If I can offer a translation, or maybe a paraphrase, you seem to be saying that generally speaking, most folks weren’t actually trying to play dirty,

You’re overstating the issue. It’s more like when you go to buy a new car. The salesman would LOVE to sell it to you at sticker, and if you’re naive as to how the game is played, he will. But most people aren’t naive to how the game is played, so they negotiate you down.

Is the salesman being dishonest in trying to get the sticker price? I don’t think so. Apparently you do.

I’ve seen you call cases of egregious fraud “rounding errors” due to their relative scale held against the larger systems they take place in.

Without a specific example of what you’re talking about, I can’t respond. All I can do is reiterate the above point. You apparently think that any vendor who asks for any more than the skinniest margin they can live on is engaging in “egregious fraud”. I think they’re just being capitalists.

Lying on a mortgage application, is wrong. I know because I’ve done it. I knew it was wrong when I was doing it, and so did the people on the other side of a desk who were laying out the specifics for me of how to do it. They and I both were thinking two things: we probably won’t get caught, and even if we do, what with evil corporations and corrupt regimes and all that, how bad is this, really?

My point was simply this: Nobody who was part and participle of the housing meltdown INTENDED to crash the world’s economy; nor did they see their actions, taken in micro, as being in the least risky to the broad economy. Nobody saw the big picture, except for a few, like Kyle Bass.

What you and your trade and its numbers have no means whatsoever of calculating, none, is just how much of the mortgage calamity and all its attendant ripples, had its roots in incalculable acts of wrongdoing justified one instance at a time by the two alter-ethical guidelines I named: an assumptive low risk of being caught, and a morally-relative self-exoneration for the act being no big deal.

I would never argue otherwise. Math is impersonal and nonethical in nature. It reports facts, from which we can draw certain conclusions.

It’s interesting to consider, btw, why Canada was unaffected by the meltdown, which destroyed Iceland, Ireland, some of the oldest and most prestigious banks in Switzerland, and caused the bailout of not just the US banks but the UK banks as well. Canada had no regulations that prevented them from getting in on this casino. They just……didn’t get involved.

My point all along here, was to assert that no one’s hands were clean in this affair. All your talk about CDOs and <’s and bundles and rounding errors and God knows what-all, doesn’t really mask for a high-school dropout like me that you want to be making the same point as me but can’t just come out and bring yourself to say it: everybody was playing dirty, and everybody got burned.

Pretty close. Nobody was doing anything that was illegal, for the most part. It’s not illegal for a mortgage banker to write a nonprime if they know the nonprime is within the underwriting limits of the lender. It’s not illegal for the lender to underwrite it. It wasn’t illegal to package them into CDOs. It wasn’t illegal to for the rating agencies to rate them as high as they did. It wasn’t illegal for the Fed and SEC to take a hands off approach to the problem.

What it was was IMPRUDENT. And the aggregated affect of all that unwise financial engineering was 2008.

Numbers just blur that plain reality, or another term would be, “obfuscate” it. You’re real good at that.

Apparently you’re disappointed that I am not a priest or philosopher. Well, I’m not. All I can do is tell you what happened. You’ll have to look elsewhere for the value judgements you seem to crave.

Do you get headaches or bad dreams from all the stress you put yourself through, trying to reconcile your numbers with the plain fact that they have almost nothing to do with how human lives work? I would.

Actually, they have quite a bit to do with the way human lives work. It’s just that sometimes they are not as damning as you want them to be.

Free markets, free minds. Question all narratives. If you think one political party is right and the other party is evil, the problem with our politics is you.

Free markets, free minds. Question all narratives. If you think one political party is right and the other party is evil, the problem with our politics is you.