Sunday, March 22, 2009

Irreplaceable?

There's not many of us who fall into that category. And the least of those are the crooks and scam-artists and half-wits who created this deepening financial crisis.

So if they believe they need million-dollar "retention" bonuses to fix the mess they created, I say let them walk. We really can't afford the expertise they have to offer.

With that in mind, Kevin Drum points us to Charles de Gaulle:

“The cemeteries of the world are full of indispensable men.”
Here, I'll go one better - Albert Einstein:

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
I find it highly unlikely that the only people who can rescue our sagging economy - AIG, for example - are the same ones who ran it into the ground.

For years, even decades, they've done an admirable job of bullying the American public into believing in the collective power of their financial genius. They could handle all the heavy lifting when it comes to futures or derivatives or stock options, we should just nod our heads and pass the collection plate.

And in theory, that makes sense.

What could Main Street know about our financial gears and levers and pulleys that Wall Street didn't? We were talking about business school stars, the best and brightest of our top colleges. People like me, well, I'm just a journalism graduate and something other than gifted when it comes to complex financial matters. They were the rightful gatekeepers of the American economy.

Except they weren't. Hilzoy explains:

A couple of years ago, it would have been hyperbole to suggest that we would all be better off if the senior executives at all our major financial firms were people picked entirely at random out of the phone book. Now, it's arguably true. People picked at random would, admittedly, be likely not to have been to business school. They might not know a lot about futures or derivatives or put options. But so what? At least they might have been more likely to know that they were clueless, and a few of them might have had the common sense to ask questions like: will housing prices really go up indefinitely?

In any case, what's the worst they could have done? Bankrupted their companies with ludicrously risky gambles that fell apart once markets went south? Destroyed trillions of dollars in value? Brought the world financial system to the brink of collapse? Left taxpayers across the globe on the hook for trillions of dollars Bankrupted entire countries?

Oh, right.


Right. Save it.

Everything they own in a box. To the left. To the left.

2 comments:

Cami said...

haha, i love it. i've tried to wrap my mind around how all this happened, but that's when my brain starts turning to mush. it's unfathomable.

blackink said...

And that's the funny thing: I feel and have always felt the same way. To be honest, I know only the most minimal of things about our financial sector and its inner workings. Hell, I barely read the biz section of the paper.

I just always assumed that people who did and who worked on Wall Street knew what the hell they were talking about. And maybe they do.

But if they do, they should reveal that to the rest of us. Because at the moment, there's plenty of evidence to the contrary.