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Bunch of bankers

Written By: - Date published: 7:13 am, February 2nd, 2011 - 11 comments
Categories: capitalism, us politics - Tags: ,

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…

11 comments on “Bunch of bankers”

  1. Bored 1

    And for their next trick the people of America replaced the guilty parties with, well more and the same of the guilty parties. And with their eyes fixed firmly on the past behind them they backed bravely into the future.

  2. Afewknowthetruth 2

    The NYT and Ron’s commentary only tell half the story.

    In 2008 a combinarion of supply-demand pressure and speculation saw oil prices rise to $147 a barrel, which made fuel unaffordable for many Americans and when they stopped paying mortgages to pay for fuel it all came crashing down.

    The fundamental flaw in the system, the creation of money as interest bearing debt remains. That aspect of the system, is a criminal scam which dates back centuries and is based on unbridled greed, as Rob notes when referring to the bubble economy.

    The money as debt predicament is much worse now than ever before because growth of the world economy is no longer possible (peak oil peak water, peak soil etc.), so real economic surpluses are just not there to meet interest as they were in the past. Therefore, an ever increasing portion of the interest required to meet original money creation is being created as debt which requires yet more interest. Even with official interest rates at historically low levels the ‘thing’ goes exponential.

    Some parts of the world may grow at the expense of others, but overall there isn’t going to be any real economic expansion, just shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic as contraction sets in. The NYT isn’t going to broadcast that essential truth! On the contrary the NYT (and the corporate press everywhere else) will continue to declare we all need growth and that we are all getting it, even as the system implodes. Governments will fudge unemployment figures and growth data for as long as they can in a futile attempt to hold back the tide.

    Money is ultimately worthless unless it can be exchanged for resources, as the carless days of the 80s demonstrated. Keep watching the oil price and grow your own food. .

  3. happynz 3

    If that’s the case my pot of tomatoes and herb garden isn’t likely to see my wife, daughter and I through winter.

  4. g says 4

    yes, while i agree that the main causes of the crash was greed and the bankers that were driving it along, i cant help but conclude that the greed does not end with them. greed is the main motivation for anyone who is looking to acquire interest. especially thru finance companies and other high risk ventures.
    these bankers are powerless without us. if we stop wanting something for nothing their system will fall down.
    i suppose their power remains because we are ignorant. ignorance of the whole money is debt scam, but more importantly we are ignorant of who we are.
    what is the truth of my nature?
    look at that for a while and it will occur to you that you do not need uncle harvey normans 50 nmonths interest free (anyone smell the desperation?).
    survival is a local issue.
    happynz, you are welcome to some of my carrots and garlic if u need it.

  5. prism 5

    Happening again is likely, looking at the post-crash behaviour of business people and the constipated politicians. It’s time for them to go, or they should go and make way for another group who are prepared to provide regulatory infrastructure and then not set the poachers to monitor the estate.

    The litany of examples of lies of appropriate regulatory controls ensuring probity in the USA (which we follow like a dog at heel) is quite lengthy I think. At the moment I can only think of the savings and loan collapse but there have been regular ones about 20 years apart.

    link SP International from Geert Reuten is Professor of Economics at the University of Amsterdam and a Member of the Senate for the SP
    The super-rich remain the least damaged by the crisis: banks give all sorts of guarantees in respect of the resold loans. The banks are in trouble, but their losses are passed on: they must not be allowed to go bankrupt, so the taxpayer has to step in. Corporations received a severe setback, but they are not in the forefront when it comes to making the case for radical change in the banking system. And of course, the biggest burden of misery is shifted to the shoulders of the unemployed.
    Another – Comments on Political Economy

  6. Gina 6

    I haVe heard the there is plenty of money in the world right now but no one will lend and that unregulated derivatives are the reason no one will lend even now. That was Mr keys area of expertise when he was on the federal reserves Foreign Exhange comittee in 1999-2001.

    You see in the 2003 parliamentary record Mr Key says. “I spent every second week in New York betwwen 1996 and 2001. NZ’s corporate media know that and that Mr Key has pulicly distanced himself from the meltdown bY telling us he was employed by Merril Lynch in London. That true but he and NZ media failed to mention that his own words in the parliamentary record show he was right at the center of the economic collapse. And the media know about it but are not challenging him on yet another deception.

    At the time Mr Key was a member the Foreign Exhange Comittee of the federal reserve and was their derivatives expert, a letter to congress was co signed by that committtee. That letter urged congress to pass the Commodities Futures Modernisation act with the purpose of ensuring derivatives were never regulated. Between 1996 and 2000 the CFTC ( commodities futures tading commission ) lead by Brooksley Born made a determined effort to regulate derivatives which this bill put a stop to.

    You can watch a PBS Frontline documentary online if you like.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/warning/interviews/born.html

    Companies that Key worked for are mentioned. I.e. The Bankers Trust who were successfully sued for 200 million by Proctor and Gamble for fraud in selling them derivatives that they didn’t understand were not in their best interests even though the staff at The Bankers Trust did know.

    Derivates were a scam and a problem as far back as 1993 and they are still what is wreaking havock on the worlds economy. Our PM was right at the heart of this and an expert on the subject. There is nothing to stop our media screening this documentary. TVNZ often screen frontline docs. But neither they or TV3 will tell Kiwis that John Key was ver very close to the meltdown of worlds economy and would have known that derivatives nearly caused a global collapse in 2000 with the collapse of Long Ter Capital Manegement in 2000 before the passing of the Commodities Futures Modernization Act, before the foreign exchange committee co signed that letter urging congress not to reulate derivatives.

    Millions of people are now homeless thanks to his banker mates and we don’t know what his personal involvemet was. But he was there right there and he knew things of the threat facing the world from derivatives his specialty. And back then derivatives experts were thin on the gound.

  7. Lanthanide 7

    The collective noun for bankers is “wunch”, btw, as in “a wunch of bankers”.

    captcha: phrases

  8. Rich 8

    Actually, the problems are intrinsic to capitalism.

    Wage earners are getting steadily ground down. In order to keep them happy, they’ve been allowed the opportunity to borrow more and more dollars to put into property, which then inflates in price.

    This gives people the impression that they’re doing well and stops them agitating for decent wages. However, none of the money is real, and if too many people start trying to use the bubble money to pay for actual goods and services, that’ll cause problems. The crash was simply the cause of those problems, and the bankers are just facilitating.

    • Gina 8.1

      Wages are being kept down in the name of globalisation. Low wages mean workers cannot support local small businessess. This keeps those businesses operating in credit. The unviability of many small businesses due to low wages and slave labour imports leaves the way clear for the corporations to take over. Its deliberate its planned just like the current global ,meltdown. Making it hard for small business survive will see consolidation and globalisation go wild. If we don’t agree to a world government the bankers will just eventually buy us all out.

  9. BLiP 9

    ♫ ♪ . . . meet the new boss, same as the old boss . . . ♪ ♫

    Pete Townsend 1971, except this time it looks like we will get fooled again.

    • Bored 9.1

      And the parting on the left, is now a parting on the right…..

      Probably the best rock song ever, an absolute monster.

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