Thursday, October 22, 2009

Riddle me this, bankman! (cont.)

David Wessel, Wall Street Journal:

"Just as in war, there are unintended victims so, too, in economic rescues, there are unintended beneficiaries," [presidential economic adviser Lawrence] Summers said last week.

Isn't it hard to make a case for "unintended beneficiaries" when the very thing being rescued is entitled "capitalism"?

4 comments:

Montag said...

just thinking this war metaphor out. in war "unintended victims" are called collateral damage. however there is always some question over whether this is "unintentional" at all, as un-forthcoming our rulers can be with their true reasons for anything they do. so the "unintended" aspect of collateral damage stems from the stated purpose for the aggression.

so with the economic rescues, the stated purpose put forth by the president is to get to the point where 'everyone who wants to work has the opportunity to do so.' (which is a bald lie as far as i can tell, as our economy seems to always maintain some level of unemployment.) nonetheless there it is. if "beneficiaries" is equivalent to "victims" in the war comparison, then, yeah, Summers' metaphor is dead on. if the intention was to put working people back to work, then the bank executives' whose incomes are shored-up with bonuses would be "unintended" beneficiaries. we could call this "collateral repair" perhaps.

there. i'm satisfied that the problem is not with Summers' metaphor, but rather as J.R. points out, with the underlying fiction of the economic rescues.

JRB said...

You've got all the angles covered, Mr. Tag.

Montag said...

the underachiever that i am, i just polished the above comment up a little and slapped it up at my place: Warring Wage

thanks for the inspiration.

JRB said...

I'm content to let achievement find me. Right now I waiting to achieve my first debilitating back injury. That is when the "donate" button will appear on this blog. Stay tuned.