If Bankers and Politicians Were Angels

8 01 2010

What do the financial scandals of the U.S., which have unleashed the global economic crisis, have in common with the political corruption scandals that have caused the majority of the societies of Eastern and Southern Europe to fall below countries such as Chile, Botswana or Qatar, in the international rankings of quality of government?

The most common factor on either side of the Atlantic is “the greed of a few.” This is a very useful argument for the politicians. It gives a good impression in political meetings when one can pontificate about how greed is a result of the idolization of the forces of the unregulated market or the culture of “making the big sale.” What’s more, by appealing to natural human greed, politicians can propose the easiest possible solution to the electorate: greater public regulation (more administrative procedures and more detailed records of the activities of all types of institutions, both public and private) and more public committees to exert external control over institutions that are seen as potentially dangerous. Let’s send more public resources to the regulatory agencies of the financial institutions and to the offices of the prosecutor or to anti-corruption agencies.

However, there is reason to doubt that this growing industry, based on public control, actually functions well — if we refuse to consider, of course, that those who support such a system stand a better chance of winning elections…

Read here the original article in El Pais:

Read here the English translation by Watching America:


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