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Shameful government endorsement of financial gamblers

I don't normally claim any sort of expertise in financial matters, but long before the eruption of the current crisis I was scornful of our government's praise of the activities of people in the City who were, as was obvious even to my untutored eye, simply socially sanctioned gamblers.

Tom Sutcliffe gets it exactly right in today's Independent. Reviewing the TV programme Inside Job, he refers to 'the conversion of the world into 'a giant casino, where high-functioning sociopaths were unleashed to gamble with other people's money.. ... These shabby, immoral, incompetent men still regard themselves as an elite and - more shamefully - are treated as such by current governments.'

Elsewhere in the same issue of the paper we read that James Hansen, the NASA scientist who first raised concern about global warming in 1988, says that even the target of a 2C rise in temperature, now tacitly abandoned, would be too low to avert catastrophic effects on humanity (not to mention the rest of the natural world). Carbon dioxide levels, now at 380 ppm. should be no higher than 350 ppm, but expectations are that they will reach 450 or even 550 ppm. We can be confident that the current discussions in Durban will not yield any substantial measures to help the situation.

I'm glad to see that Sutcliffe makes the connection with global warming too, in writing about polar mellting. 'The hedge-funders won't care. You can get at the oil more cheaply and ship the rubbish you make with it through the Northwest passage more cheaply. Screw the planet and, let's make a killing.' In other words, I'm all right, Jack. Only you're not, in the long run.

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