Corruption in the U.S. Stock Market:
A Response from Europe

by Rudi Neumann

[A successful businessman from Europe responded to the HCS article, "Caveat Emptor: World Stock Markets May Be Rising Again On the Back of "Irrational Exuberance,"' written by Christos Papoutsy. His thoughts appear below.]

You are quite right in your article.

But the situation seems to be the result of four things:

1.) The belief of many, especially the US citizens, that their liberties cannot be taken away by a goverment which passes too much legislation; in this case regulations for the capital markets.

2.) Too much money of private citizens floating around, which is mainly a result of the government NOT taking care of education, state pensions, and state-run medical systems. Especially for retirement, a persons has to put a life's savings aside, to benefit from the accumulated capital after retirement. This gives the financial institutions ample time to gamble with the good peoples money. Actually they MUST, because the public expects higher and higher earnings.

3.) The fact that the public will predominantly buy the cheapest product; will invest in the papers promising the highest yields. Thus the seller with the "best" offer is rewarded.

4.) Derivatives like futures, short selling etc are pure casino gambling - with similar results. Holding shares in a company is OK; it provides capital for those enterprises.

On top of that, the CEO's of corporations receive almost obscene salaraies and fringe benefits, which do not really reflect their achievements. I agree that CEO and top management should be well-paid, but look at the earnings in the financial community: those people were NOT worth their money. They have gambled away many a person's future, retirement, home and education.

The above are my personal views, but I believe that those are shared by the majority of Europeans.

(Posting date 19 September 2008)

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