Saturday, March 27, 2010

Capitalism and greed

I know many point to morality failures as one of the key reasons for the financial crisis that was felt across the world. Some were so convinced that they argue that financial stock brokers/bankers should take an oath before starting trading, just as they do in the medical field (hippocratic oath). However, I believe as many others do, that this is not a moral issue. This is/was not something that could've been solved by moralities. Rather it is a structural issue, where the system drives individuals to act a certain way. Capitalism, by definition puts market values and accumulation of capital as it's foremost important value.
This documentary/tv show puts it also in a very clear view.

However, let me iterate my views further.
Free market economist also believe that if you let market loose, than everything will find equilibrium. In these cases, morality does not have a place. A bit simpler, banks accumulated and made money due to that that is something they could do in the current system. Although some criticize for it being immoral due to that there were very high risks involved and much of the money was made was done where it was not due, let's think about it again. In the financial sector, much like other sectors but more so, the biggest goal is to achieve financial gains. The more you gain, the better. Although some may be in the boundaries of being illegal, if that is still within the rules of the game, you do it. As noted in the documentary, others are doing it, the pressures to follow would be large, especially when born/raised in a country where competition is thought to provide the best results, and falling back is only a characteristics of a looser- in all aspects of the words.
I even see this in academia, where our drug of preference is academic publications. No longer is it that development and spread of knowledge our goal. No, our goal is to write publications, regardless of any moral misdeed this may contain, and I've seen one too many academics even throw their health away to be on top of the game. But, again, can we blame this on morals? No.. I also believe it goes way beyond that. It has more to do with the high of competition. I think many of the bankers who have done " immoral" banking had enough? money in their hands. But to be perceived as the best, they needed the extra. Although the money didn't hurt.

and this all comes about, due to that we loose conscious of what we are doing, exactly what the consequences of our choices made and why we are behaving a certain way. Which leads me to this book Momo: on which I want to write another entry. Although I must say, to be conscious of everything, would be painful in many ways, or would lead us to believing the best we can do is to go rot in some dirt. I mean there is a golden middle, and many of us, not through our own choices, have been lead/ are in a position where we are actually asleep.

Friday, March 26, 2010


"So you have a couple of drinks, fight about politics... and then you take it personally when he doesn't agree with you... that is called having a dad."

- Liz Lemmon, from 30 Rock