It just gets better and better. Now we find out that Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan helped screw up the economy of Greece. So Greece can screw up the European Union.
I hope that the international courts go after these U.S. financial institutions and their compatriots elsewhere. But I mostly want the U.S. financial institutions to get the brunt of the punishment. We started it. We continue it. We brag about U.S. exceptionalism.
I like Julia Baird’s piece in the 02-22-10 Newsweek, “Seeking a Moral Compass: Will the recession change us?” (By the way, I think the answer to that is “no.” I also think the U.S. will make sure that no U.S. financial institution is punished internationally. Although I sure hope the E.U. will kick some butt like it did with Microsoft.)
Back to Julia. She references Mahatma Gandhi’s mankind’s 7 social sins: commerce without morality, politics without principle, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, education without character, science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice.Wow. The U.S. wins big on sins #1, #2, and #3. And I’d say we do pretty well on the pleasure and education ones, too.
As Julia asks: “When did we come to expect money could be made – infinitely and effortlessly – by a kind of opaque algorithmic magic? When did we allow commerce to be defined primarily by debt-driven consumer spending, creating profits channeled only toward those already at the top of the heap?”
Sadly, I have no hope or faith that the U.S. will change. I see this country as dominated by the for-profit corporation mindset. Nothing seems to stop them. (And thank you again, U.S. Supreme Court!) I’m sad and ashamed.