A week ago there was a rerun of Fun with Dick and Jane, the 2000s version, and it reminded me of the cyclical nature of the economy. With the one-year anniversary of the Lehman collapse around the corner I had to remind myself that the movie built on scandals of Enron and WorldCom. The beginning of the 2000s was an exciting time to study business and economy. Various crashes and scandals succeed each other and after each one we try and convince ourselves that it won’t happen again – not now when we know that it can happen.
I see this pattern time after time. Real-estate bubbles, Asian Crisis, Baring Bank, DotCom bubbles, Accounting scandals, the Polly Pecks, the Enrons, the WorldComs, the Lehmans, the AIGs, the Parmalats, the Fannie Maes, the Icelands and the Madoffs. How can we criticize efforts to prevent actions that are borderline if not full out fraudulent? I believe that the invisible hand might need a hand sometimes and that Obama’s ideas are genuinely sound. But when I hear that it looks like we made it I get cynical. Well, perhaps Bernanke is right but so what. I’m just curious how we’ll fuck it all up next time.
I’ll finish off with a little quote:
If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it. And if it dies, nationalize it.