Reading a book like Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, at a point like this in economic history is enough to make anyone want to run back to the safe pages of fictional books.
Several weeks ago, when PJ and I had finished watching the final episodes of Underbelly, it was exciting to read in the paper about all the unsavoury underworld characters we had come to know and even like.
Not so with Klein's chronicle of greed. To read her descriptions of so many militant capitalists, such as the Chicago School's Milton Friedman, and what they were prepared to do to get their economic policies into place in other countries as well as in the US, is frightening to say the least. But to open up the paper and read the extent to which the world economy has been affected because of such greed is simply horrifying.
Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs took home $74 million in salary, bonuses and other awards last year. Richard Fuld, chief executive of the now bankrupt Lehman Brothers received $71.9 million.Over the past five years, Fuld made $354 million leading his company on a wild ride that ultimately ended in bankruptcy. He was Lehman's biggest individual shareholder.
Let's hope Rudd's crackdown on "extreme capitalism" and bank executive salaries is received as the blow we wish we could deliver ourselves, personally.
In the US, it looks like someone beat us to it: