Effective or not, bailouts somehow seem unjust. Why use taxpayer money to save the companies that actually caused the meltdown, the banks that made the reckless loans, and insurance companies that wrote too many credit- default swaps? More broadly, why save the state and local governments that offered overly generous pensions? Or auto companies too fat and lazy to match foreign competitors? They deserve to suffer the consequences of their behavior.
The Greek philosophers were not entirely wrong about markets. When they reward cooperation, people become more obliging and virtuous -- but markets don’t always reward it. Though on balance they have greatly improved our moral behavior, they can also degrade it.
When speculative bubbles form, as they did in the 1920s and the late 1990s, the financial community invariably listens to academic entrepreneurs peddling their pet philosophies about the financial boom.
In the autumn of 1977, John Mariani and his new wife, Galina, took a culinary drive across the U.S. that ground to a halt in Birmingham, Alabama, when a waitress in velveteen shorts served up a really terrible steak.
The world economy will face shocks and depressions, punctuated by ever-shorter and weaker recoveries, as long as it relies on outdated fossil fuels, says Jeremy Rifkin, author of “The Third Industrial Revolution.”
“The entryway on Goldman Sachs ’s executive floor is hung with paintings of all the senior partners since the firm’s inception,” says June Breton Fisher . “I took a close look and finally asked, ‘Where’s my grandfather?’”
In the 21st century, burning hydrocarbons is critical to achieving the economic expansion that is needed to support the billions of new people who are projected to inhabit the planet. Yet chasing that growth could throw so much carbon into the atmosphere that it may undermine humanity’s very survival.
TransCanada Corp.’s proposed $7.6 billion Keystone pipeline system, which would take crude from Alberta’s tar sands down through the Midwest and on to Texas and the Gulf Coast refineries, could be scuttled because of concerns about its potential impact on a major aquifer in Nebraska.