May 11, 2010

Day Dreaming about Goldman Sachs

I wonder when and if Congress can pass a law to simply liquidate Goldman Sachs.
What would be the consequences? Not many direct job losses, to be sure. Millions of people have already lost jobs and nobody bothers too much about that or them. There will be a lot of 'collateral' damage for sure. Overall, the size of the financial sector in the economy will shrink.

Is that a bad thing? Youngsters might not dream about becoming millionaires by getting MBAs or law degrees. Instead, bright people might choose to do science which will benefit mankind. Money lures all — or, at least most of us. So, as long as 'legal' avenues are available to make lots of it, youngsters will choose to pursue that career.

In India, engineers suddenly metamorphose into MBAs. IITs' loss is Goldman's gain. I don't know how much of that happens in the U.S.

What if what is happening in Greece were to take place in the U.S.? Who will come to bail the U.S. out? China? India? Europe?

Will people learn to wind down risky financial behavior and voluntarily walk away from the financial cliff beyond which might lie a painful free fall? Or, will it take a double dose of financial pain before people come to this conclusion?

I think people will avoid self-inflicted pain at all costs — no matter how minor or minuscule that pain might be. So, people won't voluntarily forgo a lifestyle that perhaps endangers the climate balance in some manner.

Of course, when pain becomes unavoidable, human beings show remarkable resilience and flexibility and so they will again in the future. The catastrophe might be a climate one or a financial one.

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