September 26, 2008

Servicing the Leaks

All right, seriously: is there any doubt anymore that wealthy conservatives a) take it as a first principle tht people ought to be accountable for the consequences of their actions b) make it the first principle they abandon the moment it's applied to their actions?

What are the usual consequences of financial management that ranges between criminal negligence and outright fraud? Particularly in commodities that, because of slack government oversight, have been able to instintutionalise c.n. and f. as normal practice? Restitution as far as that's possible I would have thought, and a considerable term segregated from the population at large in orange jumpsuits. Apparently not: what conduct like that merits is a heavy government subsidy to encourage further reckless and criminal speculation. Swift, who most of his life identified as Tory, would have found this logic quite impersuasive.

A bailout of people who put their money into these c.n. and f. institutions in good faith--that might make sense. They could be counted on to make responsible use of the money. Ideally they'd be sharp-eyed and invest more wisely next time, though in the present climate of institutional corruption they'd have to peer about them very carefully indeed. A great many 'sound', 'rock solid' investments these days are minefields of opportunity. Boom! there goes an arm and a leg or worse.

A bailout of people who acted cynically, in bad faith and if anybody could be bothered to investigate, criminally even according to laws that favour sharp practices among the rich that the poor go to jail for? Besides being morally repugnant, it's sure to produce disastrous consequences. Far from saving the world's economy, it will encourage the usual suspects in preparing the world for its next--will it be 2 trillion this time?--fiscal sucker punch.

C 2008 Martin Heavisides