A Philosopher's Blog

Bringing Down the World

Posted in Business, Ethics, Law, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on May 22, 2010
Coat of arms of Greece.

Image via Wikipedia

While the economic crisis hit the United States hard, it hit Greece and some other European countries harder. Greece seems to be the worst off-there has been rioting in the streets (never a good sign).

While Greece once enjoyed an excellent rating from a financial standpoint, the evidence seems to be that the country was cooking the books with the aid of certain financial companies. The gist seems to be that Greece was hiding its debts in a way that enabled it to maintain  a good rating when, in fact, it was high risk. This is, of course, all part of the pattern of how the financial evil magic of Wall Street enabled economic chaos to rip through the world.

Interestingly enough, most (if not all) of this seems to be completely legal. This is hardly shocking, since the folks who write the laws are rather close to the Wall Street folks (identical, in some cases-which is as close as one can get).

What is most interesting is that failed terrorist attacks stir up far greater concern and responses than the financial misdeeds that have done so much damage. Of course, the financial folks are not considered terrorists. After all, they do not aim to create fear and terror. The fear of unemployment, the terror of losing one’s house, the horror of riots and financial collapses are merely the side effects of their misdeeds.

In response to the Greek situation, other countries have stepped in to provide money. This includes money from American taxpayers. In short, the rest of us are being forced to pay for the misdeeds of those who profited from creating this financial nightmare. Worse, little or nothing is being changed to prevent it from happening again.

At this point, I am not claiming that this is the start of the downward spiral of Western civilization. That is a matter for historians to sort out after the collapse. However, financial ruin is a good place for the end to begin. Thank you Wall Street for your contribution to bringing down the world. Enjoy those profits.

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14 Responses

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on May 22, 2010 at 9:24 am

    The fundamental problem is that Western countries are building unsustainable welfare states. And what cannot continue, won’t continue.

  2. fiddleferme said, on May 22, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Yes we need to start getting the big picture here….fast.

    http://fiddleferme.blogspot.com/2010/05/message-from-argentina.html

  3. ajmacdonaldjr said, on May 22, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Money appears to be a social construct; therefore I suppose it’s only a matter of interpretation as to whether or not the world will be “brought down” by all the crooked financial wheelings and dealings that go on . . . assuming, of course, that the world itself even exists. : )

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 24, 2010 at 4:32 pm

      Money is completely a social construct, at least in its modern form. Hard currency, such as gold, goats and guns, do have value of their own. Paper, plastic and digital are purely faith based.

  4. magus71 said, on May 23, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    It’s quite simple: More money out than money in and your finances collaspe.

    There was no complicated scheme here, Mike. No evil cabal of CEOs or frat boys with business degrees. It went like this:

    1) Greece has one of the lowest birth rates per female in the Western World. Somewhere around 1.2 births per woman. Societies need approximately 2 births per woman to sustain a population.

    2) Greece’s retirement age is 62 years old. This combined with the low birth rate gave Greece an ever increasing number of people living of the socialist retirement system and fewer and fewer people paying in to it. Just like will happen to America, only not as quickly because America’s birth rate is higher than almost any European country and our retirement age is higher.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8506142.stm

    3) Greece has one of the most voluptuous welfare systems around.

    I’d also like to point out that Greece has almost no military to speak of. Despite the “Bake sales not bombers” bumper stickers, a strong military is a sign of a strong economy not always just wasted money.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 24, 2010 at 4:34 pm

      There seems to have been some misdeeds: Greece had to cook the books to hide their true financial situation. That, I would say, counts as a scheme. Not a complex one, though. “Hide the debt” is a pretty simple approach.

  5. T. J. Babson said, on May 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    This sums it up very nicely:

  6. magus71 said, on May 23, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    And though Wall Street has something to do with the world’s financial issues, if Wall Street had been run perfectly Greece would still be failing. And so would the rest of the Euro Zone, as the EZ uses one currency in a coalition of desparate economic systems.

    Coalitions of any sort are notoriously inefficient, and in many cases very bad.

    And of course now there’s the problem of those who want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 24, 2010 at 4:35 pm

      Wall Street did not make Greece go into crisis, true. But, they seemed to have a hand in enabling Greece to hide its debt.

  7. magus71 said, on May 25, 2010 at 2:09 am

    There are many in charge of big companies that get it:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idCNN2423767920100524?rpc=44

    The U.S economy will have to confront problems ranging from the rising cost of healthcare to the loss of many of the manufacturing jobs that once sustained the nation’s middle class, Immelt said at Boston College, where GE does extensive recruiting. The company currently employs some 270 alumni of the school.

    “Look, it’s a mess out there. There are some real problems that need to be fixed. I could really bum you out if I wanted to,” Immelt told the graduates. “Your country will be better coming out of the financial crisis if we learn a few lessons: that real, honest, ethical leadership matters, that the U.S. cannot prosper today as just a service economy.”

    Improving the U.S. healthcare system is a pet cause of Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE, which is a major maker of medical imaging devices. GE aims to invest some $6 billion over the next four years in ventures it hopes will help lower the cost of healthcare.

    “The problems with the American healthcare system are real and will require great determination,” Immelt said.

    The GE chief, who was awarded an honorary doctorate in business administration, also said the world needs to come to terms with the growing gap between rich and poor, both in the United States and abroad.

    “The global economy will not tolerate a few people getting rich while other people get poor,” said Immelt, who earned his Masters of Business Administration at nearby Harvard Business School.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 25, 2010 at 3:59 pm

      Some folks are sensible and competent. These folks bear the burden of keeping the world from descending into complete chaos.

  8. magus71 said, on May 26, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    You can play Darth Vader music now…

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=az1YD_O3PXz4

  9. Jaimie Gould said, on May 28, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Greece failed because 1/3 of the population was paying for 2/3s on the government dole. Cooking books and borrowing only lasts so long. The U.S. keeps adding government jobs and losing private sector jobs. Sound familiar?


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