Freedom and Trust

I have lived and travelled many places, but no place feels more free than the streets of Manhattan. What you want, when you want it…and by foot.

Ben Stein (Bueller…Bueller) had a great piece today in The New York Times that really struck a chord. My favorite excerpt:

When yeoman farmers sent their savings to banks in London and Glasgow and Paris, they had to be able to count on it not being stolen. That was what allowed capital to be accumulated and deployed, and for the entire world economy to take off.

When I see what the top dogs at all too many corporations are now doing to that trust, I feel queasy. Outrageous — yes, obscene — pay. Greedy backdating of stock options, which in my opinion is straight-up theft. Managers buying assets from their trustors, the stockholders, at pennies on the dollar, then forestalling competing bids with lockups and insane breakup fees.

These misdeeds and many, many more are hammer blows at the granite foundation of trust we built in the 1940s and ’50s. How long democratic capitalism can survive these blows before it gives in and gives birth to revolution or to an out-and-out aristocracy, I am not sure.

We are killing ourselves with the shennanigans.

Is the answer putting Steve Job’s in prison for options backdating? Not sure. Killing all the private equity suits…maybe :) . Time will tell. In the meantime, it is wise to take more responsibility with your hard earned money.