segunda-feira, agosto 03, 2009

O que é bom para Wall Street, é mau para a América

Poderia ser o título deste artigo de opinião de Paul Krugman, um outro título para a mesma realidade, a das instituições financeiras que recuperaram a expensas dos contribuintes e que depois repartem generosamente lucros e bónus entre os seus colaboradores (para empregar a novilíngua do mundo da empresa):

Americans are angry at Wall Street, and rightly so. First the financial industry plunged us into economic crisis, then it was bailed out at taxpayer expense. And now, with the economy still deeply depressed, the industry is paying itself gigantic bonuses. If you aren’t outraged, you haven’t been paying attention.

But crashing the economy and fleecing the taxpayer aren’t Wall Street’s only sins. Even before the crisis and the bailouts, many financial-industry high-fliers made fortunes through activities that were worthless if not destructive from a social point of view.

Os sublinhados são meus, porque ilustram a – nossa - doença civilizacional, ou seja, os lucros de uns muito poucos que se entregam a actividades desprovidas de qualquer utilidade social e, além do mais, perniciosas para restante sociedade. O peso que tais práticas assumiram nos hodiernas sociedades.

E dois exemplos:

One involves the rise of high-speed trading: some institutions, including Goldman Sachs, have been using superfast computers to get the jump on other investors, buying or selling stocks a tiny fraction of a second before anyone else can react. Profits from high-frequency trading are one reason Goldman is earning record profits and likely to pay record bonuses.
On a seemingly different front, Sunday’s Times reported on the case of Andrew J. Hall, who leads an arm of Citigroup that speculates on oil and other commodities. His operation has made a lot of money recently, and according to his contract Mr. Hall is owed $100 million.
What do these stories have in common?
The politically salient answer, for now at least, is that in both cases we’re looking at huge payouts by firms that were major recipients of federal aid. Citi has received around $45 billion from taxpayers; Goldman has repaid the $10 billion it received in direct aid, but it has benefited enormously both from federal guarantees and from bailouts of other financial institutions. What are taxpayers supposed to think when these welfare cases cut nine-figure paychecks?