This particular financial crisis owes its origins to those "experts" who put their "faith" in individual greed to generate capital but forgot that such initiative also requires oversight from the community (i.e. government) to keep it from destroying the market itself. Booms and busts have occurred regularly in capitalistic societies over the course of several centuries. The hubris of these "experts" meant that they thought that the laws of capital no longer applied.
Yes, capitalism harnesses and maximizes the creative and personal efforts of individuals but it is essentially amoral. People, however, require moral and ethical rules of operation when they live in communities so that they don't destroy each other either through physical or through fiscal violence.
Capitalism is a market system where survival of the fittest is the rule. It operates consistently to be as efficient as possible until it has maximized production etc. at which point demand may fall off and it can't continue. It doesn't matter what the sphere of expansion. The market will always move toward maximum efficency and profits unless it is reined in by the moral rules imposed by the community or by its own natural collapse/fall back. These community rules may govern labor or trade but they impose responsibility on the market that doesn't exist otherwise.
The regulations put into effect after the Great Depression kept the market in check, and more moral than before that crisis, for nearly 80 years. When Republicans argued that these rules crippled the marketplace they ignored both history and ethics in favor of the wild west, survivial-of-the-fittest type of market. And to quote Bible: when you sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind, and all those Bible quoting Republicans either forgot those lessons or never really knew, understood or believed in them.
The cause of this mess lies in intellectual hubris: all these smart money men who couldn't see the forest for the money trees and who all thought that regulations were somehow outdated, that it was the market that posited the morality. Those who loaned money to people who couldn't carry the mortgages (you only needed simple arithmetic to know the ones who couldn't) did so because they could make money by shifting the risk to someone else and the lack of regulation made that easy to do. Those who took the easy loans kept thinking they could always sell when the crunch came. (They too were irresponsible.) Both parties did what was the smart, market efficient thing to do. It was a "no brainer." It was also a "no oversighter."
All financial crises are felt primarily as emotional and psychological crises for individuals. The ethics and morals of it operate on the level of community and at the moment business has destroyed the trust (as well as the capital) necessary for them to do their work.
I have been arguing with a libertarian friend about the lack of basic morality of unregulated business and markets for more than eight years. I suspect that he believes me now. My present problem is that I did not follow my own instincts with respect to retirement savings and I am having a difficult time forgiving myself for that. Cassandra saw what was going to happen to Troy but no one else believed her and even she didn't leave before the city was destroyed.
Some people find solace in religion during a time of economic loss. Personally, I think a lot of religion's "solace" is a kind of projection of one's best internalized parent that people then believe "forgives" them or offers them "love."
I think that sorrow is a part of the human condition. Trying to escape it through some Big Daddy in the sky just doesn't do it for me. In my mind that's just another escape from responsibility. I remain angry with myself for not acting on my own instincts and although I am active politically I have a jaundiced view of how courageous Congress can be to restore the market.
Furthermore, it seems clear that a lot of the guys who got us into this mess still believe their own PR and some, especially the Republicans in Congress, are still peddling this junk. Unbelievable! Now that's something to laugh about, and maybe gallows humor is the only kind left.
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