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Quis custodiet

By Owen Paine on Wednesday April 22, 2009 05:48 PM

That's John Bogle, famous fundmeister, and he's a piece of work. Read this Cato-like disembowelment of our nation's trans-nat corporate chieftains:

Self-interest got out of hand... We've moved from a society in which "there are some things that one simply does not do" to one in which "if everyone else is doing it, I can too".... The old notion of trusting and being trusted -- which once was not only the accepted standard of business conduct but the key to success -- came to be seen as a quaint relic of an era long gone....

The larger cause was our failure to recognize the sea change in the nature of capitalism that was occurring right before our eyes. That change was the growth of giant business corporations and giant financial institutions controlled not by their owners in the "ownership society" of yore, but by agents of the owners, which created an "agency society".... The managers of our public corporations came to place their interests ahead of the interests of their company's owners.

And hey, he's got a few rounds left to fire at his own neighbors:
"Our money manager agents -- who in the U.S. now hold 75% of all shares of public companies -- blithely accepted the change. They fostered the crisis with superficial security analysis and research and by ignoring corporate governance issues. They also traded stocks at an unprecedented rate, engaging in a dangerous spree of speculation."
But then don't he reach for a slug from the jug of the market Adam hizzseff:
"Smith presciently described the characteristics of today's corporate and institutional managers (many of whom are themselves controlled by giant financial conglomerates) with these words: "[M]anagers of other people's money [rarely] watch over it with the same anxious vigilance with which... [they] watch over their own... they... very easily give themselves a dispensation. Negligence and profusion must always prevail."
Okay, doc, so what's to be done?
"...We must work to establish a "fiduciary society," where manager/agents entrusted with managing other people's money are required -- by federal statute -- to place front and center the interests of the owners they are duty-bound to serve"
Shit, what a disappointing pea pop. I can hear Father Smiff complacently murmuring "parturiunt montes" or some such at this point. Me, I was hoping for a "corporatio delenda est" at the very least.

Comments (2)


But, but Owen. We are talking about a FEDERAL STATUTE. That will REQUIRE them to give a shit. He mentions DUTY. And SERVE. I know that will work. Trust me.


This is really just the same old Vanguard sales pitch isn't it?

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