The other morning at breakfast Richard the Intellectual (who’s a retired banker) stared at the newspaper headline – Europe Debt Crisis Shakes Stock Market – and laughed: Well, it’s beginning to look like thirty years ago the Wall Street Masters of the Universe sold us a bill of goods.
Free Trade, he said, was supposed to make everyone rich. Us, the Chinese, everyone. Then Free Trade gave birth to Globalism which was to make everyone richer. But then the Greeks turned out to be spendthrifts and whoosh-bang the bottom fell out of their economy and, suddenly, instead of making us richer ‘Globalism’ had landed us on the hook for the Greeks’ debts. Because if a mob takes to the streets in Athens the shock waves rumble across the webs of Globalism to Topeka and to save some ‘global’ bank in New York or Frankfort or Paris we have to bail out Greece.
Maybe, Richard said, next time some Wall Street genius says, This is a win-win, everybody gets rich – we ought to shoot him before he does any real damage.