Baseball91's Weblog

February 24, 2009

Confidence Games

Filed under: Banking,Ben Benanke — baseball91 @ 2:28 PM
Tags: , , ,


The CEO of Morgan Stanley was on the Charlie Rose Show talking once again, like so many these days, about the broken confidence in a financial institution:  when the answers of these people are so disingenuous.  Or just dishonest?  There was the usual language of the last 6 months.  Crisis in confidence.  Too big to fail. 


“The day’s Wall Street gains are more of a ‘reflex’ than any conscious recovery effort,” says Al Goldman of Wachovia Securities.  Goldman would also like to write President Obama’s speech to accentuate the positive in tonight’s address before Congress. “President Obama has been stressing the extreme negatives in the economy,” Goldman says, “but if you keep frightening the public, the recession is going to get worse, not better.”        



These financial wizards created this mess in the first place.  So their life and their lifestyle were threatened and Al Goldman wanted it back.  Any media outlet should have been embarrassed to run his quote.  These financial wizards did what bin Laden and his disciples only dreamed of doing.  There was a revolution in the financial system last September.  Either Al cannot  figure it out or he wants his old world back. 


And no one was talking about putting the financial wizards in jail, only limiting their compensation.  The CEOs of the Morgan Stanley should have been fired.  These guys have betrayed the public trust.  So if you actually report the truth, if you keep frightening the public, the recession is going to get worse. 


Crises in confidence occurred when people quit believing in you.  Or maybe when you quit believing in yourself.  Maybe because such great doubt came from the lack of beliefs.  Maybe because there had never been any there, there.  When you sold credit-backed derivatives that actually had no foundation in the evolving system of the last 15 years.


The concepts:


Too big to fail…To young to die…A new form of immortality.  Over valued.  Overvaluation was part of this too big.  My home was over value in 2007.  And in 2006.  It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.  But the neighborhood was over valued.  Who did not recognize it?  Who analyzed a reason for refinancing an over valued home?  


“Wachovia is committed to being the best, most trusted and admired financial services company. We carefully consider the impact of our business activities on shareholders, customers, communities, employees, and the environment. We leverage our social, economic, and human assets to deliver business results in a way that supports fair business practices and sustainability.” 


Wachovia that had to be acquired by Wells Fargo.  Wachovia Securities and Al Goldman work under the umbrella of Wachovia.  “Wells Fargo and Wachovia are joining forces.  You’ll continue to receive the superb service you’ve always enjoyed, and you will gain the strength and stability of one of America‘s strongest companies.”   



According to their website, Wachovia is nowTWICE AS STRONG.”  Well Fargo, actually an admirable bank through these times, is not bragging the same way.  And Al Goldman wants to writes speeches.  For the president of the United States


It was the health insurance approach to banking.  The healthy ones are paying.  So that the sick ones can recover.  Yet there was no premium paid.  There was no underwriting.  There was no health maintenance going on.  Investment banks living on the edge.  Like that bank Wachovia.  


This CEO at Morgan Stanley was over 60.  He had to recognize all of this.  It was another thing if you were 32-years old, had been raised in all of this, and actually believed what people had always told you in your life.  No wonder there was a crisis in confidence. 


In 3rd world nations, the emphasis is not on material possession but on survival.  On spirituality.  And on family.  From Asia to Latin America.


Then there was A-Rod.  Too big.  Because of steroids.  Maybe a lot like those 5 investment banks that no longer are investment banks.  He was about 32-years old.  He surely did not believe the press clippings in 2003.  The lack of confidence, the underlying sense that you were not worthy of all this?   The $260 million contract?  And a sense that you might lose all of this. 


The news this year seemed to be about liars and cheats.  There were 2 new columnists at the local paper.  A good columnist sets off to get a story but without a good clue what he/she will write about.  The story comes to you.  A good columnist just goes to a place in search of a story. 


“You will be my witness.” 


1 Comment »

  1. On issues of insiders and outsiders, it was external creditors rescued, not national citizens by the EU, the International Monetary Fund. In exchange for various bailouts jobs were cut, taxes raised. For the man on the European street from Spain to Greece, uncertainty was increased rather than reduced – the opposite of what occurred to countries’ creditors. This increased uncertainty only diminished national confidence further. Risk was not eliminated but was moved, further inside. Now as Greek markets once again decline, snap parliamentary elections have been called. Financial and political observers believe that both have created even more uncertainty. As socionomists note, declining confidence creates collapse, like of the Samaras government, as well as the increased sense of uncertainty in the Greek market. As confidence falls further, even stronger entities fail,… first in housing, then in banking, and leading perhaps to failure of sovereign debt. The Germans, on the edge of their own deflation, won’t be rescuing the Greeks. So despair motivates people to action. Falling confidence/falling social mood impact human behavior. Extreme lows in confidence are customarily marked by acts of sacrifice, until you can sacrifice no more. When things have been so bad for so long, people are willing to openly contemplate extreme actions to end their current uncertainty. This was the type of environment ten years after reparations that saw the rise of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party in Germany. “Mostly they are the same lives. The same stories, over and over,” writes David Remnick in his prologue to his book, Reporting.
    Social mood impacts chronic under-confidence, one day in national elections, on issues that only insiders cast votes.

    Comment by paperlessworld — January 9, 2015 @ 4:32 AM | Reply

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