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Scapegoating Diamond lets us off the hook

We seem determined to single out individuals to blame for the financial malaise, but the problem was not caused by Bob Diamond, or the bankers, even though their actions were motivated by greed.

Most economic systems are not actually controlled by anyone and the more global the reach, the less control we have.

Trade imbalances created huge amounts of cash swilling through Western economies. Legitimate investment opportunities were soon exhausted and the banks and governments poured money into inappropriate targets.

These varied across countries: the US had sub-prime mortgages, the Irish Republic had a property boom, in Britain we allowed people to stack up credit on multiple credit cards, the Greeks financed a bloated public sector, the banks in Iceland went haywire and Northern Rock doled out 125% mortgages.

If we search out scapegoats, we ignore the fact that we're all greedy and that greed creates boom-and-bust.

PETE BARRETT

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