If Being Totally, Disastrously Wrong Were a Virtue, Bernanke and His Fed Mates Should Be Sainted
by Charles Hugh Smith
Ben Bernanke and his Fed mates’ secret letterhead: “destroying capitalism from within.”
After four years of disastrously wrong policies, let’s declare stubborn, hubris-soaked wrongheadedness a virtue and saint Ben Bernanke and his Federal Reserve mates. If we had to distill down the Fed Chairman and the Federal Reserve’s policies since the wheels came off the Fed’s “shadow banking” system of fraud, collusion, embezzlement and free-floating leverage, we’d have to start with a systems-analysis perspective.
Any system which separates risk from results (gain/loss) is doomed to implode, as the lack of feedback from the real world (also known as consequences) enables the self-reinforcing feedback known as “moral hazard”: losses by those who took the risk to reap a gain are made good by those who did not take the risk and who do not stand to gain from the risk they are covering.
In this case, the mortgage origination and packaging “industry” and the investment banks’ origination and marketing of fraudulent-from-inception derivatives “industry” took the risks to reap outsized gains from the financialization of mortgages and other debt instruments via leverage, commodifying debt and arcane derivatives, all of which were sold as “low-risk.”
Capitalism’s primary characteristic is that capital is put at risk for a gain/loss. If risk is off-loaded onto the Fed’s bottomless balance sheet and the taxpayer via government-funded bailouts and guarantees, then capital is not actually at risk. Thus what we have isn’t capitalism, but cartel crony-capitalism, a phony version of the real thing which guarantees private banking profits and socializes banking losses.