Friday, October 10, 2008

Paulson regrets that time he watched "I Love New York" instead of finishing "Finance Regulation for Dummies"

If you're like me and keep all of your money in the cash registers of area nail and threading salons, then you're not exactly sure what all the hullabaloo on Wall Street is. Allow me to shed some light on the situation: We. Are. In. Financial. Apocalypse.

Perhaps I'm exaggerating a bit (I'm not), and it's not *THE* worst economic environments we've seen in decades (it is) that will force world leaders to close down their markets to re-write the rules of international finance (already working on it). Let's just pretend for a moment that I'm not overreacting -- how does something like this happen? I once got into an argument with an anarchist who said that we didn't need laws because people are naturally inclined to "do the right thing." To punctuate his point, he pulled out a pocket knife and said that I should stab him to prove him wrong. I didn't, but I like to think that eventually some other bored party-goer did, if only to shut him up. Because, at the end of the day, we very rarely do things because they are the "right" thing to do -- more often, we do them because they are the "non-illegal" things to do. Amsterdam has made a killing in tourism based entirely on this theory.

Being an event planner has taught me that, without rules and the means by which to enforce them, lawlessness abounds. It has also taught me that a 90-lb woman will jab a 300-lb bouncer in the foot with her stiletto for $30 worth of cosmetics. So, even as we all feign moral indignation at Fuld's reckless acts at Lehman Brothers, it's hard to believe that, given the chance, there aren't others would wouldn't risk destabilizing an entire financial market and
a punch in the face whilst on the treadmill to net $500 million. Sure, *most* people wouldn't, but Greyhound learned earlier this year, just because *most* people wouldn't kill a complete stranger, doesn't mean one person wouldn't. And while there are plenty of us that wish someone had beheaded Fuld, violence is not the answer. At least, not yet. No, what we need to do is pay more attention to who we put in charge of our money and what they are doing with it. Because, as nice as it is to believe that people will ultimately "do the right thing," Spike Lee has taught us and Radio Raheem that that is not always the case.

PHOTO: This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. However, I can tell you that the blue one significantly decreases your chances of ever hearing the phrase "you betcha" again. Choose wisely.

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