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Ben Bernanke as Solon

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03/04/2008

With his latest, rather forlorn call for banks to help solve the mortgage crisis by 'forgiving' just enough of their loans to keep people's inability to service their full contractual obligations from triggering foreclosure proceedings, he truly has gone all the way back to Solon and his 6th century answer to Athen's very own sub-prime crisis, the 'seisachtheia' - or 'shaking off of debts'

 

 

Mind you, given that Solon also devalued the currency by 42% (from 70 drachma per silver mina to 100) as part of the stimulus package, our esteemed Chairman may have some way to go to match his predecessor: though already 35% off its 2002 trade-weighted highs, this latest woe has 'only' seen the greenback decline by around 14% so far. 

He and his pal Donald Kohn are not doing much to support beleagured bank stocks either: waive loans, cut dividends, and raise capital - yessir! that's the way to boost your cartel members' share price, boys! 

 Still, as Solon boasted:-

I removed her many boundary-posts implanted:
Ere then she was a slave, but now is free.
And many sold away did I bring home
To god-built Athens, this one sold unjustly,
That other justly; others that had fled
From dire constraint of need, uttering no more
Their Attic tongue, so widely had they wandered
And others suffering base slavery
Even here, trembling before their masters' humours
I did set free.

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