You break it, you own it.
–Thomas L. Friedman, “The Pottery Barn Rule”
Supposedly coined by Friedman in a 2003 Op-Ed piece, the “it” he was referring to at the time was Iraq.
His warning: if the U.S. goes into Iraq and bungles it — it will bear responsibility for the consequences.
Watching stocks gyrate crazily yesterday as world markets wrestle with the growing sovereign debt crisis, it seems that The Pottery Barn Rule lives on.
This time, however, there’s a new “it”: the financial system.
“It”: The Financial System
The system may indeed be on the verge of reform, however superficial or substantive that may be.
But what’s clear is that up until this moment, the current financial system reflects the considerable best efforts and (self) interest of the folks on Wall Street.
Wall Street got the financial regulations it wanted.
It blocked the financial regulations it didn’t.
And as a result we ended up with a crazily leveraged, unaccountable juggernaut that, not surprisingly, splattered — but somehow left those most responsible fabulously wealthy (while impoverishing millions who had nothing to do with it).
Fine, Wall Street.
You break it . . . you’re responsible.