- Attributed to Talleyrand.
Since everybody else in financial media has been indulging in an orgy of self-reflection, selective recollection and brazen virtue-signalling on the back of the 10 year anniversary of Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy in September 2008, and in steadfast keeping with our principle of ‘no bandwagon left unridden’, we reproduce below, word for word, our commentary first published on 1st October 2008. A brief update then follows..
Armageddon outta here !
“Last night, Mr Brown made it clear he was ready to increase the level at which savers’ deposits were guaranteed from £35,000 to £50,000 but indicated he did not want to act until the markets had calmed.”
– From The Financial Times, 1st October 2008.
As part of my O-level history course back in the mid-1980s, I wrote an extended essay on the topic of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. My teacher made the useful suggestion of comparing the Hiroshima experience and related issues with those of the Dresden fire bombings earlier that fateful year. Even now I’m not sure whether either action could be easily or wholeheartedly justified and as a non-combatant (and non-civilian, for that matter) of the time in question, it still seems somewhat presumptuous even to try. What I do recall is that I concluded my study with the words of historian A.J.P. Taylor:
“War suspends morality.”
I recall these words because I am now reminded of advice given me a year ago when the crumbling of the credit markets first became manifest to a financially less literate world. While I was personally wrestling mentally with the moral hazard issues surrounding banking bailouts and the like, a South African fund manager friend made the following pertinent observation: in a shooting war, don’t waste time scrupling over moral hazard – the objective is survival.
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…