Now the banks are nationalised and a Government Minister says to me; "It's the end of capitalism as we know it."...well it must be serious. But here's the thing. Everyone seems wise after the event. Pumping more money into the system will solve the problem. However, guided by the writing of Will Hutton, I tried to understand the basis of the present crisis. And I re-read the excellent "The Wisdom of Crowds" and the 'trust' thing dawned on me.
Trust was the starting point of the success of many enterprises. The Quakers' business acumen was based around integrity. The early Stock Exchanges had 'my word is my bond'. But recently, we all slipped into delaying payment, chasing each other for money we were owed and so the temptation of living on credit lines beckons. In fact, one great customer, but lousy payer, sank an early business venture of mine for precisely this reason. As his credit facility collapsed, so did his and my businesses. So I know of what I speak. In the new business climate, it may well be the right time to rebuild our business models on more solid foundations of probity and integrity.
In the meanwhile, I would highly recommend James Surowiecki's book as a terrific read. Especially, if you might feel cynic about the ability of homo sapiens to work together !