Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The convenient scapegoat

Looks like another moment of transatlantic communion. The US government is demonizing Wall Street and the US financial industry to draw attention away from its monetary profligacy and gross mismanagement of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The EU, with the Germans in the lead, is demonizing US and UK private equity firms with hedge funds: the "swarm of locusts" who descend on Europe and take away all its jobs.

As John Rosenthal notes, this isn't the first time such imagery has been used. The Nazis talked about the "swarm of locusts," but the term stretches even further back, to 19th century anti-Semitic attacks on a German-Jewish financier. Rosenthal includes a cartoon that shows today's 'swarm' as American - which I suppose is better than showing them as Jewish, although I suspect that that is the subtext.

The reason for all this is obvious: the EU and the Germans must do anything to avoid acknowledging that the high level of Greek debt induced the recent crisis. Because if they admit that, then they'd have to do something about it.

No comments: