Stupidity and greed slid to thieving

We know so little about the rich.

Underpinning financial credit is an absolute function of government and one that has not changed since the birth of capital. It clearly needs constant redefinition. When this saga is through there should be a tribunal of inquiry. Then we can be told what needs mending, and whom to take out and shoot.

The Guardian’s Simon Jenkins says: Stupidity and greed slid into thieving.

The short essay is bent British, but with cutting style, “When the crisis subsides, an inquiry is needed.”

Who are they? Where are they now? They said it could not happen again. They said they were masters of the universe. They had conquered history itself and had that wily monster quivering at their feet. There would be no more crashes, no more recessions, no more booms and busts, just moonbeams and rainbows and jam for tea.

If the mistakes that have collapsed the world’s financial markets had been made by statesmen and had led to war, there would be corpses swinging from lampposts. If they had been made by generals, they would be falling on their swords. If they had been made by judges or surgeons or scholars, some framework of professional retribution would be rolling into action. But those responsible for our finances can apparently vanish into the forest like Cheshire cats, leaving only gold-plated grins. Not for them a Hague tribunal or a Hutton inquiry. They are not just good at shedding risk – they shed blame.

Another analyst in the UK puts it well. “It is about the corporate mindset that makes risk political, a struggle between managerial egos rather than a simple balance of good bets versus dangerous gambles.” Carl Mortished continues. “The regular supply of cash is a problem for investment banks, but it is not the root of the problem. …tribe of pinstripes loose to play in the mortgage derivative markets, with catastrophic results. It is the difference between …joint and several liability.

What is striking is that in today’s so-called economic democracy there are no democratic financial rules, no social rules, no trust. A powerful and rich minority can fleece the vast majority…

Oh, the British style:

It is quite true to say that the failure of the various banks and institutions was more or less based on the lack of probity. Someone must have thought just maybe once, that amassing such massive debt was not a good move but then the bonus either monetary or stock eased the trouble brow.

Free market falsehoods, Reaganomics rolled over
The American bent on the coin, Paul Farrell at MarketWatch writes, “Road to big bucks paved with bubbles, meltdowns and big bailouts. But more about that in a minute, because this rapidly unfolding drama is a runaway train with fast-breaking news driving a plot choking on greed, arrogance and incompetence.”

Cheshire Cat as depicted in American McGee's Alice
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.

“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat:
“We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”

“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.

“You must be,” said the Cat,
“otherwise you wouldn’t have come here.”