Horatio

Horatio
[Photo by Jacquelyn Griffin)

Friday, February 19, 2010

"A Noble Profession"

So Henry Paulson is back, defending banking as "a noble profession:"
During the interview, which was conducted by General Electric chief executive Jeffrey Immelt at the 92nd Street Y, a cultural center in New York City, Paulson said that he was pained to see Wall Street "suffering" under the public's ire. Banking is "a noble profession" that has lifted many people out of poverty, Paulson said. And he lent words of support to the bank leaders who helped to steer their institutions through the crisis: "This being a New York crowd...you all lived through this," he said. "It impacted all of your lives."
Hmm. With over half a decade's worth of warnings from the FBI that mortgage frud is endemic,this rah-rah to banking seems to me misplaced. In fact, all too often the banks seem to have taken Augustus Melmotte as their model.

Is it wrong of me to think that employee orientation at Godlman, BoA, JP Morgan Chase and their ilk must be a more solemn version of this?



Add suits and bottled water...

2 comments:

rick allen said...

I have myself been wondering lately why we have private banks, what their overall social value is.

Obviously our economy runs on credit. We assume that that is necessary. I don't know, but I ask the question: is it?

Seems to me that somewhere along the way we became a nation of debtors and creditors, with much of the population now struggling just to keep up with interest payments and with an increasing number of our young people starting life with enormous, non-dischargeable educational debts.

To owe is not the same as to be owned. A debtor is not a slave. But, in a democracy, what happens when large numbers live under that cloud?

We often give as a prime example of how Christian morality changes, the end of the consideraton of usury as a sin. I wonder sometimes if we shouldn't re-consider that.

Banking as a noble profession? I do wonder. My own dad worked in the the now-defunct savings and loan business, and it was in those long gone days more a George Bailey than a Mr. Potter kind of business. His savings and loan never, ever foreclosed on a loan. There was always another way. The "thrift industry." Sounds very quaint nowadays.

If we are indeed a Christian nation, we should perhaps declare a "jubilee." Most Christians, I imagine, would be shocked to find such notions so disrespectful of private property in their bible.

Sorry for rambling.

Anglocat said...

Rick,

That's not a ramble. That's a nuanced, thought-provoking response, and I'm very glad you posted it.

There's a lot in what you write, and, ironically, the HAFA program, which gived nugatory amounts of cash to induce homeowners in foreclosure to allow the note-holders to make short sales to investors (why not to the homeowners?) is an example of how rigged the game is. I think we need a jubilee for the homeowners, not for the vultures.

Thanks, as always, for adding to the discussion.