Ben Bernanke is a keeper. He understands just how the bullshit is sliced. On February 14, he gave our oligarchy a Valentine Day’s present when he told the Senate Banking Committee, “Money center banks and other large financial institutions have come under significant pressure to take onto their own balance sheets the assets of some of the off-balance-sheet investment vehicles they had sponsored.”
This is one of those innocuous statements that say volumes by appearing to say little. Implicit in his statement is an expression of horror that the banks might be forced to wallow in the garbage they created. It all gets down to a question of responsibility. In America, responsibility is a virtue we take much pride in. However, it is a personal virtue and not a corporate one.
“Personal responsibility” is the mantra that allows financial institutions to do nothing as foreclosures increase. A homeowner is personally responsible for signing on to a loan he didn’t understand. The bank is not responsible for issuing it.
Corporate “responsibility” is counterproductive. To hold corporations responsible for their actions would be to inhibit the innovations and creativity that allows our corporations to profit from the disasters they create.
Capitalism’s genius is to turn its inherent ineptitude into a revenue stream. As the economic meltdown continues to grow, new sources of capital are being generated by selling off hunks of America to Middle East private equity funds. This is globalization at its finest. Its ultimate act will be the sale of the United States to an Arab sheik. Then, and only then, will capital finally shed the nation-state that has for too long been an millstone around its neck.
This is why we need even more deregulation. A regulated capitalism is incapable of creating the financial meltdowns that allow for the heavenly ascension of capital into the ether of moral turpitude.
With Ben at the helm, we can be sure that corporate incompetence will continue to flourish.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
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