I have been trying to follow, not very successfully, this discussion The Spaniard In The Works: Husain's Response. It is about the current US financial crisis in which a number of very erudite Indians are taking part. The post is by Mir Ali Husain, a professor of Business and a lyricist. Many of the commentators seem to be in various professions with some knowledge of finance and some of them seem to have even worked in related professions. Quite a few seem to be interested in poetry. A dominant (I have problems with writing English and one of the commentators ridiculed the knowledge of those who misspell)commentator in the discussion is Falstaff who blogs at
He seems to be against singling out Wall Street for moral outrage and thinks that without social change, it is difficult to find solutions. This seems right but at the moment Wall Street has the ability to make big mistakes and these affect people all around the world. The amounts invoved seem to be arrived faily casually. See
Bad News For The Bailout which says:
"In fact, some of the most basic details, including the $700 billion figure Treasury would use to buy up bad debt, are fuzzy.
"It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number.""
Coming back to the discussion in Space_Bar's blog, I quote below from one comment of Falstaff which seems reasonable to me:
"I don't believe we can keep these kind of crises from recurring without fundamentally changing the social ethos, and I'm not sure how we do that - beyond working through non-profits to instill greater financial prudence and having a larger conversation about what we value as a society. I know that isn't terribly compelling as a solution, but I think accepting that there is no easy solution is better than randomly assigning blame for it to the first available scapegoat. I'm not saying I know the answers (at this point I don't think anyone does), I'm saying that giving Wall Street a bad name and hanging it is not the answer and to the extent that kind of villain-making derails the real conversations we should be having we need to get past it. I'm perfectly willing to admit that I don't know how to solve the problem, I'm not willing to let overwrought emotional statements that do nothing to bring us closer to the solution go unchallenged."
Falstaff later explains the possible problems with too much outrage:
"Though I'm not sure that misdirecting the blame and creating the illusion that it all happened because Bankers are Sith Lords is likely to lead to any useful solutions either. What it is likely to do is allow the McCain-Palins of the world to advance their anti-elitist agenda. "Look at all these fat cat bankers who screwed you over. You don't want people they went to college with making national policy, do you? No, what you need is to put a maverick in power - people who are outside the system, who are mavericks, who are pure of heart; people who will make decisions based not on the voice of reason but the voice of God." If there's one thing the GOP is good at, it's channeling outrage. And if there's one thing the Bush years should have taught us, it's that outrage is not a useful input into national policy."
In his own blog Falstaff explains the sort of situations where one can express outrage :Ap-Palin-g . I think that Falstaff makes some very good points. Possibly 'moral outrage' is too stong a word. But it seems natural to use strong words for problems which affect a large number of people. Perhaps less shrill discussions?
P.S. There are more comments and a follow up post by Husain.