Sunday, 2 May 2010

that's a hell of a big thing to find a flaw in

Yup, it's been a while since I let you in for any Lords of Finance, but I've just read John Lanchester's New Yorker review. I'm not sure I'd have written a better one, and I can't say fairer than that.

Two things for today. First is Alan Greenspan speaking on October 23rd, 2008, who said that the crisis was a once-in-a-lifetime tsunami:
Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders' equity – myself especially – are in a state of shocked disbelief ... [The failure of self interest to provide self-regulation was] ... a flaw in model that I perceived as the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works.
As Lanchester points out, 'That's a hell of a big thing to find a flaw in.' Put not your faith in markets.

Second, Lanchester finishes with a magic Montagu Norman (Governor of Bank of England at start of Great Depression) quotation which I though I had favoured you with before but cannot find anywhere. Ben is his old friend Ben Strong, his American counterpart:
As I look back, it now seems that, with all the thought and work and good intentions ... nothing that I did, and very little that old Ben did, intentionally produced any good effect at all except that we collected money from a lot of poor devils and gave it over to the four winds.

No comments: