How to Fix Wall Street: You Don't, Because You Can't, So You Might As Well Just Invest in Cocaine Derivatives

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Not that you thought you could, but basically, you can't, and there's no point in trying. Sorry. Why?

In one of the better, intensely depressing finance critiques you're going to read for a while, Business Insider editor John Carney penned a screed entitled "Sorry America, the Latest Round of Financial Regulation Reform Won't Fix Anything." There's nihilism, and then there's this:

The culture of Wall Street has eroded to the point where it is heedlessly and recklessly taken on risk, so therefore we need regulation. But how do we know regulation can replace culture? What evidence is there that this works?

The fact is that there is none. We desire so badly that things run better that we are blind to the fact that a cultural and moral decline just cannot be ameliorated through regulation. There is no fix.

Carney continues with a call for anything that might "homogenize" markets to be scaled back and removing credit rating agencies roles in regulating finance, but the greater point stands that there are people who have jobs that demand them to create more money for themselves and the people they answer to, and they will do these jobs at any cost, and like random acts of violence or natural disasters, the worst ones simply can't be prevented, because when there's that kind of will there's always a way, and the best thing we can do is stock up on supplies when it hits home and enjoy the sunny days when we get 'em.

Sounds reasonable enough. On that note, these people making these economic conditions terrible sometimes do drugs, so you might as well just invest in blow, let them spend all of your money on it, die, take the profits, and give them to everyone else, and hope nobody gets killed in a South American nation over the course of this transaction. Not bad, right?*

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]

*The Village Voice, Village Voice Media, associated titles and affiliates as entities do not actually endorse the purchasing of cocaine derivatives. Even though you probably think we do.


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