Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell
Over recent years you may have seen me carrying out extremely complex complications such as this: “it needed four years – between 1929 and 1933 – before any genuine measures were taken at the time of the Great Depression!” And it was this kind of calculation which led to my disenchanted musings– since nothing was being done – when I wondered on the 28th June whether I should put an end to the blog.
And then, and in fact it was on this very same day, the second episode of the LIBOR affair broke, an affair which has since grown to such an extent that it is difficult to say where it will end, the only sure thing being that Barclays, which is only one of the 16 banks involved and certainly one of the least guilty parties, finds itself in the firing line today, and that up to now we have only had caught a glimpse of the highly probable involvement of the regulators and governing class in the affair.
The first episode, namely the events themselves, took place in 2008; the second, which is the realization, is taking place now, in other words four years later. Exactly the time needed, as I mentioned, during the Great Depression.
What can explain this sort of delayed reaction? Doubtless the time needed for an administrative enquiry to pronounce justice, but there is something else. And this other thing is the object of my article in Le Monde-Économie which will appear shortly: it is a climate operating like a reverberation chamber, ensuring that what had been merely an anomaly in 2008 (see my article in French un taux LIBOR à 3 mois trop bas de 17 points de base*) becomes in the eyes of public opinion in 2012, a scandal.
How is such a climate created? By the coming together of a number of different developments – for which four years would be required before a critical mass was finally attained – constituted (more precisely) in this particular case, in Great Britain, by the Rupert Murdoch affair, which revealed an incestuous collusion between business leaders and governments, scorning all principles, and revealing (to reemploy the terms used in my forthcoming article) “an arrogant managing class, which does not trouble itself with rules, and organizes its affairs as it sees fit, whilst maintaining a bare minimum of appearances.”
This is how – in the case of one particular country – a climate is created which means that after four years, what had initially appeared to be a fairly banal collection of simple facts saw itself transformed into an absolute disgrace.
* The 3 month LIBOR rate 17 basis points too low