So, what's going on? I don't pretend fully to understand the finer intricacies of Collateralised Debt Obligations, covenant-light loans or the murkier depths of the sub-prime mortgage game in the US. What I do understand is a growing unease among many in business with those whose trade is financial manipulation and who, over the last five years have devised ever-subtler and more arcane monetary schemes as they push the boundaries in search of greater reward.
This has all added to what the great Greenspan terms 'irrational exuberance'. And that always ends in tears. As that old curmudgeon Martin Wolf from the FT put it yesterday: 'Ours has been a world of the "no income, no job, no assets" 100% mortgage… and of the "in go poor credits and out comes a triple A-rated security" financial alchemist. It has been a world of confidence, cleverness and too much cheap credit.'
It may be good that we're heading back towards an era of sound money but there's going to be a lot of fear, loathing and pain first. And if dodgy dealing by those Masters of the Universe from Wall St and Canary Wharf tips what has been a fairly sound global economy into recession, then business will want someone to blame. Their wallets may all be bulging like never before after enormous bonuses, but financiers might find themselves figures of opprobrium in the months to come.