Greed is one cause of the US financial crisis. Another is the psychology of the upper classes, which is the psychology of lemmings. One neighborhood banker starts giving mortgages to anyone who walks into his bank wearing shoes, and boasts about it at a social gathering of his fellow and sister lemmings, and soon the banker across the street is doing the same thing, and then it spreads to the next town, and on and on across the country. Some would say competition is the underlying cause, but equally important is the lemming imperative. The a Wall Street investment banker decides to "securitize" a batch of the doomed sub-prime mortgages, creating a brand new investment instrument that some sucker get-rich-quick investor snaps up. The Wall Street "innovator" tells his fellow and sister lemmings about his "securitization" of sub-prime mortgages at one social function or another and soon they are doing the same thing themselves and the practice spreads and spreads. Because if the upper classes are anything, they are social animals. Business lunches and conventions and trade shows and charity balls and conferences and on and on, buzz, buzz, buzz, they all swap notes about what they're doing and all go home determined to be a mirror image of the people they've been socializing with. No matter that sub-prime mortgages are a profoundly stupid investment--if everyone else is doing it, I'm gonna do it too. From sea to shining sea, the lemmings squeal in delight at how interchangeable they are in their expensive suits and cars and houses.
And in their lack of anything approaching independent thinking.
And as to possessing a conscience, that's a non-issue.
Right. And each lemming hooks a working class schlepper like me under each arm and takes us down with 'em.
Saw the beginning of BLAZING SADDLES the other night on channel 59 (AMC) and there's a hilarious bit where a bunch of African-American workers working on a railroad bed break out into song, singing, in magnificent harmony, "I Get No Kick From Champagne." Schleppers of the world, unite! Say no to lemmings!
A lemming walked into a bar...
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