Monday, January 26, 2009

What's truly wrong with our financial system?

The last paragraph in an article titled How to play chicken and lose from The Economist Jan 24th '09 is perhaps one of the best explanations of why our financial system is in the mess it is.

"Over the past 35 years it has seemed as if everyone in finance has wanted to be someone else. Hedge funds and private equity wanted to be as cool as a dotcom. Goldman Sachs wanted to be as smart as a hedge fund. The other investment banks wanted to be as profitable as Goldman Sachs. America's retail banks wanted to be as cutting edge as investment banks. And European banks wanted to be as aggressive as American banks. They all ended up wishing they could be back precisely where they started."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Parallel History Thoughts: What if there was no American Revolution?

Revisiting the American Revolution:

What would America's history have looked like over the past 200+ years had there never been an American Revolution? A giant version of Canada that stretched from the Mexican border to the Artic Circle? Perhaps Russia would have thought twice about selling us Alaska? Would our current government be a Parliamentary vs a Representative Republic? Perhaps slavery would have ended without a bloody Civil War given the efforts of Wilburforce in the UK in the early 19th century? Perhaps Hitler would have thought twice about invading the UK isles if he knew that that the resources of America would be brought to bear? Without the American revolution would we have had a Washington, Franklin, Adams, Jefferson or Madison? What about Lincoln? What of the Indians? What of the 'Wild West' and 'Manifest Destiny'. 

Parallel history discussions are always fascinating in that they give you fresh canvas for exploring a whole new set of 'what-ifs' based on a set of knows. Perhaps everything would be exactly the same.

Let me know your thoughts.