With the anniversary of the Lehman-AIG-rest of the world debacle fast approaching, it seems fair to ask: Who accepts any blame for creating our excessively crisis-prone system?
Friends and contacts who work in the financial sector freely discuss their participation in activities they now regret. But where is the mea culpa, of any kind, from a public figure – our “leadership”?
I suggest we divide the competition into three classes.
- Policymakers who now admit that any of their actions or inactions contributed to the Great Credit Bubble. Blaming China gets a person negative points; this may hurt Fed officials.
- Private sector executives who concede they made mistakes or misjudged the situation so as to lose a lot of Other People’s Money. Blaming Hank Paulson also earns negative points (too obvious).
- Anyone charged with safeguarding consumers, in either public or private sector capacity, who now says that they or their organization did a completely miserable job. My guess is that you will find precisely no one in this category.
You can award points for style, timing, and extent of the apology or near-apology.
Feel free to suggest other categories or to propose additional scoring rules.
By Simon Johnson