Place to Fear?
- Satan's Portfolio
- Piratery fka Piracy: Primer to Investing in Cutlasses, Rum and Pillaging