The case of the ‘Rogue’ French Bank trader, Jerome Kerviel, underscores many observations about capitalism made by socialists.
Most importantly, it shows how “social” capitalism has become. The more capitalism grows, the more connected we are to the actions of everyone else. If the accusations are true, one minor 31 year old French bank trader can cause the potential impoverishment of many. We are all tied together, and capitalist rugged individualism is an illusion. the scary fact is that while capitalism has bound us to each other, it is anti-social in it’s structure.
This case also shows how capitalism’s operates as a big crap game. The trader purportedly lost 4.9 Billion Euros in unauthorized gambles on future stock and bond prices. Evidently he lost badly. But again, as stated above., capitalism is social even if it is structured anti-socially. So while this ‘rogue’ trader does his job by placing society’s wealth on the gambling table. Since it’s anti-social certain folks – workers – loose every time, win or lose. As the hobo folksinger Utah Phillips said in his lament on the gentrification of Denver’s skid road:
My bookie joint closed when your cops pulled a raid,
But you built a new hall for the stock market trade.
Finally, we’ll observe the role of “justice” in capitalism. Scapegoat or no, the young French trader who lost Billions in wealth will likely face 3 to 5 years in prison. This sentence is similar to those in the US. But compare it to the black man in California who received a life sentence for stealing a slice of pizza. Or the case of the Native American elder who served 18 months of a 5 year prison term for selling 300 salmon. He was sentenced the same month as American ‘junk bond’ trader Michael Milliken who served 22 months on a 10 year term for 1 Billion Dollars in fraud.
Utah Phillips again sums up the issue:
Now I’m finding out there’s just one kind of war -
It’s the one going on ‘tween the rich and the poor;
I don’t know a lot about what you’d call class,
But the upper and middle can all kiss my ass.