Yossi Melman at PostGlobal

Yossi Melman

Tel Aviv, Israel

Yossi Melman is a senior commentator for the Israeli daily Haaretz. He specializes in intelligence, security, terrorism and strategic issues. An author of seven books on these topics, his most recent book, The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran was published recently by Carroll & Graf. Close.

Yossi Melman

Tel Aviv, Israel

Yossi Melman is a senior commentator for the Israeli daily Haaretz. He specializes in intelligence, security, terrorism and strategic issues. An author of seven books on these topics, his most recent book, The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran was published recently by Carroll & Graf. more »

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Wall Street's Latest Round of Suckers

The Current Discussion: Does the crisis on Wall Street mean that the American style of capitalism is no longer the model for the world?

I have lost very little money for two reasons: One, I didn't have a lot; Two, I never bought shares. So I assume I am among the very few lucky ones whose personal concerns in this crisis are limited.

There is a saying in Hebrew that suckers never die, they are only replaced. The gospel spread from Wall Street to the rest of the world has been very simple: Trust us, the spin economic doctors. We know what we are doing. And sure enough, there have been sufficient herds, numbering in the hundreds of millions around the globe, who believe them. They refuse to learn from history, or from the lessons of 1929 and of all the other black days since then, when stock exchanges collapsed time after time. There has been always enough fresh blood to believe that it won't happen again or it won't happen to us. Suckers never die.

Economic disasters begin with America, but this isn't an American disease anymore. It's global. From Beijing to Moscow, from Delhi to Tel Aviv, the world herds have followed blindly the tunes of the Wall Street pied piper. The roots of the problem are in greed, arrogance, stupidity and ignorance; in short, in basic human futilities. Therefore, the remedies to be offered are difficult. It's not sufficient to change the ideology, say, from cruel and ugly capitalism and unstoppable globalization, to sensitive and sensible social democratic ideals in which the state regulates the markets and the government cares for its own citizens and imposes tough punishments on financial charlatans and criminals.
No, in order to achieve real reforms there is a need to change the human nature. I would say that's too ambitious a project.

So, can it happen again? Sure. Will it happen again? Most certainly. When? When the short-lived lessons of the 2008 summer economic crush -- the lessons of never trust the economic gurus -- have been forgotten. It will be soon, in a matter of years. Suckers never die. They are only replaced.

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