Poor Adam Smith.

July 17th, 2008at 07:20am Posted by Eli

It really is classic Republicanism: Claim that regulation is oppressive and the free market is the only source of corporate accountability that we need, then rig the free market to remove the accountability.  Brilliant!

While the Republic burns due to the unsavory combination of incompetence, ideological rigidity, and crony capitalism, the fools and assclowns seem ever more determined to avoid any personal responsibility for the damages they have wrought. Instead, they flail about blindly, blaming everything and everyone — except their own horrific negligence.

(…)

As a nation, our institutions have failed us: Under Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve slept through the most reckless and irresponsible expansion of bank lending in history for reasons of ideological purity. His opposition to the Fed’s regulatory role reached the point of malfeasance long ago.  History is unlikely to be kind to the Maestro.

There is a choice to be made: Either we regulate the Banks, or leave it to the vagaries of the free markets to punish those who trade with, or place their assets in the wrong institutions. But for God’s sake, do not give us the worst of both worlds — do not allow banks the freedom to make horrific but preventable mistakes (i.e., only lending money to those who can pay it back), but then expect the taxpayers to foot the trillion dollar bill.

That’s not capitalism, its not socialism, its not regulation, and its sure as hell isn’t what free markets are. Our language is insufficient to describe this hodge-podge system, other than to call it a random patchwork of quasi-capitalism, quadrennial-socialism, and politics as usual. Ideological idiocy is the only phrase I can muster that has any resonance with the daily insanity.

(…)

Back in the States, something beyond cognitive dissonance is occurring — this is full blown case of dementia unfolding in the public sphere. When this era of excess and absurdity is treated by historians in the future, the question I expect to be asked most is not why many of these people weren’t jailed for their financial felonies. Rather, I expect them to wonder why so many of these folk weren’t placed in protective custody, and heavily medicated, for the only rational explanation for their statements and behaviors is that they have gone so far beyond the bend as to be completely and totally insane.

Massively over-leveraged companies? Blame short sellers.

Wildly under-capitalized financial firms? Blame rumors.

Heinously poor corporate management? Blame a Senator.

(…)

Books will be written about this period of time, and our descendants will wonder in awe as to how this was allowed to happen. Tulips got nothing on us! Its not just the total dollar value of the losses that have exceeded all other global fits of financial madness combined, but rather, how so many warning signs were so blithely ignored by so many and for so long. What was wrong with these people, the authors and historians will wonder. Did the antibiotics in the food supply drive them mad? Did the High Fructose Corn Syrup compromise their ability to think? Some form of viral plague? Roid rage? What else could have created such a mass delusion amongst not just the populace, but their leadership and institutions?

(…)

From beyond the grave, Adam Smith does not know whether to weep or retch.

I do have to disagree with the insanity-rather-than-criminality assessment, however.  These people are not insane, just greedy, selfish, short-sighted, and perfectly amoral.  And they’re running the show.

(h/t Ian)

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Republicans


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