Conrad Black: Lessons to learn from Wall Street’s week of no return

*Here is my favorite part: *

“Beyond that, the United States and other countries have fallen too far into the fool’s paradise of the service economy. The U.S. GDP of $13-trillion is about half composed of worthless and non-productive effort, which yet engages the efforts of a large number of very skilled people. A trillion dollars annually goes into legal expenses to feed the absurdly litigious society and state prosecutocracy. Another great fortune goes to insane * *insurance costs on medical lawsuits, and superfluous consulting fees — which mainly substitute for what management should be doing, and provide a lightning rod to shelter inept management from shareholder wrath.

In all of the nearly 50 American metropolitan areas that have more than a million inhabitants, towering downtown skyscrapers are jammed with people who work hard and are very talented, but don’t actually do anything useful. People who make paper clips or rubber bands, or the proverbial widget, are at least producing something. But as a society, we came to despise blue collar work as menial, and most of it has migrated to formerly Third World places. The service economy only works when people want and can pay for the services. This progressively ceases to be the case — more swiftly and profoundly than with finished goods — as economies slow down.

This article should be required reading for anyone, starting a new job or upon entering a trade school or college. (Except maybe law school).The handwriting on the wall was plain to see.

Fannie Mae Seeks to Ease Home Buying By KEITH BRADSHER, Published: March 10, 1994

NYT 1999: Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending [to minorities and uncreditworthy]