Financial services and the socialization of losses

First Martin Wolf said it:

The world has witnessed well over 100 significant banking crises over the past three decades. The authorities have even had to rescue important parts of the US financial system – on most counts, the world’s most sophisticated – four times during the same period: from the developing country debt and “savings and loan” crises of the 1980s to the commercial property crisis of the early 1990s and now the subprime and securitised-credit crisis of 2007-08.

No industry has a comparable talent for privatising gains and socialising losses. Participants in no other industry get as self-righteously angry when public officials – particularly, central bankers – fail to come at once to their rescue when they get into (well-deserved) trouble.

(h/t to Paul Kedrosky)

On the same day, Barry Ritholtz said it:

The natural process of washing out excesses will lead to gnashing of teeth and begging for the Fed to intervene….those people who only believe in free market so long as they are going higher aren’t capitalists, they are socialists.

I’ve mentioned this myself too.

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