Politics, Community & Society > Recession: So Who's Fault is it Anyway?

Recession: So Who's Fault is it Anyway?

By SIMON BAILEY
Published: March 11, 2009

As politicians and their PR advisers beaver away to claim the moral high ground in the economic meltdown currently blighting our lives, we may be forgiven for allowing them to stand proudly as our prudent saviours, rather than negligent perpetrators.

Time, perhaps, for a study in bottom-line accountability.

Because they have the final word in all matters, for the purpose of this example, world Governments, with their regulatory bodies and central banks, shall be known as 'The Parents'.

The Bankers, generally perceived as being entirely responsible, are 'The Children'.

The rest of us are the 'Family Pets' [Hamsters, Rabbits, Cats Dogs and so on].

The Bankers [Children] are seated cross-legged and excited, around the rim of an Olympic sized swimming pool. Instead of water, the pool is filled with a simply enormous mountain of chocolate cream cakes and brightly coloured sweets.

Without enforceable rules being set by their parents, the children gorge themselves until they are sick. When they are sick, the children are unable to take care of their pets, and the pets suffer hardship.

Interestingly, the Canadian 'kids' around the pool didn't get sick. This wasn't because they were brighter or more responsible than the other children; it was simply that their parents set some strict limits to stop them gorging themselves.

Clearly the Canadian parents should be applauded and copied.

As someone who spent many years at the coalface in both domestic and international finance, I understand the greed factor. If you offer your people vast rewards and kudos for generating business, just watch how fast they can shovel.

This is not a new phenomenon; it is a very old one. Governments routinely open the valves and ride the waves, hoping to bask in the popularity generated by a booming economy. With grand legacy dreams and short-term horizons, they cynically hope the crash will happen on someone else's watch.

If you catch Government ministers trying to claim the crash was unforeseeable and that their vast, costly stimulation packages are prudent steps aimed at lifting the fortunes of ordinary folk; treat it with the utter contempt it deserves.

Ministers are down in the bilges bailing frantically to save their sorry reputations.

"What did our Leader do during the recession Mummy?"

"Oh, he stole all the money from your nursery fund darling. I'm afraid it'll take you years to pay it off."

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