Friday, April 24, 2009

We're all to blame for the mess we're in

I caught a brief moment of Question Time last night during which somebody was moaning about the bankers and saying something along the lines of why should the rest of us pay for the mistakes of a few.

I have little sympathy for the bankers and I'm as appalled as anyone by the hubris and greed that they have displayed over the last decade, but let's get one thing straight - nobody forced us to borrow so much money.

If anybody is to blame it is the government - who are all too happy to see the bankers blamed for this - as they were the ones who set the example and actively encouraged debt through various channels. The toxic debt in the US that instigated the whole collapse was actually a result of the US government (originally under Clinton, I believe) encouraging banks to provide mortgages to low income families who wouldn't normally be able to afford them so they could share the "American Dream".

Like a lot of people my age, I remember when credit was incredibly hard to get access to and I remember how most people were delighted when the rules were loosened up. The same people who are moaning about the bankers letting them have too much credit today are the same people who were moaning about the bankers not letting them have enough credit when the rules were different.

These people are the product of the dependency generation - a generation brought up to believe that it is always someone else's responsibility.

Well it isn't It's our responsibility and our bloody fault. The banks and bankers gave us what we wanted - the individuals, the corporations and the governments - and we should be adult enough to accept our share of the blame. It's not a failure of capitalism or even a failure of regulation - except the inability of ourselves (people and government) to regulate our spending according to our income.

1 comment:

staybryte said...


The abandonment of traditional credit checks goes back further than Clinton, to Carter's "Community Reinvestment Act".

However this was a more or less forgotten piece of legislation until it was revived in the last decade, primarily by Bush the younger.

Supported in full of course by "community organisers" across the US....