Friday, October 07, 2011

Won't get fooled again

A friend of mine* is an inveterate gambler. Horses, mainly, and every now and then he'll share one of his absolutely red-hot tips with everyone down the pub. At first, you'd listen intently, note the name of the nag on which his giro will be going this week, perhaps even put a couple of quid on it yourself. Occasionally, it would win, but those times were very much a rarity. More often than not, it'd limp over the line a couple of hours after the rest of the field and be so poor that you begin to think that you've been caught up in a massive scam. Eventually, you stop listening. At best, you'll nod and say "Yes, Limpy Geoff. 100/30. I'll get right on it" while having no intention of doing so.

Basically, this chap is behaving like a credit rating agency. After they told everyone that collateralised debt obligations - fancy packaged debt with lashings of sub-prime mortgage gravy - were a sure thing, what we should have done was stop listening, go put some more coins down on the pool table and leave them wittering away into their pints of cheap bitter. Instead, however, the world still hangs on the every word issued by these unaccountable institutions and panics/relaxes on the strength of how bad/good the news is. How anything or anyone who has proved to be so badly wrong in it's judgements and predictions is credited with so much trust is staggering.

* - I have no such friend. I made him up, but the point stands.

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