Margaret Atwood in the NY Times on the frayed moral fabric underlying the debt crisis. Trust is earned, easily betrayed, and hard to restore. Debtors and creditors, rating agencies and regulators, advocates for the poor and politicians all gamed each other. Now we find that no one wants to play. Perhaps the banks don't lend to other banks because they know that the counter-party is no better than they are. Small exchanges, gifts and courtesies, and kindnesses and conversation among friends, these are the fabric of family, civil society, and even of trade. (My thoughts, provoked by Atwood's reflections.)
A parallel rumination from across the channel, from M. Badiou, from Le Monde, which we are not likely to see translated in the NY Times:
The ordinary citizen must ‘understand’ that it is impossible to make up the shortfall in social security, but that it is imperative to stuff untold billions into the banks’ financial hole? More.
Posted by: tom matrullo | October 24, 2008 at 11:28 PM
"crisis as film"
I liked that notion. The article is good, though hard to read (obvious it's a translation of complex French). I can't for a moment imagine an article of that depth appearing in a North American newspaper.
Packaging risk, pricing it without any real sense of what it means, and selling it on is what has supported much of the "economy" for the past few years ... no wonder all the air is leaking out of this latest bubble. Its enclosure (of the risk-generated air) was, I think, never meant to be sustained. there's been a collective rush in the financial industry to make as much as could be made while the making was good, and that's the scandal of this "bail-out". It is meant to save the hides, and bank accounts, of bandits. That, so far, is real.
Posted by: JJ Commoner | October 25, 2008 at 12:00 AM
Thanks, Tom, blogged it.
Posted by: Phil | October 25, 2008 at 12:29 AM
Trust and betrayal, huh? Run that one by Elouise Cobell. The roots of banditry are enshrined in the Constitution.
Posted by: Jay Taber | October 27, 2008 at 04:21 PM