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03:19 AM on 04/21/2009
Posner said, "If you say to a banker, 'If all the banks go broke, the economy will take a hit.' They'll say, 'What can I do. If I decide to play it safe, my competitors will take all my business.'

I do not hold a degree in economics. Yet it has been clear to me for decades that unethical behavior turns capitalism into a race to the bottom. Whoever first does something unethical that cuts costs, or increases profits becomes the more succesful competition, driving the stakes down, down, down... Why can I understand this and yet, Paulson, Bush, Regan, Clinton, Greenspan, Bernanke couldn't figure this out? They all knew this was where it was heading. To suggest otherwise means that economics degrees should be printed on toilet paper.
03:53 AM on 04/21/2009
Beacause they were hostage to the same syndrome you have in quotes at the top of your comment. If they don't go along with the flow someone else will get their precious tenure and they might have to settle for the 2nd best private school to send their children to...
11:10 AM on 04/21/2009
"I sacrificed my nation so my kids could go to the right school."
Heterosexuality kills.
07:56 AM on 04/21/2009
It's worse than that. You not only get a culture that fails to recognize the danger of a free market with no regulation, you get a culture that ridicules anyone who warns of the consequences of degregulation. In no time we have an entire country basically willing to follow the greedy over the cliff instead of taking a step back and listening to the common sense whispering in their ear.
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FogBelter
03:18 AM on 04/21/2009
"And he makes sure to include the failures of liberalism in his rant, condemning how they are "trapped in fantasies of equality.""

Judge Posner, ultimately all of us, Rich or Poor ... die.

I'd consider that pretty equal.
03:10 AM on 04/21/2009
If we don't put conscience in the leaders and employees then we will continue to have white collar psychopaths running and working for the sector.

It's good to know Judge Posner recognize that conservatives play a critical role in this mess but he and his ilk were at the helm for a very long time and they did a lot of damage. It's hard for me to wrap my head around why he would expect the problem to we solved within 6 months when we have another 2+ trillon dollars of credit problem looming (and we still don't know how much toxic assests were hidden in offshore accounts). The only conclusion I have is that he and his ilk are worried about their own savings, their own futures, their own money. Well, the conservatives wrote legislation that if you die by 2012, your money will pass tax free to your heirs. This may not be the best option for those who still want to live but it is the going to be the last best option for Judge Posner and his ilk.

Pyschopaths with greed is what got us here. I don't believe that Judge Posner doubts his faith in free market capitalism until I see a genuine conversation on what conservatives and the super rich has done to this country & how they will get us out of it. At this time, they are still riding on the backs of people on the lower tiers of the socio economic
08:02 AM on 04/21/2009
Well said.

I hear Greenspan talk of his surprise over what happened with the mortgages when anyone with the slightest bit of common sense could have figured it out. I am no economist, but I knew several years ago that continuing to lower the interest rate until money was nearly free was propping up a housing bubble that was going to burst. I feel the same way about Posner's epiphany about unregulated capitalism. Duh, how come it took you so long to figure out that lions aren't going to stop eating zebras on their own?
03:03 AM on 04/21/2009
Posner is right that we need regulation to bring balance and stability back in to the financial sector but I don't believe in his conversion or doubt on free market capitalism. We have an industry that promotes and rewards pyschopaths. When money is the product and the bottom line and the game is played resulting in only winners and losers at the end of the day, the only people who will succeed and Wall Street and the banks will promote and reward will be psychopaths. Judge Posner should know the the profile of psychopaths as I assume he's seen many of them in his line of work. Whether they are on Main Street of Wall Street, the profile and MO are the same. They will win at all cost and think it's funny you have a conscience. The very fact that Posner does not want to put the burden of conscience on the leaders and workers in the industry demonstrates to me that he has not yet "come to Jesus" on the root cause of the financial crisis.
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Eris23Skidoo
Dischordian Keynesian
02:58 AM on 04/21/2009
We're all Keynesians now!
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afgail
Wise and strong.
02:58 AM on 04/21/2009
The irony of those bible thumping Republicans is they created the culture of criminal greed. It is as I always suspected. The tauting of Christian "family values" was just a shuck and a jive. The GOP paradigm was to scapegoat minorities and focus on other peoples crotchs - abortion, gay marriage, cloning, sex education, abstinance, extramarital affairs of political opponents, etc, etc.. Distracts the Christian right and other low information voters from the really important issues of governance everytime.
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seehowtheyrun
Without music, life would be a mistake
03:40 AM on 04/21/2009
Well said.
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ApprxAm
04:01 AM on 04/21/2009
Let's not absolve the DumoKrapZ. Since Reagan, the "Blue DogZ", DLCers, THirdWayers, Clintonites and other 'Business Conscious" donkeys. Hell, they're draggin Ol Barack right down with them.

Before we can either fix, or better, destroy RePugZ, Democrats are going to have to grow some balls and remove the conservative, traitorous, right-wing Wing of the Democrat Party.

First things first.
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joebaggadonuts
Civilization: Evolutionary pathway of choice.
02:32 AM on 04/21/2009
Posner is a heavyweight intellect. Faux Conservatives ignore his change in thinking at their peril.

As for the destruction of all the zebras, well, I hope he comes up with something to take care of that situation besides regulating the remaining "lions." I also hope there's enough of them left to breed.
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vandegrasse
Don't Panic
01:59 AM on 04/21/2009
It's good to know one more conservative, capitalism-is-my-God Republican has woken up. But in his remarks I did not discern a call, or a demand for return to corporate responsibility. Instead he excuses the behavior of the banks because they might be caught with their pants down while others get ahead of them.. This "oh, I can't take responsibility because I'll get hurt and the other company will have an advantage" is at the very core of the current financial crisis. And if this selfish attitude isn't the law of the jungle I don't what is. So I guess really, he still doesn't quite get it.
03:31 AM on 04/21/2009
No I think he gets it perfectly. That the motivation and flexibility of Capitalism is an essential part of any sound economy, but that free market capitalism itself is flawed because of unaccounted and non-individual costs that are not calculated by individual firms. And that is where the government comes in .
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marco01
01:57 AM on 04/21/2009
" "If you say to a banker, 'If all the banks go broke, the economy will take a hit.' They'll say, 'What can I do. If I decide to play it safe, my competitors will take all my business.' "

You could have lobbied for more regulation to protect your industry and the country. But noooo, you did exactly the opposite - lobbying for as much deregulation as you could get.
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realpolitic
Obama does care!
01:27 AM on 04/21/2009
I like the idea of reducing the mortgage principle of homeowners facing foreclosure.
01:46 AM on 04/21/2009
Reducing the principle makes sense. Banks will lose less money by reducing the principle than foreclosing and selling the houses at pennies on the dollar. Banks also incur maintenance and service costs from the time of foreclosure to the next sale.
Bernique
Solar is cheap, free, and clean
11:00 AM on 04/21/2009
Principal, principal, principal.
01:07 AM on 04/21/2009
Posner makes one very good point with the lion analogy. Slavery would still be around today if the Federal Gov't under Lincoln hadn't abolished it. Reading history, there were many plantation owners that saw slavery as evil, but were constrained to stop it because they wouldn't be competitive. An example being Jefferson. Complicit in this evil were the people who bought the products produced by slavery.

Greed is a great motivating force. We are all greedy in one way or another. The problem is that when greed is not controlled it becomes destructive,especially when a whole system like Capitalism, is based on it solely and there is no counterbalancing force to moderate it. Over the last 20 years business has told Government what to do and not the other way around. One of our Government's primary responsibilities is to protect us, the citizenry, from the excesses of greed. They have failed miserably. Ethical responsibility for what is best for our country, our fellow workers, our country and our world must become part of all our dealings - not just what is good for ourselves and our companies. Will it happen? I don't think so, unless our laws and taxing structure make it so. As I say to my children when they are acting up, our society needs an "attitude adjustment".
01:04 AM on 04/21/2009
Better late than never Dick . . . though one would have thought he would have noticed that 3 times in the last 89 years major economic meltdowns in the financial system have occurred following lengthy Republican't efforts to deregulate capital markets, but then again perhaps the Republican't effort to return the country to a Nineteenth Century economic model of wrenching boom/bust cycles was just a little too subtle to be taken seriously by those who should have known better
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Badfickle
12:47 AM on 04/21/2009
You know it's not an accident that we didn't have a single credit crisis for 50 years after the New Deal. And it is no coincidence that in less than 30 years after we started dismantling the New Deal regulations that we have had TWO.
12:23 AM on 04/21/2009
I'm sure all those dead zebras will be happy to hear about his transformation.

A day late and (at least) a dollar short.
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elcerritan
My bio is not micro
12:49 AM on 04/21/2009
You took the words right out of my mouth.
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newhouse1
Democracy Is Worth The Effort
01:42 AM on 04/21/2009
That's a great take.
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acudoc
12:22 AM on 04/21/2009
Capitalism didn't fail, for it depends on free markets----and those we don't have!

What has failed us is a financial class that has arisen like a group of pigs around a trough, the trough being a fractional reserve banking system managing a debt-based fiat currency.

Under a true capitalism, competing currencies and banking structures would have arisen, and among those would have been honest money systems with honest banks offering excellent service and not greed, which is what fractional-reserve banking is based upon. Compound the fraud of politically-empowered fractional-reserve banking with a debt-based currency created solely within such a banking structure through loans (in which the loaning party offers nothing in consideration) and you have a recipe for a perfect financial storm. It has taken 96 years to gestate, but it is here now, I assure you. The booms and busts are built into such a system, and with every bust, tangible assets are taken over by the banking establishment. (A perfect example is post WWI Berlin and the rush to pick up assets by bankers based in London and New York.)

Look to the failed collectivism of Russia and China with its inevitable concomitant totalitarianism to see our possible future, a future filled with brutality, if liberals and (faux) conservatives continue their love affair with centralized government and centralized planning, and their abysmal misunderstanding of money and free markets.
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Badfickle
12:52 AM on 04/21/2009
We had a multitude of credit collapses in this country long before the Fed was put in place. Every 10-15 years we had boom and bust starting with Washington's first term of office. That stopped with the New Deal. We had ZERO large banking collapses from the 1930's until 1980 when we started dismantling FDR's common sense regulations. Since then we've had two.
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LunaPark
Don't believe it until it's officially denied
01:18 AM on 04/21/2009
Boom bust cycles are natural in business. The Fed makes the booms bigger and the busts longer and more painful. The Fed manipulates money supply and interest rates causing the booms. Ralph Nader says, "The Federal Reserve is a government within a government and completely out of control. " Dennis Kucinich feels the same way. Why should NON-ELECTED private bankers have so much control over our economy in a democracy?
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treetracker
01:34 AM on 04/21/2009
"What has failed us is a financial class that has arisen like a group of pigs around a trough..."

That part of your statement is true - Greenspan had his epiphany saying the "models" failed. What failed was the fact that he did not enter the "human" equation in the models. GREED. You cannot not have unfettered markets because there will always be greed.

We've been here many times before because of lack of oversight and regulation. FDR solved much of this, until our "leaders" began dismantling it. Now we have to put it back together and, I hope, that no one is stupid (or greedy) enough to lead us down this path again.