Who pays Credit Rating Agencies? I've been wondering about this for a while. Like many people, I'm mildly pissed off that these organizations, which made such a spectacular cock-up a couple of years ago when the banks went AWOL, are now considered so infallible that they can hold governments to ransom: Sod the electors, it's the Credit Rating Agencies you've got to please.
I can't pretend I'm terribly disappointed by the departure of Berlusconi. He was good for a laugh and helped out on the schadenfreude stakes, but frankly, any system capable of getting rid of him can't be all bad. Still, despise them as I might, the sight of what the French call the 'couple Sarkosy-Merkel' (a deeply distressing image in its own right) scurrying around currying favor with Men With Money makes me think there's something a tad awry in the modern world.
Turns out that CRAs (let's just call them CRASS, shall we?) were originally financed by subscription from interested parties. The small ones still are, but the big outfits we hear about in the news headlines get most of their money nowadays from the people issuing the bonds and what have you that they're assessing. In other words, governments and businesses pay to be evaluated.
Are you getting the same image I am? I'm seeing men with bent noses and cauliflower ears.
"Nice little economy you got there, sir."
"You're right about that, Brother Standard. He's got a very nice little economy, hasn't he?"
"Terrible shame if it got broke. Very delicate things, economies."
"Very wise words, very wise, indeed."
"Thank you, Brother Poors. Most kind."
"He wouldn't want to be talking politics or convictions or values, would he?"
"Ooh, no! Not around an economy, he wouldn't. Terrible fragile, they are."
"Use dirty words like that and there's no knowing what mightn't happen."
"Could be nasty, very nasty."
"I was saying as much to Brother Moody only the other day. I said it, right out, because I'm like that, I told him, I did, terrible fragile, I said."
"You know, sir, you ought to get some protection for that economy."
"Now there's an idea!"
"So how about if I was to go round telling everyone . . . . "
". . . . and he was to give you . . . . ?"
"I like it! I like it!"
Causes Charles Davis Supports
Oxfam, Amnesty International, Greenpeace