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Monday, October 13, 2008

So who goes to jail?

Now that economic armageddon has been averted/postponed/cancelled (delete as your confidence in the future dictates), who's going to carry the can?

Taxpayers, of course, will be paying in real terms for the banking and trading sectors' mistakes.

But will any of the criminals who brought us to this point be held accountable?

In Britain, it seems that despite nationalisation of four banks the only penalty for the bankers will be the removal of their bonuses this year. Big swinging mickey. How about removing their pay packets too, then removing their freedom?

In America, the bankers will be inflicted with 'oversight'. Apart from the fact that oversight should have been going on from day one, this seems to indemnify those responsible for this mess from any responsibility.

So we remain in the asymmetrical risk situation, whereby bankers make tons of money when their irresponsible bets come off, but lose little or nothing when they don't.

And in Ireland? No penalties for the bankers thus far, despite the state underwriting all their mess. And I predict that tomorrow's emergency budget will hammer the taxpayer while continuing to reward the big losers who caused this mess - the bankers and the builders.

Nick Leeson, now a successful employee of Galway United FC, went to jail for this sort of irresponsible investing. I'd love to see the many others who emulated his model of speculation receive a similar penalty.

But they won't, you can be sure of that.


Peter Slattery said...

What? The average 'joe six-pack' (isn't that what the kids are calling it these days) is going to be shit upon yet again?! Say it isn't true! But it is, isn't it. Same old story. And yet we all just roll over, take it with little more than a grumble and then vote the same idiots who allow these bankers to get away with it back in the next time an election takes place. Our inaction makes us just as culpable.

EW said...

But aren't we all to blame really? For making profits from rapid property rises, for consuming goods, for borrowing on credit cards to afford plasma screen tvs, new cars and posh holidays which are far above our earning bracket? For trying to keep up with the Joneses by borrowing and borrowing and then declaring bankruptcy to avoid repayment? For logging onto government-funded websites and moaning that we were illegally given credit/sold fiance deals/leant money.

We have become a society of "buy now, pay later" and it has finally caught up with us all. Aren't we all to blame?

Ops. Sorry about that, it turned into quite a rant for this early in the morning. I think I need a coffee.

JC Skinner said...

Enjoy your coffee!
And no, we aren't ALL to blame. Those who benefited are a small proportion of society - the Galway tent brigade of developers, the speculators, the bankers themselves.
They benefited.
The rest of us got soaring house prices. And yes, there was some cheap credit. Some people were irresponsible with that.
But they weren't educated about it, and the bankers (them again) were irresponsible in lending it.