Greenspan blocked crackdown on subprime lenders

Saint Alan of Greenspan proved true to his guiding star, the philosophy of “greed is good” Ayn Rand, by blocking an crackdown on predatory lending in 2000.

I’m sure those who have lost homes due to slimebag mortgage brokers will appreciate Greenspan’s defense of the corporate overlords who spawned the subprime debacle and then profited mightily from it.

  • DJ

    I’m sure it’s just coincidence, but back in 2000, the same time Greenspan is said to have done this, we had a President desperate to pull the economy out of a recession. The housing market helped the econjomy recover (as much as it did recover), though of course that President gave credit to his absurd neo-Keynesian tax cuts for doing the job.

    I’m not saying Greenspan’s actions were correct, only that in historical context the motivations could be more complex: perhaps he was influenced by said President, or perhaps he actually had the good of the overall economy at heart.

  • “The good of the economy at heart” that usually translates into making sure the corporate world continues to plunder, not the welfare of the ordinary people. No matter who influenced who, or what their motives were, it will always be for the benefit of those who control the corporate world, never for the wellbeing of the ordinary guy, but it is usually at the expense of the ordinary guy.

  • DJ

    While that may be true, few of us benefit from a recession.

  • During a boom, or full employment the people involved in the boom are reluctant to change things, everything seems so good, why change it!!! Boom or bust are the convulsions of a corrupt system, mere adjustments to the flow of capital within the system its self. Labour has to destroy to rebuild, we created everything, sadly for the benefit of others, we can destroy and re-build for ourselves. The world we can and must shape will in no way resemble what we have. Recession way just be the road we have to walk to re-build our world, not by choice but by necessity, as we can have no control over the boom and bust spasms. A boom here usually is related to a bust somewhere else, the system lives by exploitation.

  • DJ

    I love these broad generalizations about labor and capital. Except they don’t hold true in the U.S.

    My first real job was loading trucks for the union– at a wage that was five cents an hour lower than the company’s non-union shops. Twenty-five years later, I own my own home, a couple of other properties, am self employed (though admittedly in a service business), and am starting a farm in what I consider the ideal location, the place in the world I would most want to live. I started as labor, now I’m a capitalist exploiter. Except I don’t exploit– I am unflinchingly fair in my business dealings.

    Sure, I spent some years helping a major corporation accumulate wealth. But I accumulated wealth at the same time, through wages well above those available in poorer countries, and decent financial management. And here’s the kicker: that corporation no longer exists. It stopped being profitable and got gobbled up by someone else. I, on the other hand, am doing fine.

    There is terrible poverty in the world, which is exacerbated by corruption and predatory practices. Very little of it is in the U.S., where 68% own their own home, nearly everyone has at least a subsistence diet, the number of people who don’t have telephones is statistically insignificant, and you’d have to go to Appalachia or inner Maine to see real poverty.

    I’m not saying there’s not room for improvement. There clearly is. But in the U.S. it is unuseful to reduce our issues to class divisions– it obscures the real problem, which has more to do with a societal collapse of values.

  • Not really. In Marxist terms you never were and aren’t now an exploiter. The bourgeoisie own the means of production, and you never have been a member. That’s what Marx meant. He wasn’t referring to people like us as being the exploiters.

    That the US is more prosperous than other countries is almost certainly due at least in part to it exploiting third world resources and labor to use internally. That implies quite a class system. once which is bolstered by imperialism.

    In fact, I’m not sure you can have capitalism without imperialism. Or without a class system.

  • DJ

    Much of the U.S.’s wealth comes from a plethora of natural resources, but yes, every time someone buys KFC in Bangkok or Coke in Calcutta, another dollar transfers from the Third World to the U.S.– we have supplemented our wealth by exploiting that of others.

    Can you have capitalism without exploitation? It depends on what you mean by exploitation. The rich will always sell to the poor at a profit. Capital will always accumulate at the top and require redistribution. But is a reasonable profit immoral? I don’t think so. If “the laborer is worthy of his hire,” so also the use of assets is worth something, too. You wouldn’t expect to “rent” a car for nothing just because there’s no (or very little) labor involved. But price gouging and predatory practices are produicts of human greed– just like black markets and corruption in a socialist system. They exist, and the system must find ways to minimize them. It’s when those systems fail or are neglected that capitalism sinks into anarchy.

    Can you have capitalism without class? Once again, that depends on what you mean. Experience suggests that the means of production will always wind up in very few hands, hence the continuing need to fight monopolization. (Wait, didn’t we break up AT&T once already?) But in the U.S., class is not fixed. Those of us who started life as laborers may finish as landlords. Those who began as progammers may become some of the richest men in the world. True, most people do not change their status over the course of their lives– partly due to the belief, reinforced by others, that they can’t. But we are not nearly as stratified as most other societies.

    As for me, while I may not be an exploiter, neither am I exploited. Perhaps I am the ideal of the perfect capitalist system, entering into transactions between willing buyers and willing sellers and living happily in the process.

  • Well, exploitation is also invading other countries based on lies because the US wants control of the oil or building a new country on the back of slaves.

    Under socialism the state owns the means of production. (Not your home, BTW) and thus plans the economy so that the abuses of capitalism don’t occur.

    In Cuba, for example, the heads on the powerful unions don’t make much more than a regular worker, something which would certainly cut down on the perpetuation of a wealthy privileged class.

    Just because it’s easier to move between classes in the US doesn’t mean they don’t exist or that there isn’t a ruling class.

  • DJ

    The fact that our nation has done these things is not an answer to the question of whether capitalism can exist without them. Clearly there are capitalist nations that have not (in recent memory) invaded another country. Norway springs to mind, and Canada, and Costa Rica. Some of them have more socialism in their mix than we do, but are capitalist countries nonetheless.

    Socialism, of course, has its own abuses. Cuba, I’m told by reliable sources, has a thriving black market. Plus since socialism seeks to maximize benefit, it often loses sight of efficiency. Then there’s corruption. Yup, that nasty corruption we all hate about capitalism doesn’t just go away when you switch systems! It existed before capitalism and will likely exist long after.

  • DJ, do you employ or are your enterprises co-operatives? If you employ you gain from taking surplus value from your employees, do you let your other properties, landlords do exploit, they have surplus and they let it to others. When do you stop? perhaps several more properties and a much bigger farm employing hundreds. Hardly the road to socialism!!

  • DJ

    Actually my wife and I (co-owners) are the only employees. One of the properties I own is rented, at a rate lower than what the market could command, to a young couple who would otherwise have had a hard time finding a place to live. (They were unmarried at the time they rented– not a good thing in Mormon country.) He, by the way, has been self-employed since age 16, working for himself. (She works for the town.) They’re saving their money and intend to buy their own home next year. So, am I exploiting them, or giving them the same chance I was once given?

    OTOH you’re suggesting that if I have an asset that I let someone else use, even though that asset cost me money, which I earned through my own labor, I shouldn’t charge for its use I should just give it away? That doesn’t sound like socialism at all, it sounds like communism, in which the only benefit from one’s labor is room and board and the pleasure of having served my government. I don’t find that much of a pleasure, thank you.

    BTW, you say I am hardly on the path to socialism. How right you are! I am not now, nor have I ever claimed to be, a socialist, though I see the benefit of hybridding socialist policies with a (healthy) capitalist system. I have at best limited trust that government can implement for us that which we cannot implement for ourselves. I believe in good, old fashioned, town-meeting-style democracy and face-to-face relationships that make exploitation and violence (which are never impossible under any system– just ask Joe Stalin) more unlikely.

  • There needs to clarification of the meaning of socialism. I doubt very much if it can co-exist with capitalism in the same society. Socialism and communism, yes, socialism and capitalism???

  • DJ

    I’ll let a socialist address the principles involved in this one. But I gather you don’t consider the European nations that provide national health care, free education, and certain industries controlled by the state (Netherlands and Denmark spring to mind) to have elements of socialism combined with their capitalism?

  • The simple answer to you question is most certainly NO.
    I live in the UK and we have a “National Health” service and education system but under no circumstances would I refer to this as socialism. Take a close look at how they work and then look at the meaning of “socialism.”

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