Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
It's not about the money - it's about who makes policy decisions, and who benefits from them.

Money is just the wrapper. You have to peel it off to reveal the naked predation underneath.

Some people enjoy risk. They enjoy being passionate about projects. They enjoy working 16 hour days trying to make something.

I think they're kind of insane, but it's obvious they exist, and they're not necessarily a bad thing.

But all that happens with lending is that someone decides to invest in a project because they think it's viable.

In practice this means believing they won't lose their stake, that they'll get more out than they put in, and that the social, cultural, domestic, and political environment will support the project.

But what profit means is that personal benefit outweighs social calculation. 'Investment' happens because it's personally profitable even though it's socially and culturally ruinous.

So the key idea that has to change is the concept of getting something for nothing. 'Risk' is just a bit of PR that dresses up the concept of investment as public decision-making performed with a view to getting more out than individuals put in.

What's missing is useful accounting of personal and social benefit and loss. Current terminology is biased towards the idea that individual returns are the only outcomes that matter. Reality-based economics would have to include wider social outcomes in its definitions of wealth.

In fact the most productive systems are likely to be ones where there's room for personal enterprise, but also enough control to make sure that political and financial power can never become so personally concentrated that they lock out other stakeholders from policy.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 10:43:22 AM EST
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