Sunday, March 22, 2009

Professional Gamblers? One hopes not.

NPR,Wall Street Journal,Morning Edition,Gamblers

Caution, Dear Gentle Reader(s), is in order.  The following is based on something thought to have been heard on NPR’s “Morning Edition” last week, but a search of the NPR web site, proved futile.

The quote, spoken, possibly, by a representative of a Wall Street Journal’s blog, went something like this—referring to AIG personnel who made those bad decisions—“They’re professional gamblers who…”

And that’s the problem.  Professional gamblers?  Doesn’t the image of a professional gambler include the distinct inevitability of a loser?  In a professional gambling situation, someone has to lose.  Is this the mindset we want to have when discussing mortgages?  If business journalists think this way, when did that happen? 

Aren’t mortgages supposedly intended to end up in a win-win situation?  The lender gets interest on an investment; the mortgagee receives, eventually, clear title to a house.

If the professional gambler metaphor is the guiding principal behind the A.I.G. boondoggle, then, of course, we’ve been snookered.  If those persons now facing eviction were supposed to “lose” to the “professional gamblers,” then we’ve been engaging in a fixed game.  How could the mortgagee have won?  These guys were dealing from the bottom of the deck and had aces up their sleeves.

There should be a concerted effort to watch our language.

Words have meaning and consequences. 

We shouldn’t have to worry when we walk into a bank that those professional gamblers are going to make certain they win the game.  We should only be concerned with trust and mutual benefit.

All this time we thought we were entering into business transactions. 

Instead we’ve been playing poker and told the rules after the pot was taken.

Trust but verify.

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