Sunday, December 21, 2008

Failure of freedom

I don't know how long this link from AP will last, but here is the key information:

"Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits in the calendar year 2007, an Associated Press analysis reveals."

"The total amount given to nearly 600 executives would cover bailout costs for 53 of the 116 banks that have so far accepted tax dollars to boost their bottom lines."


I can drive a $600 billion dollar corporation into the ground for much less money. They should outsource it to me.

Comment - it was the transactions from 2007 and earlier that sank the corporations this year. The only downside for these executives is that there is now less to loot. Sorry, there is still the TARP bailout money from the government.

Comment - the free market is unable to even align the goals of the upper management of a corporation and the interests of the shareholders measured with a three year horizon. Yet somehow it is going to solve problems of global scale. Market-driven solutions to our problems are probably still the best, but need that human engineering called REGULATION. Free market fundamentalism in the final count will turn out to have killed more people than Islamic fundamentalism.

Human organizations work only when there is accountability. Democracy - especially the American form with the separation of powers between three branches of government - and free markets are supposed to be better than the alternatives because they provide accountability. Neither has provided accountability in the last eight years. Or rather, the reckoning they have provided has not applied to the individuals most responsible, but has manifested itself as a system crash. The accountability mechanism can have said to have worked only if Bush and Cheney are tried for war crimes, and the 600 executives above are made to put all their assets into their troubled companies.