the conclusion that very very few people were being dishonest or fraudulent. What they were all doing, however, was playing it slightly loose within their own bubble
For a professional number-cruncher, I have to congratulate you on this stunning display of anecdotal moral relativism. 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, but that most folks, um… kinda were, anyway, if only just a little….
You know what I think of your numbers already, Kady M., but I’ll reiterate both that it isn’t personal toward you, and that I think what you do is basically mock science. 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. This is you using your numbers, to indulge in your moral relativism, and as much as say to my face that wrong isn’t wrong if it isn’t a big enough wrong to alter the numbers outside some set of margins you find allowable.
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?
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.
What happened ten years ago, can’t be explained by numbers. It can only be regarded as the ultimate karmic outcome of an ethical vacuum so vast as to encompass entire civilizations.
You were sort of bass-ackwardly stumbling toward this view yourself when you sort of suggested that “hey, everybody’s doing it” also adds up to the fact that, gee whiz, everybody’s doing it.
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.
What happened, was the just a net quotient of who we are, all of us. Numbers just blur that plain reality, or another term would be, “obfuscate” it. You’re real good at that.
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.