A French View of the Financial Crisis
From the inimitable Bernard-Henri (God is dead but my hair is perfect) Levy in The New Republic:
"Is man a predator of man? Does the fear of this predator slumber within us? An anxiety, formerly concealed by a poorly applied varnish of civilization, about a state of nature that is re-emerging? Consider the princes of finance, once so polite, so complicit, so civilized, who have been facing each other at the edge of the abyss, waiting to see who will be the next to fall; consider that dance of wolves, the ferocious ballet of battered predators sniffing at each other, detecting the scent of death on their neighbors, coveting their remains; consider the tango of white-hot hate that has been discreetly called the "drying up of interbank credit."
The scent of execution and of collective suicide has been circulating in the middle of the pack.
It is as though we have been watching a deadly dance around a fire, where those same people who, through their irresponsibility, devastating egoism and, it must be said, intelligence, turned mad and led the financial world toward implosion, thinking that they could pull themselves out of the furnace by pushing the others in first.
And the result has been, for all of us, a suspended apocalypse, in which it is easy to lay out the implacable chain of consequences, but also a situation in which no one knows how to defuse the mechanism. How to respond if account holders attempt to withdraw cash that the banks no longer have? How should we react if electrical and gas utilities default on payment to their employees? What will happen when an angry mob of ruined savers, mainstream borrowers harassed by those who pressured them to go into debt in the first place, and the desperate and unemployed erupt in protest and--according to a scenario that we in France know too well--shout their rage beneath the windows of the speculators, loan sharks and others with golden parachutes?"
Wow, so drugs are legal in France eh?
Hat tip to Felix Salmon
PS: Here's a shot of Bernie and his bride at Yves St. Laurent's funeral (Bernie is the one wearing shades).