Monday, September 22, 2008

The World is Ending

This week's Economist cover did a nice job of capturing my feelings at the moment. I had been mentally penning an especially cranky post about the current state of the economy but my zeal has faded. My feelings have moved from outrage and fear and astonishment to amusement. It feels like a soap opera. This is far more intriguing and exciting than a bubble. And I just don't really care anymore. If hedge funds go the way of the dodo birds, then I will just find something else to do with my nerdly self.

My eternal optimism about the underlying vibrancy/resilience of the American people has given way to a deep resentment of the political corruption (fiscal prudence, anyone ... anyone??), the stupidity of the whining masses (your mortgage terms - read and understand ... and skip that 4th home equity loan already) and the complete dismissal of the most important economic relationship: CONSUMPTION = PRODUCTION. You don't produce => You don't consume. And you consume only as much as you produce. End of story.

Instead we have a generation raised on two back to back bubbles and the notion that the best way to wealth is the latest tulip mania. And we have a government who aids and abets the sham by allowing unethical lenders to run amok and diverts precious public funds not to infrastructure and energy efficiency and affordable education and efficient health care but to Halliburton and bridges to nowhere.

Ok. So maybe I'm not just amused.

Yeah, recruiting is not a happy time in MBA land. But we're going to be fine. And we'll probably still make plenty of money. I'm worried for the rest of my family and friends for whom money is not easy and options are not plentiful. I'm angry that it's hard to see demonstrations of what delights me most about this country - success through hard labor, welcome of immigrants, separation of church and state, the appreciation of accomplishment and intellect in our highest leaders, suspicion of a bloated and imperial government, a commitment to living within our means and providing better futures for the new generation.

Sorry. This is a preachy post and obviously, American history is rife with inglorious and foolish moments, arguably much darker than these unfortunate days. But that this was all completely avoidable, pains me most. What good were the hundreds of years of economic history and study if we couldn't avoid the most blatantly obvious bubble? What good are the regulators if they can't enforce the most basic laws of lending? What good are our risk officers if they're expected to be compliant yes-men?

But that is how I feel at the moment. It does feel that the world as I knew it has ended. I guess I can only hope that that's a good thing!

2 comments:

OMGparishilton said...

What good are the regulators if they can't enforce the most basic laws of lending? What good are our risk officers if they're expected to be compliant yes-men?


Lol HFs and I-banks are the most de-regulated enitites in the world, hell 13Fs dont even reveal the short positions !!! But the bloated HFs are not far from sinking..

Zara said...

Well written article.