Risk and reward

2010-01-29

in Economics, Politics, Rants

Depressing fact: apparently, one third of global banks still offer multi-year guaranteed bonuses to new hires. It is fantastically absurd that they are still able to convince shareholders that such payments are justified by the need to acquire ‘top talent.’

One cannot escape the feeling that banks and bankers have come out of the credit crunch having successfully bilked taxpayers out of billions of dollars, while avoiding reforms that would make future crises more rare or less severe.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Tristan January 29, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Marx predicted a series of ever-increasingly devastating economic disasters. Marx predicted capitalism would not be able to prevent these disasters from becoming more often and more extreme, not because no one knows how to prevent this, but because those who know are not able to effect the necessary change.

Marx never predicted, after all, that capitalists would not read him. And they do. It is not accidental that Margaret Thatcher, fierce chicago-school neo liberal, assigned Marx as necessary reading to her staff complement.

The same neo-liberals who argue for deregulation know it will produce instability which will cause ever greatening crises, perhaps destroying the system. They do it anyway because it is in their short term interest.

Milan February 1, 2010 at 10:40 am

At least some people, like Alan Greenspan, genuinely believe(d?) that markets will regulate themselves if governments stop interfering.

I certainly don’t think everyone in favour of radical deregulation secretly believes that it could destroy the global financial system.

Tristan February 1, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Alan Greenspan? Oh – you mean the economist who ran the federal reserve, despite himself proclaiming to prefer the 19th century american banking system? The Alan Greenspan who compromised everyone one of his principles? In other words, he’s another half-measure neo-liberal.

The real conservatives are nothing like Alan Greenspan. They actually have something not-in-common with Marx – they really believe that Market stability (as a sustainable instability, because they have a historical outlook on the business cycle) is sustainable. Of course, this means they have to have something in common with Marx – that the business cycle is to be understood historically, and that it expresses laws that are more perfect than their contingent manifestations. They are, in other words, Hegelians.

Alan Greenspan, and other Thatcherites, are just lying. They make their money on bubbles they create on purpose, and they take their golden parachutes.

Milan February 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Your thesis – that all neoliberals are arguing in bad faith and expect their preferred policies to endanger the financial system – is impossible to prove.

At the same time, it seems at least plausible that some people genuinely believed that deregulation would make the financial system more resilient.

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