This could be written about quite a number of Western countries:
If the incompetence of the credit-rating agencies needed further proof, Moody’s recent downgrading of Britain would have provided it. It was not the downgrading that showed Moody’s incompetence, however; it was the high ranking that it had accorded Britain in the first place. Britain has been a bad long-term bet for years now. Anyone with the slightest instinct for economic affairs would long ago have foreseen the country’s poor outlook.
“In other words, in an economic downturn—of the kind that Brown absurdly claimed to have banished forever—the whole house of cards would collapse. How could a company dedicated to evaluating credit not understand that?”
I call it (the uneconomy) the Pornzi Scheme
and I think a crucial aspect is basically encapsulated here:
“Moreover, if members of the elite acknowledged the social disaster brought about by their ideological libertinism, they might feel called upon to place restraints upon their own behavior, for you cannot long demand of others what you balk/[ed] at doing yourself.”
I was sitting next to a couple of people discussing philosophy and whatnot (I know one of them quite well). One of them said something like “what about conscience…” hallelujah! thought I.
I joined in the discussion and we moved right on into the morality zone; I urged him ‘do go on’.
He made some comment about seeing a violent movie on the tele the night before… and I said but why take issue with violence and not sexual morality?
He stumbled a little and said ‘Well I guess it’s because I consider myself more guilty there’ Bingo! Basically hamstrung in other words.
I think it was in this book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sex-Science-Profits-Terence-Kealey/dp/0099281937
Kealey goes into some detail about the make up of Bronze age civilizations – he basically says that for all their differences they were sexually similar in a very bad way. I suspect there were exceptions i.e. the Hebrews and Greeks but obviously they had there problems. In the worst case scenarios, the more typical scenarios, the problem was on industrial scale.