26
Feb
09

On air: Are we too quick to blame the bosses?

_45513026_006857457-1These aren’t great times to be a boss. Most companies in the world are feeling the pressure of the global economic downturn and they people in charge of them aren’t winning any popularity contests. We’re inviting company bosses from all over the world to come on today’s show and tell us about their experiences of these tough times. Should we all be better at acknowledging the role that these people played in creatign wealth for all of us?

Thousands of people are being laid off every month, hundreds of companies are going under, banks are folding, credit is tough to get, sales are down, and wages and working hours are being cut. All of which bosses either take responsibility for, or have to deal with directly.

On top of that, while bankers hold a special place in many of your hearts at the moments, CEOs and managers of all kinds have been pilloried for the incompetent and irresponsible way that they have run their businesses. And now the chips are down, many of you think it’s them not their employees who should be out of a job.

(ANOTHER) BAD DAY FOR THE BANKING BOSSES

The former head of Royal Bank of Scotland (which has just announced the biggest losses in UK corporate history) has been asked by the UK government to forego a pension of a cool £650,000 a year for life.

The head of Swiss bank UBS has moved on.


61 Responses to “On air: Are we too quick to blame the bosses?”


  1. 1 Maccus Germanis
    February 26, 2009 at 14:18

    “The Bosses”, in free societies, have had voluntary trust placed in them from workers and consumers, to manage the transaction between each. Both consumers and workers do have resposibilty for having misplaced any such trust. And now the indiscriminate are placing their trust in the involuntary coercive powers of gov’t. They, and even those that didn’t volunteer, will get similarly disappointing results.

  2. February 26, 2009 at 14:21

    I recently wrote a post titled “CEO’s perspective” Where I walked the reader through how a well meaning business proposal ends in disaster for everybody but the entrepreneur. Using a commercial fishing venture in a 3rd world country to demonstrate the point. The post can be found here The CEO perspective

    ”The last paragraph goes something like this and sums up all the discourse. “The kicker of the whole thing is that the CEO of the commercial fishing company can not figure out why everybody has spite towards him. From his point of view he has paved the way for the paying of twice the average wage to the Tongans and raised their standard of living. On top of that the cost of fish has been cut in half and more Tongan people can afford it more often. Meanwhile, back in the states, all of the unemployed Tuna fishermen that would have been unable to afford $5 a fish prices can now get the Tongan tuna for only $3 a fish. He is wondering why people don’t call him a hero.”

  3. 3 gary
    February 26, 2009 at 14:33

    Yes, we are too quick to blame anyone else, including bosses, politicians, educators, commentators and even loved ones for money problems. The fact is however, lack of wisdom isn’t just endemic; it’s practically a universal genetic disorder! My advice to folks: Use this little spot of economic bother to practice THINKING AHEAD.
    Best of luck on your efforts,
    g

  4. 4 Steve
    February 26, 2009 at 14:37

    Though unavailable credit is really to “blame” for this crisis currently, which opens a can of worms, being that should people be allowed to live beyond their means? But unfortunately, at least in the US, labor costs are to blame for a lot of the crisis. But who wants to get paid less or recieve less benefits, but that’s unfortunately a MAJOR factor, especially for the auto industry.

    The pay of executives is peanuts compared to their financial situations, but the question is, should they be financially rewarded while their companies have ben run into the ground? N ormally I would say that that’s the business only of shareholders, but if these companies recieve government funds, then the government has the right to regulate.

  5. February 26, 2009 at 14:38

    James from Kenya

    When a house catches fire, the first person to be asked what caused the fire is not a 5 year old but the head of the household. If bosses are not blamed now who will the watchman and there was no burglary probably NOT.

  6. 6 Paul Seehaver
    February 26, 2009 at 14:40

    I just heard the interview with the gentleman, sorry I did not catch his name, who said that the 600,00 pound salery was negotiated before the bank collapsed during that banker/CEO being “the boss” and so the contract had to be honered. What about all the bank workers who are laid off of factory workers with union negotiated contracts? No one sees anything wrong with renegotiating their saleries or stopping their pensions!

  7. February 26, 2009 at 14:52

    In Africa we are quick to blame our bosses because they are not in the interest on their under men. They are only there to enrich themselves without recognizing their undermen’s plight. So as such, even if it is not their fault in some irregularities, we will judge them from the past.

    Mohammed Kondawa

    Monrovia Liberia

  8. 8 Chad from Virginia
    February 26, 2009 at 15:06

    I have to say that there is nothing wrong with blaming the bosses. I, in fact, encourage it. Frankly, too many of these companies view themselves as tied to the stock ticker instead of the competent and solvent management of the companies they are supposed to be stewards of. Instead of treating their employees as valued members of their family, they treat them like expendable commodities, running at excess capacity in good times and then drastically slashing their workforces at the bad times.

    These captains of industry have been laying waste to corporate profits, hoarding them amongst themselves instead of sharing them with the increasingly productive workers who have made these gains possible. They are cutting into the company’s profit margin by rewarding themselves for gains that are not rightfully theirs. These few people who are charged with seeing a company through to stronger and better times aren’t doing their jobs.

    GM didn’t see the writing on the wall when it came to consumer automobile choices and kept makes alive that were dead as disco. No 16-year-old says “Mommy, mommy, I want a Buick!” So instead of laying off CEOs they’re laying off the guys who put the cars together. Brilliant.

  9. 9 Steve
    February 26, 2009 at 15:11

    Remember Abu Ghraib, where you just know that the government, the higher ups, were the ones behind the mistreatment of the prisoners, yet they put enlisted NCOs up before the firing squad. The government doesn’t hold itself accountable, yet it wants to make business accountable? Do as I say, not as I do!

  10. 10 Roy, Washington DC
    February 26, 2009 at 15:12

    It’s not that we’re too quick to blame bosses…rather, we’re quick to blame anybody but ourselves. Corporate leadership does have a role in the current financial climate, of course, but there has been an impressive amount of fingerpointing on all sides.

    @ Steve

    The companies will just find a way around any government regulation. Prime example — banks that received bailout money were told not to give their executives bonuses, so they gave them “retention payments” instead.

  11. 11 Ansurd Carey
    February 26, 2009 at 15:18

    It’s in our nature to seek someone to blame when we are in trouble; usually this blame is thrown on the leaders.

    For example, (1) if things should start to go bad in our country, lets say crime is rising, currency is falling, and people are losing their jobs we natural blame the ruling government, (2) if the company your working with starts to lose clients and miss out on some big opportunities, hence making the company to regress we naturally blame our employers and those manager that are above us. (3) let say your taking a cruse on a carnival cruse ship, and out in the middle of the ocean the vessel ran out of fuel or got attacked by pirates, hell yes i would blame the captain.

    Leaders are giving this privilege to lead because they should posses the skills to foresee, make proper plans and backup plans, pick up on thing that the ordinary person would over look, and know how to assert them selves in the most uncomfortable situations and pick up the slacks. and if they can’t do that then they should be blamed.

  12. 12 Steve
    February 26, 2009 at 15:21

    @ Roy, well they could just up the income tax, ohh, to say 98% for certain brackets.

  13. 13 John in Scotland
    February 26, 2009 at 15:21

    I would make a distinction between a boss of a company making something and the ‘bosses’ of finance and market manipulation .

    They knew what was going down . We only have to see the change in pension fund policy options that took place a number of years ago .

    The real overall rate of profit was going down across the board , but they couldnt stop. Who would be the first to pull the plug . Those that warned of the impending calamity we’re quickly jettisoned from the ‘party’.

    The bankers deserve everything their now going to get. Afterall 10 years ago if one was to ask them ” how come you have such huge salaries ?”

    They would have replied…”well we have to take the responsibility if anything goes wrong .”

    Oh yeh?……really????

  14. 14 Ron S. from Ft Myers Florida
    February 26, 2009 at 15:23

    meh..everyone where I work blames our boss for everything, whether it is good OR bad times (just because we need to vent..hehe)😛

    But seriously folks..lol

    I work for a market research firm, and in 8 years of in this industry, I cannot recall a time when so little work has come in. We don’t blame our company’s Vice President for this….it is simply a lack of work coming in from our clients.(not to mention this is a very quiet year for politics in the US). We just have to weather the storm, as they say. In honesty, I have to THANK him for giving us the “heads up” as to what we all need to do to stay employed.

  15. 15 bradley
    February 26, 2009 at 15:32

    The pressure to keep earning more and more is the root of all this, Boards place pressure on bosses who came up with quick unsustainable ways to keep the money flowing , once the share holderswere happy the board did not take the time to ensure the the sustainability and and every one became conveniently blind because it seemed to work for so long.

    I seem to remember a quote from a book about building on feet of clay .

    the fact is that few took the time to examine closely what we were sowing and those that did were dismissed as puvrvayeors of doom and gloom.

    But yes I agree that the bosses who were in control (or given free control) of the ship have to be lined up square on this one because they are the ones who can retire on large pensions and be comforatble for life while the rest of us suffer.

  16. February 26, 2009 at 16:16

    Ha ha. “Are we too quick to blame the bosses?” No, we’re probably a little late for most of these big companies.
    If they’ve accepted their bonus money while driving the company into the ground and then ran, instead of either forfeiting it or dividing it among their fired employees, then we are NOT too quick, we are too late. As my grandmother used to say, “We are too soon dead and too late smart.”

  17. 17 Peter
    February 26, 2009 at 16:17

    When it is profit at all cost , certainly there’ll be unscrupulous tendencies. Expecting anything else will be a no brainer. The business culture base on excellence and branding knows that profit is not everything. Too bad the profit frenzy got the better of everyone.

  18. 18 Steve/oregon
    February 26, 2009 at 16:17

    We absolutely should hold bosses accountable they held themselves accountable when there companies were making tons of money off the market. Now the market is bad and they deserve the blame they are getting. In many situations the ball rolls down hill….. well for once it rolled up hill.

    @ Steve the situation in Abu Grahib is/was entirely different than that of a corporation.

  19. 19 Dennis Junior
    February 26, 2009 at 16:31

    I think that in most times, the process of blaming the bosses is simply too quick…..

    ~Dennis Junior~

  20. 20 archibald in oregon
    February 26, 2009 at 17:11

    Everyone has flaws, though they hide them well, it is the job of those who hire personnel to determine if the particular flaws, in those they hire, will adversely affect the company. A board of trustees hires and fires most CEOs, they hold the money and the power, so, they are always protected. I do not think that we are too quick to judge CEOs, I just think that we do not go far enough to solve the root of the problem: Who chose them to lead?

  21. 21 Nate, Portland, OR
    February 26, 2009 at 17:34

    We are not blaming them too much

    “With great power comes great responsibility”

    The bosses have been quick to take the rewards of great power – great wealth – but the responsibility part seems to be problematic. That the bosses’ wages skyrocketed while the common man’s wages stagnated makes the responsibility even greater. So now that many of the bosses have messed up many of them don’t even get fired! They just don’t get gigantic bonuses. Those that do get fired are wealthy from years of rewarding themselves rather than sharing with their workers. The workers, meanwhile, are laid off en masse and have relativley few savings because the rewards of economic growth have gone entirely to the top.

    Fabulous wealth for them at the cost of misery for, and wailing and foot-stomping by, the masses? I’ll bet the bosses will make that deal again and again. Hopefully they’ll realize thats not the only cost. The true cost, as we’re seeing, is the dangerous weakening of our economies.

  22. 22 Vijay
    February 26, 2009 at 18:06

    Are we too quick to blame the bosses?
    Well obviously not ,if we had been quicker we would have stopped them earlier. “Guaranteed” bonuses(an oxymoron,surely, a bonus should be linked to productivity) and preferential share options should be banned .

  23. 23 Venessa
    February 26, 2009 at 18:08

    The same people that take all the praise in good times are the same people responsible for poor decisions during tough times. I have no pity, their paychecks and bonuses reflect their level of responibility. Many of them are fortunate enough to survive perfectly alright if they were to lose their jobs unlike the people who help put money in their pockets.

  24. 24 Vijay
    February 26, 2009 at 18:10

    Are we too quick to blame the bosses?
    Well obviously not ,if we had been quicker we would have stopped them earlier. “Guaranteed” bonuses(an oxymoron,surely, a bonus should be linked to productivity) and preferential share options should be banned

  25. 25 Robert
    February 26, 2009 at 18:13

    http://www.getthebigpicture.net/blog/2009/2/1/disney-ceo-makes-30-million-lays-off-hundreds.html

    I work for the Walt Disney studios. Disney’s shared have been reduced by about 40% over the past year. We were all recently pulled into a company meeting last month and informed that, due to current economic hardships and difficulties, all Disney employees will be mandated to increase our work hours additional 5 hours, to a 45 hour work week, with no salary increase and, in some cases, a reduction in our weekly paychecks. The unlucky ones are just plain getting laid off.

    Nice Bob Iger….really nice. Enjoy your additional $30 Million. Your gross irresponsibility and arrogance is something to be exceptionally shameful for, especially in these trying economic times.

  26. 26 Vijay
    February 26, 2009 at 18:17

    Most of the trouble is not caused by entrepeneurs(wealth creators) but by CEOs and managers of PLCs.

  27. 27 kay
    February 26, 2009 at 18:17

    it’s difficult for Sole Traders, not to lay off workers as the hike in prices are now reducing their profits which they support there family with. and the flip size Directors of Large Companies are gettign a salary PLUS bonuses which i believe should be forgone during this period and try to keep more employees in job

    Kay Trinidad

  28. 28 Ogola Benard
    February 26, 2009 at 18:19

    When we are caught up in stiff economic hardships we become pessimistic as to when these hardships are to end, we blame every body and don’t look at and how to stabilize.
    Bosses are partly to blame in that they are supposed to manage overhead cost and decrease in production,manage labour supply and employment by transferring supplus workers to departments having shortages.
    They are supposed to use reserve funds to counter and balance their businesses otherwise keeping of these funds locks up by over investment ,production is curtailed and people become impoverished. They are supposed to be innovative using the limited resources by looking at areas like sales promotions but at the same time controlling sales!

  29. 29 Tom D Ford
    February 26, 2009 at 18:20

    “Should we all be better at acknowledging the role that these people played in creatign wealth for all of us?”

    Spelling error aside, Bosses don’t create the wealth, workers create the wealth.

  30. 30 Raydan
    February 26, 2009 at 18:21

    In the US the circumstances were. Big banks and investment companies who have not seen profit in years. Every year however no matter what the financial numbers were the top management got huge bonuses at end of year. This added insult to injury and president Obama did the right thing when he has limited wages of companies managment not make more than the president himself for those companies that are getting bailout money.

  31. February 26, 2009 at 18:22

    I was fired from my job as a Retail Store Manager. Have been on unemployment for five Months. Soon I will be faced with some very hard choices. My Boss at the time told me that he had a family to support and that he knew my firing was wrong but due to my high pay I was the one to go. He said if he fired me he could go on not firing as many as quick. So much for being valued for your experience. I worked my way up to that salary over six years. So I asked him about his salary,he said that he earned IT… Like I had not! In my case,yes my Boss is too blame. He could have done many other things. He on the way out told me I should b happy I have unemployment.

  32. 32 Scott [M]
    February 26, 2009 at 18:26

    I’m not a boss…

    The quality of the employees are really not much better then the bosses. Obviously many bosses were employees who happened to be successful and made it big. We romanticize the average or the middle class. The average employee and the average boss sucks, people just suck in general, so why expect anything different from our bosses? It is totally foolish.

    This is like romanticizing the small business, like it has some moral authority?! Many big business were at one time small businesses—the same can be said for bosses.

  33. 33 John Foster
    February 26, 2009 at 18:27

    Roz,

    One issue with your statement. You say that business leaders have created so much wealth. Lets interrogate that. Wealth creation is not a product of one person, it is management and workers together creating products that are sold for a profit.

    And with the recent statistic that all the wealth ‘created’ in the US from 2001 to 2008 has evaporated, lets talk about who should be giving back that money.

    Thanks

  34. 34 Jason in Seattle
    February 26, 2009 at 18:28

    There is a difference between a company failing due to a lagging economy, and an economy failing due to a company lacking competent leadership. I do not blame any company CEO/boss who has to make the tough decisions (layoffs, pay cuts) to keep a business afloat in hopes of resurrecting in the future. I DO blame CEOs like those of the American banks (Bank of America), money managers (Lehman Brothers), housing lenders (CountryWide), whose failure-laced management records seem completely ignored when bonuses are handed out, ESPECIALLY after they’ve been sacked, and rewarded with multi-figure a golden parachute.

    Jason
    Seattle

  35. 35 Tom D Ford
    February 26, 2009 at 18:30

    I am not normally in the habit of defending bosses but they did not cause these problems and they can not be justly blamed for them.

    Our current World Re-Depression was caused by American Conservative Republicans who in 1999 pushed through a law that prevented any regulation or oversight of the new Derivative financial schemes and scams.

    If the new derivative financial schemes had been regulated and overseen they could have been revised and reworked to prevent the kinds of problems we are in now. It is very very important that we regulate all markets including the financial sectors.

    These bosses who played by the rules in effect at the time are not to be blamed for the problems we currently face.

  36. 37 Vijay
    February 26, 2009 at 18:35

    Hey Vijay Has the SATYAM scandal effected your corporate governance .
    To the Egyptian wealth creator, where is it easiest to do business as far as red tape , regulations and government oversight?

  37. 38 Scott [M]
    February 26, 2009 at 18:36

    The boss and employee relationship is interdependent, they both create wealth together.

  38. 39 gary
    February 26, 2009 at 18:36

    @ Tom D. Ford
    Excellent point.
    g

  39. 40 Rhonda McDonald, Portland Oregon
    February 26, 2009 at 18:36

    I believe that anger is aimed primarily at the CEOs of very large companies rather than small business owners. Many of these CEOs do not have a vested interest in the company itself but are simply ‘passing thru’ earning large sums of money in the process.

    For these CEOs, employees are seen as a means to an end; therefore it is easy to lay them off. Gone are the paternal CEOs who viewed themselves as complete failures if, as a last resort, they were forced to lay people off. Now it is nothing more than an impersonal business decision.

    2nd comment: What about the Board of Directors who approved these outrageous CEO contracts with huge salaries and bonuses?! They are the ones who agreed to these unreasonable sums of money.

  40. 41 Maccus Germanis
    February 26, 2009 at 18:40

    Each volunteer does, hopefully add value to some service or product. Those people that don’t add value find themselves being let go, by good managers. Why do people put such trust in managers decision making when accepting the job, not to trust their decisions when the partnership is no longer mutually benifecial?

  41. 42 Howard, North Port, Florida
    February 26, 2009 at 18:41

    Not all bosses are wise, and some who ran the big banks in trouble were greedy and stupid.

    But this worldwide crisis was caused by the U.S. Congress when it forced the country’s banks to loan to people who couldn’t afford to pay their mortgages.

    In most cases it is better to keep the company from going under, even if it means cutting some of the workers. If the company fails then nobody working there will have a job.

  42. 43 JohnKelly
    February 26, 2009 at 18:44

    I find much of the framing of this discussion to be just ridiculous. The clearly hardworking guests on the show have nothing to do with the incredibly wealthy bank and corporate CEO’s who have been been making the bad decisions that have so damaged the economy while being compensated to the tune of the tens or hundreds of millions.

    THOSE people are not wealth creators, they are parasites, manipulating economies and moving money around in ways that suits them best and allows them to skim huge amounts off the top, and it serves only themselves.

  43. 44 Ogola Benard
    February 26, 2009 at 18:48

    The banks are so reluctant on credit creation and yet this one of the ways to bring stability on a staggering economy!

  44. 45 Maccus Germanis
    February 26, 2009 at 18:50

    @ John Kelly
    Whose money were these “parasites” moving around? And to whom where they moving the money too?

  45. 46 The Statesman, Florida, USA
    February 26, 2009 at 18:52

    I started a small business two years ago, but went back to school for an advanced degree with the intent to build it up when I was finished. With the clearest collapse of business integrity several years ago, bank integrity over the last couple of years, and government integrity the last couple of months there’s no way I’ll be taking on the risk and headache of running my own company. There is no confidence in business anywhere. Workers are uncertain. Investors are uncertain. Industrialists are uncertain. Government officials are uncertain. When the dust settles waaaaay down the road, I may revive the business dream. The business environment is being smothered under the weight of real failure, reactionaries, and an uncertainty for when the chaos is going to stop. I blame lax long-term procedural regulation letting the crisis build up. It’s too little too late now. Corrective regulation implemented presently is short-term at best. For me to build my business, I NEED to see more stability and less pandering to the uncertainty. Large businesses lobbying for bailouts can beg all they want, but the government needs to take a more responsible approach to re-establish confidence with me and the rest of the world.

  46. 47 Steve
    February 26, 2009 at 18:53

    I saw a woman driving a BMW 750 (an $80,000 car) leaving a low income housing project this morning. Not only CEOs apparently drive luxury cars. This woman gets state aid to pay her rent, and she drives a car I couldn’t dream of affording and I make 6 figures.

  47. 48 John in Scotland
    February 26, 2009 at 18:57

    42.

    then nobody working there will have a job.
    43.
    43 JohnKelly
    February 26, 2009 at 18:44

    the trouble with ‘blaming’ the bank bosses and indeed even the government is to subliminally suggest that ”if only we had more moral or accountable ‘honest’ individuals in charge some how it would all be different ”

    The trouble is the essence of the crisis has been emerging for over 30 years . Competition creates amongst other factors a diminishing rate of return .

    This was only offset by facilitating huge amounts of credit to industries that could no longer really compete without refinancing, and to consumers to consume .Also financial speculation in the West took over from production which was shifted to Asia ,China, and India

    Todays living standards in the West would not exist otherwise.

    So now the law of value is asserting itself, and people across the world will loose their ‘fictitious’ livelihoods.

    So really its just a handy diversion to whip a few bank bosses.The real problem is systemic….and printing money wont fix it ( because thats ‘in effect’ what they did that got us here )

    Of course this is just my humble opinion…and as a member of the world community I’d like to have my say.

  48. February 26, 2009 at 18:57

    would people agree to a policy that made companies at least 3% of the CEO’s pay?

  49. February 26, 2009 at 19:01

    Absolutely the bosses are the problem, however, we may be spending too much time thinking about who to blame rather than what to do to fix the recession. The Dow is into to 7200s and falling. This is a disgrace and we need to stop being afraid and use that bravery and resilience our parents and grandparents tried to instill in us as we grew up that they had when they went through this 70 some-odd years ago.

    It is time my generation, aptly called X to stop moaning about how bad things are and fix it.

    Midwest City, OK

  50. 51 xavier itter
    February 26, 2009 at 19:14

    It is almost to ludicrous to compare the business attitudes of the industrious entrepreneur who runs a small business at the human level and the ultra rich elite’s who own and run the major corporations. Tom Wolfe names them ‘the master’s of the universe’ in his book bonfire of the vanity’s, with good reason, they do not inhabit the same ethical and moral universe as the rest of us. Who else could explain away the mind bending culture of dishonesty which has led us to this total and utter collapse in market confidence, with the innocent frase ‘ over exuberance’! Master’s of the universe maybe but which universe?
    xavier itter

  51. 52 Anthony
    February 26, 2009 at 19:55

    Thinking of Sir Issac Newton’s theory of gravitational pull. The market was at an all time high in the U.S. prior to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. There is no law to the contrary. We must go through with the poor economy as much as we did with the excellent one. The question we must all be asking ourselves is: How is our individual attitude holding out?

  52. 53 JohnKelly
    February 26, 2009 at 20:09

    @ Marcus

    Hey there. In answer to your question:

    The mortgage crisi in the U.S. is a prime example of what I’m talking about. Instead of a mortgage being a business relationship between a lender and homeowner, some bright boy on Wall Street thought of thinking of mortgages as just another “product”, to bought, sold and resold ad infinitum. Mortgage brokers got a fee every time theey convinced a bank to make a mortgage loan whether the loan was good or not, and then loans were packaged together, used as securities, endlesly subdivided until no one could be sure who actually holds the loan. Meanwhile, every time a transaction was made, the investment broker, banker, or fund manager gets a fee. Those are the parasites, making gigantic sums doing nothing but moving pieces of paperaropund, creating nothing.

    Of course there are other types of corporate parasites – the old CEO of Disney Michael Eisner leaps to mind – a man whose compensation was literally in the billions, while what actual made the real money for Disney was the workforce – from the creative talents inventing its characters and movies to the girls in the Haitian and Chinese sweatshops churning out Pochahontas t-shirts for slave wages.

  53. 54 Chad from Virginia
    February 26, 2009 at 20:35

    I think that the use of a lot of small business owners undermines this. I doubt that many people are angry at small business owners. I am employed by a small business owner. She’s amazing but its multinational corporations that I am upset with, not small business owners.

  54. 55 RayUK
    February 26, 2009 at 21:54

    It is all to obvious that the so called financial experts do not and never did exist!
    In 2006 I informed my company bosses that we would enter recession in 2008 and enter a global depression by 2009. We sold the parts of our business that were not performing at premium prices and paid off all outstanding bank loans. My bosses were needless to say extremely grateful that I convinced them to listen to what at that time, everybody considered to be the words of a madman!
    The point is……if it was that obvious to me with my limited knowledge of the financial world why on earth was it not obvious to those that earned huge amounts to know precisely these things?
    The reason is simple! Any fool can make money during a boom where essentially everyone lives beyond their means on relatively cheap borrowed money. However, those that are paid to understand these things not only did nothing to prevent it but actually encouraged it! The result is now obvious for everyone to see.
    Now we will wallow in our shame and pity until mid 2012. Only then will stability begin to show signs of returning. The world will be a very different place with state owned banks responsible for nearly all lending. We will live in socialist states and be glad we have jobs. The governments will be happy they finally control the money and with direct access to the tax returns and bank statements of their population will certainly be in a position to control the people with iron fists.
    Think I am really a madman????? Let’s see in 3 years time.

  55. 56 ecotopian
    February 26, 2009 at 22:55

    Steve,

    I own a 750iL. Granted it’s 21 years old, I still own it. All you told me was the type of car, not its age. Those cars depreciate very rapidly. A ten year old 750iL goes from $9-12,000 depending on condition. The car you saw might not even live there. They could have been visiting someone. In fact, all you saw was a car leaving a parking lot and assumed they lived there. If a car leaves a mall that has a Neiman-Marcus, did the people in car shop at that store?

  56. February 27, 2009 at 01:14

    We can not blame to all bosses in the world, the most responsibility person for current global economic crisis is Democrats president Bill Clinton, he is the one unconditionally opened the WTO to communist China, undeniable after Clinton within 8 years tenure of Bush office China approaching to world 4th richest nation and since that day the world is under made in China. Including America and all nations cottage industries are spoiled also America and all nations investments are shifting to great communist China. In America even US souvenirs are imported from China.
    If you all have great know ledges and high philosophy it is easy to find out the true cause and fact of current Global economic crisis. Especially current US economic crisis is not really by and because of G.W Bush and Iraq war such as Obama pointing and voicing for.

  57. 58 Lawrence
    February 27, 2009 at 09:46

    re the RBS debacle: all the comments leave a simple question.
    What would Goodwin do if his family were lost on board a ship, or died in a plane
    crash?. No one would hesitate in blaming him if his lawyers contacted the
    bosses of the shipping or airline companies – if they could be held to account.
    IF, as Goodwin claims, he is going to hang on to his contractual pension; then
    who does he consider should be held responsible; the postman?

  58. 59 Roberto
    February 27, 2009 at 11:52

    RE “” Should we all be better at acknowledging the role that these people played in creatign wealth for all of us? “”
    —————————————————————————————–

    ———— Who’s wealth is that?

    As George Soros noted, (paraphrased from a year ago) “The US (banks and Wallstreet) have bilked the world of it’s savings.”

    Need to get over this stereotype that Americans are rich overall. Maybe in comparison to the average African, but that’s more due to not being as poor as the average African. Big Global bosses should be strung up and pilloried. In China I’ve heard those heads of the adulterated dairy products have been summarily thrown into prison or executed by firing squad after their assets were seized.

    American politicians make these crooks into storied philanthropists and toasts of the moneyed class.

  59. February 27, 2009 at 13:03

    A couple of points that occurred to me. We are in the situation we are in because we stopped being self-dependant and free. We depend on others and we allow other to depend on us for both our quantity as well as our quality of life. That is the fault of the evolution of an entire society. If this is a trait we no longer desire, the only way to get away from it is to name it, and make choices to pull away from it.

    When the founding fathers first created the US, the draft of “The Declaration” nailed on the town halls and forts around the country listed the “inalienable rights” as “life, liberty, and pursuit of land” . They believed that if a man had a plot of land to build his own house, raise his family how he saw fit, and grow his own food and textiles, then he could truly be “free”. The collective “WE” chose to give up that lack of dependence on others in trade for easier lifestyles. It was a benefit that we reaped and are still reaping today. But the cost is a loss of self dependence.

    Secondly, The West makes up most if not all of the “Consumer Economies”. That means we buy more then we sell. Our policies allowed our business entrepreneurs to go abroad and start these companies. Is it now the fault of the west and the US for failing their economy and bringing the rest of the world down with it? Many of the people in these “emerging economy” markets didn’t get to vote to have a toy plant in their back yard. However, the economical impact did affect them. So is the US the “Big Boss” of the world? Should we struggle until we either succeed or collapse to see that the world gets economically healthy too?

  60. February 27, 2009 at 13:15

    @Bella,

    A couple of points. The legislative branch for 6 years of Bill Clinton was made up of a Republican party that was trying to prosecute him. Nothing was getting through then that both sides didn’t agree upon.

    Also, China is a nuclear armed nation. Poor but nuclear armed nations had better be given recognition or they will “act out”. Bill actually stifled two Asian nations with nuclear capaibilities that most likely would have used them as a threat or physically by today if he hadn’t. North Korea had locks, cameras, and inspectors on its facilities by the time Bill left office. This physical security you get by offering these countries a chance at ECONOMIC stability. When we “won” the cold war, we inherited them as an interest.

    Last, If GW and his fully Republican garrison in the legislative branch didn’t like it, and then they had 6 years of “political capital” to do whatever they wanted. For some reason it didn’t occur to him to make policies to stop this globalization.


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