the visible hand

it is the theory which decides what can be observed – einstein

Fear makes a welcome return

Posted by ecoshift on August 15, 2007

August 15, 2007
Fear makes a welcome return
By Martin Wolf

…In providing money to the markets last week and this, the European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan and other central banks have been doing their jobs. Whether the terms on which they have done this were sufficiently penal is another matter.

Financial markets, and particularly the big players within them, need fear. Without it, they go crazy. Moreover, it is impossible for outsiders to regulate a global financial system riddled with conflicts of interest and dominated by huge derivatives markets, massive trading by highly leveraged hedge funds and reliance on abstruse mathematics and questionable statistical models. These markets must regulate themselves. The only thing likely to persuade them to do so is the certainty that the players will be allowed to go bust.

When William Poole, chairman of the St Louis Federal Reserve, said that “the Fed should respond to market upsets only when it has become clear that they threaten to undermine achievement of fundamental objectives of price stability and high employment or when financial market developments threaten market processes themselves”, I gave a cheer.

Not so Jim Cramer, hedge fund manager and television pundit, who declared last Friday that chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, “is being an academic!…My people have been in this game for 25 years. And they are losing their jobs and these firms are going to go out of business, and he’s nuts! They’re nuts! They know nothing! . . .  The Fed is asleep.”

So capitalism is for poor people and socialism is for capitalists. This view is not just offensive. It is catastrophic….

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