I have read and presented synopses of This Time is Different and The Big Short and All the Devils are Here. And I’ve had so many, many conversations about all that went wrong in the 2008 financial meltdown that was “thirty years in the making” (All the Devils are Here).
We are in such a politically charged and divided time, that it seems that everyone wants to point the biggest finger of blame at the “other side” (it’s the Democrats fault; it’s the fault of Wall Street; it’s Barney Frank’s fault).
But, here’s what I think: whoever is to blame (and the blame really should be spread far and side), people do not want to read the vital signs and face up to the difficulties that confront them. Not people; not CEOs; not industries; maybe not countries.
This insight is clearly stated by Bernie Madoff, of all people. In an interview (you can read about the interview on the Huffington Post here), he stated:
“They (the banks) had to know,” Mr. Madoff said. “But the attitude was sort of, ‘If you’re doing something wrong, we don’t want to know.’ “
Now, the blame for Madoff’s crime is all on Madoff. But that little tidbit of wisdom is, I’m afraid, right on. “We don’t want to know.’
And because we don’t, the volcano erupts.