David M. Russell

Have we learned nothing?

In Commentary on July 4, 2009 at 11:19 pm

You would think the Global Financial Crisis would make people think about the lessons of the crash and why it all came tumbling down around us; especially those who played a leading role in causing all the carnage. But no, they just want to get their snouts back in the trough as fast as humanly possible. We’re talking about the screen jockeys in the securities firms who were so clever in devising all sorts of arcane financial instruments to underpin a global gambling den.

They’re coming back to play in a big way with news that Goldman Sachs is intending to pay out about $US20 billion in bonuses to employees this year. That’s around $US700,000 to each of these parasites. And even as we stare around us at the still unfolding wreckage of the sub-prime crisis we learn that these bonuses are more than they were last year and the year before. Nor is it just Goldman Sachs: Morgan Stanley is intending to pay out around $US11-14 billion in bonuses.

Again, the question should be asked, has nothing been learned? If these screen jockeys did something productive with their time, it might be (in some way) understandable. But they create no tangible value. They just gamble: moving electronic ‘pieces of paper’ around the globe in an enormous game of chance in which the later entrants carry the greatest risk. It’s madness.

Worse is that these securities firms were the beneficiaries of government bail-outs. That’s right – their greed and lack of conscience resulted in us (taxpayers) getting them out of trouble. And, now, they’re about to start the whole damned thing again – with our money!

The one thing we can be sure of is that if we don’t learn the lessons, we’ll keep on making the same mistakes. How much closer to complete global financial meltdown do we want to go?

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