Comments on: German models Models.Behaving.Badly Fri, 14 Sep 2012 09:10:53 +0000 hourly 1 By: m.quiske Fri, 14 Sep 2012 09:10:53 +0000 Read your todays article in the FAZ…You gave a good examnple what to do today on and on: While our forefathers fougth to have an existence, we have to save the essenz…

By: EllieK Thu, 13 Sep 2012 23:49:41 +0000 Congratulations, from me too, on your new column! (I have been curious: Do you speak German and Dutch? I noticed that you said the column was translated for publication in FAZ. Probably a good idea, unless fluent!) Please consider continuing to re-post the English language versions of your FAZ columns here on Reuters, if possible?

I think the analogy of consumer and merchant banking with utilities is reasonable. Both are in a position of public trust, are regulated and held to safety standards. Banking *was* a reputable field. Bankers held positions of trust in the community. They were not all sturm and drang, but rather, reliable, stable types, much like the mechanical and electrical engineers that I recall at the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Electric Power Research Institute. Something is clearly amiss, as this is no longer true.

I don’t like to laud the practices of a country notorious for civil rights abuses, namely, the People’s Republic of China. Yet this certainly makes one pause: A corner-cutting, kickback and corruption scheme that led to the deaths and injury of dozens of mine workers was punished with the execution of the mining official who was most directly accountable, and imprisonment of several public officials responsible for mining safety regulation (in early 2011). Chinese bankers and finance ministry officials who grossly betray the public trust are punished less publicly but just as severely. That wouldn’t happen in the U.S.A…..

Quibble time. You said:
“Visa, MasterCard, Paypal, Western Union and [BofA]… refused to transmit payments to Wikileaks… it’s hard to understand why a bank with government privileges should have the authority to decide arbitrarily to whom… to transmit money…” particularly in light of BofA’s enabling of South American money launderers.

Remember, businesses have the right to refuse service. Also of concern: If they are domiciled in the U.S.A., they must abide by U.S. laws and acquiesce to the wishes of government authority. Julian Assange was neither a U.S. resident nor U.S. citizen, and was engaged in activities that, at the time, seemed likely to negatively impact the government of the United States. (Things worked out differently than anyone expected, although Assange probably anticipated a messy aftermath, which makes it all the more remarkable that he did well, what he did).

By: SethOnReuters Wed, 05 Sep 2012 04:15:23 +0000 Congrats on the new column!

“…looked at where their country was going and then tried to get one step ahead of fate.”

I think I know what you mean, but there is a lot of overlap between that ideal and this practice:

“… they try to figure out what positions will make them electable, and then aim to transform themselves into the person that holds those positions. ”

Bismarck spoke of catching up with the galloping hoof beats of history, but modern politicians have reduced that ‘gallop’ to a “Gallup” [poll].

The problem isn’t so much that politicians have adopted better empirical techniques, it’s that they also apply a biased filter to the results: act on only that part of the public will that is to the advantage of Big Money.