Financial Sector Employees Getting Tasered

12 09 2008

As Lehman Brothers comes completely unraveled, there’s a growing sense of dread for employees in the financial sector:

Everyone is walking around like they have just been Tasered,” said one Lehman employee, who, like many interviewed for this article, declined to be named because he was not authorized to talk publicly. “Everyone was always hoping we would pull through. Now, that is not really an option.”

On Lehman’s third- and fourth-floor trading floors overlooking Broadway’s lights in Midtown Manhattan, traders continued working at their terminals, or at least were giving the appearance of doing so. At the same time, many polished their résumés and contacted recruiters.

If Lehman is sold — as now appears likely — the buyer will fire many of them. And they know that tens of thousands of other Wall Streeters laid off in the tsunami sweeping the financial industry — including many recently let go from Bear Stearns — are already chasing after too few jobs.

Wall Street is used to ups and downs, but this latest round of cuts brought about by the credit crisis is turning out to be one of the worst in recent memory — a fate compounded by a shrinking economy. As of June, many of the more than 83,000 employees dismissed from banks and brokerage firms worldwide have come from firms based in the New York area.

So many really unprecedented things are happening right now that its hard to parse the effects on the overall economy. But eventually, billions of dollars of “assets” evaporating by the minute are going to cause some serious collateral damage. It would not be out of the realm of possibility to suggest that economic events in the next four years might change our society and way of life more than anything a President could dream of doing.

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11 responses

12 09 2008
Boyd Livingstone

I agree with you, Floyd.

It is interesting to read and listen to these events unfolding. I should confess that a part of me is gleefully rubbing his hands together hoping that the whole shameful house of cards collapses, but then I think of the photos I’ve seen from the Great Depression and hope that maybe it is possible for the government to bail out every struggling banking entity. While we’re at it, maybe we could dish out some liquidity to Ford and GM as well.

I enjoyed a little news item while listening to a local noon business report that stated that stocks were gaining back some lost territory on the rumor that Lehman’s might be able to borrow billions from the Feds.

I suppose it might be conceivable that the Turbevilles would have a feast to celebrate the addition of a new credit card so that they might be able to buy gas and groceries. But to get excited to invest money in a sinking company for the sole reason that some liquidity is pumped into it while doing nothing to correct the fundamental problem? Seems sort of strange to me, but then I guess I never have understood Wall Street.

13 09 2008
floydturbeville

I always think its funny how optimistic the headlines are crafted. Stocks might go down 500 in early trading, then end down 300, and the headline will say “Stocks bounce back!” An honest headline would add “Like a corpse dropped from the 3rd Floor!”

Anytime you’re tempted to say, “they’re gettin’ what’s coming to ’em!” just remember how merciful God is to us, and how glad we are that we don’t always get what we deserve. And that in a severe financial meltdown, those with the power to do it will seize even the lone sheep from the poor debt-slave’s flock so they won’t be forced to dip into their 40 million dollar retirement account.

15 09 2008
J

Hey Floyd, I wasn’t sure where to put this, but I found that Gary North is still going at it with his pro-usury arguments.

http://www.garynorth.com/public/4007.cfm

What I found most ridiculous was his insistence that Jesus authorized interest-bearing loans in the Parable of the Talents. We’ve heard that before, of course, but look at what he said: “Those Christian commentators who say that usury is prohibited, meaning all interest on loans, prefer not to mention the existence of this passage, let alone explain it.”

Uh, what???

If you want to write up a reply, I’ll be happy to post it to his forum. (Just so happens that I’m subscribing for this month only because I needed a bunch of information he had in his Subscribers-Only section.)

19 09 2008
J.

Floyd, here’s what I wrote Gary:

“In your recent post on usury, you claim that Jesus authorized interest-bearing loans. My question regards this claim only. The anti-usury position usually argues that in the Parable of the Talents, the man with one talent slanders the master (“Master, I knew you were hard and exacting.”) The master’s response doesn’t necessarily promote usury, but says something like, “If you really believe what you just told me, then why didn’t you loan your money to bankers?” In other words, the master doesn’t promote usury, but says the servant should’ve engaged in it if he really thought the way of his master was harsh (which is plainly untrue). This is way John Calvin read it, and the Geneva Bible commentary represents it.

But even granted your reading, can we necessarily say that Jesus’ fictional tale offers us prescription instead of merely description? The story could be using interest-bearing loans for descriptive purposes only. This is the case in the parable of dishonest manager, who is praised by his master for his shrewdness. (Luke 16:1-13)”

He then replied:

“It appears that you are asking a question relating to my site’s article, called “a brief summary,” and not to my detailed exegesis of the passage found in my commentary on Matthew. I assume this because you do not refer to my detailed exegesis.

It is always best to respond to a complete argument rather than going public with a criticism based on a summary.

Why did God command covenant-keepers to lend to covenant-breakers in Deuteronomy 28:12? Your position is that Christians should do this at a guaranteed loss — without interest.

To give up goods of greater value (present goods) in exchange for a risky promise of covenant-breakers to repay goods of lower value (future goods) is a formula for guaranteed loss and eventual bankruptcy. Why do you think God commands us to do something that guarantees our bankruptcy? Please explain.”

I then replied that he didn’t bother to read what I wrote. Good grief, he’s a crotchety-old grouch.

19 09 2008
floydturbeville

Thanks for sharing that, J. Very humorous! Yes, he is a crotchety old grouch alright.

In any event, I think I’ll start labeling all my blog posts “a brief summary” and then ridicule anyone who offers a critique of my “brief summary” without bothering to read my detailed arguments in my book (obviously, I’ll provide ordering information).

19 09 2008
J.

Exactly. “Please read my full exegesis, which I didn’t link to or indicate existed, and which you’ll have to dig up, which will take up your valuable time (even though you know I am always talking up the need to save time!).”

I told him in my reply that I wasn’t even arguing against usury. He assumed that I was, probably because he’s on the attack against anti-usury people. I said that I was just talking about his use of the parable of the talents to make the blanket statement, “Jesus approved of interest-bearing loans.” The only thing he backed it up with is the parable. Some argument.

19 09 2008
floydturbeville

Well it reminds me of the guy in the old Monty Python skit that wanted to buy an argument, and wandered into the “abuse” room instead. 🙂

21 09 2008
Hills Alive :: A Rebuke of Gary North’s Stand on Commercial Usury

[…] writing juices flowed five days ago when I saw a comment on Floyd’s blog post Financial Sector Employees Getting Tasered. I was traveling home from Peoria, Illinois, at the time, and had stopped in a parking lot near […]

21 09 2008
Jeffrey Alan Klute

Thanks, J, whoever and wherever you are,

… for the link to Gary North’s article and your thought provoking offer of September 15th, that should Floyd should write a response to Gary North you’d post it for him on North’s site. I was blessed that you wrote what you did, including your later comments. I would still like to see what Floyd may have to say to Mr. North as well.

Your desire that someone should “challenge” North encouraged me to write upon this subject at http://hillsalive.christianagrarian.com/2008/09/a-rebuke-of-gary-norths-stand-on-commercial-usury/.

Feel free to take what I wrote and put it or link to it on North’s site, while you still have the option to do so. And if you would like to explore further relationship with a like-minded brother who seems to care about the same things… then feel free to comment at my site and I’ll send you a private email. (Floyd will of course have my email address after I post this comment.)

BTW, Floyd, I prefer to use mules to drag things around. But I won’t hold it against you.

In His service and yours,

Jeffrey Alan Klute
Rayville, Missouri

21 09 2008
J.

Hi Jeffrey,

Thanks very much. I didn’t think my piddly comment would provoke much thought. I’m remaining anonymous because I’m in academia, among other reasons, but Floyd and others know the many benefits of anonymity anyway.

I wonder if you have read Scott Mooney’s book on usury? Floyd has mentioned it before, I think. Gary North replied to Mooney’s book, and then Mooney replied to North’s response. It’s an interesting discussion they had twenty years ago in print, but I don’t think it’ll bear much fruit with North these days in trying to go farther with him. He’s too wrapped up in the idea that interest is an inescapable human phenomenon. His entire career is built around it. Best thing to do is pray for wisdom for him and us.

But I appreciate your response. I think North’s argument about the Parable of the Talents is terrible, for a number of reasons. If that’s all we’ve got on Jesus, that he told one story about interest and that’s all he said on the subject, that’s pretty weak. It’s like saying that Charles Dickens was in favor of debtors’ prisons because he included them in his stories. That’s a misread of Dickens, obviously, and others have said that North’s is a misreading of Jesus. John Calvin agreed, so I don’t think I’m in bad company in many view of the parable.

21 09 2008
Jeffrey Alan Klute

Hello, J and Floyd,

I appreciate your need to remain anonymous. I was hashing some things over with some (anonymous) men last Sunday evening when I thought to ask one (anonymous) man that seemed to be well connected in the internet world if he knew who Floyd was. His response was that Floyd doesn’t really exist, except on the internet. As far as we know, it could be true. 🙂

Floyd, I don’t know if this gives away your general local or not, but I noticed that comments posted on your blog show a time stamp difference of five hours, which puts you on the other side of the Atlantic from here. If your WordPress clock is correct, I’m starting to zero in…

Yes, J, you are right on the money with your guess. I’m sure that what I wrote shows that I’ve been influenced by S. C. Mooney.

His book has changed some lives, including mine. I once gave a copy to a brother who was passing through town, and he went home and read it. Then within weeks he had cashed in all of his usurious “investments” and sold off some real estate he’d leveraged. I wish that we’d all be as committed to the truth, as if only 1% of Christendom would embrace and walk in the light concerning our wallets it would bring down this cursed debt-based, fiat currency bubble and open up great opportunity for re-establishing Godly families on the land in true freedom.

Usury is most definitely sucking the lifeblood out of this nation (as well as others you might be in). At present, we’re on artificial means to keep it alive here. I wish that God’s people, like North, would stop embracing this dying corpse, and get back to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” according to God’s word.

I suppose North doesn’t consider Mooney a “commentator” or worthy of consideration as one that has no embarrasment over Luke 19? Why are great men sometimes so willfully blind? Is it because, as Nilsson pointedly said, “we hear, what we want to hear, and we see, what we want to see?” False gods, like Mammon, hold a powerful sway over us until God by His grace shows us what they are and enables us to turn away from them.

Yup! We’re in good company, right up there with John Calvin and Rahab the harlot. All saved sinners, every one. Keep the faith.

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