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Thursday, October 16, 2008

greed is a little less good

Someone mailed me and asked about my opinion, working from my theory, on the credit crisis. I've written about it a few times already. But it is interesting that now more and more governments are willing to put limits on CEO salaries and dealings. Of course, it is easy to say that that is a sign of winter, when putting limits to some things and ending others is a necessity. Sceptics would say there is simply no other option left. But still, I hope there really will be an even broader discussion in society about the limits of dealing with our money. Because, in the end we are all responsible. About 8 years ago (I sound like Obama now) I wrote an article on how it is essentially our money in pension funds and savings accounts that enables hedge funds and agressive bank policies. When I mentioned that to even close friends, they became either irritated or changed the subject: "not my responsibility" (typical autumn response). But it is! You're paying for it this winter! If we all would have been just a little less greedy and would have demanded from our personal pension fund a reasonable but not excessive return on investment, then the problems would never amount to what we're facing now. There should be pressure from consumer groups now, from labour unions and from well known individuals to discuss what our collective limits are, when it comes to our money being invested by the Gordon Gekkos of today. That would be a very, very good investment in this winter period. Because in a few years cultural spring is arriving and then nobody has much interest in these things again. Think about the eighties..
Of course governments should already have placed limits on raiding and hedging and dangerous credits in the last winter period, between 1983 and 1988. Remember the small crash in 1987? That would have been a good moment. But alas, right then aggressive financial operations were still new and looked so effective to all the yuppies and governments still faithfully believing that greed was good. It is, be it limited.

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