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9/13/2009

The Ten Commandments(for the corporate world)

In his article on the global meltdown of yesteryear, Robin Chan listed down ten of the evils that led to the fall of corporate giants and threatening the collapse of the economic world order. His 10 points are: 1. The housing crisis was boosted by a booming stock market and low interest rates, leading to a housing bubble. 2. Financial derivatives of mass destruction like CDS and CDOs which the bankers called ingenious financial products were good for the industry. In reality these were highly leveraged debt which were restructured and layered and were not more than a house of cards. 3. The lack of rules and regulations, or deregulations, allowing financial thugs a free hand to structure secret or shady deals. No regulation is good for the market was the mantra of the day. 4. Irresponsible rating agencies operating under conflicts of interests and aiding the process of tradings in high risks products by giving them AAA ratings. 5. Fair value or mark to market pricing, allowing the market to determine the value of assets rather than its underlying value, believing that the market is the best judge of the value of an asset. 6. Reckless bonus payouts and huge salaries as an acceptable norm to corporate honchos which led to high risk taking for short term gains. 7. Big is good and big banks are better than small banks. The bigger the better. What happened was that the banks and pseudo banks became so big that they could not be allowed to fold no matter how big were their debt and mismanagement. 8. Curbing financial innovation is bad. Innovation is the way forward to creating wealth and profits. The CDS and CDOs are ok and they should not be blamed but for the lack of understanding what they were that led to the demise. 9. To save the economic systems, countries printed money and more money to pump the system, to encourage spending, leading to a disproportionate debt that itself becomes a problem for the future generations to bear. It created a new problem to save an old problem. 10. The death of the theory of efficient market, believing that an efficient market will take care of the loose ends. It failed miserably. The sad thing today is that the above 10 causes and consequences of the financial crisis are still there and kicking, alive. Nothing very much were done to tackle these problems and they are coming back, taking a new life of its own with renewed vigour. In order to stamp out these corporate sins, we need a Ten Commandments to deal with them. 1. Thou shalt not create a housing bubble. 2. Thou shalt not allow high risk derivatives and products to flood the financial industry. 3. Thou shalt not allow thoughtless deregulations to run the financial system and the economy. 4. Thou shalt hang irresponsible rating agencies and financial institutions. Actually should prosecute the CEOs. Amend this to, Thou shalt not bear false witness or tell lies. 5. Thou shalt abolish fair value or mark to market pricing of assets. 6. Thou shalt not cast lustful glances at your neighbours huge bonuses or lusting for them. 7. Thou shalt not allow banks or financial institutions to grow too big. 8. Thou shalt regulate the so called 'financial innovations' and make sure they are safe. 9. Thou shalt not print money and increase public debt. 10. Thou shalt not blindly believe in the goodness of an efficient market to self regulate and heal the evils in the system.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The problem comes when those in power also have vested interest in those establishments making money out of thin air.

Then they have no moral authority or desire to curb those excesses.

The trouble with America is that the route to the presidency is always lined with money from the corporate sponsors, so after getting into the white house, it is more often than not just pay back time. Would they care about rule and regulations to curb the financial evils? Nah! It will just go on and on.

Wally Buffet said...

Echoing Anon. above, the ten commandments are strictly for the birds. When the dust finally settles down, it's gaming time again and the toxic structured products will be packaged under another guise to tempt the gullible. Greed is Good. Man Never Learns.

Heck, after seeing six or seven cycles like this, so what's new?