Greed is good again

Issue 
Leaders pose for a photo at the G20 summit in Seoul, November 11-13.

“The Group of 20 countries [which met in Seoul over November 11-13] were supposed to have stamped out the financial market abuses at the heart of the global crisis but little seems to have changed since their last summit, analysts say.

“Hopes for reform after the market chicanery that brought down a series of ‘too-big-to-fail’ banks and sparked the worst slump since the 1930s have faded with the return of the ‘get rich quick’ mentality, according to analysts.

“‘The bad old habits have come back much faster than was expected,’ said Denis Marcadet of Vendome Associes in Paris. Make a lot of money and quickly, is the refrain again, he said…

“‘Nothing has changed, if it is only that the banks now give the appearance of being much stricter so as not to get splashed all over the front pages,’ said Eric Singer of Singer and Hamilton, a head-hunting agency specialising in financial services appointments.

“Derivatives — complex and often highly speculative investment instruments blamed for much of the turmoil and damage — continue to be widely used and traded with little meaningful regulatory oversight …

“This year, the banks, brokers and finance houses will pay bonuses worth some 144 billion US dollars to staff, according to a Wall Street Journal study.”

— November 7 AFP article.