Notable and Quotable

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At a dinner with business and political officials to examine the U.S. financial meltdown, Morgan Stanley's chairman for Asia, Stephen Roach, responded to the question, "How could bankers be so stupid?" by posing his own questions: "How could regulators be so stupid? How could borrowers be so stupid? How could politicians be so stupid? C'mon guys, how could all you been so stupid?"

--From "Sign of the Times: CEOs Play 'Refugees' at Davos" in Friday's Wall Street Journal, page A6

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

6 Comments
Posted January 31, 2009 at 9:58 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. DonGander wrote:

Not EVERYONE was stupid; I note that Wells Fargo Bank is most ly untouched by the scandal. I also note that MY bank is untouched by the scandal - and quite willing and able to loan me money.

I DO very much commend the posting of the quote from Stephen Roach.

Don

January 31, 11:38 am | [comment link]
2. Harvey wrote:

I don’t know about use of the word “stupid”.  I believe a better word would be “GREEDY”.  Unless you have a knowledge of what you are doing in the market, and can stand the losses that happen, you should not get into it.  You can lose in the stock market as well as gain.  Many decades of history makes this quite plain.

January 31, 2:09 pm | [comment link]
3. RickW wrote:

Definition of Stupidity:

stupidity denotes an incapability or unwillingness to properly consider the relevant information.  (From Wikipedia)

Yeah, these guys were stupid.

January 31, 3:24 pm | [comment link]
4. Dan Crawford wrote:

Not our fault - it’s everybody else’s.

January 31, 4:11 pm | [comment link]
5. sophy0075 wrote:

Alas, not just stupid, but (perhaps worse, because it connotes intent) greedy:
* the politicians, such as Rep Barney Frank (D-MA), who pushed for laxer mortgage lending rules, so that he would gain the votes of those who benefited for his political party
* the lenders, such as Franklin Raines (Fannie Mae), Countrywide, and countless others, who were happy to issue mortgage after mortgage to the unqualified, so that their companies could get more mortgage fees (and in the case of the publicly-traded lenders, boost their stock prices). In many instances, these lenders falsified borrower data so they could write these loans
* the borrowers, who willingly took on more debt than they knew they could afford, who bought homes with “zero-down,” and/or who lied about their earnings
* those Wall Street entities who created incomprehensible synthetics (CDOs) composed of who knows what kind of loans - and then sold them to an unsuspecting (and some greedy) public

Our parents and grandparents, schooled to thrift and sensible use of money by the Great Depression and the rationing of World War II, would be appalled.

January 31, 6:28 pm | [comment link]
6. Jeffersonian wrote:

Now what is there in common with all of these “stupid” people?

January 31, 11:03 pm | [comment link]
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