21 May 2012

SP 500 and NDX Futures Daily Charts - The Wages of Greed

"Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites; in proportion as their love to justice is above their rapacity; in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption; in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves.

Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."

Edmund Burke

This quote from Burke is a very fine response to the meme, 'greed is good, markets are naturally efficient, and there is no need for government regulation because people will do the right thing based on their pure and objective rationality and consideration for others.'

A practical exercise in debunking any romantic notions about the natural goodness and rationality of people is to take a drive during rush hour on almost any major American highway.

That puts me in mind of the famous quote from Sophocles, 'many are the wonders, but nothing stranger than man.'