So, in America a federal enquiry has now confirmed what we already knew. The New York Times reports:
Financial Crisis Was Avoidable, Inquiry Finds
WASHINGTON — The 2008 financial crisis was an “avoidable” disaster caused by widespread failures in government regulation, corporate mismanagement and heedless risk-taking by Wall Street, according to the conclusions of a federal inquiry.
The commission that investigated the crisis casts a wide net of blame, faulting two administrations, the Federal Reserve and other regulators for permitting a calamitous concoction: shoddy mortgage lending, the excessive packaging and sale of loans to investors and risky bets on securities backed by the loans.
“The greatest tragedy would be to accept the refrain that no one could have seen this coming and thus nothing could have been done,” the panel wrote in the report’s conclusions, which were read by The New York Times. “If we accept this notion, it will happen again.”
…“The crisis was the result of human action and inaction, not of Mother Nature or computer models gone haywire,” the report states. “The captains of finance and the public stewards of our financial system ignored warnings and failed to question, understand and manage evolving risks within a system essential to the well-being of the American public. Theirs was a big miss, not a stumble.”
Greed. It always comes down to greed. The bankers, the money traders, the mortgage brokers, the whole parasitic “financial services” sector. It all got out of control, it crashed and burned, it got bailed out with trillions of dollars worth of taxpayer’s money, it paid itself a round of insanely huge “bonuses”, and now it’s trying to get back to business as usual. No wonder dead banker jokes are so popular these days.
The political right has a narrative built around fine sounding concepts like “aspiration” and “personal freedom” and “rewards for hard work” and so on. Question it and you are accused of “the politics of envy” or “communism”. But question it we must. Regulate it we must, and balance it with equally fine concepts like “compassion” and “responsibility” and “a just and fair society”. Because if we don’t the right’s narrative becomes nothing but a whitewash job for naked greed. And we know how that story ends. It ends up in Enron. And the next speculative crash. And the next, and the next…