Just whom did President Obama mean when he said Friday at the conclusion of the G8 summit in Italy that “Reckless actions by a few have fueled a recession that spans the globe?”
I’ve got a feeling that among them are the folks up at 50 Danbury Road in Wilton at AIG Financial Products.
Yes, AIGFP bet $2 trillion that it didn’t have on derivatives and got caught with its pants down. But as a story running Sunday in the Advocate, Greenwich Time, Connecticut Post and Danbury News-Times makes clear, a lot of AIGFP’s bets have paid off, and many people at the unit recognized looming economic dangers and tried to push the company in another direction. They were overruled by the big boss of the unit.
That the mistakes of a single company can be so huge the world economy is threatened seems impossible, but it’s not the first time it’s happened. A dozen years ago, Long-Term Capital Management of Greenwich nearly crashed the global economic system by making bad bets on Russian bonds, which went into default. Leveraged beyond reason, LTCM needed a rescue that from today’s perspective seems minor. But LTCM, too, threatened to bring down the house.
Having back-to-back world economic near-disasters get their start in lower Fairfield County is a troubling coincidence, and the new financial regulations being promoted by Obama, his economic team and the other G8 leaders are aimed at nowhere more than right here.