More on Kinder, Gentler (albeit more expensive) Coup

Financial times columnist Martin Wolf commenting on Simon Johnson’s great piece in the May Atlantic Monthly regarding how America has been hijacked by banking/finance oligarchs. Seems that he agrees with most of what Johnson says and disagrees on the transparency of the corruption, stating, “…Yet do these weaknesses make the US into Russia? No. In many emerging economies corruption is egregious and overt. In the US, influence comes as much from a system of beliefs as from lobbying (although the latter was not absent).”

He is right, there is a much more refined system to obtain and lobby for your policies than in emerging market countries.

I especially thought Wolf’s comments on how the scramble to preserve Wall Street as we know it is driven by policy makers fears. I also agree that in essence this is more subtle than overt corruption and a coup. However, I maintain that these are all arguments in the fringe rather than the core of Johnson’s Atlantic Monthly piece.

We must wrest back control of our policy apparatus from the finance/banking oligarchs or else we become socialism rather than capitalism. No small irony that the vanguards of capitalism have somehow become the harbingers of a perverse sort of socialism whereby profits are privatized and losses are socialized and the bonus of the elite is a sacred cow.

One thing that Wolf and Johnson seem to agree upon, that without the real consequences of bankruptcy, reform will remain incomplete and largely cosmetic. And even more disheartening, a presage of worse crises yet to come.


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