Saturday, 20 April 2013

In the City

Over here you can find a transcript of a talk by a chap called Jeffrey Sachs. He is controversial, but he is also very much an insider on Wall Street. He knows whereof he speaks, and is not some leftist hippie wanting to bring down capitalism (if those exist any more). I find it hard to believe that the things he says about Big Greed in the US don't apply to our own dear City of London. Anyway, the interview he gives is boring and complicated, as always with financial matters. But the gist of it is interesting and depressing.

These people are out to make billions of dollars and nothing should stop them from that. They have no responsibility to pay taxes. They have no responsibility to their clients. They have no responsibility to people, counterparties in transactions. They are tough, greedy, aggressive, and feel absolutely out of control, you know, in a quite literal sense. And they have gamed the system to a remarkable extent, and they have a docile president, a docile White House, and a docile regulatory system that absolutely can’t find its voice. It’s terrified of these companies.
(....) It really doesn’t have anything to do with right wing or left wing, by the way. The corruption is, as far as I can see, everywhere. But what it’s led to is this sense of impunity that is really stunning, and you feel it on the individual level right now, and it’s very, very unhealthy.
I have waited for four years, five years now, to see one figure on Wall Street speak in a moral language, and I’ve not seen it once. And that is shocking to me. And if they won’t, I’ve waited for a judge, for our president, for somebody, and it hasn’t happened. And by the way it’s not going to happen anytime soon it seems.
Replace a few terms and you've got a pretty accurate description of the UK's witless, gutless coalition's non-response to the banking crisis.

From this it's logical to conclude that, if there is any genuine economic growth in the next few years, it will simply be taking us along the road towards the Next Big Rip-Off, not towards lasting prosperity.

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