Sunday, January 27, 2008


We are often told that capitalism is a very sophisticated system and that only bankers, investors and stockbrokers can be trusted to deal with its complexities, but recent events suggest otherwise. "French bank Societe Generale says it has uncovered "massive" fraud by a Paris-based trader which resulted in a loss of 4.9bn euros ($7.1bn; £3.7bn). The bank said the fraud was based on simple transactions, but concealed by "sophisticated and varied techniques". It also announced fresh losses of 2.05bn euros related to the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the US. The losses are four times greater than those made by Nick Leeson, the rogue trader who brought down Barings Bank. Leeson was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail. ... Richard Fuld, the chairman of Lehman Brothers, told BBC News in Davos that "nothing stuns me; nothing really surprises me these days." (BBC News, 24 January)
It seems that even these so-called masters of the universe haven't a clue about the slumps and booms of capitalism. RD

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