The issue of who’s to blame for the financial crisis is again hot in the news today. The IMF says its taking the blame for not warning the crisis was on its way. And in a major speech over the weekend, the Archbishop of Canterbury said blaming the bankers is far too easy and governments should take more responsibility. But are we missing the crucial point here? Could the biggest blame lie, in fact, with ourselves?
The Archbishop blamed governments for encouraging risk and a culture of borrowing, but, as he said in his speech, isn’t it us who kept electing those goverments?
British MP John Redwood has reacted to the speech. In his blog he says: “It’s a very one sided morality which condemns lending too much but does not condemn borrowing too much.”
Is our desire for bigger houses, cars and more and more things as much to blame as the people who enabled us to buy them? This blogger thinks so. In 2007 US annual household debt ballooned to 130% of income. In Australia the figure was much the same. At some point, doesn’t there need to be a some responsibility taken by the people who borrowed to the hilt?
There are plenty of people who say it’s unfair to blame those who took out loans they couldn’t repay, or even people who accidentally find themselves with a credit card bill they can’t pay off.
Are bankers and governments just easy targets because we don’t want to face up to the fact that we are the ones to blame?