At the Library of Law and Liberty Dalrymple searches for a reason for the recent outbreak of banking scandals:
And if, after an extra glass of wine or two, I were forced to answer the question Why now? I would answer two things.First there has been a profound cultural shift in the direction of the abandonment of self-control as a virtue. Thanks to the cultural revolution of the 50s and 60s (of which I am a product), people have fewer self-patrolled boundaries than they once would have had. Managers who once would have felt ashamed to deprive shareholders of their funds no longer do so. One sees this loss of self-control in all walks of life. In the public sector, for example, in which I have spent much of my adult life, the public purse is now shamelessly looted by those who work in it in a way that was inconceivable when I started my career (inefficiency is another question entirely). I could give many other examples, from obesity to gambling to drug-taking and binge-drinking.A second factor that I think has been much underestimated in the promotion of the most naked self-seeking is the now more-or-less permanent unsoundness of money as a store of value. No one can trust a dollar – or any other currency – to hold its value, bearing in mind that asset inflation is inflation like any other. Therefore, in order to secure ourselves against future impoverishment, we need to accumulate vastly more than we should if money were a real store of value. We must all speculate if we do not want to condemn ourselves to poverty. The unsoundness of money shifts the bell-curve of greed to the right, so that more people become what would formerly have been thought of as extremely greedy; while even the other-worldly now fall into the category of speculator.