Taibbi on Goldman Sachs: "Planet-eating Death Star," "Vampire squid"


Goldman Sachs staff will receive the biggest bonuses in the firm's 140-year history this year. In Matt Taibbi's epic Rolling Stone piece this month, he describes the financial firm as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity"; and "the planet-eating Death Star of political influence". Sounds about right. Rolling Stone doesn't have a copy online, but there's one here. It's a must-read. (via Bob Lefsetz)


  1. That’s a *terrible* thing to say about the vampire squid. They’re beautiful creatures!

  2. Is it appropriate to link to content that the publisher obviously decided not to give away for free?

    I understand (and support) fighting to change copyright laws, but shouldn’t those leading the fight nominally respect others copyrights?

    Why not link to torrents as well?

  3. Hey, don’t say anything bad about Goldman Sachs.

    They just recently allowed German politicians to let average real wages rise!

    I, for one, welcome our old financial overlords.

  4. It would be nice if it were that simple, but this article is little more than a laundry list of conspiracy theories. Yes, Goldman bankers do often end up in influential positions, but most of it simply does not hold.

    Goldman are neither big enough nor clever enough to exert the the amount of influence that the author would like to attribute to them – even if some of them would like to think they are!

    Worth a read nonetheless, but take it with a pinch or three of salt.

  5. It’s unfortunate, really, that BB, which is so au courant and sophisticated in so many respects, fails so badly with regard to finance. It’s not that Taibbi doesn’t get it; it’s that he’s cognitively unable to get it. One might as well have a creationist teach paleontology.

    Goldman does make a great deal of money. So, too, do many other businesses – Google, Microsoft, Exxon, etc. Goldman does have current and former employees who have or will go onto positions of import. In many respects, it’s because they are good that they have the opportunity to do good.

    But, the fact of being good at what they do should not be conflated with nefarious intent.

  6. I am at once repulsed and inspired.

    It takes incredible guile, cojones and lack of morals to pull off what Goldman Sachs has.

    I wish there was a clause in public service that limited employment of Wall Street execs in public positions of power.

  7. I read this article last night and it made me so mad. It gave me a sense of hopelessness that to go after Goldman-Sachs would be like waging a war on God. Where would you begin? Their influence seems to be in every aspect of the financial world. Like a hydra, if you cut off one head two would grow in its spot.

    And as much as I enjoy Mr. Taibbi and his work in Rolling Stone over the last year, using phrases like vampire squid and Death Star – no matter how truly representative of the facts – makes Goldman Sachs seem unreal, cartoonish, and not particularly threatening in a real sense. And they are very real and they are very threatening.

  8. The fiscal year is not even half-over…the only known thing about GS bonuses is that they will be somewhere between 0 and a lot (for the bankers – it’s doubtful ‘staff’ will get record or even historically high bonuses)

    A Goldman ‘Staffer’

  9. What causes bubbles and their inevitable busts, you ask?

    The boom-bust cycle of malinvestment is generated by excessive and unsustainable credit expansion to businesses and individual borrowers by the banks. This credit creation makes it appear as if the supply of “saved funds” ready for investment has increased, for the effect is the same: the supply of funds for investment purposes increases, and the interest rate is lowered. Borrowers, in short, are misled by the bank inflation into believing that the supply of saved funds (the pool of “deferred” funds ready to be invested) is greater than it really is. When the pool of “saved funds” increases, entrepreneurs invest in “longer process of production,” i.e., the capital structure is lengthened, especially in the “higher orders”, most remote from the consumer. Borrowers take their newly acquired funds and bid up the prices of capital and other producers’ goods, stimulating a shift of investment from consumer goods to capital goods industries. The preference by entrepreneurs for longer term investments can be shown graphically by using any discounted cash flow model. Essentially lower interest rates increase the relative value of cash flows that come in the future. When modelling an investment opportunity, if interest rates are artificially low, entrepreneurs are led to believe the income they will receive in the future is sufficient to cover their near term investment costs. In simple terms, investments that would not make sense with a 10% cost of funds become feasible with a prevailing interest rate of 5% (and may become compelling for many entrepreneurs with a prevailing interest rate of 2%).

    The proportion of consumption to saving or investment is determined by people’s time preferences, which is the degree to which they prefer present to future satisfactions. Thus, the pure interest rate is determined by the time preferences of the individuals in society, and the final market rates of interest reflect the pure interest rate plus or minus the entrepreneurial risk and purchasing power components.

    Because the debasement of the means of exchange is universal, many entrepreneurs can make the same mistake at the same time (i.e. many believe investment funds are really available for long term projects when in fact the pool of available funds has come from credit creation – not “real” savings out of the existing money supply). As they are all competing for the same pool of capital and market share, some entrepreneurs begin to borrow simply to avoid being “overrun” by other entrepreneurs who may take advantage of the lower interest rates to invest in more up-to-date capital infrastructure. A tendency towards over-investment and speculative borrowing in this “artificial” low interest rate environment is therefore almost inevitable.

    This new money then percolates downward from the business borrowers to the factors of production: to the landowners and capital owners who sold assets to the newly indebted entrepreneurs, and then to the other factors of production in wages, rent, and interest. Austrian economists conclude that, since time preferences have not changed, people will rush to reestablish the old proportions, and demand will shift back from the higher to the lower orders. In other words, depositors will tend to remove cash from the banking system and spend it (not save it), banks will then ask their borrowers for payment and interest rates and credit conditions will deteriorate.

    Capital goods industries will find that their investments have been in error; that what they thought profitable really fails for lack of demand by their entrepreneurial customers. Higher orders of production will have turned out to be wasteful, and the malinvestment must be liquidated. In other words, the particular types of investments made during the monetary boom were inappropriate and “wrong” from the perspective of the long-term financial sustainability of the market because the price signals stimulating the investment were distorted by fractional reserve banking’s recursive lending “ballooning” the pricing structure in various capital markets.

    The boom then, is actually a period of wasteful malinvestment, a “false boom” where the particular kinds of investments undertaken during the period of fiat money expansion are revealed to lead nowhere but to insolvency and unsustainability. It is the time when errors are made, when speculative borrowing has driven up prices for assets and capital to unsustainable levels, due to low interest rates “artificially” increasing the money supply and triggering an unsustainable injection of fiat money “funds” available for investment into the system, thereby tampering with the complex pricing mechanism of the free market. “Real” savings would have required higher interest rates to encourage depositors to save their money in term deposits to invest in longer term projects under a stable money supply. The artificial stimulus caused by bank-created credit causes a generalised speculative investment bubble, not justified by the long-term structure of the market.

    The “crisis” (or “credit crunch”) arrives when the consumers come to reestablish their desired allocation of saving and consumption at prevailing interest rates. The “recession” or “depression” is actually the process by which the economy adjusts to the wastes and errors of the monetary boom, and reestablishes efficient service of sustainable consumer desires.

    Austrian Business Cycle Theory

    (Of course, you can see how this problem might be exacerbated when commercial banks and investment banks are one in the same. c.f. Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, aka Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act)

  10. #4: “this article is little more than a laundry list of conspiracy theories”

    Refute anything in the laundry list and you’ve said something. Have evidence and cite sources. Otherwise, you have said nothing.

    #5: “But, the fact of being good at what they do should not be conflated with nefarious intent.”

    Selling mortgages while shorting them shows nefarious intent towards their clients. Laddering is illegal and shows nefarious intent.

  11. Oh Jesus, more reams of Libertarian copypasta. Blechhh. You forgot this Zuzu:

    The Austrian theory of the business cycle is now rarely discussed by mainstream economists, but was more actively debated in the 20th century. Hayek’s formulation of the theory in the 1930s was harshly criticised by John Maynard Keynes, Piero Sraffa and Nicholas Kaldor. In 1932, Piero Sraffa argued that Hayek’s formulation of the business cycle required a kind of money that was entirely neutral, and was in effect a simple commodity, unable to act as a store of value or be loaned at interest. Hayek reformulated his theory in response to those objections, but his reformulation was then criticised by Nicholas Kaldor in 1939 and again in 1942.

    More recently, mainstream economists like Milton Friedman, Gordon Tullock, Bryan Caplan, and Paul Krugman have stated that they regard the theory as incorrect. David Laidler views the theory as motivated by the political leanings of its major proponents, as Austrian economists are known for their strong opposition to government involvement in the economy, and argues that the theory was discredited because of its association with “nihilistic policy prescriptions” for the Great Depression. On the other hand, Laidler also stated that its core insights were materially worthwhile, especially as related to the work of Dennis Robertson.

    In 1988 Gordon Tullock explained his disagreement with the theory. His main point is that “if the process that Rothbard describes did occur, there would be many corporate bankruptcies and business people jumping out of the windows of office buildings, but there would be only minor transitional unemployment. In fact, measured GNP would be higher as a result.” This is because the Austrian theory implies fluctuations in investment, but not in the production decisions of firms. Nobel laurete Paul Krugman also made a similar argument when he stated that the theory implies that consumption would increase during downturns and cannot explain the empirical observation that spending in all sectors of the economy falls during a recession.

    But massively copying and then pasting from Wikipedia is arguing. Any 14 year old Internet Tough Guy can do that. You have to actually put forward your own position and argue for it or against others on your own. Just going cntrl C and then cntrl V is childish and sophomoric.

    Be a man and walk on your without the crutch of massive copypasta from wiki Zuzu. That’s what you would have learned in college but… oh that’s right, I forgot, you are smarter than your professors, they were just holding you down, yeah right.

    Back on topic, the problem I see with this is ok, so what do you replace large financial institutions like GS with? If they were broken up someone else would just take their place. The real problem, I believe, is systemic and perhaps there is no easy solution for it.

  12. Rotten Scribd iPaper. I can’t print the article, it just prints part of the pages.

    Why do we need yet another format?! PDF is fine. HTML is fine.

    Bah. Get off my lawn Scribd.

  13. I stopped reading the comments after #5. #4 and #5 are just way off base. The only reason Goldman still exists is because Paulson (hmmm…former CEO of Goldman?) orchestrated billions to go to AIG which went straight to Goldman. Had Paulson not done that, it is questionable whether Goldman would even be a company at present. At the very least, their stock price would be worth much less than $143/share. It’s unbelievable that people still are not getting the shenanigans and crony capitalism that is going one.

  14. I wonder if Taibbi would guest blog here if asked. I think he’s the most important journalist writing today and would be an outstanding addition for a week.

  15. Noen,

    Way to take an objective argument of a given issue, and once again turn it into ad hominem, argument from authority, or appeal to popularity.

    Feel free to C&P others who have refuted the assertions I’ve laid out, point-by-point, if you like. Not everyone can be an expert on everything. (I have no problem with this; nor do I have a problem with Chris Anderson’s Free.)

    But you seem to want make every issue personal — and I don’t just mean “personally”, but rather you’re not willing to make a detached rational analysis of the causal process by which [whatever] occurs.

    This isn’t about ego or social norms or customs; it’s about modeling reality.

    I’m not the one acting childishly, Noen; you are.

    Now, to address some of the points you’ve included:

    David Laidler views the theory as motivated by the political leanings of its major proponents, as Austrian economists are known for their strong opposition to government involvement in the economy

    This is backwards. The Austrian School are only proponents of (truly) Free Markets as a conclusion, not a premise of their methodology. It’s pretty hard to be biased when you don’t know what the conclusion of a causal relationship will be until you’ve arrived at it.

    That’s like trying to argue against the value of f(x)=2+2 because 4 is also your favorite number.

    and argues that the theory was discredited because of its association with “nihilistic policy prescriptions” for the Great Depression.

    That’s an entirely subjective statement with no legitimacy in being able to “discredit” anything. It’s a flagrant example of framing by normative economics rather than positive economics.

    It amounts to, “I don’t like the ‘nihlistic’ policy prescriptions, therefore the theory is wrong.”

    Nobel laurete Paul Krugman also made a similar argument when he stated that the theory implies that consumption would increase during downturns and cannot explain the empirical observation that spending in all sectors of the economy falls during a recession.

    I’ll probably have to go back to the sources on this, because I’m taking on “Nobel laureate Paul Krugman”… but of course spending falls in a recession, because of the liquidation of malivestment is converted into savings (correcting for the previous boom for which a deficit of savings was masked by the expansion of money and credit).

    It’s a false framing to measure economic activity solely in terms of “spending”. Not all spending is good. Wasteful spending (i.e. malinvestment) is bad. Economics isn’t about making the most things, it’s about making the correct things for given places and times.

    Conversely, savings is not “bad”. In fact, no genuine lending can occur without the savings of others. Realistically, spending is constrained by the supply of savings (either your own, or borrowed from others).

    Krugman’s entire frame of reference, based on his neo-Keynesian macroeconomic beliefs (e.g. “aggregate demand”), fundamentally misrepresents economics. He treats it as if the goal were to stay as “active” as possible, such as by maximizing busy work when there isn’t enough real work to do at the time.

  16. “what do you replace large financial institutions like GS with?”

    A network of smaller financial institutions. Distribute the whole system across a much larger network made up of less powerful nodes. Failure of any given node won’t affect the system as a whole. Also, by increasing the competition of these nodes, it’ll lead to a more efficient marketplace for buyers and sellers of capital, commodities, and securities. There’d be less room for fraud because the marketplace wouldn’t be able to be manipulated by a single node.

    I’m generally against government intervention, but this is where we need regulation and oversight.

  17. This may be dumbing down the conversation a bit here, but I clicked “print” and came back to the printer with a dozen pages of gray and a “low ink” icon. Thanks a lot, scribd! Where the hell did this format come from that I now have to screen-capture and create an image-based PDF to send to people?

  18. Zuzu
    “But you seem to want make every issue personal”

    I prefer to talk to people but when all you do is copy-paste from wikipedia, which is the vast majority of what you do here, then it just feels like the real you is missing. As if you are hiding behind your sophomoric wiki copypasta. Shaming seems to be the only way to get the real Zuzu out in the open.

    “This is backwards. The Austrian School are only proponents of (truly) Free Markets as a conclusion, not a premise of their methodology.”

    People don’t work that way. For all of us our prejudices and biases strongly influence the conclusions we make. That is why real science is a community effort with checks and balances. Economics is not a true science yet and is therefore more vulnerable to bias and to the formation of personality cliques.

    “That’s like trying to argue against the value of f(x)=2+2 because 4 is also your favorite number.”

    You are unable to to prove that 2 + 2 = 4. Or rather, in order to “prove” your formula you have to assume things that don’t hold up, like that money is “a simple commodity, unable to act as a store of value or be loaned at interest.” And others reach different conclusions:

    In 1969, Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman, after examining the history of business cycles in the US, concluded that “The Hayek-Mises explanation of the business cycle is contradicted by the evidence. It is, I believe, false.” He analyzed the issue using newer data in 1993, and again reached the same conclusions.

    I know that’s arguing from authority and even quoting Wiki but if it’s good enough for you then I figure I can too.

    Re: Nihilism
    “It amounts to, “I don’t like the ‘nihlistic’ policy prescriptions, therefore the theory is wrong.”

    Ummm yeah, of course it’s normative, people don’t want the entire US economy (or the global economy) to crash. People would die. That is what the consequences of the Austrian School policy proposals would be. Hence the charge of nihilism of the sort:

    “What? Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”

    I happen to think the charge is valid and that people who blithely propose theories we know would lead to many millions of deaths are sociopaths. The cries we have heard recently of “Let it fall! Let it all crash!” are made by inhuman sociopaths and sadists reveling in the suffering of others just so they can be right.

    “A revolutionary doctrine that advocates destruction of the social system for its own sake”

    That is what would have happened if the cries from the far right extremists such as yourself were heeded.

    “I’ll probably have to go back to the sources on this, because I’m taking on “Nobel laureate Paul Krugman”

    Nobel Laureates Paul Krugman AND Milton Friedman.

    “of course spending falls in a recession, because of the liquidation of malivestment is converted into savings”

    But your theory predicts the opposite. It predicts that consumption should increase during economic downturns. But the opposite is observed empirically. Therefore the theory is in error, but Austrian School proponents refuse to acknowledge evidence they don’t like and hence the charge above that there must be a bias or emotional attachment at work.

    In a real science when the evidence doesn’t support your theory you either change it or abandon it. Libertarians attack the evidence.

    “Krugman’s entire frame of reference, based on his neo-Keynesian macroeconomic beliefs (e.g. “aggregate demand”), fundamentally misrepresents economics.”

    Well.. it works, your theory doesn’t. Economics today is mostly applied pragmatism. You are an ideologue. We’ve seen what happens when we let the “magic hand” of the market do whatever it wants. We get ass raped. I think we have the right to try something else and look! It does seem to be working so far. Even though Obama has not done all that Krugman would have wanted the economy seems to be recovering. And we did that without breadlines and massive social upheaval or the collapse of our economy.

    We dirty fucking hippies were right. You are wrong.

  19. @#15 – No, not quite and not really. Paulson & co. did arrange for substantial sums to go to AIG. And, one can argue as to whether they should have done so.

    However, GS was one of many counterparties who received cash collateral from AIG subsequent to the Fed’s actions. The list of who did receive money is interesting reading. The better question is why our government felt the need to bail out European banks, which was the net of the situation.

    Nevertheless, if we assume the Fed had not stepped in, while many insititutions would have suffered dramatically from a collapse of AIG, GS did not lead that list. By their own admission, they had already hedged their exposure to AIG via CDS such that in the event of AIG’s collapse, their exposures would be made whole.

    In the end, the GS-AIG experience merely shows that GS had better risk management than many, many firms.

    Just because they thought to pack an umbrella does not mean they are responsible for the rain.

  20. #4 and #5: Anyone else notice that, any time anyone posts an article exposing the machinations of the financial industry, there is suddenly a torrent of “anonymous” shills spewing reasonable-sounding but completely false arguments against it? Hmmm…

    Let’s go through the arguments. “Conspiracy theory?” YOU FAIL. Paulson, Rubin, Clinton, Thain, Steel…it’s public record that they ran Goldman Sachs, and the billions they and their companies are receiving is also public record.

    “Goldman is neither big nor clever enough”? YOU FAIL. Goldman controls the NYSE, and through Paulson, the US Treasury.

    The rest of #4 and #5 is ad hominems on Taibbi with absolutely no factual basis. Once again: Taibbi is absolutely correct, you are shills, and YOU FAIL.

    1. Roku,

      Anyone else notice that, any time anyone posts an article exposing the machinations of the financial industry, there is suddenly a torrent of “anonymous” shills spewing reasonable-sounding but completely false arguments against it?

      You linked to two blog articles written by someone named Tyler Durden.

      I’ll see your FAIL and raise you an epic fail.

  21. Let me reiterate that the dominance of Goldman Sachs, or institutions like it, is only made possible by fractional reserve banking. When banks are given the power to literally create money out of thin air – yet the rest of us must earn it with our own labor – we cannot be surprised when banks own and control everything.

    Noen: if you bothered to actually read and understand Austrian Business Cycle Theory, you would realize that it exactly predicts the dominance of Goldman Sachs or some institution just like it, and the consequent destruction of the economy, just as Taibbi shows in his article. You are fighting someone who is on your side.

    And if you want to drag out the fact that Krugman won a Nobel, one can also point out that F. A. Hayek won a Nobel, too.

  22. #24/Antinous: is your real name “Antinous”? Somehow I doubt it. Mine isn’t “Roku” either :)

    Most importantly, the articles I linked present data that is part of the public record, whereas #4 and #5 present nothing but false assertions and ad hominems. I find it amusing that such pro-bank-corruption arguments are, almost without exception, posted by people who won’t even give an email address so they can get a username.

    Also, for those who may remain skeptical, here are direct links to the important data:

    1. Roku,

      I don’t claim to be an economics expert, and my opinions are utterly worthless as a citation on the subject. Citing Tyler Durden as your economics expert after complaining about “a torrent of ‘anonymous’ shills spewing reasonable-sounding but completely false arguments” is at least hilarious. I’ll give you that.

  23. Noen, “I happen to think the charge is valid and that people who blithely propose theories we know would lead to many millions of deaths are sociopaths.”

    Thank you. Thank you for saying this. I always point this out in conversations about libertarianism, and it always seems to be some previously un-thought of idea. A totally virginal ‘invisible hand’ free market could result in some horrible consequences. I’m just not ready to admit that a society is participating in a healthy cycle if elderly people are eating a can of cat food every day.

    Also, I’ll try to throw something out there on this topic. Admitedly, I’m not as well versed in economic theory as many of you. However, all proponents of The Austrian School theories I’ve met and talked to in person wound up admitting that they were simply anarcho-capitalists.

    It would seem to me, unless you are an anarcho-capitalist, no matter who you are you agree that there must be SOME level of regulation in the markets. Perhaps step one would be something like, regulation against slavery. Kind of a no-brainer for most of us, but just working out a place to start from.

    But the rise in popularity from the newest crop Randian adherents brings with it calls ‘against regulation’ as a general flag. But I feel that, when most people break down how they really feel about the situation- they aren’t against market regulation in the abstract and on principle, they just differ on the level of it. That’s ok with me.

    But then if I go to a sandwich shop, and ask for a cornbeef on rye with horse radish, and then get my cornbeef with a log of shit in the middle- I’m not going to just ‘let the market’ work things out. There should be a law that you can’t lie to me and give me a shit sandwich when I asked for something non-shit based. I’m not going to just ‘tell all my friends, so then they won’t go there and the market will take care of the deliquent business.’ Fuck that. And I don’t feel that’s an unreasonable position to take.

    When you bundle morgages in order to lie to people about their true value- that’s fucked up. It’s a scam. It’s stealing from people. AND it basically gives body blows to what could be a great capitalist system. And quite frankly, I would love a capitalist system where there was regulation to prevent these things from happening. In fact, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that I am ‘a capitalist’. But then whenever I talk about these corporations looting and stealing from people, Libertarians come out of the woodwork and start acting like I’m some kind of Che Guevara type dude.

    I feel like libertarians, randians, and austrian school adherents could do themselves alot of good for their movements if they cleaned up their own houses a bit and didn’t automatically defend any corporation when people say these key words that offend them. I don’t like these companies like GS because they are breaking laws, and then they can raise this flag and automatically have fiscal concervatives come to their defense. I have liberal/left leaning/”socialist” stances on certain subjects, but I can still say fuck Castro, Stalin, and any other repressive communist regime. This is why “leftist” politics in america has flourished (somewhat)- because it adapted and grew. It took the good elements of socialist politics and took out the parts that it didn’t like (to varying degrees and varying degrees of success).

    But fiscal concervative idealouges cling to their figures with an almost religious ferver. Ad hoc argument, I know- but it’s just a casual observation. Calling GS out on it’s shit and saying those actions need to be prevented from happening again by regulations shouldn’t cause so much ire in the mind of the 21st Capitalist (at least imho).

    In fact, this is why people get so riled up in these conversations. Essentially, GS stole shit. They ran a scam. Someone writes a story about it and people start throwing some Going Galt shit all over the place, and it’s like- Hey, but they still SCAMMED PEOPLE, right? What’s so idealogically evil about pointing that out?

  24. @24 – Antinous

    You have forgotten the first rule of Goldman-Sachs -Do not talk about Goldman-Sachs.

  25. Wait a minute you guys are using Pseudonyms on this site??

    I always thought one of the most wonderful things about BoingBoing was that nearly everyone involved had parents as kooky as mine!

  26. I had just read this last nite and told my brother about this today. This should be required reading by anyone working in government finances. I would also like to see this in some sort of video news program. We need to spread the word folks. What word would be to financial greed as peace is to war? Peace and Love may not be enough.

    We’re lucky to have journalists like Taibbi. Please keep up the great writing. You would think any conservs/repubs would be pissed off at this also. (unless they’re working for Goldman)

  27. #30/Antinous:

    You’ve touched on the problem with economics discussions here on BB, which is that almost no one understands economics – so these discussions end up simply being arguments about whose source is more authoritative. “My source writes for Rolling Stone.” “Well, MY source writes for the Wall Street Journal.” “MY source won a Nobel.” “So did mine!” And so on.

    The irony is that basic economics is actually reasonably simple, including “abstruse” concepts like money supply and money creation – but the financial industry profits handsomely from our ignorance. So does the education industry, which profits from camouflaging symbol-laden bullshit which looks like rigorous mathematics, but isn’t, as meaningful analysis. The tragic effect is that clear, concise explanations of economics are discouraged at every level. Instead we are taught a bunch of disconnected rules of thumb, which academic economists call “laws” despite the inconvenient fact that they don’t describe human behavior outside an economics textbook.

    I’m actually sketching out an outline for a very short book that explains economics without being simply a libertarian tract, which I’ll get to as soon as I’m done with my current book.

    (Note: though I defend Zuzu here, I am neither a libertarian nor a Libertarian. Austrian Business Cycle Theory is absolutely correct, but the Austrians usually gloss over the very real problems of negative externalities, which is, to me, the central issue of economics.)

  28. ok first off if you seriously use the word “FAIL” in a blog you are a complete moron.

    Secondly haters hate, and lose debates, constructive folks provide facts and observations. Read below for more.

    Thirdly, the audacity is that we are all getting screwed, and not by Goldman, though they profit from it.

    Ahh the Goldman hate, and trust me I only begrudingly respect them. But you all realize this is the SAME GAME the Government plays dont you? All in DC are rich, free health care and salary for life – this goes for congress, cabinet, presidents. Global warming, national healthcare, taking over the financial and auto markets with more regulation…they are all just ploys for Dems and politicians in general to have more power. Raise your taxes and create more BS programs, then more of the population will have to keep voting b/c they are either 1) getting $ by paying no taxes 2) getting money from bs programs 3) controlled via “climate change” regulations, finance regulations or healthcare regulations. This consolidation of power will keep the dems in office and keep them rich. Same game as Goldman.

    oh and in regards to the bubbles.
    tech bubble – fueled by retail investors who had been fattened by years of low interest rates and a good stock market, the craze and illegal tactics Goldman pulled off were able to be pulled off b/c retail investors were more than happy enough / stupid enough to believe bubble hype. If a company isnt profitable why invest, no one forced you too.

    housing bubble – check out the CRA, a liberal government program that stipulates lenders MUST lend mortgages to ppl regardless of credit history b/c if not its racist. Uhhh if you cant pay it back, whether you are red, yellow or blue, then as I lender I shouldnt lend to you. Buuut the government said they must, so they did. Oh and Fannie and Freddie (government owned, huge donors to Obama, Dodd and others, execs got rish off housing bubble)….uhh those entities are partially owned and affiliated with the government.

    Oil bubble – bush fights a dumb war. Which at the time had somewhere around 70% approval rate to be fought, so it means we’re all dumb or you didnt pay attention and didnt care. Either way UAE shuts off the spigot. Then Dems say we cant drill in the Gulf, Alaska, Colorado even though the deposits there could make us oil independant for 50 years…nope we cant drill there b/c its against the environment….and all these Dems are long green tech. So a government created / enhanced bubble.

    Wake up people, sure goldman is to blame, they only care about thier wallets. And the government, well all they care about is their wallets, power and screwing you to maintain power and wallet.

    The diff with goldman vs the government, is that you can actually vote the government out or rise up against it quite easily.

    So do so if you hate Goldman, b/c the government is worse.

    Oh and the pig drawings in the article, imagine the drawing of a Donkey (ass) about twice as ugly and twice as greedy.

    The audacity of screwing you. The change is in the mirror my friends, not embedded in some slogan by some empty promising / hollow, false talking new regime that fooled you. You are better than that, rise up in 2010, 12 and beyond.

    Rise up if you believe in freedom, retort this, disagree with this if you enjoy being controlled, manupulated and used.

  29. What annoys me most is that the dotcom failures where almost always blamed on the developers when the true blame was on Bankers and the Government.

    They have probably caused more damage to society than both world wars. The most infuriating: they will get your money – unless you are completely self-reliant and don’t use any. Either via taxes/bailouts or through the company you work for.

    A vampire has something romantic, for though immortal he could be staked. What do we need to get rid of that plague? A stake through the heart just don’t seem to suffice.

    Greetings, LX

  30. To those who say this is merely conspiracy theory: please provide a theory and proof to the contrary. While this article didn’t fully cite sources, it does point to some damning evidence that, at the very least, there are many influential people colluding between financial institutions and governments. It’s also clear that during these booms, busts, and bailouts, the taxpayers are losing money and the people who lead these failed companies are making money (which, depending on your definition, means these companies haven’t failed at all).

    To those who say that nobody could do that, or that these people aren’t smart enough or powerful enough, I ask you, just how stupid do you think they are? Many of these people were celebrated as being the most brilliant economists of our times. They have run some of the world’s largest companies for years and now hold the highest positions in public office. Do you really believe complete idiots make their way into these positions? Do you also believe that these people, who have worked together with the same motivations for decades, wouldn’t help each other out with a briefcase full of cash and a controversial vote?

    These people aren’t just smart, they are cunning and manipulative. By brushing them off as incompetent, we’re allowing them to “fail” over and over again, killing our economy while they profit. With this track record, it’s clear that either they are too incompetent to run a convenience store and shouldn’t be given these important positions, or they are cunningly malicious and must be stopped before they cause more harm.

    The tough question is, how do we change this? How can we change hundreds of laws made over decades when the businesses and the governments are helping each other? If everybody is in on this ruse, how do we replace them all?

  31. @#36 Just stop. You don’t get it.

    Regarding your bubble arguments– just because nobody ‘forced’ you into doing something doesn’t make it not a big fucking scam. In fact, that’s pretty much the definition of a scam. The not forcing you into it is what differentiates a scam from armed robbery. It’s called securities fraud, and it comes down to believing the lies of someone you trust. Much like you and your arguments. As an example, the CRA had NOTHING to do with the housing bubble. Before you even start, it’s just NO. Wrong. And of course, the oil bubble. I can’t even make out your rambling, it’s incoherent gibberish. You sound like an ignorant caveman, grunting about war, the UAE spigot (?), ridiculous bullshit about oil independence for 50 years.

    You need to stop listening to talk radio. Seriously. Or at least make the time for Democracy Now.

    I’m not saying the government isn’t totally fucking corrupt in direct ratio to the dollars spent by corporate lobbying. On that score I think we can all agree. I’m just saying that yes, you can blame all the big bubbles that have screwed over honest Americans on a very particular subset of the financial industry. They profited wildly on the up, they profited wildly on the down, and quite frankly, they did so via fraud and wholesale manipulation of the market, and that is true in every one of the bubbles mentioned in the article.

    As far as Tyler Durden goes, yeah, he is a hell of a lot more reputable than a couple anonymous shills without meaningful arguments.

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