Friday, May 21, 2010

Smith vs. Keynes (again)

It can be argued - and I won't disagree (too much) - that capitalism without some reasonable legal restraints, would eventually devolve to a point where the most common activity would be the buying and selling of (sometimes willing) slaves. And while I am a capitalist at heart, I recognize that moderation is all things is better than a society surrounded by unbridled chaos. I just prefer a system which allows individuals to enjoy the freedom to achieve and succeed to the extent of their drive and ability with minimal intrusion by government. We lost that a long time ago. It is sorely missed.

The truly self-sufficient doesn't need 'protection' from the mistakes he *might* make. Just keep the playing field level and make sure the appropriate information if disclosed accurately and in a timely manner. BTW - Those whose day-to-day existence is provided from the efforts of others should not be in charge of holding the reins.

All that said... I am concerned (again) that our well-meaning bureaucrats are marching down the wrong road (again) with these so-called 'financial reforms' trying to sneak in the backdoor. There seems to be a complete lack of understanding that the chase for immediate (and unsustainable) profits in the derivatives market was a key component to the meltdown (maybe THE key). The *extreme* all-blinders-on pursuit to capture the high returns promised by the derivatives drove the financial community into a feeding frenzy. This frenzy continued unabated until common sense and all rational thought had been cast aside. Too much focus is being made on the results of that process instead of the Real Causes. And, yes, both the private and public sector must jointly share the blame for their excesses. To lay the blame (and new regulations) at the feet of the private sector alone is a mistake. The explosion of the derivative market was driven - and arguably caused - by government intervention in the marketplace, predominately for social engineering (which is *not* a legitimate purpose of government, IMHO).

My point: Any 'reform' legislation that does NOT apply a critical examination and *increased* accountability on the bureaucracy (e.g. Freddie and Fannie) is doomed to failure in the long run. At this point, I see our benevolent pseudo-masters in Washington gleefully assuming a stance not unlike the man selling lots in Hell: eventually, he'll be so successful, it won't be long before everyone will be going there.

* sigh*

- Steve

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