onsdag 25 februari 2009

Etiskt handikappade bankirer

Den berömde Joseph Stiglitz menar att Obama räddar bankirer istället för banker. Han talar även om den typ av ekonomiska incitament och strukturer som har drivit systemet till kollaps.

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, if you get an incentive structure where you say you get huge pay if things go well, but you don’t pay any consequences if things go badly, and you’re going to look at it only in terms of the profits that you make this year, not the losses that you make next year and the year after, then of course you’re going to try to get a gamble, because if you gamble and you win, you walk off with the money; if you lose, somebody else picks up the losses.

So what happened was, the banks gambled. They gambled very big. They had big profits for four years. But in the fifth year, the losses were greater than all the profits that they had in the first four years. But meanwhile, they walk off with the bonuses based on the four-year performance, and then, the fifth year, they don’t—I mean, it was quite remarkable, they didn’t even—they even got big bonuses for the record losses. Then that’s what, of course, has gotten Americans angry, so that the bonuses were described as incentive pay. But that was all a charade.

But the basic thing is, you know, our bankers are—many of them, not all of them—are, you might say, ethically challenged. But even were not they ethically challenged, the fact is they had incentive structures that led them to behave in the way they did.

Varför räddar då Obama dessa "etiskt handikappade bankirer"?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, we could all guess about the politics. We know one of the problems about American politics is the role of campaign contributions, and that’s plagued every one of our major problems. Under the Bush administration, we couldn’t deal with a large number problems, like the oil industry, like the pharmaceutical, the healthcare, because of the influence of campaign contributions. Now, my view is, one of the problems is that whether it’s because of that or not, it lends an aura of suspicion. The fact that there was so much campaign contributions from the financial sector at least raises the concern.

Now, there is one other legitimate concern, that Wall Street has done a very good job of fear mongering. They say, “If you don’t save us, the whole system will go down.” But, you know, when these banks that I talked about before, when they go down, there’s not even a ripple. The fact is, you change ownership. It happens on airlines all the time. An airline goes bankrupt, a new ownership, financial reorganization—not a big deal. What they’ve succeeded in doing is instilling a sense of fear, so that it’s a kind of paralysis that hangs over what we’re doing. And you could understand a politician. He’s been told if you do one thing, the whole system—the sky is falling, it’s going to fall. That induces political leaders to try to do the smallest incremental step, and that’s what got Japan in trouble.

Se hela intervjun på Democracy Now.

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