In the excellent Fool's Gold FT Assistant Editor Gillian Tett reported how mortgage-backed derivatives blew up the world's financial system. Now in this piece she asks how far bankers' greed and recklessness should translate into criminal responsibility, given that many knew they were selling financially dangerous products. Tett points out one difficulty: that banks were able to hire talented people precisely in order to get round the regulation. She also believes that some degree of retribution is necessary for bankers themselves, to deter similar activity in the future.

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that if something isn't done to discourage such behaviour, we're going to wind up in the same mess again.

Indeed, as Larry Elliott put it, the response to the Fi-Cri so far has been "little more than business as usual with a slap on the wrist." Meaning? "The preconditions are in place for another global crisis."

Happy days.

Despite my soul-deep cynicism, even I am distressed to see a Labour Prime Minister, from a Tribunite background, advancing less radical proposals to regulate financial irresponsibility than a French Gaullist and a German Conservative. An interesting paradigm is emerging in British politics: Labour had to move to the right of John Major to defeat the legacy of Thatcherism. Now, it seems, Conservatives may move to the left of Labour to defeat Blair's successor. Strange days indeed. 

I don't suppose you've read it? Only I'm thinking of getting it and wondered what you think if you have...

No, I have not read it. My use of the phrase was entirely coincidental. That said, I admire Francis Wheen's work and can recommend very highly both How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World and his biography of Marx. I'll get a copy of the new one  and we can compare notes later.    

Why aren't more of the world's top bankers behind bars?