November 14, 2011

Connecting Occupy Wall Street to the Penn State scandal.

Here's a new Bloggingheads video I did with Glenn Loury, who's an economics professor at Brown. We talk about Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Occupy Wall Street, and Penn State. A big topic is shame — they call this the "Special Shame Edition" — and I want to highlight something Glenn says about Occupy Wall Street and a way that I connect his insight to the Penn State story.

In the first clip, Glenn is saying that the OWS protesters have made him feel uneasy as a member of the economics profession — the "alchemists" who whipped up all these complex financial devices.



The economists benefit amongst themselves, lauding each other for their great works, and the protesters hold up a different mirror, in which the economist can see shame.

Later in the diavlog, we're talking about the Penn State scandal, and I'm puzzling over how so many men — honorable men — could operate together to suppress their own awareness of the evil they harbored within, and I perceive a similarity in they way they closed ranks and functioned as a self-regarding, self-promoting group:



***

Here's the movie Glenn mentions in the first clip: "Inside Job."

56 comments:

Paul Zrimsek said...

Strange reaction. If Loury actually had a hand in devising mortgage-backed securities and their derivatives-- or the misguided regulations which encouraged their overuse-- he's three years late in feeling shame. If he didn't, then why beat himself up over it?

Scott M said...

Parts of our society have worked very hard to expunge shame from our midst over the past few decades. None of what we're currently dealing with should surprise anyone.

Bruce Hayden said...

The economists benefit amongst themselves, lauding each other for their great works, and the protesters hold up a different mirror, in which the economist can see shame.

What is interesting here to me is that both the OWS and Tea Party people can see the problems here, but come up with diametrically opposed solutions. The OWS people see more government intervention as the solution, while that is seen as much of the problem by the Tea Partiers.

That said, economists do come off here as having done a poor job here. They (supposedly) predicted that massive "Keynesian" spending would bring us out of the recession, when, the reality is just the opposite, that it has driven us much further into recession.

And, it isn't as if the economists shouldn't have known better - since the 1980s, much of the research has shown that "Keynesian" economics is a big reason why the crash of 29 turned into the lingering Great Depression that extended through the entire 1930s.

And, yet, these economists, mostly liberal by being academics, threw this all out, and supported the Dems in Congress and the Obama Administration in squandering trillions of dollars in what they should have known were just excuses to ship massive amounts of money to Democratic constituents, contributors, family members, and friends.
They should have known better, and probably a lot of them did.

garage mahal said...

Hmmm, how can I smear OWS protesters......oh! I'll connect them to a totally unrelated sexual abuse case on a college football team!

m stone said...

Not sure I agree with you, Scott. Shame may be Loury's problem.

Actually shame has been perpetuated by some groups in our culture for 50 years seeking restoration and restitution and---yes---equality.

Shame is very much a part of us, a strong archetype.

Scott M said...

Hmmm, how can I smear OWS protesters

I would suggest looking at the police blotter in the city of your choice.

Ann Althouse said...

"Hmmm, how can I smear OWS protesters......oh! I'll connect them to a totally unrelated sexual abuse case on a college football team!"

Did you even read the text, let alone watch the clips?

YOUR comment is a smear on me.

Complete. Intellectual. Dishonesty.

Talk about shame. Do you have ANY?

Scott M said...

Not sure I agree with you, Scott. Shame may be Loury's problem.

I don't know that embarrassment and shame are the same things at all. Shame implies that you realize and have admitted to yourself that whatever you did (or allowed someone else to do) was wrong. Embarrassment just means you're sorry it came out at all.

Shame is very difficult, if not impossible, to expect from individuals in a society that pushes moral relativism. While you might be embarrassed for getting caught transgressing an accepted rule, it doesn't mean you feel shame for it especially when everyone's worldview is supposedly just as valid as the next guy's.

Tim said...

"Hmmm, how can I smear OWS protesters......oh! I'll connect them to a totally unrelated sexual abuse case on a college football team!"

Uh, I suppose, in the blinkered world of liberal "logic," "smears" against OWS are necessary to build the mythology of victimization.

But when one does a casual google search of #OCCUPYFAIL, it comes up with 21,400 hits, suggesting that quite a few people recognize that OWS is doing damned fine job of smearing itself with the reality of its nature.

But what else would one expect from this lightly organized, Democrat supported collection of alienated losers howling in anger as they use public spaces as toilets, spread communicable diseases amongst themselves, rape, rob and murder each other?

traditionalguy said...

A clear exchange of great thoughts between great minds are not safe from twisting into absurdity by the predatory classes who rely on generating smoke screens of confusion to operate at will.

But thank you Professor for the courage to use your mind to advance understanding rather than confusion.

edutcher said...

Paul Z has a point. If Loury had nothing to do with the subprime mess, no harm, no foul.

But, if he loved the idea and supported it, any little bit he did to push it along puts him in the crosshairs, too.

And Bruce, of course, is correct on the Occupation/Tea Party dichotomy. Which is why GodZero might want to tar the Tea Partiers with the Occupation brush.

I don't think it will work, but he's got nothing else.

Tim said...

I think Loury completely misses the point in his quick agreement that somehow "shame" is an appropriate reaction by economists to the collapse of the financial markets because of the subprime mortgages and housing bubble.

Spreading risk has always been a good idea - it's the animating principle of insurance - and economists and other financial services professions looking to diversify and spread risk for the purpose of reducing risk have enabled the massive creation of mass wealth enjoyed by so many citizens of the developed world.

They were wrong on subprime mortgages - but right on everything else - and we're still better off for it. Humility is more appropriate than shame.

Except for those involved in public finance - our national debt resulting from unfunded liabilities for our entitlement programs, and state and local debts resulting from unfunded public employee pension obligations - will cannibalize America's future. Those people should feel shame.

wv: aphro - I suppose, in a fashion.

AllenS said...

That garage, he sure is one funny dude.

Carol_Herman said...

Penn State is not a communist/anarchist organization.

Penn State is about football. And, now we've seen added on, on top, is a "charity" that was supposed to help young boys born into dysfunctional families. Where love had gone south on them.

Jerry Sandusky went into the "charity" business in 1977. On this topic. And, it's proven to be one heck of a money making enterprise. With lots of pedophiles, who are very rich, also into this mix.

Why the showers at Penn State's locker room? Does this dovetail with America's love of football. And, that "special donors" gain very special access to the "inside" of a sport's team? WHY NOT?

How did Sandusky operate this so out in the open? Probably the same way the mafia does. Big enough to kill off anyone who comes knocking on the door with subpeona powers.

So, there's now a dead DA.

And, complaints about Sandusky having sex with young boys in Penn State's football team's locker room.

BINGO.

COVER UP.

SILENCE.

And, now full frontal exposure.

For the Catholic Church, where pedophilia probably still runs deep, the silence has been used to cover these tracks.

But starting in 1991 some American Mega-Attorneys began specializing in law suits against these perverts.

Is it possible that every homosexual male (throughout time), has been ass-fucked when they were small children?)

The secret at Penn State has been crushed. After the dead DA's case didn't go dead, too. But continued quietly. With Mr. Colbert (now the governor of Pennsylvania, handed the investigation when he became the DA in charge. Circa 2005.)

All the governor said, yesterday, on Meet The Press, is that he was part of the decision to fire both Spanier, and Paterno, because both of them showed a lack of moral courage ... while they touted that they were morally superior men.

Colbert added that the "charity" groomed some of these boys just for Sandusky's "use." Colbert used the word "groomed."

Then, the judge who just made it possible for Sandusky to leave court with a lowered bail. And, no leg monitor; happens to be, besides a judge, a lawyer who worked for the "charity." Though, oddly eough, she didn't recuse herself from this case.

Was the DA murdered, back in 2005?

What sort of pedophilia ring was this?

Why did Sandusky have keys to the locker rooms at Penn State? He was let go (with his confidentiality agreement) back in 1998. When he got caught. And, where a janitor who saw a rape, himself, reported one to his superiors, back in 1995.

And, Sandusky still had keys to the locker rooms in 2008?

The LEAST JoePa could have done was ordered the locker room's door locks changed. And, the "keys" to get in ... would work like they do in hotels. You swipe your ID key to enter.

How come the "charity" was so nice to so many people at Penn State ... that McQueery (the red headed guy), became a staunch friend of Sandusky?)

Why was this such a hard case to break?

And, what happens, now, and ahead, when hundreds (if not more) victims are already seeing lawyers ... and a MEGA-LAWSUIT gets filed in FEDERAL COURT? (Isn't that how the lawyers went after the Catholic Church? And, except for protecting Bernard Law's ass ... The Vatican has its vault doors ripped off ... making "payouts.")

Ahead, will Pennsylvania's taxpayers have to pay for these "mistakes?"

What kind of a "charity" is involved in doing something this terrible?

Yes. Occupy Wall Street is a freak show. Is that the comparison to other freak shows?

Do you know how angry citizens are at their local politicians who did nothing?

The governor of Pennsylvania, on the other hand, seems to be doing the right thing.

garage mahal said...

Did you even read the text, let alone watch the clips?

I confess I read the text but didn't listen to the clips. I'll do so now.

edutcher said...

One other point - the Lefties have been killing themselves trying to remove the word, "shame", from our vocabulary so we would all go out and do all those stupid things society used to ostracize people for doing. Things, of course, that will put us on the welfare rolls, in most cases.

Now, suddenly, he's got a problem with Lefty Holy Writ?

That's like Teddy Kennedy yelling, "For shaaaame", at people for supporting Clarence Thomas - which he did.

J said...

In so far that most academic economists are lackeys and bootlickers serving the needs of the financial-executive class, the OWS peeps have a point.

MadisonMan said...

I find it very hard to listen to these clips. A grown man holding a phone to his ear looks ridiculous.

Is he wearing shorts too?

J said...

much of the research has shown that "Keynesian" economics is a big reason why the crash of 29 turned into the lingering Great Depression that extended through the entire 1930s.

Mein Gut Herr Doktor Profesor Hayden, in the words of Penn Jillette, that is...bullshit.

Keynesian theory has issues but at the least JMK was taking on the robber barons and banker-speculators who brought about the crash (ie, via unregulated trading/spending), which the GOP lackeys (ie Coolidge/Hoover) had done nothing about.

Scott M said...

Someone took two tablespoons of coherence this morning. Does it wear off in four hours? How many doses can you take before you have to call the doctor?

Peter said...

Physicists have nuclear weapons on the conscience, and all an economist can come up with is guilt over collateralized debt obligations?

Perhaps the best advice here would be, "Get over yourself already, you're just not that important"?

J said...

Always coherent, Squatty Teabug--but coherency's not a quality much valued by the frat-boy mafia of GOP-TP . Why bother with the Truth (like of the Great depression) when lies and BS will suffice? The old Sigma Krappa Epsilon motto.

MadisonMan said...

As an alum, I can't get enough of the news out of Penn State. Here are the interesting things I learned today.

The judge who released Sandusky on only $100,000 bail is a volunteer for The Second Mile. I've already mentioned that the former Penn State Attorney is also working for The Second Mile. The head of Second Mile -- a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist (!!) -- resigned today.

What a tangled web between The Second Mile and the entire power structure of Penn State and Centre County.

I am unable to relate these snippets to OWS, however.

Tim said...

I think any analogy between the crimes at Penn State and the failure of financial markets is utterly ludicrous.

There's no doubt the underlying assumptions of the subprime mortgages and the housing bubble proved wrong (and where is the long-past due discussion of the role public policy and public institutions [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been given more bailout funds than the private banks] played in this fiasco?); yet, outside of a few abusive lending practices (mostly by mortgage brokers, or mortgage brokerage firms) there hasn't been any systemic criminality. That is, unless the underlying public policies of eliminating "green lining" (proven to be misguided, to be sure) are now to be criminal?

Scott M said...

Why do you assume I'm talking about you, J? Ashamed? Do you have the capacity for shame?

(psst...it wasn't directed at you, bench presser)

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Complete. Intellectual. Dishonesty.

Talk about shame. Do you have ANY?..."

Is that a trick question or bonus points?

Tim said...

"That's like Teddy Kennedy yelling, "For shaaaame", at people for supporting Clarence Thomas - which he did."

Those who feel no shame are the first to invoke it.

J said...

Ah you agree that's it OK to connect two completely unrelated events in hopes of discrediting a legal protest, eh Squotty Teabug? More...Sigma Krappa Epsilon praxis, whether via Frau A-house, or her boys.

Kit said...

I'm puzzling over how so many men — honorable men — could operate together to suppress their own awareness of the evil they harbored within

Maybe this helps answer that:
"When the culture of an organization mandates that it is more important to protect the reputation of a system and those in power than it is to protect the basic human dignity of individuals, you can be certain that shame is systemic, money drives ethics, and accountability is dead. This is true in corporations, nonprofits, universities, governments, churches, schools, families, and sports programs.

In an organizational culture where respect and the dignity of individuals are held as the highest values, shame and blame don’t work as management styles. There is no leading by fear. Empathy is a valued asset, accountability is an expectation rather than an exception, and the primal human need for belonging is not used as leverage and social control."
-Brene Brown

Shouting Thomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wendy Kloiber said...

Reminds me of this piece: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/penn-state-my-final-loss-of-faith/2011/11/11/gIQAwmiIDN_blog.html

For me, the connection isn't about the loss of faith in a generation. It's a systemic problem that shows up wherever power coalesces, incentives exist to protect the status quo, and huge penalties attach to raising alarms or questions. Can't fix the problem of unhealthy power structures by waiting for the boomers to die; need to fix the incentives that surround these power structures with protection.

Hoosier Daddy said...

OWS is doing a good enough job smearing itself.

Never interrupt the enemy when he's making a mistake. What with the disease, assaults, rapes, thefts and murders, its like watching Lord of the Flies.

Shouting Thomas said...

Is it possible that every homosexual male (throughout time), has been ass-fucked when they were small children?)

Carol, your stream of consciousness postings are usually too much for me to get through.

This bit stuck out.

You've violated the cardinal rule here. Homosexuality is just the way they're born. Don't you dare suggest that homosexuality may be a product of sexual abuse and child rape. Couldn't possible be true.

You are now a thought criminal.

At least you didn't talk about mother/son incest and homosexuality. Thank God for that!

new york said...

It's a very valid comparison. Living in a very affluent suburb of NYC, filled with many financial traders from Wall Street you get to see a lot of damage caused by a society that values money over everything. The in- group zealously and effectively promotes and protects its power and status and does whatever is necessary to justify, rationalize and deny its actions. That amorality carries over into all kinds of community arenas as well like education, religious and civic organizations, Anyone who dares to bring up morality or point out any truth gets shut down immediately. It is very much like the Penn state coverup. It is very frightening.

36fsfiend said...

Shouting Thomas said...

"You've violated the cardinal rule here. Homosexuality is just the way they're born. Don't you dare suggest that homosexuality may be a product of sexual abuse and child rape. Couldn't possible be true."

Do you believe that Dick Cheney's daughter Mary and her partner Heather Poe were both sexually assaulted?

Shouting Thomas said...

J, I've done you a disservice by suggesting that you and spinelli are one and the same.

You are a paragon of fairness, decency and judicious temperament in comparison to spinelli.

My apologies!

As loony as you are, there is somebody out there who is loonier!

Shouting Thomas said...

Do you believe that Dick Cheney's daughter Mary and her partner Heather Poe were both sexually assaulted?

Who the hell knows?

I don't make it a habit to make vile accusations without personal knowledge and evidence.

But, it is interesting that you think that party affiliation has something to do with sexual assault.

J said...

Alright, ST. Apology accepted--for now. And don't forget the person behind "spinelli" (and many other sockpups here) is a Romney-lover, vegan, theatre f*g, and all around freak. His blog was linked to yesterday.

36fsfiend said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cubanbob said...

Loury is right. Economists should be ashamed. They should be ashamed of their own inability to see the the obvious perverse incentive and unintended consequences these policies would result in.

Keynesian economics at first glance seems plausible, borrow and spend during rough times to keep the economy from severely contracting. The problem with its implementation is that the flip side of his economic theory is never implemented which paying off the borrowed funds in good times. Instead we have an ever increasing debt mountain requiring ever larger portion of revenue just for debt service which requires ever higher levels of taxation which further lowers the economic output. There is no brake on the borrowing especially in relatively good times and therefore this is why Keynesian will always ultimately fail. Europe is a cautionary example.

Shouting Thomas said...

Really. You got the link, J?

Can you post it again?

36fsfiend said...

Shouting Thomas said...

"Who the hell knows? I don't make it a habit to make vile accusations without personal knowledge and evidence."

Then why the sarcastic comment about homosexuals just being born that way?

"But, it is interesting that you think that party affiliation has something to do with sexual assault."

I didn't mention anything about party affiliation. Would your response be different if I had asked about Ellen DeGeneres?

Scott M said...

Ah you agree that's it OK to connect two completely unrelated events in hopes of discrediting a legal protest, eh Squotty Teabug?

Hardly. Please show me where I said that.

Shouting Thomas said...

I didn't mention anything about party affiliation.

Cheney is the favorite whipping boy of the left. I suspect you were inferring something about party affiliation. In fact, I still suspect that.

Would your response be different if I had asked about Ellen DeGeneres?

No.

36fsfiend said...

Shouting Thomas said...

"Cheney is the favorite whipping boy of the left. I suspect you were inferring something about party affiliation. In fact, I still suspect that."

Cheney, like DeGeneres, accepts people as who they are in terms of their sexuality.

John M Auston said...

Penn State: Shame, shame for not alerting and assisting the authorities. Shame , shame for the coverup. Wonder where they ever got the idea it was OK to do that?

Meanwhile, nearly every day in the Hood: Who's selling crack? Nobody knows nothin'. No Cooperation. Cover-up. Who's gang banging? Nobody knows nothin'. No cooperation. Cover-up. Who's robbing? Who's raping? Who's killing? Who's defrauding the welfare system? Nobody knows nothin'. No cooperation.

So what are we saying here? The White Penn Staters should know better, but we can't expect that type of proper behavior out of the Blacks?

Maybe we DO need that Race conversation, after all.

ndspinelli said...

I've found many purported musicians can be played like a cheap guitar.

wv: nograb..surreal

Amartel said...

College students rioting on their field of dreams. Different fields and different dreams, of course. Somewhere, somehow, some people got the notion that rioting and acting the fool in public is part of the "college experience." College profs would see this all the time, I would think. In fact, it seems from events in WI a few months ago (big confrontation with guy concerned about admissions standards) that college profs encourage, even initiate, this sort of thinking.

WV: "fooff"

Shouting Thomas said...

I've found many purported musicians can be played like a cheap guitar.

Your false confidence is beginning to assert itself again, spinelli.

That means you're about to make a jackass out of yourself again.

gadfly said...

The Penn State scandal is not about "otherwise honorable men" it's about -- ta da -- MONEY. As MODO pointed out in the NYT, the Nittany Lion football program rakes in $70 million per year and the university's endowments are somewhere in the range of two billion dollars.

Monetary rewards, fame and glory disappear if you rat out the Sandusky pedophilia and as Bill Ayres knows, you don't have to be a weatherman to know how the wind blows. Self-interest has trumped honor thus permitting corruption to take over the entire school hierarchy.

traditionalguy said...

The Free Market and its out of control "invisible hand" makes great fortunes out of men who are able to out negotiate a huge market of customers for a season.

So Americans respect wealth, not how it is earned.

Unfortunately for men God only sees things in either good or evil categories...and He mentions that, " the love of money is A root of all evilS." God is never fooled.

Meanwhile back in Happy Valley everyone is fooled.

Scott M said...

Yes, but it is possible to be wealthy without loving money.

X said...

you know who else was cleared of wrongdoing by Penn State?

Amartel said...

Michael Mann, global warming consensus scientist/conspirator.

gadfly said...

X said:
you know who else was cleared of wrongdoing by Penn State?

Amartel answered:
Michael Mann, global warming consensus scientist/conspirator.

Indeed, when Penn State (soon to be known as State Pen) declared that "Hide the Decline" Mann did no wrong and East Anglia whitewashed everything for Phil Jones, the reason was to continue to receive the millions of dollars doled out by our government annually for "research" in the field of climate pseudoscience.

Dex Quire said...

I'm afraid Glenn Loury is to intellectualism what heavy cement counterbalances are to drawbridges...