Sunday, 5 October 2008

Disbelief, Fear and Anger

Many people I talk to are still stunned by the torrent of events in the past week. The so-called 'credit crunch' and the Northern Rock rescue were alarming, but we were almost learning to live with the crisis. That is, until other financial institutions and banks around the world began to go down like skittles.

There is utter disbelief that our banks should have been caught playing fast and loose - gambling frankly, with our money, homes, pensions and security. How on earth could all the brilliant economists employed by the banks have failed to see it coming? The best brains in the Bank of England monetary policy committee have for over ten years been meeting every month, fiddling around with interest rates - moving them up a bit, down a bit, up a bit - as the storm was brewing, while the Government looked on. And not only failing even to meet the inflation target, but seeming oblivious to the impending disaster. Oh, sorry, I forgot, that wasn't their job, they were only asked to do inflation. Disbelief as President George W. Bush, John McCain and Sarah Palin appear to blame everyone except themselves, their policies, and their own administration.

There is fear, as no-one seems remotely in control of events, panic looms and politicians run around like headless chickens. There is anger that blind faith in market forces, with their 'lack of confidence', unaccountability, with their 'toxic assets' in black boxes and all the rest of the mumbo-jumbo, has led us to the brink.

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