I thought this was very funny:

Telegraph – New Yorkers might not like the rich, but they do need them, by Tom Leonard

‘Your husband doesn’t work in the money markets, does he?” This was almost the new doctor’s first question to my wife last week. It was a friendly inquiry, no possible subtext of, “will this woman still have medical insurance by the time my secretary can get my fee printed up and in the post?”

New York stared into the future this week and saw a city without investment bankers. Many shuddered. There were chilling rumours of orders cancelled for a new $13,000 luxury mobile phone, of maître d’s erasers hovering ominously over the $1,000 lobster and caviar frittata at Norma’s restaurant.

“It’s very frightening,” said Sherry Baroness von Koeber-Bernstein, a socialite. “I grew up with Lehman Brothers.”

But for the rest of the city, who grew up with Scooby Doo, surely now was the moment to raise a cheer. New Yorkers have been grousing for years about how the yuppies and their super-rich idols have ruined the city, turning its once gritty streets into a bland millionaires’ playground which no one else can afford to play in.

And yet there’s been barely a whoop. Don’t they want rid of them, after all? New York has a complicated relationship with its mega-rich. Being part of America, the full-throttle Schadenfreude of the British is not an option. Coarse abuse of the kind dealt to merchant bankers in London is unthinkable – New Yorkers know they get too much out of them.

And history shows – look at Philadelphia and Cleveland – what can happen when the rich desert US cities.

Good point, Mr Leonard!


I’m just going to tack this onto the end of this post…

Telegraph Blogs – Shunning the unknown ideal of capitalism created the market tumult

[I]n the spirit of attacking laissez-faire, it is no surprise that Mr Mason and others are also blaming the most influential and compelling capitalist philosopher: Ayn Rand.

But if Mr Mason had read Miss Rand seriously, he would have learned that his brand of analysis is a typical example of a common historical phenomenon: blaming capitalism for the sins of government intervention and then calling for more government intervention as the remedy.

“One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism,” she wrote in The Voice of Reason, “consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary.”

She could have been writing about today’s crisis. The American government has exerted massive control over the financial and mortgage markets, incentivising (and sometimes compelling) the irrational, destructive behavior that is now coming to light.