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Wall Street Journal

 

Notable & Quotable

May 21, 2009

By Steven Malanga

In Sunday’s personal account of his troubles, [New York Times reporter Edmund] Andrews remarkably admits that he was fully intent on using deception, in the form of a liar’s loan, to get his own mortgage. . . .

The German sociologist Max Weber once noted that capitalism was not the pursuit and accumulation of wealth by any means -- something that lots of societies had engaged in over the millennia. Rather, Weber noted, what set capitalism apart was that it was an ethic which evolved for “the pursuit of profit, and forever renewed profit [Weber’s italics], by means of continuous, rational . . . enterprise.” Looking out over the brief history of capitalism when he was writing in 1904, Weber observed that America best embodied this capitalist ethic thanks to what he described as our “ideal of the honest man of recognized credit.” Although we had our share of con men, speculators and robber barons, nevertheless in America, Weber noted, “the infraction of [capitalism’s] rules is treated not as foolishness but as forgetfulness of duty.”

That was a long time ago, apparently. Today, the infraction of capitalism’s rules is opportunity for a publishing contract. Andrews’ remarkably frank tale of his mortgage failings is going to be published in a provocatively titled book, “Busted: Life Inside the Great Mortgage Meltdown,” even while the rest of society grapples with the fallout from such misdeeds.

Original Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124286190950441135.html

 

 
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