Monday, March 23, 2009

The banality of evil

Wall Street's Economic Crimes Against Humanity

The financiers at AIG were awarded millions in bonuses because their contracts were based on the transactions they completed, not the consequences of those transactions. A 32-year-old mortgage broker told me: "I figured my job was to get the transaction done…Whatever came after the transaction—that was on him, not me." A long list of business executives have reaped sumptuous rewards even though they fractured the world's economy, destroyed trillions of dollars in value, and disfigured millions of lives.

Posted by devo @ 12:09 PM (1914 views)
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10 thoughts on “The banality of evil

  • Has anyone in history described themself as evil?

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  • Sub-prime, bonus culture, irresponsibility, negligence. These problems will not just “Go Away”. We haven’t seen the end by a long road.

    MP’s expenses is a tiny part of the same morality. It’s just a matter of scale.

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  • last_days_of_disco says:

    To try and describe everything in terms of the Holocaust is getting old for me.

    I get the parallel about people not taking responsibility, but surely there are other ways of describing what happened. I mean really, there were no gas chambers or anything like that and the individuals who got bogus mortgages were not rounded up in cattle trucks and forced off to “mortgage foreclosure” chambers.

    I hate this kind of shrieking Holocaust speak because it closes out real debate and basically belittles what actually happened then. This is not the Holocaust ok. Yes its not good but there are enormous differences, one of those being that people knew they were lending money they could never really repay. They allowed themselves to be drawn in. So its completely different to what happened in the war.

    Its a poor analogy.

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  • last_days_of_disco says:

    oops: “people knew they were lending money” should be “people knew they were borrowing”

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  • The Fed is above the law, puppet Obama and TOTALLY private.

    Tyranny meaning……….

    A government in which a single ruler is vested with absolute power.
    The office, authority, or jurisdiction of an absolute ruler.
    Absolute power, especially when exercised unjustly or cruelly:

    “I have sworn eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man” (Thomas Jefferson).
    PERIOD!!!!!!!

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  • letthemfall says:

    To be fair, the article is not using the Holocaust as a parallel, but rather the amoral stance of individuals that allow such events to occur. Big business, especially financial business in recent years is, in my view, clearly amoral and the conclusions the article draws are valid, even if set against the portent of a phrase like “banality of evil”. I think it is true that the big-money financiers are totally indifferent to the plight of people who suffer as a consequence of their actions, and who cannot be be held to blame for not understanding what they were being slyly led into.

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  • lettemfall: British people never used to be so excitable. I blame that dreadful Diana woman. There has been no real suffering. Nobody has been raped in the street or seen their child die in their arms. Nobody is starving. Relative to the historical conditions it’s all rather rosy.

    Bankers aren’t amoral, they were just a bit naughty. They got swept along on a euphoric tide. It’s human nature. It is equally silly to claim that people didn’t know what they were being led into. Borrowing is not exactly a new concept. Didn’t your Granny warn you about borrowing too much? People borrowed far too much for all the old reasons of greed and showing off. There is nothing new in that. The only new thing peoples’ refusal to take responsibility for their own actions. Boo hoo it’s all the bankers fault. I bought a big car and went on five holidays a year and now I can’t pay it back.

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  • @flashman

    Interesting. I had you in mind when I posted.

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  • devo: you have a mind?

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  • “I figured my job was to get the transaction done”

    Same as “I was only following orders” in Germany in 1939

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