Frankie looked up at the judge
Judge, what will be my fine?
And the judge looked down at Frankie…
Girl, you got 99
â€“ Frankie and Johnny
We feel sorry for . Such a good-looking young man. With such a promising future. He was the trader with SociÃ©tÃ© GÃ©nÃ©rale who lost 4.9 billion euros in unauthorized trading.
Now, the poor fellow has faced the music. Trouble was, it wasnâ€™t a tune he wanted to hear. And it seemed a little inappropriate to the occasion to us too. More below…
The news yesterday was mixed. Unemployment increased in September. The dollar and US bond yields hit new lows. And China said that trying to force it to revalue its currency would be a â€œdisaster for the world.â€
Stocks rose 22 points on the Dow. Gold went up another $7.
Gold must be ready for a correction. Or else we really have reached the final stage…the runaway stage in the great bull market.
Back to Kerviel…
Kerviel drew a five-year sentence (two years suspended.) Plus, heâ€™s supposed to repay 4.9 billion euros…
â€œBy his deliberate actions, he put in peril the existence of the bank that employed 140,000 people, of which he was a part and whose future was threatened,â€ said the judge.
Well, weâ€™re sure he didnâ€™t do it intentionally. We mean, he didnâ€™t intend to bring down the bank.
Besides, a lot of other people made authorized trades that were much bigger…which also put their banks in jeopardy. In fact, some of the CEOs of the worldâ€™s largest banks also put their institutions in harmâ€™s way. And then, when the banks ran into the ditch, these guys didnâ€™t get five years and a $7 billion fine. Instead, they got a $50 million bonus!
Kerviel recalled a card trick at a corporate party:
â€œLadies and gentlemen, itâ€™s up to you and our clients to find the margin. It has disappeared. Whereâ€™s it gone? Not here. Not there. Aha! Here it is, in my pocket!â€
It didnâ€™t go into Kervielâ€™s pocket. Heâ€™s penniless. The fine is about $6.7 billion. The man is said to earn about $3,000 a month. Talk about debt repayment! Letâ€™s see, if he saves half his money each month. And he puts it all to paying off his debt to SociÃ©tÃ© GÃ©nÃ©rale… thatâ€™s $36,000 per year.
Hmm… If the poor man lives for 200,000 years…heâ€™ll still be paying.
But wait. Suppose this quantitative easing thing takes off….
Yes, dear reader, central bankers are probably the biggest rogue traders of all. Remember Alan Greenspan? He has an opinion in The Financial Times today. We read it twice. Neither time did we discover anything new. He says the problem is fear. Until the fear diminishes…donâ€™t expect businesses to start many new projects or hire many new employees. Thanks a lot for that insight, Alan.
Alan Greenspan is probably more to blame than any other human being for todayâ€™s financial crisis. He made a huge bet and put the whole world economy at risk. He bet that he knew better than the market. He put the Fedâ€™s key lending rate below the rate of consumer price inflation…and left it there for four years. Over $12 trillion was lost â€“ in America alone. Whereâ€™s the jail cell waiting for him? Whereâ€™s the $12 trillion fine?
And now central bankers are betting big again…BIG…and they risk not only putting the 140,000 employees of SociÃ©tÃ© GÃ©nÃ©rale out of work…but hundreds of millions of other people all over the world.
Central bankers are betting that they can add billions in QE money to the worldâ€™s money supply, without causing a calamity. Maybe they can. Maybe they canâ€™t. Itâ€™s never been done before.
But every previous experiment with paper money has ended in disaster. Paper money never survived an entire credit cycle. When credit was expanding, people were happy to take the paper. When it shrank, they became fearful of the paper and wanted something more substantial. Paper money always ends up worthless.
Kervielâ€™s bets went well as long as credit was expanding. He was up more than $1 billion at one point. Then, when the markets began going down, so did his gambles.
Will it be any different for the central banks? Will their bets go bad too â€“ perhaps in a spectacular blow-off in which the dollar itself becomes almost worthless. Remember, if the dollar loses just the equivalent of 5% of its 1900 value â€“ thereâ€™s nothing left. It will be completely worthless.
Could it happen? Central bankers risk a full-blown currency calamity, worldwide, with full knowledge aforethought… This is premeditated currency assassination, in other words.
Whereâ€™s the jail cell waiting for Bernanke? Whoâ€™s going to fine him $10 trillion? Howâ€™s he going to pay?
So cheer up, Jerome. You might be able to pay your debt to society with a postage stamp… We have in our wallet a 10 trillion dollar note from Zimbabwe. Why not a 10 trillion dollar note from the US? Weâ€™re not predicting it…weâ€™re just trying to keep the young manâ€™s hopes up. And you never know…
for The Daily Reckoning
Central Bankers: The REAL Rogue Traders originally appeared in the Daily Reckoning. The Daily Reckoning, offers a uniquely refreshing, perspective on the global economy, investing, gold, stocks and today’s markets. Its been called “the most entertaining read of the day.”
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Central Bankers: The REAL Rogue Traders
The Daily Reckoning is a contrarian e-letter, brought to you by New York Times best-selling authors Bill Bonner and Addison Wiggin since 1999. The DR looks at the economic world-at-large and offers its major players – investors, politicians, economists and the average consumer – some much-needed constructive criticism.