Richard M. Salsman says that the welfare state and a socialist banking system are to blame for the financial crisis, and that blaming human greed is plainly wrong. Not to be ironic here, but does altruism really explain Madoff, or rather, is what Madoff did OK because his customers should have known better and it was his very right to make other people's stupidity his business plan (oh, and here is the widely read and praised article about Iceland's meltdown by Michael Lewis, in Vanity Fair. It tries to explain how tiny Iceland became a financial center and then, well, crashed)?
"From a state monopoly on money, to state guarantees of bank liabilities, to state sponsorship of mortgages, to state ownership of banks—the progression in the past century has been to move away from free markets toward socialist banking. Why? The fundamental answer is: altruism. The fitful, halting lurches toward ever greater government intervention in American finance follow logically from the altruistic premise that permeates our culture and resounds throughout the halls of power—the premise that being moral consists in self-sacrificially serving those in need. The welfare state and its main financier, the Federal Reserve, are ultimately “justified” on the grounds that the government has a moral duty to provide the needy with goods and services—from education to health insurance to mortgages."
The Objective Standard, Spring 2009 Edition