Defending the Indefensible
An eventual economic collapse coming.
by Stephen Lendman
Robert Shiller is Yale University Professor of Economics and Professor of Finance and Fellow at the International Center of Finance, Yale School of Management.
He's best known perhaps for his 2000 book titled, "Irrational Exuberance." At the height of the tech bubble, he got it right predicting it would burst. His analysis included structural, cultural, and psychological factors.
His 2005 second edition was right again. He explained the housing bubble and likely aftermath. It peaked in 2005, began declining in 2006, and hasn't yet hit bottom. Maybe a third edition will cover the next inevitable decline.
When it comes, expect far greater trouble than what preceded it. It's building inexorably for eventual collapse. Only the fullness of time knows when, but so will we when the thud's felt round the world.
Shiller's new book titled, "Finance and the Good Society," has another purpose. Instead of criticizing predatory finance, he defends it. Doing so may erode years of hard-won credibility.
He claims financial capitalism promotes prosperity. In the process, he defends Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street giants. It's wrong thinking they cheat clients, he claims. Not according to file://localhost/Users/stephenlendman/Desktop/JOHN%20WILLIAMS:EMPLOYMENT%20CALCULATION.rtf former Goldman executive Greg Smith. After 12 years with the firm, he resigned, calling its "environment....as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it."
Goldman's business model replicates others on the Street. It includes advising clients to invest in assets it wants to dump, selling them what makes the firm most money, and trading "any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym," no matter how toxic or worthless.
It made him "ill," he said, "how callously people talk about ripping their clients off." Goldman's entire history, or most of it, reflected it. It's been involved in nearly all financial scandals since the 19th century. So have other Wall Street crooks. They make money the old fashioned way by stealing it.
Shiller's right saying not all bankers are banksters. Mostly too-big-to-fail Wall Street ones qualify, but so do many medium-sized banks, large hedge funds, insurers like AIG, Fannie and Freddie for gaming the housing market, Sallie Mae for debt entrapping students, and other major players manipulating markets fraudulently for profit.
Engineering a financial coup d'etat, Wall Street giants inflated multiple market bubbles, pump and dump schemes, naked short selling, precious metals price suppression, high oil prices during falling or steady demand, currency manipulation, and other predatory schemes.
Together with political Washington and the Fed, they game the system, commit massive fraud, scams trillions of public wealth, and get open-ended bailouts when inevitable crises occur.
Bill Black Knows the System Well
In his book titled, "The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is To Own One," former bank regulator expert on white-collar crime, public finance, economics, and related law, Bill Black explained the disconnect between the real economy and finance.