Monday, 3 October 2011

The slavery of the credit ratings

I have to say that my first visit to Portugal lived up to my warmest expectations, and I’d be more than happy to return and get to know the place better. However, a sign we saw on our last day left me feeling uneasy.  

A worrying sign of our times?
Standard and Poor's – what have you done?
Has a proud nation been reduced to reviving a shameful trade? Is this what a credit rating downgrade can do? Will it in any case be enough to haul the Portuguese out of their financial difficulties?

And a question that particularly bothers me – where do they get their stocks from?

Note, by the way, the touch of delicacy: the slave market is shut on Sunday. On the Lord’s Day, we don’t trade in human flesh. Something to admire, surely, in that nod to piety?

Postscript. On a recent News Quiz on BBC Radio 4, Jeremy Hardy commented on Standard and Poor's clean bill of health for Lehman Brothers (the bank went broke three months later). He suggested it was time to rename the credit ratings agency, ‘Substandard and Very Poor’.

No comments: